There are a few songs within Mormonism that when sung are meant to give church members a sense of pride and uniqueness about themselves. It might (or might not) be a surprise for you to hear that these songs have little to nothing to do with Jesus Christ, and everything to do with praise and honor to a mortal man, their prophet.
A couple of their favorites are We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, and what I think could be called its counterpart amongst the younger generation of Mormons is Follow the Prophet. Both songs praise God for their prophet, and acknowledge their reliance on him to lead and guide them throughout their lives.
This lesson associates the type of leader Moses was and the struggles he went through with the Israelites to modern day prophets and revelations. Moses did have many trials as God’s chosen leader of the Israelite people, people did murmur against him and question his leadership but it’s unfair to cast him in the same light as the modern day prophets of Mormonism.
Not long after I left the Mormon Church two missionaries came to my door and asked to speak to my oldest son who was 14 at the time. I explained to them that I we had left the church and didn’t wish to receive any more visits from the church members, its leaders or missionaries.
He asked me why we left, and I basically told him that I discovered the truth about the religion and that there was no need for temples and prophets because of what Jesus had done for us.
He then did what this lesson does, and compared following the Mormon prophet to the brass serpent Moses made for those who were bitten by the fiery serpents. As you may recall God sent the serpents to bite those who were disobedient, and then through Moses He provided a way for them to be relieved of their suffering. He had Moses place a serpent on a pole were everyone could see it, and when anyone was bitten all they had to do was look upon it and they would live. (Numbers 21: 1-9)
Like the missionary, I guess the implication of this lesson is that it’s by obedience to their prophet one receives eternal life. However what this lesson fails to do is mention what the serpent on a pole represents, a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:13 reads Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
The serpent lifted up on the pole was considered cursed and symbolized Jesus, and all who would look to Him in faith would receive forgiveness of their sins and eternal life.
As the lesson concludes it reassures the class members that “if we follow his prophets, we will be blessed in this life and in the life to come.” The message the class is to leave with is like the Israelites followed Moses you must follow the prophet, and not find fault or speak against his chosen leader for the church.
Allegiance and sworn obedience to a mortal isn’t what God wants for us. He wants us to look to His son, trusting in Him through faith and live.
Melissa Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)