Every six months the Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints hosts an event called General Conference. The LDS Church teaches that when the General Authorities speak in conference, it is as if the Lord Himself were speaking.
Mormons are proud of the claim that they have continuing revelation in the form of these prophets, seers and revelators. I have talked with countless Mormons who accuse me of believing that God does not speak today. They then point to General Conference. Numerous Mormons have told me, “We get new scripture every six months.” Really? If this is true, then I can’t help but wonder why there hasn’t really been anything new in… forever.
Years ago I talked with a set of Mormon Missionaries who wanted to know if I watched the recent conference that they had informed me about the week before. I asked why it was so important. They told me some of the things I have already mentioned above, i.e. God will be speaking to us and we need to be led by a prophet.
When I asked what it was that I needed to know that wasn’t already taught in the Bible, or even in the works they accept as Scripture, they stuttered and looked at each other.
“Well, there was that one talk ‘elder so-and-so’ gave that spoke about staying out of debt.”
“You mean like God tells us in Proverbs?”
The other Mormon missionary said, “Apostle ‘so-and-so’ spoke about dangers of internet pornography. The Bible doesn’t talk about that.”
“True, but Jesus does tell us that if we look at a woman lustfully, we have committed adultery in our hearts.”
“Hmmm. That is a good point.”
There wasn’t anything that these two guys could recollect to that was anything new. Everything had already been taught in one way, shape or form. As I think back on that occasion, and sit here at my keyboard listening to general conference, I have never understood why people get so excited for this event. Apostle David A. Bednar is speaking on chastity right now. He is speaking about it within the context of a basic Mormon world view, but it isn’t anything I haven’t already heard or read before in my studies of Mormon literature. This leads me to a question, a number of questions actually.
Why do we need prophets to teach us what we have already been taught? As a Christian, I have heard many lessons like this before taught by many godly men and women. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to criticize Elder Bednar for what he is teaching. He is saying some really good things about being morally upright and sexually clean. What I am questioning is why do Mormons need a prophet to declare these types of things which are so basic to morality? Again, I haven’t heard anything I haven’t already heard before by spiritual leaders, both Mormon and non-Mormon.
Basically it gets down to this for me. What I want to know is why do Mormon prophets speak on such basic things and avoid the things that early Mormon prophets spoke about? I ask this last question as respectfully as I can. Why have prophets, seers and revelators who don’t prophesy, see or reveal anything that we haven’t already heard, seen or had revealed?