Mormonism and doctrine/Publications/Statements by Church leaders

Statements by Church leaders on modern day scripture

Ezra Taft Benson

Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet

God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore the most important prophet so far as you and I are concerned is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each month in our Church Magazines. Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazine.

Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.

Conference Report, Seoul Korea Area Conference 1975, p. 52.

The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age. This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from God to us today. God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Every generation has need of the ancient scripture plus the current scripture from the living prophet. Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece. That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words in current Church publications.

Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 97; or Ensign, May 1988, 84

For the next six months, your conference edition of the Ensign should stand next to your standard works and be referred to frequently.

Harold B. Lee

The Gospel Kingdom, p. 34.

President Harold B. Lee gave the following explanation of the relationship between the written scriptures of the past and the words of living prophets:

“Sometimes we get the notion that if it is written in a book, it makes it more true than if it is spoken in the last General Conference. Just because it is written in a book does not make it more of an authority to guide us. President Taylor goes on with this same idea and explains why the scriptures of the past are not sufficient for us today:

‘The Bible is good; and Paul told Timothy to study it, that he might be a workman that need not be ashamed, and that he might be able to conduct himself aright before the living church [there is that word living again], the pillar and ground of truth. The church-mark, with Paul, was the foundation, the pillar, the ground of truth, the living church, not the dead letter. The Book of Mormon is good and the Doctrine and Covenants, as landmarks. But a mariner who launches into the ocean requires a more certain criterion. He must be acquainted with heavenly bodies, and take his observations from them, in order to steer his barque aright. Those books are good for example, precedent, and investigation, and for developing certain laws and principles. But they do not, they cannot, touch every case required to be adjudicated and set in order.

‘We require a living tree—a living fountain—living intelligence, proceeding from the living priesthood in heaven, through the living priesthood on earth. . . . And from the time that Adam first received a communication from God, to the time that John, on the Isle of Patmos, received his communication, or Joseph Smith had the heavens opened to him, it always required new revelations, adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which the churches or individuals were placed. Adam’s revelations did not instruct Noah to build his ark; nor did Noah’s revelation tell Lot to forsake Sodom: nor did either of these speak of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. These all have revelations for themselves, and so had Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, John and Joseph. And so must we, or we shall make a shipwreck.’

Conference Report, Apr. 1946, 68

While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Harold B. Lee made a similar statement during general conference. He said that the report of the conference should “be the guide to [our] walk and talk during the next six months.