Don’t go astray…

October 16, 2007

I’m not very good at the whole “leader following” thing.  I do very well at the local level, because somebody’s got to be in charge, and things run more smoothly when everybody’s moving in the same direction.  I don’t find that paradigm quite so useful at the upper levels of the hierarchy, though.  I’m familiar with the caricatures of following:  “I’d jump off a cliff if the prophet told me to.”   There are also the diehards:  “I’d jump off a cliff if the prophet told me to.”  I find the primary song “Follow the Prophet” positively creepy.

I read a story on the internet once (so it must be true) about a young man serving a mission.  He was teaching a gentleman who had come to church.  At the next visit at the investigator’s home, he asked the missionary, “What would you say if your prophet asked you to kill someone.”  The missionary replied, “The prophet wouldn’t ask me to do that.”  To which the gentleman gently inquired, “Why can’t you say that you’d say ‘No?'”

I don’t think most followers are like the diehards, or the caricature, or the missionary I read about on the internet.  Most followers seem to follow a lot like CA described in her most excellent post.  I recall a really great Sunday school lesson where the comment came up that whatever the prophets and apostles say is doctrine for us.  I strongly disagreed, and we had a lively, insightful discussion that led us around to – pay attention to the prophets and apostles, they know the doctrine we need to hear.

Following our leaders means listening to what they have to say, considering it, and then doing it if it’s applicable to our situation.  All three steps are important.



  1. Nicely said.

  2. […] some other atrocity, that we would not feel obligated to rely on the uncomfortable non-answer that “the Prophet wouldn’t ask me to do that.” – [1] Gregory Prince, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, p. 326. [2] Ibid. [3] […]

  3. I’ve been reading your blog with interest, as I am trying to find a happy medium between thinking for myself and following what my leaders say. My mind wants to say that your approach to balancing reason and faith is valid, but it seems that there was nothing logical about many of the sacrifices early Saints made for the gospel, yet they still followed with faith and we still see them as examples. It’s hard to say act with logic unless directed by the spirit, because what one person thinks is the spirit is often so different from the next person. I guess this just requires a lot of faith in yourself and your own ability to recognize and trust the spirit, which is taking me a lifetime to figure out.

  4. which is taking me a lifetime to figure out.

    My thought is that this is one of the key tests of life, one of the main things we are supposed to figure out while we are here! 🙂

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