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.)
I write all the posts and the reply comments which go onto the blog. However, I do not have time to maintain the site itself. My wife does all the posting, editing, maintaining, etc. She takes the comments I write and puts them into the blog itself. Therefore, when you are reading anything on this site from me, you are reading what she has mechanically put into the site using the forms, etc. required to make it work. I appreciate very much the time she devotes to doing this, because I simply cannot take that time at present to do it myself.
This goes to show that there were different traditions reflected in the biblical accounts. Just as there are references to scriptural books which we no longer possess.
– A couple or woman who cannot bear a child because of some infirmity, age, infertility, barrenness, or lack of marriage.
– A promise made that a son will be sent.
– The woman/couple receive a son despite the infertility problem before.
– The son then comes and plays a role which alters the course of the Lord’s people.
This was the case with Abraham and Sarah, to whom Isaac came. Manoah, to whom Sampson came. Elkanah and Hannah, to whom Samuel came. Zechariah and Elizabeth, to whom John was sent. Mary and Joseph, to whom Jesus came.
There have been many others, but their stories are not always recorded or known.
Sampson was a Nazarite, the covenant terms of his dedication to the Lord is set out in Numbers 6. Among other things, a Nazarite was not to cut his hair during the time of the covenant. This was the reason Sampson’s hair cutting was so significant. It represented the final break of the covenant.
Sampson was a Messianic figure. He foreshadowed the Lord.
I’ve written a parable about the way in which Sampson’s life mirrored the Lord’s in Ten Parables.
I believe that if we had a full account of the Lord’s life we would realize just how much Sampson’s life foreshadowed the Lord’s. A hint of that is contained in that parable in Ten Parables.
The Lord is in charge. We needn’t worry about how His purposes will all be fulfilled. Patience with the larger picture is easier when we realize that for each of us the smaller, individual picture is what is important. We have plenty to do individually to receive our invitation into the Church of the Firstborn. As we do what is necessary to receive that invitation, then we will become more effective ministers of salvation for others. Worrying about the salvation of all others before being saved ourselves is a needless thought.
The evil of this day is sufficient (Matt. 6: 34) because it really is enough to live well one day at a time. Eternity will be composed of living well one day. For God all is as one day. (Alma 40: 8.) When we have done that, we are ready to receive eternity. Until then, worrying about the larger and more chaotic picture of what is going on keeps us from changing the only environment over which we have any influence or control. That is the environment of our hearts.
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.”
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.
When it comes to the subject of one’s eternal salvation, I can’t understand why someone would simply trust others and leave it to them to tell them what is necessary. I should think everyone would study this matter night and day, and reach their own conclusion about what is important, what is not, what will save, and what is simply foolishness.
Joseph said he advised all to go on and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of God. Alma said about the same thing in Alma 12: 9-11.
When it comes to sacred knowledge, the absence of curiosity and relentless inquiry is evidence of apathy and indifference. Joseph posed the question in the Lectures on Faith of how we can hope to inherit the same reward as the ancients without following the same path as they did. Great question, that. Brings to mind Abraham’s description of his own relentless search to find God in Abraham 1: 2. I think that is the formula. As is also D&C 93: 1.
Things are different than we think. And that is as it should be. Otherwise the hearts of men could not be put on display here in this life, and the proving that this estate was designed to accomplish would fail.
We should be afraid to hold office over others. We should have pity or compassion for those who are called to these positions. Instead, we envy those who hold offices in the church. Nephi counseled against this. (2 Ne. 26: 21.)
Now is the great day of deception when darkness covers so much of the social order that madness reigns. If you just turned the light on and saw our day as clearly as Nephi did you’d marvel at the abundant foolishness, vanity and errors we entertain. To do that you only need to read what Nephi wrote and realize he’s talking to and about US; not those who will never read the book.
We’re being tested. More importantly, I’m being tested. So I need to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord” just as Paul suggested. (Philip. 2: 12.)