Monday, December 30, 2013

Words of the prophets

One day I asked my brother if he knew why one of our siblings had left the Church. I couldn't understand how anyone could give up something as eternally important as God's "living church" "guided" by prophets and apostles. My brother wasn't exactly sure how it all came about but he recalled a few complaints about some things the early modern-day prophets had said and done. Like what? What could the prophets have possibly said or done to turn someone off the Church?

My brother responded rather non-nonchalantly about how Brigham Young had ordered the conversion or killing of some Utes at some point in time. I couldn't believe my brother could say that to me without a little more evident concern. It sounded a lot like the conversion method of the Spanish conquistadors, and I never thought much of their religious militancy. Did Brigham Young really view killing uninterested and uncooperative Native Americans as an acceptable policy? (The answer is yes.)

Of course there are number of other comments from the prophets that should give just about anyone pause. I already knew the Journal of Discourses was notorious for crazy shit prophets and apostles said in General Conference. I think everyone's favorite has to be Joseph's revelation of Quakers on the Moon followed by Brigham's declaration that the Sun has its own human inhabitants.

So how much of this kind of ridiculousness is acceptable from God's one true church? How can you maintain a belief in the prophetic-relevatory system when it produces so much utter trash? Are we expected to ignore all this stuff? Forgive the prophets for being mere mortals? Where do we draw the line between inspired word and lunacy? Do we take the prophets at their word or do we go with our gut? How long should we sustain someone or something (the Church in this case) when so much of what we get from that person or thing is not making us better, kinder, smarter people?

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