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Citations on Authority

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or

Standard Works

“Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all
his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he
receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye
shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith”
(Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-5).

Joseph Smith

“I will inform you that it is contrary to the economy of God for
any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for
those in authority, higher than themselves” (Joseph Smith, Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 21;. Also cited by Apostle L. Tom
Perry in conference, “We Believe All that God has Revealed,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 2003, p. 86).

“When did I ever teach anything wrong from this stand? When
was I ever confounded? I want to triumph in Israel before I depart
hence and am no more seen. I never told you I was perfect; but
there is no error in the revelations which I have taught” (Joseph
Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 368. Also cited by
Apostle Neal A. Maxwell, “The Wondrous Restoration,” in Ensign,
April 2003, p. 36).

“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It
is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity.
That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the
Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is
righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road
to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives”
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 156-57).

2nd President Brigham Young

“Suppose that Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams had been
taken away or had apostatized, as one of them did soon after the
revelation I have referred to was given, and there had been only
Joseph Smith left of the First Presidency, would he alone have had
authority to set in order the Kingdom of God on the earth? Yes.
Again: Suppose that eleven of the Twelve had been taken away by
the power of the Adversary, that one Apostle has the same power
that Joseph had, and could preach, baptize, and set in order the
whole Kingdom of God upon the earth, as much so as the Twelve,
were they all together. Again: If in the providence of God he
should permit the enemy to destroy these two first Quorums, and
then destroy the Quorum of the Seventy, all but one man, what is
his power? It would be to go and preach, baptize, confirm, lay on
hands, ordain, set in order, build up, and establish the whole Kingdom
of God as it is now. Suppose the enemy had power to destroy
all but one of the High Priests from the face of the earth, what
would that one possess in the power of his Priesthood? He would
have power and authority to go and preach, baptize, confirm, ordain,
and set in order the Kingdom of God in all its perfection
of the earth. Could he do this without revelation? No. Could the
Seventies? No. Could the Twelve? No. And we ask, could Joseph
Smith or the First Presidency do this without revelation? No. Not
one of them could do such a work without revelation direct from
God. I can go still further. Whoever is ordained to the office of
an Elder to a certain degree possesses the keys of the Melchizedek
Priesthood; and suppose only one Elder should be left on the
earth, could he go and set in order the Kingdom of God? Yes, by
revelation” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 138-
139. See also Journal of Discourses 9:88, May 7, 1861).

“Now ask the Father in the name of Jesus whether I am telling you
the truth about temporal things or not, and the same Spirit that
bore witness to you that baptism by immersion is the correct way
according to the Scriptures, will bear witness that the man whom
God calls to dictate affairs in the building up of his Zion has the
right to dictate about everything connected with the building up
of Zion, yes even to the ribbons the women wear; and any person
who denies it is ignorant. There is not a man or woman in
the world who rises up against this principle but what is ignorant;
all such are destitute of the spirit of revelation and enjoy not the
Spirit of Christ” (Brigham Young, February 3, 1867, Journal of Discourses

“What man or woman on the earth, what spirit in the spirit-world
can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a
word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? The
success which has attended me in my presidency is owing to the
blessings and mercy of the Almighty” (Brigham Young, December
29, 1867, Journal of Discourses 12:127).

“Brother Orson Hyde referred to a few who complained about
not getting revelations. I will make a statement here that has been
brought against me as a crime, perhaps, or as a fault in my life.
Not here, I do not allude to anything of the kind in this place,
but in the councils of the nations—that Brigham Young has said
‘when he sends forth his discourses to the world they may call
them Scripture.’ I say now, when they are copied and approved
by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible, and
if you want to read revelation read the sayings of him who knows
the mind of God, without any special command to one man to go
here, and to another to go yonder, or to do this or that, or to go
and settle here or there” (Brigham Young, October 6, 1870, Journal
of Discourses 13:264).

“I am here to give this people, called Latter-day Saints, counsel to
direct them in the path of life. I am here to answer; I shall be on
hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for
all the instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an
elder here, or any member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that
I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really
wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason
that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason”
(Brigham Young, August 31,1873, Journal of Discourses 16:161).

3rd President John Taylor

“We could progress a great deal faster, and could prosper a thousand
times more than we do if we would be one in carrying out the
counsels given us by the Lord through his servants” (John Taylor,
The Gospel Kingdom, p. 180-181).

“Some of our folks now-a-days feel and say sometimes, they have a
portion of the Priesthood, and they think they are almighty personages;
they think they know better than anybody else, better
than the Bishop, better that the Twelve, better than the Presidency
of the Church: they are puffed up and filled with their vain imaginations.
Say they, let me have my way; and then, I want you to give
me your honor to help me to carry it out. Or, in other words, I
want to fight against the work of God and against the Priesthood
of God, and I want you to give me power and influence to accomplish
it. They do not tell you that in so in any words; but those
are the facts” (John Taylor, October 9, 1881, Journal of Discourses

4th President Wilford Woodruff

“I say to Israel, 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 program. 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. God bless you” (Wilford
Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212-213. See also
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 199 and
Doctrine and Covenants Official Declaration—1).

6th President Joseph F. Smith

“If the Presidency were to be killed off, then the Council of the
Twelve Apostles would stand in their place and preside until the
Presidency should be restored; and if they and the First Presidency
were all killed off, then the seventies would come forward and
they would establish the order of Zion and renew the order of the
priesthood upon the earth; and if all the seventies were killed off,
and yet there was one elder possessing the Melchizedek Priesthood,
he would have authority to organize the Church, under the
command of God and the guidance of His Holy Spirit, as Joseph
did in the beginning; that it should be re-established in its perfect
form. So you can see that this organization is well-nigh undestructible”
(Joseph F. Smith, Elder’s Journal November 1, 1906,
p. 46. Cited by Rulon T. Burton, We Believe: Doctrines and Principles
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. p. 744).

“The moment a man says he will not submit to the legally constituted
authority of the Church, whether it be the teachers, the
bishopric, the high council, his quorum, or the First Presidency,
and in his heart confirms it and carries it out, that moment he
cuts himself off from the privileges and blessings of the Priesthood
and Church, and severs himself from the people of God, for he
ignores the authority that the Lord has instituted in his Church”
(Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith,
p. 365).

“If I counsel in unrighteousness, I will be brought to judgment. No
man can teach wickedness to this people and continue in it long;
for God will detect him and will reveal the secrets of his heart;
his purpose and intent will be made manifest to the Saints, and
he will stand judged of the Spirit of God before the Saints. If you
acknowledge … the President of the Church and he and his counselors
as the presiding authority, then the member who does not
give heed to their counsel deserves pity, for he is in transgression.
These men will not counsel you wrong” (Joseph F. Smith, Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 214. Ellipsis in original).
“Never is there more than one appointed at a time to hold the
keys of the kingdom pertaining to the earth” (Teachings of Presidents
of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 224).

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no partisan
Church. It is not a sect. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. It is the only one today existing in the world that can and
does legitimately bear the name of Jesus Christ and his divine authority”
(Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph
F. Smith, 1998, p. 396. Italics in original).

8th President George Albert Smith

“I personally do not desire to be understood to be finding fault
and criticizing the people who belong to the various denominations
of the world. I am thankful that there are in so many of them
good men and good women who believe in him and with the light
that they have serve God; but the fact remains that our Father has
established in this world, his Church. He has conferred upon men
in this day his authority, and there is no other authority in the
world that he will recognize but that which he himself has instituted”
(George Albert Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church:
George Albert Smith, 2011, p. 51).

“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. The Latter-day Saints are the only ones who bear
the authority of our Heavenly Father to administer in the ordinances
of the Gospel. The world has need of us” (George Albert
Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, 2011,
pp. 124-125).

“If you will follow the leadership of the Lord, and those whom the
Lord sustains, you will not fall away into darkness, lose the light,
transgress the laws of God, and forfeit your privileges that he is so
anxious that all of us should enjoy. There is only one pathway of
safety for me in this day and that is to follow those whom the Lord
has appointed to lead. I may have my own ideas and opinions, I
may set up my own judgment with reference to things, but I know
that when my judgment conflicts with the teachings of those that
the Lord has given to us to point the way, I should change my
course. If I desire salvation I will follow the leaders that our Heavenly
Father has given to us, as long as he sustains them” (George
Albert Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith,
2011, p. 60).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“What time, since the organization of the Church, have any of the
brethren exercising the Spirit of the Lord, ever taught this people
that which was false? When have they ever said unto you that you
should do that which was not right; that which would not make
you better citizens and better members of the kingdom of God?
You cannot, nor can any man, in righteousness, point to the time
when any of them have wilfully stated anything that was contrary
to the principles of righteousness, or that did not tend to make
the people better in every way, that did not build them up in their
salvation, temporally as well as spiritually” (Joseph Fielding Smith,
Doctrines of Salvation 3:297).

“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” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding
Smith, 2013, p. 159).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“We don’t have to depend solely upon what is in the standard
Church works. In addition to what the scriptures have told us, we
have what the prophets today are telling us here and now, and it
is for us if we want to be saved on Zion’s hill, when these perils
come, to hear and obey. So often today when our brethren do
speak authoritatively, we have some who rise up to challenge and
say, ‘Now, just where can I find some authority that you can cite for
what you are saying?’ We are tempted to say, ‘You go back and read
the speech of the present leader of the Church on this subject,
and you have all the authority that you should look for, because
this is the Lord’s way. His prophet is here, and revelation is just as
needed and is just as much in evidence as it has been in any time
in any dispensation of the gospel upon the earth’” (Harold B. Lee,
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 2000, p. 84).

“Look to the President of the Church for your instructions. If ever
there is a conflict, you keep your eyes on the President if you want
to walk in the light” (Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Presidents of the
Church: Harold B. Lee, 2000, p. 85).

“Then President Lee added a warning when he went on to say
that we may not always like what comes from the authority of the
Church, because it may conflict with our personal views or interfere
with some of our social life. However, if we will listen to and
do these things as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, we will
not be deceived and great blessings will be ours. It brings us back
to obedience. It will always be so. It’s part of the plan of eternal
happiness. I know of no doctrine that is more critical to our wellbeing
in this life and the next. All scriptures teach obedience, and
no apostle or prophet has ever lived who has not taught the principle
of obedience” (R. Conrad Schultz, quoting President Harold
B. Lee, “Faith Obedience,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May
2002, p. 31).

12th President Spencer W. Kimball

“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” (Spencer W. Kimball,
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 494).

13th President Ezra Taft Benson

“I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber
J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him
home…. Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and
said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the
Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong,
and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in
his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never
let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’ (CR October 1960,
p. 78)” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 137.
Brackets in original).

“The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training
or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at
any time. Sometimes there are those who feel their earthly knowledge
on a certain subject is superior to the heavenly knowledge
which God gives to His prophet on the same subject. They feel the
prophet must have the same earthly credentials or training which
they have had before they will accept anything the prophet has
to say that might contradict their earthly schooling. How much
earthly schooling did Joseph Smith have? Yet he gave revelations
on all kinds of subjects. We haven’t yet had a prophet who earned
a doctorate in any subject, but as someone said, ‘A prophet may
not have his Ph.D. but he certainly has his LDS.’ We encourage
earthly knowledge in many areas, but remember, if there is ever a
conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet,
you stand with the prophet, and you will be blessed and time will
vindicate you. (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,”
in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: BYU Press,
1981], p. 27.)” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson,
p. 137).

“Doctrinal interpretation is the province of the First Presidency.
The Lord has given that stewardship to them by revelation. No
teacher has the right to interpret doctrine for the members of
the Church. If Church members would remember that, we could
do away with a number of books which have troubled some of
our people” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson,
p. 317).

“The prophet and the presidency – the living prophet and the
First Presidency – follow them and be blessed; reject them and
suffer” (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 330).

“In a general conference of the Church, President N. Eldon Tanner
stated: A man said to me, ‘You know, there are people in
our state who believe in following the Prophet in everything they
think is right, but when it is something they think isn’t right, and it
doesn’t appeal to them, then that’s different.’ He said, ‘Then they
become their own prophet. They decide what the Lord wants and
what the Lord doesn’t want’” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of
Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 334-335).

“We know that Satan has great power to deceive, and because of
this, we must be aware. The safeguard against his sophistry and
deception has been specified by revelation. We are to give heed to
the words of eternal life. In other words, we must understand and
live by the revelations the Lord has granted to His prophets. These
are contained in the four standard works and the written and public
declarations of our current prophet” (Ezra Taft Benson, The
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 404-405).

15th President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Now, in conclusion, do you believe this body of men would ever
lead this Church astray? Remember whose church this is. It carries
the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who stands as its head. His is
the power to remove any found remiss in his duty or who is teaching
that which is not in harmony with His divine will” (Gordon B.
Hinckley, “The Church Is on Course,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 1992, p. 59).

“This church is established on principles that are divine. From
the day of its organization, it has been led by prophets, and I solemnly
testify that the Lord Jesus Christ, whose church it is and
whose name it bears, will never let any man or group of men lead
it astray. His is the power to remove them if they should ever be
found taking the wrong turn” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Bring Up a
Child in the Way He Should Go,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 1993, p. 54).

“Other churches also do much good, but this is the ‘true and living
church’ of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name it bears (see
D&C 1:30). Be true to it. Cling to it. If you will do so it will become
as an anchor in the midst of a stormy sea. It will be a light to your
lives and a foundation upon which to build them. I give you my
solemn testimony that this Church will never be led astray. It is
in the hands of God, and should any of its leaders ever attempt
to lead it astray, His is the power to remove them” (Gordon B.
Hinckley, “Stand True and Faithful,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 1996, p. 93).

First Presidency

“It seems nonsensical that the Prophet of God should submit to
such a test as this, and not deem the revelations he received authentic
until they had the approval of the different quorums of
the Church. They were authentic and divinely inspired, whether
any man or body of men received them or not. Their reception or
non-reception of them would not affect in the least their divine
authenticity. But it would be for the people to accept them after
God revealed them. In this way they have been submitted to the
Church, to see whether the members would accept them as binding
upon them or not. Joseph himself had too high sense of his
prophetic office and the authority he received from the Lord to
ever submit the revelations which he received to any individual
or any body, however numerous, to have them pronounce their
validity” (George Q. Cannon, Juvenile Instructor, January 1, 1891,

“You never heard President Young teach any other doctrine; he
always said that Joseph stood at the head of this dispensation; that
Joseph holds the keys; and although Joseph had gone behind the
veil he stood at the head of this dispensation, and that he himself
held the keys subordinate to him. President Taylor teaches the
same doctrine, and you will never hear any other doctrine from
any of the faithful Apostles or servants of God, who understand
the order of the Holy Priesthood. If we get our salvation we shall
have to pass by him; if we enter into our glory it will be through
the authority that he has received. We cannot get around him; we
cannot get around President Young; we cannot get around President
Taylor; we cannot get around the Twelve Apostles. If we ever
attain to that eternal glory that God has promised to the faithful
we shall have to pass by them. If we enter into our exaltation, it will
be because they, as the servants of God, permit us to pass by, just as
the revelation says, ‘pass by the angels and the Gods, which are set
there,’ to our exaltation” (George Q. Cannon, October 29, 1882,
Journal of Discourses 23:361).

“Remember that God has chosen men to be His servants and has
given them power to regulate His Church and to lead and guide
His people, and He will honor them if they do right, and those
who refuse to obey them He will condemn; and no man in this
Church, from the beginning until the present time, ever refused
to obey the counsel of God’s servants without losing His Spirit,
and where they have not repented with heartfelt sorrow, they have
lost their standing in the Church” (George Q. Cannon, Gospel
Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon 1:155).

“Talk about revelation! You go and read the sermons of President
Young, and if you do not believe now that he was a Prophet, I
think after you have read them you will be sure he was, because
he talked as a Prophet to this people concerning their future, and
his words were full of godlike wisdom, and he poured them out in
a constant stream during his lifetime” (George Q. Cannon, Gospel
Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon 1:328).
“Always keep your eye on the President of the church, and if he
ever tells you to do anything, even if it is wrong, and you do it,
the lord will bless you for it but you don’t need to worry. The lord
will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray” (Marion G.
Romney, quoting LDS President Heber J. Grant, Conference Reports,
Oct. 1960, p. 78).

“Recently, at the Churchwide fireside meeting held for the women
of the Church, Young Women President Elaine Cannon made the
following statement: ‘When the Prophet speaks, …the debate is
over’ (Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 108). I was impressed by that simple
statement, which carries such deep spiritual meaning for all of us.
Wherever I go, my message to the people is: Follow the Prophet”
(N. Eldon Tanner, “The Debate Is Over,” Ensign, August 1979,
p. 2. Ellipsis in original).

“Having in mind that this Church of ours is a practical Church,
that it deals with temporal as well as with spiritual affairs, I submit
that whatever comes from the voices of those who hold that
authority is scripture, no matter of what they may speak. That conclusion
to me is inevitable” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Reports,
April 1944, p. 112).

“Third, continuing revelation and leadership for the Church
come through the President of the Church, and he will never mislead
the Saints” (James Faust, “The Prophetic Voice,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 1996, p. 7).

“Today the Lord is revealing his will to all the inhabitants of the
earth, and to members of the Church in particular, on the issues
of this our day through the living prophets, with the First Presidency
at the head. What they say as a presidency is what the Lord
would say if he were here in person. This is the rock foundation
of Mormonism…. When the Prophet Joseph Smith was asked
what the difference was between the Latter-day Saint Church and
the sectarian churches of the world, he said, ‘We have the Holy
Ghost,’ by which he meant that by the power of the Holy Ghost
the will of our Father is revealed to the minds of the leaders of this
Church. So I repeat again, what the presidency say as a presidency
is what the Lord would say if he were here, and it is scripture. It
should be studied, understood, and followed, even as the revelations
in the Doctrine and Covenants and other scriptures. Those
who follow this course will not interpret what they say as being
inspired by political bias or selfishness; neither will they say that
the brethren are uninformed as to the circumstances of those affected
by their counsel; or that their counsels cannot be accepted
because they are not prefaced by the quotation, ‘Thus saith the
Lord.’ Those … who will through mighty prayer and earnest study
inform themselves as to what these living prophets say, and act
upon it, will be visited by the spirit of the Lord and know by the
spirit of revelation that they speak the mind and will of the Father”
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1945, 90; emphasis added)” (Marion
G. Romney, Teachings of the Living Prophets Student Manual Religion
333, 2010, pp. 52-53. Ellipses and bold in original).


“If the Prophet of the living God, who is my standard, lays down
a principle, whether it be a principle of doctrine, or a principle
in philosophy, or a principle in science, or a principle pertaining
to anything whatever, it is not for you nor me to argue against
it, and set up our standard, and our views, and our judgment in
order to make a division in the church of the living God—even if
the division goes no further than our own individual selves. We
must bow, if we would bring about that oneness spoken of in the
revelations of God. We must yield to these things; and it is my
determination to do so” (Orson Pratt, January 29, 1860, “Confessional
Discourse,” as cited in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought,
Vol.13, No.2, p. 57).

“Let us not forget that we owe our first and foremost devotion to
God, the Eternal Father. We sustain President Lorenzo Snow as
the mouthpiece of God. Therefore, when he has anything to say to
us as the mind and will of the Lord, it is just as binding upon us as
if God spake personally to us” (Abraham O. Woodruff, Conference
Reports, April 1899, p. 7).

“I remember many years ago, when I was a boy, hearing President
Young state in Provo, where I lived, something like this: ‘Some
people may think I am not leading the Church aright. Now, I will
tell you how you may know when I do not lead the Church aright.
The Lord will just nip my wind; for He will never allow any man to
lead this Church astray.’” (Stake President David Cameron, Conference
Reports, October 1903, pp. 47-48).

“I would advise the Latter-day Saints to continue in following the
servants of the Lord, who preside in the Church and Kingdom
of Christ. Never in the history of the people have the saints gone
wrong or gone astray while following the lead of the Presidency
and general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. Never in the world will the people go wrong or go astray
and fall by the wayside, if they will continue to follow the lead of
these men of God; and I want to suggest that we look to the Presidency
of the Church, and the leading quorums of the Priesthood,
as true indicators of the way the Lord would have us walk. They
are indeed God’s Liahona, and if we will discover their spirit in all
matters pertaining to the building up of the Kingdom of God, the
spread of everlasting truth, and then follow them, we will be right,
will prosper, will do as the Lord wishes us to do” (Hyrum M. Smith,
Conference Reports, April 1908, p. 34).

“Though the prophet may step out of his official role in dealing
with the daily affairs of life, he can never divest himself of the
spirit and influence which belong to the sacred office which the
Lord has placed on him…he lives under inspired guidance, which
makes him great among men, and therefore, his unofficial expressions
carry greater weight than the opinions of other men of equal
or greater gifts and experience without the power of the prophetic
office. It would be wisdom on all occasions and with respect to all
subjects in any field of human activity, to hearken to the prophet’s
voice” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 237. Ellipsis
mine. See also Teachings of the Living Prophets, 1982, p. 22).

“Every member of the Church, and all men for that matter, would
do well to give heed, and indeed should do so, to any public utterance
or to the unofficial counsel of the man who has been called
to the office of prophet. One cannot limit him by saying that on
some subjects pertaining to human welfare he may not speak. The
spiritual and the temporal have ever been blended in the Church
of Christ. Obedience to the counsels of the prophet brings individual
and collective power and joy. Of all men, the prophet of the
Lord should, at all times, have most influence with the Latter-day
Saints. No other cause can be greater than that of the Church of
Christ” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 238).

“Thus the burden of proof is upon the hearer, not alone upon the
speaker. Whoever quibbles about the validity of a message of the
prophet would do well to engage in a serious self-examination. Is
the trouble with him? Perhaps he is not ‘in tune’ with truth. Perhaps
he does not live the law of the gospel in such manner as to respond
to the message of truth. President Joseph F. Smith declared
that those who honor their own Priesthood first, will honor it in
those who preside over them (President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel
Doctrine, p. 207). That doctrine may be applied when the prophet
speaks to the Church or to the world” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences
and Reconciliations, p. 238).

“Besides this we have our living prophet, for whom I am grateful,
and I hope to follow after him all the days of my life. I know that
when I don’t follow him I am wrong, and I know that when I do I
am right, even if I don’t agree with him. To those who only follow
him when they do agree with him he is not a prophet unto them”
(Richard L. Evans, Conference Reports, October 1940, p. 61).

“No true Latter-day Saint will ever take a stand that is in opposition
to what the Lord has revealed to those who direct the affairs of his
earthly kingdom. No Latter-day Saint who is true and faithful in
all things will ever pursue a course, or espouse a cause, or publish
an article or book that weakens or destroys faith. There is, in fact,
no such thing as neutrality where the gospel is concerned” (Bruce
R. McConkie, “The Caravan Moves On,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 1984, p. 84).

“These apostles and prophets, the revelators of God, were to act as
a protection for the people against false prophets and teachings
Therefore, if somebody secretly comes to you claiming to have a
secret revelation and trying to lead you astray, all you have to do is
remember that this person is not an apostle. If you want to know
what the word of God is, go to the Council of the Twelve or the
First Presidency. They are the foundation of the Church; they will
keep you on the right track so that you will not need to worry”
(Mark Petersen, “A Man Must Be Called of God,” as cited Teachings
of the Living Prophets, 1982, p. 30).

“Follow your leaders who have been duly ordained and have been
publicly sustained, and you will not be led astray” (Boyd K. Packer,
“To Be Learned Is Good If …”, Ensign (Conference Edition), November
1992, p. 73).

“I always say I am not half has as much concerned about pleasing
the Lord as I am about all of the Brethren” (LeGrand Richards,
as cited in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, p. 13).
“When we hear the counsel of the Lord expressed through the
words of the president of the Church, our response should be positive
and prompt” (M. Russell Ballard, “Voice of the Living Prophet
Gives Clear Direction,” Church News, April 7, 2001, p. 19).

“When we speak of following the Brethren, we mean particularly
the First Presidency and the Twelve. In 1951, President Kimball
observed in a general conference that though some of those special
individuals might falter, ‘there will never be a majority of the
Council of the Twelve on the wrong side at any time.’” (Neal A.
Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, p. 102).

“Our relationship to living prophets is not one in which their sayings
are a smorgasbord from which we may take only that which
pleases us. We are to partake of all that is placed before us, including
the spinach, and to leave a clean plate!” (Neal A. Maxwell,
Things As They Really Are, p. 74).

“The effort for gospel transparency and spiritual inoculation through a thoughtful study of doctrine and history, coupled with a burning testimony, is the best antidote we have to help students avoid and deal with questions, doubt, or faith crises they may face in this information age” (M. Russell Ballard, “By Study and By Faith,” Ensign, December 2016, p. 26).

“As you teach your students and respond to their questions, let me warn you not to pass along faith-promoting or unsubstantiated rumors or outdated understandings and explanations of our doctrine and practices from the past. It is always wise to make it a practice to study the words of the living prophets and apostles; keep updated on current Church issues, policies, and statements through and; and consult the works of recognized, thoughtful, and faithful LDS scholars to ensure you do not teach things that are untrue, out of date, or odd and quirky” (M. Russell Ballard, “By Study and By Faith,” Ensign, December 2016, p. 26).


“When Joseph Smith rose from his knees in that sacred grove, he
knew more about the nature, the power, and the attributes of God
than learned scholars could find out through a lifetime of study.
This is the genius of the Church of Jesus Christ today. It is the testimony
and power of the Holy Ghost that distinguishes this church
from others. We need not convene councils of learned men to
debate the mind and will of God. We have living prophets and
apostles to direct us. If we will follow their counsel, we can avoid
the evils of today and have tranquillity of faith and peace of mind”
(Theodore M. Burton, “Thus Saith the Lord,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), December 1971, p. 80).

“Follow the living prophets, as we have just been admonished. One
Church leader taught: ‘Always keep your eye on the President of
the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong,
and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. …But you don’t need
to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people
astray.’ (Heber J. Grant, quoted by Marion G. Romney in Conference
Reports, Oct. 1960, p. 78.) We walk in uncharted mine fields
and place our souls in jeopardy when we receive the teachings of
anyone except he that is ordained of God” (Carlos E. Asay, “Opposition
to the Work of God,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November
1981, p. 68. Ellipsis and italics in original).

“Nevertheless, pure intentions and heartfelt sincerity do not give
members of the Church authority to declare doctrine which is not
sustained by the living prophets. While we are members of the
Church, we are not authorized to publicly declare our speculations
as doctrine nor to extend doctrinal positions to other conclusions
based upon the reasoning of men and women, even by the brightest
and most well-read among us” (L. Aldin Porter, “The Revelations
of Heaven,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1994,
p. 63. Italics in original).

“When you see any document, any address, any letter, any instruction
that is issued by the Council of the First Presidency and the
Quorum of the Twelve, it should be recognized for what it surely
is—the mind and the will of the Lord to his people in this day” (L.
Aldin Porter, “The Revelations of Heaven,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1994, p. 65).

“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” (Robert C. Oaks,
“Believe all Things,” Ensign, July 2005, p. 32).

“In 1980, when President Ezra Taft Benson was serving as President
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he gave a powerful
message about obedience to the prophets at a BYU devotional in
the Marriott Center. His great talk, titled “Fourteen Fundamentals
in Following the Prophet,” touched my heart. It made me feel
good that I had made the decision to follow the prophets for the
rest of my life when I accepted baptism in the Lord’s true Church”
(Claudio R. M. Costa, “Obedience to the Prophets,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 2010, p. 11).

Church Manuals

“We should regard both the standard works and inspired declarations
of living prophets as valid and necessary sources of truth.
Occasionally misinformed members of the Church will maintain
that, although they are reluctant to give equal credence to pronouncements
of the living prophets. Such individuals are pursuing
an inconsistent course and ‘err, not knowing the scriptures’
(Matthew 22:29), for the scriptures themselves plainly testify of
the fact that we must give heed to the living prophets (see D&C
1:14, 38; 21:1, 4-5)” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, 1982, p. 20).

“Prophets have the right to personal opinions. Not every word
they speak should be thought of as an official interpretation or
pronouncement. However, their discourses to the Saints, and
their official writings should be considered products of their official
prophetic calling and should be heeded” (Teachings of the
Living Prophets, 1982, p. 21).

“Testify that although other churches teach some truths and do
many good things, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
is the only true church on the earth because it is the only church
that has the complete gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood
authority to perform ordinances in the name of Jesus Christ. It is
Jesus’ Church. It has his name and his law, and it is led by his appointed
representatives. Express your gratitude to Joseph Smith,
the prophet through whom the Lord restored the true Church”
(Preparing for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual, 1998, p. 99. Italics in

“We may never have a General Authority visit our home, but we
can receive similar blessings if we accept the General Authorities
by following their inspired counsel in our homes” (Duties and
Blessings of the Priesthood, Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A,
2000, p. 83).

“The General Authorities are representatives of the Savior. They
hold the priesthood and the keys to direct the work of the Lord’s
Church. As we follow their counsel and sustain them with our
faith, obedience, and prayers, we will receive great blessings” (Duties
and Blessings of the Priesthood, Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders,
Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, 2000, p. 83).

“When the prophet speaks to us in the name of the Lord, he
speaks what the Lord would say if He were here” (The Latter-day
Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B, 2000, p. 99).

“Parents have a responsibility to teach their children to sustain
and support their local priesthood leaders. They should never criticize
priesthood leaders or say unkind things about them. Criticizing
our leaders endangers our own salvation” (The Latter-day Saint
Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B, 2000, p. 106).

“The President of the Church is the mouthpiece of God on earth.
As such, he reveals the will of God for us today. Therefore, when
we follow the inspired counsel of the prophet, we are following
God and obeying His will” (Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood:
Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B, 2000, p. 234).

“Show students a Bible and ask: What books of scripture do we
have in the Church that other religions do not? (The Book of
Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price.)
Show students these other scriptures, and then stack them on top
of the Bible. Ask: Do we have any other scripture in the Church?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:2–4 to find the answer to this
question. Stack some conference issues of the Ensign on top of
the scriptures. Share the following statements. President Ezra Taft
Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, said: ‘God’s
revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark.
Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important
prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in
our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will
for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is any
of the words of the prophet contained each week in the [Church
News] and any words of the prophet contained each month in
our Church magazines’ (‘Fourteen Fundamentals in Following
the Prophet,’ in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1981], 27)”
(Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource
Manual, 2001, p. 117).

“‘I maintain that had there been no restoration of the gospel,
and no organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, there would have been no radio; there would have been no
airplane, and there would not have been the wonderful discoveries
in medicine, chemistry, electricity, and the many other things
wherein the world has been benefited by such discoveries. Under
such conditions these blessings would have been withheld, for
they belong to the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times of which
the restoration of the gospel and the organization of the Church
constitute the central point, from which radiates the Spirit of the
Lord throughout the world. The inspiration of the Lord has gone
out and takes hold of the minds of men, though they know it not,
and they are directed by the Lord. In this manner he brings them
into his service that his purposes and his righteousness, in due
time, may be supreme on the earth. Now let me say briefly that I
do not believe for one moment that these discoveries have come
by chance, or that they have come because of superior intelligence
possessed by men today over those who lived in ages that are past.
They have come and are coming because the time is ripe, because
the Lord has willed it, and because he has poured out his Spirit on
all flesh’ (in Conference Report, Oct. 1926, p. 117)” (Church History
in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual Religion 341-343, 2001, p. 86).

“Through the Restoration, the priesthood was returned to the
earth. Those who hold this priesthood today have the authority to
perform ordinances such as baptism. They also have the authority
to direct the Lord’s kingdom on earth” (Gospel Principles, 2009,
p. 97).

“A prophet is ‘a person who has been called by and speaks for
God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives commandments,
prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make
known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the
meaning of his dealings with them. A prophet denounces sin and
foretells its consequences. He is a preacher of righteousness. On
occasion, prophets may be inspired to foretell the future for the
benefit of mankind. His primary responsibility, however, is to bear
witness of Christ. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints is God’s prophet on earth today. Members of the
First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are sustained as prophets,
seers, and revelators’ (Guide to the Scriptures, ‘Prophet,’; emphasis added)” (Teachings of the Living Prophets
Student Manual Religion 333, 2010, p. 9. Bold in original).

Other Sources

“My testimony to you is that the Lord is at the helm and will guide
us through trouble and storm. He is not going to desert his people.
My testimony is that Joseph Smith was a prophet; that his legal
successors have been prophets. Brigham Young, John Taylor,
Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith and Heber J.
Grant, have been sent by the Almighty for a purpose; the Lord has
blessed them with prophetic vision, and with the power to discern
and tell the people the things that they should know. He has given
to this people a mouthpiece, that we may know when to go and
where to go, when to do and when not to do things; that if we find
we are not doing the things we should do, that we should repent,
and repent sincerely; that we should get in line and remain in line,
not set up our judgment against our leaders, or against the rule or
direction of the Church” (Mission President J. N. Lambert, Conference
Reports, April 1921, p. 53).

“I know that there are some who try to differentiate between advice
given by our leaders on religious matters and advice which
they allege pertains to political matters, claiming that we do not
need to follow the Prophet when he advises us on political matters.
Of course we don’t; neither are we required to follow him on spiritual
matters; neither are we required to keep the Ten Commandments,
for the Lord himself has given us our free agency. But if we
are faithful members of the Church, and if we want the blessings
of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, we are under the same
moral obligation to follow his advice on political as on religious
matters” (BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson, “The Changing Nature
of American Government, From a Constitutional Republic to
a Welfare State.” BYU Speeches, April 21, 1966, p. 3).

“Any of the General Authorities may speak the mind of the Lord
and thus proclaim scripture, but only the living Prophet has the
keys necessary to declare, clarify, or introduce doctrines and commandments
for the entire church” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert
L. Millet, Magnifying Priesthood Power, 1989, p. 109).

“Finally, what God has said to apostles and prophets in the past is
always secondary to what God is saying directly to his apostles and
prophets now” (BYU Professor Stephen E. Robinson, How Wide the
Divide, p. 59).

“There are so-called learned people who have let their intellect
undermine their spiritual moorings and who would also attempt
to lead the faithful away from those who are appointed by the Lord
to lead. There are those who feel that our leaders are out of touch
with the realities of the day. They would lead members by substituting
their own knowledge for the revelations from God and his
prophets” (Richard C. Edgley, Second Counselor in the Presiding
Bishopric, Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1993 p. 12.

“Let us look to our Father in Heaven and His Living prophets
and personal revelation for guidance. When the prophets speak,
let us listen and obey” (Richard C. Edgley, Second Counselor in
the Presiding Bishopric, Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1993
p. 12. See also “Beware of false prophets, which come in sheep’s
clothing,” Church News, August 7, 1999, p. 14).

“We discourage using sources that have not been approved by
Church Correlation or the Brethren” (David B. Marsh, Church
Curriculum Department, “Approved resources aid Book of Mormon
study,” Church News, January 3, 2004, p. 14).

“I have never known a man whom we sustain as a prophet, seer,
and revelator who thought himself infallible. Nor have I met one
whose counsel and testimony were not worth listening to” (BYU Professor
Emeritus Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward
Answers to Tough Gospel Questions, p. 217).

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