Question: Can a prophet make mistakes?

Table of Contents

Question: Can a prophet make mistakes?

The principle that the Lord will not ever allow the President of the Church to lead the Church astray means that He will not allow that man to lead the Church into apostasy

One part of knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true is knowing whose Church it really is and that our Savior lives and leads the Church today. It is knowing that he has entrusted a living Latter-day Prophet with all the keys necessary to direct, act, and receive what is needed to guide and direct the Church under the Lord’s direction whose Church this is.

Many Latter-day Prophets have taught that the Lord will not suffer the President of the Church to ever lead the Church astray. This is a true principle, but it only makes sense in light of the destiny of the Church as taught and revealed in Latter-day Saint scripture. Unlike previous dispensations, the Lord’s Church on earth today will not fall into apostasy, speaking of the body of the Church as a whole and not individuals.

This statement does not mean that the Lord's servants are perfect or that they will never make mistakes, display weaknesses, sometimes be irritable, have bad breath, or display the characteristics of old age

The principle that the Lord, who is the head of the Church will not ever allow the President of the Church to lead the Church astray means that He will not allow that man to lead the Church into apostasy. It does not mean that his servants are perfect or that they will never make mistakes, display weaknesses, sometimes be irritable, have bad breath, or display the characteristics of old age.

In a discourse to the Saints on March 21, 1858, President Brigham Young asked:

Can a Prophet or an Apostle be mistaken? Do not ask me any such question, for I will acknowledge that all the time, but I do not acknowledge that I designedly lead this people astray one hair’s breadth from the truth, and I do not knowingly do a wrong, though I may commit many wrongs, and so may you. But I overlook your weaknesses, and I know by experience that the Saints lift their hearts to God that I may be led right" [1]

We should receive and follow the counsel “words and commandments” of the current President of the Church “in all patience and faith”

There is also another principle involved here that we should receive and follow the counsel “words and commandments” of the current President of the Church “in all patience and faith” with great promises attending (Doctrine and Covenants 21: 4-9).


Notes

  1. “A Series of Instructions and Remarks by President Brigham Young at a Special Council, Tabernacle, March 21, 1858, Church Historical Department, in Richard S. Van Wagoner, ed., The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young (Salt Lake City: Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2009), 3:1418.