Last week I saw a news post where Elder Oaks spoke in Boise denouncing false prophets.
Then today my friend Lisa Kendall posted this great talk from Elder Ballard called Beware of False Prophets. As a prophet, seer, and revelator, this talk from 1999 was prophetic for our day!
Click here to watch or read the whole talk from General Conference, October 1999.
Lisa posted the summary points from Elder Ballard of many of the signs of a false prophet.
- They “lie in wait to ensnare and destroy faith and testimony.”
- They claim to have received direct revelation from the Lord to the Church, independent of the order and channel of the Priesthood.
- They espouse an obviously false doctrine
- They presume to have authority to teach the true gospel of Christ according to their own interpretation.
- They claim, without authority, endorsement to their products and practices.
- They are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church.
- They speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce.
- They rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views.
- They “set themselves up for a light unto the world that they may get gain and praise of the word; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.”
- They are “proud and self-vaunting, who read by the lamps of their own conceit; who interpret by rules of their own contriving; who have become a law unto themselves, and so pose as the sole judges of their own doings.”
- They declare Joseph Smith a duplicitous deceiver
- They challenge the First Vision as an authentic experience.
- They declare the Book of Mormon and other canonical works are not ancient records of scripture.
- They attempt to redefine the nature of the Godhead
- They deny God has given and continues to give revelation today to His ordained and sustained prophets.
- They arrogantly attempt to fashion new interpretations of the scriptures to demonstrate that these sacred texts should not be read as God’s words to His children but merely as the utterances of uninspired men, limited by their own prejudices and cultural biases.
- They argue that the scriptures require new interpretation and that they are uniquely qualified to offer that interpretation.
- They deny Christ’s Resurrection and Atonement, arguing that no God can save us.
- They reject the need for a Savior.
- They attempt to reinterpret the doctrines of the Church to fit their own preconceived views, and in the process deny Christ and His messianic role.
- They attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality.
- They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships.
- They openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages.
- They attack the inspired proclamation on the family.
My testimony and invitation.
I know and love people who have been misled by both Denver Snuffer (mentioned in the news article above) and by anti-Mormon literature criticizing Joseph Smith. Anti-Mormon literature is spiritual poison and I won't touch it. This false prophet stuff is real. It is happening. Good LDS people are being misled by false prophets and anti-Christs TODAY. I think this will happen more and more before the Second Coming, so we need to strengthen our testimonies and those of our family members to be so connected to Christ and His Church that we won't be shaken.
Let us be sure we are always on God's side of the line. I testify that Joseph Smith was a true prophet who restored Christ's church on the earth, His priesthood authority and power and keys, and doctrines. I also testify that President Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet today. If you doubt that, I invite you to read his biography. I haven't read the whole book, but my son and husband have read parts of it to me, and the Spirit bears a strong witness that he is the Lord's prophet today. I testify that there is great spiritual safety in staying with the prophet. My mantra in seminary this past year has been "Please follow the Lord's prophet, no matter what!"
If your testimony isn't as strong as it should be, may I invite you to do two things:
- Commit to study the Book of Mormon every day. Not skim, but dig into it, write about what you're learning in your journal, and pray before reading each time that God will send the Spirit to witness that it is true. Here are some tools to help you get more from studying this great book. Here is a Book of Mormon challenge you are welcome to join as well. Here is an interesting testimony booster about the book.
- Read or listen to a conference talk a day from our current prophets, seers, and revelators. There are 15 of them including the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Technology makes this easier than ever. We must have a growing, living testimony from the Holy Ghost that both Joseph Smith and President Monson were called of God as true prophets. Just one or the other isn't enough.
Your testimony is a precious, priceless gift! Guard it, build it, armour it, thank God for it, and do whatever it takes to protect it.
P.S. Here are some vital reminders about true prophets.
"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 programme. 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." (Official Declaration Number One, Quoting Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)