Mormonism: Mormon Prophets

By John McCort

Recently Jady Copeland, Don Vaughan, and I had the privilege of touring the RLDS Auditorium in Independence, Missouri. This huge complex houses the offices for the Reorganized Latter Day Saints world headquarters. Included in this magnificent structure is a 6,000 seat domed auditorium and a small museum featuring their history.

During the tour of the facility the Mormon tour guide showed us the conference room where the President of the church and the twelve apostles meet daily. Our tour guide told us (in essence), “This is the room where the President and our twelve apostles meet daily. Our prophet-president receives revelations almost daily. He tells the twelve apostles what his revelations have been and the twelve apostles vote to decide if he had received a valid revelation.” I asked the guide, “I assume the votes are all unanimous,” to which I received this reply, “Oh, no. Sometimes the vote is very close.”

This brought up some very interesting questions. In the course of the conversation our tour guide stated that they did not believe that their prophet-president was infallible and thus a vote of the twelve apostles was necessary. If their prophet-president is inspired by the Holy Spirit why would a vote ever be necessary? Does this same Holy Spirit guide the twelve apostles in their voting? If he does how could there ever be a split vote? I wonder if the Holy Spirit has a split personality or if he is also fallible like their prophet-president?

One of the big issues the Mormons raise is the religious division evident among denominations. They say that the Bible cannot be our final source of religious authority and our only basis for unity since the denominations are so badly divided and claim to be using the same Bible. The Mormons reason that latter day revelations through a prophet are the only basis for religious unity. If this is so then how could there be split votes on these unifying revelations. If the prophet and his apostles cannot agree on which revelations are valid how can the church use these revelations as a basis for religious unity?

True prophecies from the Lord were unmistakable. “And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? when a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18:21-22) The prophet-president claims to be receiving revelations and speaking in the name of the Lord. If the apostles decide that he did not receive a valid revelation then the prophet spoke presumptuously and the Bible tells us to ignore that prophet. How can a vote on revelations ever be completely trustworthy. If the prophet cannot tell when he has received a valid revelation how can the twelve apostles ever be sure. Beside, I do not read of the apostles ever convening to decide if they had received valid revelations from the Lord. This borders on blasphemy because it questions the competency and consistency of the Holy Spirit and God’s ability to clearly reveal his will to mankind.

Truth Magazine XXI: 26, pp. 412-413
June 30, 1977