Amos was no prophet’s son

In a vision given to Amos, the Lord showed him a plumb line. This was the method used to establish a straight wall.  (Amos 7: 7-9.)  When Amos delivered the message he received, the king threatened him.  Amos’ answer was succinct: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit; And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, go, prophesy unto my people Israel.  Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord:  Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not they word against the house of Isaac.  Therefore thus saith the Lord; They wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and they daughters shall fall by the sword, and they land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.”  (Amos 7: 14-17.) 

Prophets in the past have come from obscure places.  They quite often resisted delivering a message which the audience wanted to hear.  Instead they corrected the behavior of a fallen people.  There were no opinion polls, no focus groups to shape the message they delivered.  Their words corrected, jarred, condemned and served as a warning which could allow the faithful to change the path they were on whenever needed.  The Apostle Paul coined a term for teachers who taught doctrines that reassured those who ought to be condemned.  He said such people “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”  (2 Tim. 4: 3.)  I presume “heap” means they get quite a few of them.

I’m pleased we live in a day of living prophets again, and that we receive stern warnings from time to time from those who know the Lord.  Such occasions provide us all the opportunity to be warned, repent, change our ways and approach nearer the mark of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus. (Philip. 3: 14.)

Posted by the moderator (she thinks it important)

I think this is interesting history.  I should like to know more of this kind of thing.
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Joseph Smith, by revelation, established two presiding offices: The President of the High Priesthood and the Patriarch of the Church.  The President (Joseph Smith) presided.  But the Patriarch stood by with keys to ordain the next President and provide for orderly transition from one President to the next.

The Patriarchal office is by lineage or descent.  That way it cannot be stolen by an interloper; thereby creating a separation of power inside the one Church (or kingdom).

Joseph became President through divine ordination by the Lord and messengers sent by the Lord.

Brigham Young was sustained as President, relying upon his ordination as an Apostle.

John Taylor was also sustained, relying also upon his ordination as an Apostle.

These precedents were relied upon through Joseph F. Smith, who had an ordinance/ordination accompany his assumption of the office of President of the Church.  That ordination was performed by his half-brother, John Smith, the Patriarch of the Church.

Heber J. Grant was conflicted about the Patriarch because he considered himself a descendant of Joseph Smith by sealing and the Patriarch was competition to that; and therefore he did not want the Patriarch to ordain him president.  He had the Twelve ordain him.  He also initiated the name change from “Presiding Patriarch” to “Patriarch to the Church.”

Heber J. Grant’s practice continued thereafter.

Interestingly the term “Prophet” was not applied to a living man holding the office of “President of the Church” until 1955, during the administration of David O. McKay.  The term “Prophet” until that time always meant exclusively Joseph Smith, and not the office holder of President.  Before then it was “President Young” and “President Taylor” and “President Woodruff” and so on.  However, in 1955 the Church News began a new practice of referring to the living President McKay as a “Prophet.”  It was felt that changing the reference to the living President would result in quicker acceptance of direction from him, and less criticism of the President.  (President Grant was the most unpopular Church President in the Church’s history, and that was something they hoped to avoid happening again.)  It worked.  No-one wants to reject counsel from a living prophet of God.  

So since that time the practice has been for living Presidents to continue to be referred to by the title “Prophet” by all General Authorities and other leaders.  However, I have noticed that the President never refers to himself as “Prophet” in any declaration I have been able to find.  He accepts that term as used by others, but does not apply it to himself.

The recorded times when a Church President was asked if he was “a Prophet” include testimony by Joseph F. Smith when asked by the Senate Committee in the hearings to seat Senator Smoot.  His response was “my people sustain me as such.”  President McKay was asked by a reporter and his response was “look me in the eye and tell me I’m not a prophet.”  President Lee essentially repeated the same response to a reporter as President McKay.  And when he was interviewed by the Press President Hinckley essentially repeated Joseph F. Smith’s response, saying in effect: “I’m sustained by the Church as such.”  There may be others, but those are the ones I recall at the moment.

All of which is, I suppose, interesting history.  I of course, sustain as “prophets, seers and revelators” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve every Ward Conference, Stake Conference, General Conference and temple recommend interview.

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