The Ensign and Journal of Discourses

     The LDS Church’s claim to fame is that they are “the only true church” of Jesus Christ on the earth. Members learn their church leaders are “called” by God and upon receiving a calling to serve in the Church you are told that it’s God who is calling you to this position, not the person behind the desk. They say they have a living prophet and this person is the “mouthpiece” of the Lord. He is said to receive modern day revelation from God for the members of the Church.

The Journal of Discourses is a compilation of various General Conference sermons that were given from November 1, 1853 to May 17 1886 by past and prominent leaders of the LDS Church. The sermons from these men used to be considered scripture. At the time, the Saints believed what these people said and believed these men were speaking for God. Nowadays they are not printed by the Church anymore and when members ask about them they are told the Church doesn’t recognize them as scripture or doctrine. They are considered as their past leader’s opinion, yet there are many revelations in the Journals that are supposed to be eternal and/or to always be practiced.

     Here is what Apostle Albert Carrington said about the Journals;

We take great pleasure in presenting to the Saints and the world … the JOURNAL OF DISCOURSES, which they will find contains rich treasures of information concerning the glorious principles of Eternal Life, as revealed through God’s anointed servants in these last days. All who read the discourses contained in this volume are earnestly recommended to adapt them to their lives by practice, and we can confidently assure them that, in doing so, they are laying up a store of knowledge that will save and exalt them in the Celestial kingdom.”

     In the Journals you’ll find various quotes on such subjects as polygamy, whites mixing with blacks, blood atonement, and blacks holding the priesthood. (In the case of blacks holding the priesthood, it wasn’t supposed to happen until the millennium.)

Below are a few quotes from Brigham Young on the Church’s view on the above subjects:

White’s Mixing Their Seed with Blacks: 

“Shall I tell you the law of God to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10. 

Polygamy:

“The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessing offered unto them, and they refused to accept them. “Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 11.

Blacks and the Priesthood: 

“When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity. He deprived his brother of the privilege of pursuing his journey through life, and of extending his kingdom by multiplying upon the earth; and because he did this, he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.” Brigham Young, Volume 10.

     These sermons were coming from a prophet, someone speaking for the Lord. Since these things happened before they were supposed to or were done way with, does that make Brigham Young and other LDS prophets, false prophets? The Bible has a very clear test for false or true prophets when someone declares themselves to be a prophet.

In Deuteronomy 18:20-22 we learn that if a person calling themselves a prophet is wrong one time, they are a false prophet and false prophets do exist. Why would Jesus and the apostles warn us about them if they didn’t? (Matthew 24:11)  Paul also warned the people about false prophets and teachers in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. Here he said these people may appear to be apostles of Jesus, but even Satan can appear good and as an angel of light.

It seems the Church can’t make its mind up about whether God changes or not. Some LDS scripture will say God never changes, that he is the same always, while others say that God does change his mind on doctrinal things.  As a Christian I know God never, ever changes. He knows all; he won’t implement a doctrine then change his mind because he knows how it’s going to work out from the beginning.

Today the LDS Church has a monthly publication called the Ensign which carries various articles about different teachings or insights pertaining to the LDS religion.  The first publication was in January 1971 along with two other LDS magazines, the Friend and New Era. The issues for May and November are the General Conference issues which contain the talks given by a few leaders in the Church at General Conference in April and October.

Much like the Journal of Discourses used to be considered scripture, these issues are also considered scripture. I was taught I should keep the current Conference Ensign right by my scriptures. I was to study it and treat it as such; it was “scripture” until the new one came out. Then I was to replace the old issue with the new one.

Like the Conference issue of the Ensign, the sermons in the Journal of Discourses were and are given in front of the LDS people. They aren’t given in the barber shop or across a backyard fence, so they can’t be just opinions. Joseph Smith once said “A prophet of God is only a prophet when acting as such” (Joseph Smith History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by B.H Roberts) When a prophet addresses the followers of the Church in conference or in a sermon they are “acting as such”.

In a popular LDS Hymn called “We Thank Thee, O God for a Prophet”, the end of the first line reads:

“We thank thee for every blessing, bestowed by thy bounteous hand.

We feel it a pleasure to serve thee, and love to obey thy commands.”

     These men were “acting as such” when they stood up to speak to the members of the Church. What they say when speaking to the members is doctrine like the hymn says; they want to obey what the prophet commands. They want to listen to and obey what these men say because they trust that they won’t lead the LDS people astray.

If the LDS Church is “the only true church” on the face of the earth, how is it their doctrines keep changing? I would think “the only true church” would have the same doctrines and beliefs from the beginning to the present.  What Brigham Young taught about polygamy and whites mixing with blacks is no longer considered doctrine. I would think an all knowing, all powerful LDS god would know the hurt and damage those “doctrines” would cause his children and he would swiftly correct any so called prophet when he spoke those things.

I wonder how long before all the things that the LDS believe now will soon be “not doctrinal”. Will they not be allowed to refer to books or past Conference talks by leaders such as Gordon B. Hinckley, Neal Maxwell or Thomas S. Monson?  Will what they taught be considered “just their opinions” and the Church doesn’t recognize that has doctrine?

I am very grateful to my Father in Heaven. I am glad that I have the Bible, God’s word as “A lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” Psalm 119:105. God’s word is his will for all of us. I pray the LDS people will realize this and come to the Jesus of the Bible.

I was listening to a pastor on the radio today who said, “Satan likes to use the Christian vocabulary, but not the Christian dictionary”.

In Romans 16:17-18, Paul is telling us that sure, someone may come to you with a wonderful message and it may sound really good, but if it is contrary to what I taught you then stay away from it. You may have someone come to you using all the right words, all the “Christian vocabulary”, but they don’t have the correct desire behind it. They want to lead away from the Jesus of the Bible, to another Jesus and another gospel.

In Galatians 1: 8-9, Paul continues to warn us about false prophets and teachers. He says if an angel of light, or even if I preach a different gospel than what I have taught you from the beginning, don’t listen to it.

As you can see Jesus and his apostles were very concerned that others would come along and deceive his followers. Jesus loves us so much. He doesn’t want any of us to latch on to other gospels that will take us away from him. He wants all of us to be with him in Heaven.

My hope is that the LDS people would truly study their Bibles and see what their Church teaches versus what Jesus taught.

Melissa Grimes

Melissa@lifeafter.org