|M. Russel Ballard|
“Keep [your eyes] on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray.”
"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty." (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in October 11, 1890, p. 2.)Wilford Woodruff taught this 'doctrine', defending and justifying a hoax! It's a false doctrine.
A well established 'doctrine'
Since 1890, many Church leaders have born powerful testimony that this 'doctrine' is true.
"The LDS Church will never be without a prophet and that prophet will never lead the church astray, a member of the church's First Presidency told a regional conference this week.
Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Sunday responded to a paper presented at the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City two weeks ago. In the paper, Mormon feminist housewife Janice Allred said statements by President Hinckley that God never would allow the church to be led astray do not have a scriptural basis.
"She can present her paper until doomsday," President Hinckley said at a Tri-Stake Regional Conference at church-owned Ricks College, but God will see to it that the church will not be led astray.
In her paper, Allred said, "The scriptures do not give any unconditional promises that the church will never fail, although there are some conditional ones. The condition of the promises is obedience to God, not obedience to leaders."
People who have been taught to accept anything their leaders say without seeking spiritual confirmation are "easy to deceive," Allred said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church whose members sing, "We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet," [and following] that prophet is the way to salvation, President Hinckley said. "Our peace, safety and salvation lie in following the prophet."Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy taught that, "[W]e have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray."
These are but two examples. Rest assured, there are many, many, many more. It's important to remember, that it doesn't matter how many times a false doctrine is taught, it still remains false.
"My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place." (see v. 4-7; emphasis added)
"Following that prophet is the way to salvation. Our peace, safety and salvation lie in following the prophet."
John Calvin asked rhetorically, "Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?" If we are led to put our full trust in the Church and its leaders, how can we then trust in God? How can we grow in faith on His name? And how can we come to Him when we've put an organization and mortal men in between us? Jesus stands betwixt God and us (see Mosiah 15:9), and He keeps no servant at the gate (see 2 Ne. 9:41).
Janice Allred states in her paper that, ”A church that believes it cannot go astray gives good evidence that it already has.” Sadly, I believe this is true. But, this doesn't mean that God cannot use the Church as one of many tools employed in His work and glory, nor does it mean that everything in the Church is false. Not even close. The Church is, in my opinion, a wonderful place to be. Still, what's worse than being lost? Not knowing that you are (lost, that is!).
How can we, as an institution, get back on the right track if we choose pride over humility? If we can't even accept the slight possibility that we might have gone astray and that not all is well in Zion? If the Church, if we as members, can't humble ourselves and acknowledge our "sins", then how can we ever hope to redeem Zion? How can anyone who is oblivious or blind to their uncleanness hope to be counted among the pure in heart, which is Zion (Moses 7:18)?
God desires that we all are prophets (Num. 11:29) and that we all know Him! How could that be possible if we, like the ancient Israel refuse to come toHim, and send Moses (or Thomas, or Russel or Dallin) to get to know God on our behalf? Some things can't be done by proxy.
"The world is full of people who are willing to tell us, “Do as I say.” Surely we have no lack of advice givers on about every subject. But we have so few who are prepared to say, “Do as I do.” And, of course, only One in human history could rightfully and properly make that declaration. History provides many examples of good men and women, but even the best of mortals are flawed in some way or another. None could serve as a perfect model nor as an infallible pattern to follow, however well-intentioned they might be.
Only Christ can be our ideal, our “bright and morning star”. Only he can say without Howard W. Hunter, General Conference, April 1994)reservation, “Follow me; learn of me; do the things you have seen me do. Drink of my water and eat of my bread. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the law and the light. Look unto me and ye shall live. Love one another as I have loved you.” (