Chapter 11: Honoring the Priesthood Keys Restored through Joseph Smith
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, (2013), 151–60
During 2014, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.
“May I now say—very plainly and very emphatically—that we have the holy priesthood and that the keys of the kingdom of God are here. They are found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
It doesn’t take long for the editors to differentiate their religion from all others. According to Mormonism, it is the possession of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods that separate them from everyone else. President George Albert Smith (1870–1951) wrote,
“The churches of the world are trying, in their way, to bring peace into the hearts of men. They are possessed of many virtues and many truths, and accomplish much good, but they are not divinely authorized. Neither have their priests been divinely commissioned.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, 124-25).
According to Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, “As far as all religious organizations now existing are concerned, the presence or the absence of this [Melchizedek] priesthood establishes the divinity or falsity of a professing church.”(Mormon Doctrine, 479). And Apostle Boyd K. Packer explained,
“We do not hear of the priesthood keys being exercised in other Christian churches. It seems odd that we are described by some as being non-Christian when we are the only ones who have the authority and the organization that He established.” (“The Honor and Order of the Priesthood,” Ensign, June 2012, 24.)
Of course, Mormon leaders may use lip service by referring to those belonging to the Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern churches as “Christian.” But, as the quotes above abruptly show, others outside the LDS faith are missing important ingredients. The very idea that Joseph Smith claimed he was told by God the Father and Jesus in the First Vision account that all the churches were “wrong” should show those outside the LDS Church that Mormonism does not view itself as just another Christian denomination. This vision, President David O. McKay wrote, showed “that no creed in Christendom had the true plan of salvation.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 93). According to LDS teaching, the period of the “great apostasy” that took place after the death of the apostles “lasted well over a millennium. During this period, man-made creeds and practices were substituted for the plan of salvation that Jesus had taught.” (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual: Religion 430-431, 59)
In an October 2010 general conference talk, Apostle Neil Anderson said,
Some ask, “Aren’t there many of other faiths who love Christ?” Of course there are! However, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having a witness of His reality not only from the Bible but also from the Book of Mormon; knowing His priesthood has been restored to the earth; having made sacred covenants to follow Him and received the gift of the Holy Ghost; having been endowed with power in His holy temple; and being part of preparing for His glorious return to the earth, we cannot compare what we are to be with those who have not yet received these truths. (“Be Thou an Example to the Believers,” Ensign, November 2010, 41)
A church manual written specifically to instruct Mormon missionaries defines the differences between Mormonism and Christianity in a section describing the gift of the Holy Ghost:
“The priesthood authority needed to perform this ordinance, which was lost centuries ago through apostasy, was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Only through membership in the Church can one receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This authority makes the Church different from any other religion in the world. By the Lord’s own declaration, it is ‘the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth’ (D&C 1:30).” (Preach My Gospel, 65)
Saying that his church “accepts many of the same biblical doctrines as other Christian churches,” apologist Gilbert Scharffs explained in a book used by Mormon missionaries that “the LDS Church also believes in numerous biblical concepts changed or forgotten by many Christian denominations, which could arguably make the LDS Church more Christian than other Christians.” (The Missionary’s Little Book of Answers, 10).
Within Christian thought, there is room for differences of opinions on peripheral issues. However, when it comes to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, there is no room for compromise. Words have meaning, and thus the word Christian is an important title held near and dear by many followers of the biblical Jesus. Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield declared,
“People who set upon calling unchristian things Christian are simply washing all meaning out of the name. If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything, designates nothing.”
Brigham Young University professor Daniel Peterson said it well when he wrote, “Cherry-picking similarities while failing to mention major differences is a powerful way to misrepresent and mislead.” (“Focus on Similarities Can Prove Misleading,” Mormon Times, November 6, 2011, 8).
Why, then, do so many Mormons want to make it appear that there is little difference between Mormonism and Christianity? For example, in an April 25, 2014 talk to Liberty University students at “convocation,” political commentator Glenn Beck stated,
I share your faith. I am from a different denomination, and a denomination quite honestly that I’m sure can make many people at Liberty feel uncomfortable. I am a Mormon, but I share your faith in the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.
If the authority of God only comes through the LDS priesthood, then it’s inaccurate for a Mormon to say that he “shares” my faith and belongs to a “different denomination.” Not only is this inaccurate but it is a lie. For more on the Glenn Beck talk, see here.
Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith
Priesthood keys are the power and authority to direct the Lord’s work on the earth.
There is a difference between receiving an office in the priesthood and in receiving the keys of the priesthood. This we should clearly understand. …
… While all men hold the priesthood who are ordained to any office, yet there are special, or directing, authorities, bestowed upon those who are called to preside. These authorities are called keys.
[Priesthood] keys are the right of presidency; they are the power and authority to govern and direct all of the Lord’s affairs on earth. Those who hold them have power to govern and control the manner in which all others may serve in the priesthood.
When men are commissioned by the one who holds these keys, then their acts are valid. That which they do is sealed and ratified in the Church both on earth and in the heavens.
While every Mormon male over the age of 12 is able to hold the priesthood, the leadership holds the “keys” that are the ultimate authority in this religion. Even going to the highest level of heaven is dependent upon the power of the priesthood. According to President Spencer W. Kimball,
“No man will ever reach godhood who does not hold the priesthood. You have to be a member of the higher priesthood—an elder, seventy, or high priest—and today is the day to get it and magnify it.”(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 51)
President Thomas Monson explained,
“How grateful we are that the heavens are indeed open, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that the Church is founded on the rock of revelation. We are a blessed people, with apostles and prophets upon the earth today.” (“God Reveals Truth to His Prophets and to Us,” Ensign, March 2011, 8)
The job of clarifying the position of the church has been entrusted to the Mormon prophet, as well as to his two counselors. These three men make up the First Presidency. A church manual for Mormon missionaries explains the role of the Mormon “prophet, seer, and revelator”:
“A living prophet directs the Church today. This prophet, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the present Apostles trace their authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.” (Preach My Gospel, 37)
One place to hear the words of the leaders are at the semiannual general conference. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency explained, “Listen to general conference with an ear willing to hear the voice of God through his latter-day prophets.”(“Why Do We Need Prophets?” Ensign, March 2012, 5) Giving a general conference message in April 2012, Apostle D. Todd Christofferson explained,
“In 1954, President J. Reuben Clark Jr., then a counselor in the First Presidency, explained how doctrine is promulgated in the Church. Speaking of members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he stated: ‘[We] should [bear] in mind that some of the General Authorities have had assigned to them a special calling; they possess a special gift; they are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators, which gives them a special spiritual endowment in connection with their teaching of the people. They have the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of God to his people, subject to the over-all power and authority of the President of the Church. . . . the President of the Church has a further and special spiritual endowment in this respect, for he is the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the whole Church.” (“The Doctrine of Christ,” Ensign, May 2012, 86-87)
Several biblical passages typically are used as support for this unique position. One is Amos 3:7, which reads, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Prior to this claim, God asked if it is possible for two to walk together unless they are in agreement (v. 3). He then gave several rhetorical questions that can be answered only in the negative (vv. 4–6). Mormons usually insist that verse 7 is a general rule, implying that the New Testament church will be led by a living, mortal prophet who will reveal the Lord’s “secrets” to the church. However, the context of this passage is speaking of impending danger and judgment upon the nation of Israel for the people’s iniquities (see v. 2).
In other words, God used mortal men to warn theocratic Israel on His behalf. To disobey a prophet in the Old Testament often resulted in judgment and punishment. Their words were considered final, authoritative, and, ultimately, binding. Nothing is implied in the Amos passage that this refers to the governmental role of a prophet living in post-Old Testament times. In fact, Christian theologian Wayne Grudem notes,
“There is no convincing evidence that New Testament prophets in their role as prophets ever governed early churches through ‘charismatic leadership’ by means of prophetic declarations about the direction of the church. This theory is based on some people’s ideas of how the church ‘must have’ or ‘could have’ developed, but it is not supported by the facts of the New Testament itself.”(The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 160)
Grudem points out that the role of a New Testament prophet is quite different from that of the Old Testament prophet. He writes,
“It is not surprising, then, that when we read the New Testament we find several times when the apostles are connected with the Old Testament prophets, but New Testament prophets,by contrast, are never connected with Old Testament prophets in the same way.”(Ibid., 28.)
Though the LDS Church claims to be a restoration of how things were done in ancient times, it breaks with Scripture by insisting there can be only one “living prophet” whose authority is above all others. This pattern is not found in the New Testament. For instance, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:29 that when two or three prophets spoke, those who heard them were allowed to weigh, or judge, what was said. How were they to be judged? Grudem explains,
“As a prophet was speaking, each member of the congregation would listen carefully, evaluating the prophecy in the light of the Scripture and the authoritative teaching that he or she already knew to be true.”(Ibid., 57)
In 1 Thessalonians 6:21, Paul told the Thessalonian believers that they should not despise prophecies but were to prove, or test, “all things; hold fast that which is good.” Obviously this would include prophetic utterances.
Another passage often cited by Mormons is Ephesians 2:20. The apostles and prophets mentioned here form the foundation of the church insofar as they fit with Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. Hebrews 1:1–2 states how God spoke previously through the prophets but has “in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” First Corinthians 3:11 explains, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” A foundation must align with the cornerstone that sets its trajectories and measurements.
In the same way, the proclamations given by the apostles and prophets always were to be measured by how they matched with Jesus’ message and life. As prophesied in the Old Testament and declared as the fulfillment in the New Testament, Jesus Christ—who is clearly presented as God manifest in the flesh—is the living prophet for the Christian. And while Mormonism teaches that men are necessary to guide the church with authority, the Bible says the task of guidance is given to the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.”
The Lord has sent holy messengers from His presence to restore the keys of the priesthood.
We believe that following a long night of darkness, unbelief, and departure from the truths of pure and perfect Christianity, the Lord in his infinite wisdom has again restored to earth the fullness of the everlasting gospel.
“A long night of darkeness.” “Unbelief.” “Departure from (truth).” A church that needs to be “restored.” Shouldn’t this analysis from Smith—remember, it’s all placed in a modern church manual and will be studied during the second week of June 2014—be considered offensive for millions of Christians who claim to be children of God? Once more, the very foundation of Mormonism is based on the total apostasy of all Christians. Remember, it was God Himself who supposedly told Joseph Smith in Joseph Smith-History 1:18b-19:
I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
Latter-day Saints such as Glenn Beck make it appear Mormonism is just another Christian denomination. Yet how can this be true if the churches we attend have darkness and unbelief, far from “perfect Christianity”?
We know Joseph Smith is a prophet; that the Father and the Son appeared to him in the spring of 1820 to usher in this final gospel dispensation; that he translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God; that he received keys and authority from angels sent for this very purpose; and that the Lord revealed to him the doctrines of salvation.
So much of Mormonism is, once again, based on Joseph Smith. As far as the First Vision accounts from 1820, see this article (podcasts will be available at the beginning of June 2014). These two articles may also be helpful:
As far as the Book of Mormon and its translation, I invite you to listen to a Viewpoint on Mormonism podcast series called “Book of Mormon and DNA Studies” that aired in mid-February 2014: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
The Lord does not recognize any ordinance or ceremony, even though it be made or performed in his name, unless it is in accordance with his will and done by one who is recognized as his authorized servant. It was for that reason that he sent from his presence holy messengers to Joseph Smith and others, to restore that which had been taken from the earth, even the fullness of the gospel, and the fullness and the keys of priesthood.
For good measure, let me add in a quote from a succeeding LDS president:
“Presumptuous and blasphemous are they who purport to baptize, bless, marry, or perform other sacraments in the name of the Lord while in fact lacking his specific authorization” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 494).
Christian, your baptism is not accepted in Mormonism. The Lord’s Supper? Not recognized. The fullness of the gospel? It cannot be found in any church outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Glenn Beck said that he belongs to another “denomination,” I’m not sure how this can be true if, as Joseph Fielding Smith and the other leaders have put it, the Christian church is devoid of all authority. If Mormonism is true, then I am the apostate and Beck is the Christian.
The keys of priesthood had to be restored. It was not sufficient that John the Baptist came with the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, and Peter, James, and John with the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, by virtue of which the Church was organized, but there had to be an opening of the heavens and a restoration of keys held by all the prophets who have headed dispensations from the days of Adam down to the days of Peter, James, and John. These prophets came in their turn and each bestowed the authority which he held.
The spiritual significance of the Aaronic, or Levitical, priesthood ended with the death of Christ. The term priest refers to a person who stands up for another person/people, acting as a mediator in his cause. The Old Testament priest stood in the gap for the people and offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins. Mormon males, who claim to hold the Aaronic priesthood, do not offer animal sacrifices; thus, their office is not a restoration of the original, as church leaders would like the public to believe. Furthermore, Doctrine and Covenants 107:16 specifically states, “No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron.” This warning sounds similar to that found in Numbers 3:10, which states, “And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.”
However, it is not a modern LDS requirement for a Mormon priesthood holder to trace his family roots back to Aaron, the brother of Moses. Because the LDS Church stresses genealogical research in order to vicariously baptize for the dead, it would seem their leaders should know better than to claim such a priesthood for themselves. The biblical Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18–20), who was the king of Salem as well as a priest of God, is a mysterious figure in Scripture. He blessed Abram, and Abram tithed to him. Nobody beside Melchizedek held the positions of both priest and king until Jesus came. Hebrews 7:21 declares that Jesus is “a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.” Verse 24 adds that Jesus has “an unchangeable priesthood.” Hebrews 7:2–3 describes this order:
“First being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”
Christ met these qualifications. He is both Righteousness and Peace (cf. Eph. 2:14; 1 John 3:7). As the Word who became flesh (John 1:14), He continues His advocacy as the Christians’ priest. In fact, the Bible says that Christians are free to directly approach the throne of God and pray according to His name. As 1 Timothy 2:5 puts it, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Indeed, the New Testament does not support the idea that the Aaronic or Melichizedek priesthoods are necessary for humans; instead, Christians have authority as “children of God” through their belief. Contrasting Christians with the rest of the “world” (who “knew him [God] not”), 1 John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Paul distinguished between “children of the flesh” and “children of God” in Romans 9:8. Galatians 3:26 says it is “by faith in Christ Jesus” that believers become children of God, while John 1:12 says that “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
A royal priesthood is provided to all Christian believers. First Peter 2:9–10 states that Christians “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people . . . [who] now have obtained mercy.” Even though Christians are priests in this spiritual manner, they are called to offer themselves as “living sacrifice[s]” to God (Rom. 12:1). As holders of this priesthood, believers are commanded to stand and intercede for people, not to offer blood sacrifices for the cleansing of their sins but to pray that they might turn to the one who cleanses from sin, namely, Christ Jesus.
While Mormonism offers the priesthood only to males, the New Testament makes no such distinction when it comes to those whom God has called to Himself. This authority is available to all believers, regardless of gender. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” It is this priesthood, held by all Christians, that provides authority to pray directly to the God of this universe, to boldly proclaim the gospel truth wherever they go, and to know that when they die they will enjoy eternal life with God. There is no greater authority than this.
[The] sealing power puts the stamp of approval upon every ordinance that is done in this Church and more particularly those that are performed in the temples of the Lord.
In the Kirtland Temple, Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and bestowed the keys of sealing.
Brethren and sisters, this is a glorious dispensation. All other dispensations flow into it. All authorities, all powers, are centered in this dispensation in which we live. We are privileged to partake of these blessings through our faithfulness.
It is the Mormons who are able to partake of these blessings. It’s like the old clubhouse sign: “No girlz aloud.” And in Mormonism, nobody is admitted into the bet this religion has to offer without joining the club.
May I now say—very plainly and very emphatically—that we have the holy priesthood and that the keys of the kingdom of God are here. They are found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In case there was any doubt, this statement seems pretty concise and to the point. If you are a Christian, please bury the notion that Mormons think those outside their chruch are Christians of another denomination.
The President of the Church holds the keys over all the Church.
A short time before his martyrdom, the Prophet [Joseph Smith] bestowed upon the Twelve Apostles—who constitute the second quorum in the Church—all the keys and all the ordinances and priesthood necessary for them to hold in order to carry on this great and glorious work of universal salvation.
This priesthood and these keys … have been given to each man who has been set apart as a member of the Council of the Twelve. But since they are the right of presidency, they can only be exercised in full by the senior apostle of God on earth, who is the president of the Church.
The President of the Church holds the keys over all the Church. … In him is concentrated the power of the Priesthood. He holds all the keys of every nature, pertaining to the dispensation of the Fulness of Times. All the keys of former dispensations which have been revealed, are vested in him.
LeGrand Richards said, “I always say I am not half has as much concerned about pleasing the Lord as I am about all of the Brethren” (as cited in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, 13). According to Robert C. Oaks,
“Unquestioning obedience to the Lord indicates that a person has developed faith and trust in Him to the point where he or she considers all inspired instruction — whether it be recorded scripture or the words of modern prophets, or direct inspiration through the Holy Ghost — to be worthy of obedience” (“Believe all Things,” Ensign, July 2005, 32).
This is a different attitude from the Bereans of Acts 17:10-12:
As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
If Paul would have had the same attitude as the LDS leadership, do you think he had a right to be upset? After all, these Bereans might be seen as compromising his authority. How dare they go to the scriptures to check and see if what he was teachings was true! Instead, the Bereans are commended for desiring to consult scripture to see if it matched the words of the apostle.
Another point is that Peter was questioned by Paul. Galatians 2:11-14 provides Paul’s account:
When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
We should honor those to whom the President of the Church has delegated keys of authority.
[The President of the Church] has the right to delegate authority and to withdraw authority as he sees fit and receives inspiration so to do.
Remember there is only one on the face of the earth who holds the sealing power of the priesthood, and he can delegate that power unto others, that they may act and they may seal on earth and it is valid, it is binding, so long as he sanctions it; if he withdraws it, no man can exercise that power.
No man can officiate in and confer the blessings of the temple without the authority to do so being delegated to him by the President of the Church. No man can officiate in any capacity in this Church without the virtue accompanying him in that act, as it is obtained through the power and keys held by the President of the Church. … If by virtue of his keys he should say that certain privileges should be withdrawn from the people, then no man would have authority to officiate in conferring those particular privileges. Should anyone attempt to do so, the act would be invalid, and the one so attempting to officiate would have to answer before the bar of God, if not before the Church, and would be found in transgression. …
… When the apostles or other brethren visit the stakes of Zion and are appointed to set in order anything requiring attention there, they do it by virtue of the commission, or authority, delegated to them by the President of the Church. This same principle applies in the lesser degree in stakes and in wards.
Every man who is properly chosen to preside in any capacity in the Church should be honored in his calling. When a man is ordained to the office of a bishop, he is given the keys of presidency over the ward in which he resides and should be honored in his calling by every member of the ward, no matter what office any man may hold. The same is true of the president of the stake, the president of a quorum, or whatever it may be. To illustrate what this means we are taught that no father has the right, although he may hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, to baptize one of his own children without first obtaining the sanction of his bishop. When the sanction is obtained, the father is authorized to perform that ordinance for his child. Should any father take it upon himself to perform a baptism, or to ordain his son, without first obtaining the sanction of the presiding officer in the ward or stake, as the case may be, who holds the keys of authority, he would be in transgression. This applies to an apostle as well as to the elder in a ward. Even the President of the Church would never think to act in any matter of this kind without first recognizing the bishop of his ward or the president of his stake and the authority which had been delegated to the bishop or the president of the stake.
These rules…whose are they? How do we not know Warren Jeffs is not the one with more authority? I read Jeffs’ revelations and they sound very similar to the revelations Joseph Smith had. See a review of his book here. The Mormon may reply, “It’s obvious.” But why? How come one follower of Joseph Smith is deemed more authoritative than another? Just as the followers of Warren Jeffs believe that his words contain truth, so do the Latter-day Saints believe in the authority of their leaders.
The united voice of those who hold the keys of the kingdom will always guide us where the Lord wants us to be.
I think there is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord.
But why not? Isn’t the president of the Mormon Church human? Couldn’t he make mistakes? The Mormon is forced to place complete trust in a human being who could be fallible. On the other hand, the Christian is instructed to put his or her complete trust in God alone, as revealed in His Word that we call the Bible. If I follow a leader who contradicts scripture, guess which one I will choose all day long?
An individual may fall by the wayside, or have views, or give counsel which falls short of what the Lord intends. But the voice of the First Presidency and the united voice of those others who hold with them the keys of the kingdom shall always guide the Saints and the world in those paths where the Lord wants them to be. …
I testify that if we shall look to the First Presidency and follow their counsel and direction, no power on earth can stay or change our course as a church, and as individuals we shall gain peace in this life and be inheritors of eternal glory in the world to come [see D&C 59:23].
Notice that a D&C reference, not a biblical reference, is used to support such an unbiblical teaching. Mormons are free to put their full trust in their leadership. But I warn you, as Jesus did, that there are many false prophets who are dressed up as wolves in sheep’s clothing. To put one’s complete trust in men is a dangerous precedent indeed.
For more reviews on this manual featuring Joseph Fielding Smith quotes, go here.
For more information on priesthood, see: