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Cast Away the Dead Prophets Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
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September 13, 2021 9:43 pm

Cast Away the Dead Prophets Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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September 13, 2021 9:43 pm

Area Seventy Richard Neitzel Holzapfel recently gave a talk in Utah and explained to high school students how the church needs to drop the dead prophets and embrace the living apostles. Does this mean any living prophet trumps one who has died? Does this make any sense in the religion known as Mormonism? Bill and … Continue reading Cast Away the Dead Prophets Part 2 →

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism.

Does a non-general authority in the LDS Church have the authority to reject past teachings of dead prophets? Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. We've been talking about a video of an Area 70 by the name of Richard Knightsell Holdsepfel, who spoke at a stake leadership meeting in the Harriman, Utah Rose Canyon Stake, in which he interviews two young students, a male and a female, and commends them for being honest and authentic when it comes to some of the questions that they have regarding repentance. And if you want to see this video, we have it on our website. It's in an article titled Throw Away Kimball's The Miracle of Forgiveness?

A Response to a Utah Area 70. And Eric, this is an article that was written by you. Where can someone find your article as well as the video that's embedded with that article?

Just go to, slash, and then spell the name of the area authority is H-O-L-Z-A-P-F-E-L. H-O-L-Z-A-P-F-E-L hyphen speaks. And we have an extended article on that as well as a video link. Now in yesterday's show we introduced this video and we introduced the two young people who were expressing some of the dilemma they feel when it comes to the subject of repentance.

Now we don't know the name of the young man, however we do know because it's in the video that the young lady was named Jill. Their faces are obscured so that you cannot recognize who they are, but in this talk Holzepfel begins his response to their dilemma by talking about Elizabeth Smart. And Bill, like you said yesterday, I had great compassion when I first saw the video for these two sincere young people who are just wanting to know what is it we have to do, because it really seems hard. It seems difficult. Every Sunday at sacrament when the elements are passed by, they're supposed to be repenting, and she's just having a really hard time knowing how to do that. And you would think that this would be a major topic within the seminary classes, which are taken during the four years of high school by most Latter-day Saint youth. So I have a real compassion for them, and I think what we're going to try to do in these next few shows is to show what does she really need to do in order to repent according to what the LDS church teaches.

But wouldn't you agree though, Eric, that what she has to do is awfully difficult, impossible in our estimation. But it's not that it's a vague doctrine, and that's the question that I asked at the beginning of yesterday's show. Is the doctrine of repentance in Mormonism really a vague doctrine?

I don't think it is. I think leaders have been very clear on what an individual member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has to do in order to achieve a true repentance. And we have to put that word in front of it because it's emphasized by so many of their leaders what you must do in order to truly repent. I think that's the struggle these two young people are having. I don't really think it's so much that they don't understand the teaching. I think they understand it all too well, as I think a lot of Latter-day Saints probably understand it all too well.

And when it's put into practice, they realize they're not going to be able to achieve this. But when he responds by bringing up Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted in June 5th, 2002 by Brian David Mitchell, and was not rescued until March 12th of 2013, Holzepfel talks about the horrible experience she had at the hands of this horrible man. And yet, he brings up this idea of repentance being something like a nail driven into a piece of wood, but when you pull the nail out, the hole is still there.

I kind of get that picture, because when we purposely delve into sin, even when we repent, there is some lasting damage, if you will. We don't ever forget that. I don't think he was holding Elizabeth Smart guilty for feeling, as I mentioned yesterday, when she spoke at Johns Hopkins, how she felt like a chewed piece of gum. I think Holzepfel was being compassionate towards Elizabeth Smart on that, because she shouldn't have felt that way. She did not volunteer for that.

However, where would she have gotten those ideas? I think she gets those ideas not just from some of the lessons that their young people were getting, but you could even turn to Elizabeth Smart and turn to the miracle of forgiveness when Spencer Kimball talks about this on page 196. Yeah, under the section called Restitution for Loss of Chastity. This is what he writes, Also far-reaching is the effect of loss of chastity.

Once given or taken or stolen, it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact, such as rape or incest, the injured is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is, of course, in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. And then he writes, It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle. And that line, I think Spencer Kimball should have never included in the book. He should have stopped with there is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. The fact that he adds, It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle. What does that make an individual like Elizabeth Smart feel like? Because obviously she's overpowered by this man who's much bigger than she is.

But now she has to try to come up with some kind of subjective answer to this. Did I struggle hard enough? Should I have struggled more?

Should I have gone to my death struggling? These are questions now that Elizabeth Smart has to deal with because of this line that Spencer Kimball includes on page 196 of his book, The Miracle of Forgiveness. I think Holds Up Full is trying to be compassionate towards what happened to Elizabeth Smart. The problem is, is his solution, I think is something that he really does not have the authority to do. Hence the question I asked at the beginning of this show.

Does a non-general authority have the authority to reject past teachings of dead prophets? Now in this video, Holds Up Full recommends the words of President Russell M. Nelson. But unfortunately, the clip that is available online is not the complete meeting, and therefore we don't know what Russell M. Nelson said.

Now maybe Mr. Holds Up Full talked about that in another portion of the talk, but unfortunately we don't have what Mr. Holds Up Full is referring to as far as what Russell M. Nelson has said. When I look at some of the things that Russell M. Nelson has said, I don't think it gives me comfort.

Let's just talk about two of them. Here's the first one. Russell M. Nelson in a talk, Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple. This was published in the Ensign. It was a special issue dealing with temples.

Came out in October of 2010 on page 42. He said, Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life, the greatest gift of God to man. He would also say something very similar to this in another General Conference message.

Yeah, this is from May 2011 on a Saturday afternoon General Conference session. He says this, Teach a faith to keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless his children and bring them joy. Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work.

It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of his commandments. And you have to understand, folks, that in this process of repentance, keeping the commandments is absolutely essential. You not only must confess your sins, never to repeat the sin, but you must also keep all the commandments. So here we have Prophet Russell M. Nelson saying that you are to keep all the commandments. Now, don't you think, Eric, that that's probably something that's concerning this young Lady Jill and the boy that is sitting next to her?

I would think absolutely. It's all part of the package. But then, holds that full, goes on to cite Neil Anderson, who's currently a Mormon apostle. He wrote a book called The Divine Gift of Forgiveness.

Now, he does not mention the book by name, but it's pretty clear that this is the book that he's talking about. And then he says this, we should accept the prophetic teachings of today. And he says, we don't want to go back to The Miracle of Forgiveness by President Kimball. Now, that's amazing to me, because when you read The Divine Gift of Forgiveness, a lot of what Neil Anderson says in that book is basically what Kimball said in The Miracle of Forgiveness. But you have to admit, Eric, Anderson says it in a much nicer tone.

He's not quite as blunt as Spencer Kimball is. But when he says we should accept the prophetic teachings of today, I would argue, well, isn't what Nelson said about keeping all the commandments? Is that not a prophetic teaching for today? That's not a dead prophet, that's a living prophet. Where does he get this idea that the living prophet takes precedence over the dead prophets, possibly from a talk given by Ezra Taft Benson, The Fourteen Fundamentals and Following the Prophet?

What do you think about that, Bill? If he's referring to that, he is referencing somebody who is a dead prophet. And I think that's the catch-22 of this whole silly concept of never pit a dead prophet against the living prophet. In other words, if the living prophet says something that contradicts what a past prophet has said, always go with the living prophet. Just reject the past prophet. It seems to ignore the fact that when that prophet who's now dead said it, he was living. So all of a sudden now, what he said as truth while he was alive is now false because he's dead? And if that's the case, why didn't that prophet know they were teaching something that was false, even though it was accepted as being true at the time he said it? Do you see the problem with this kind of thinking? I think it opens the Pandora's box, because there's going to be a lot of problems if you're going to start suggesting that prophets in the past who used to speak truth are no longer speaking truth.

Where does it stop? It doesn't stop with Brigham Young. You'll have to go all the way to Joseph Smith, the founder of this church. And yet, I think it would be heretical for you to stand before any kind of General Conference audience and say, well, we really don't accept Joseph Smith, but as long as he agrees with our living prophets, that would be considered heresy, I think, by most Latter-day Saints. And then holds up full says, let's drop the dead prophets and embrace the living. Well, what do we drop from the dead prophets? It almost sounds like you're opening up the door where the new prophet, once he takes over, has to go through a long litany of doctrines that he holds to so you know what to reject from the previous prophets in order to embrace the truth of the living prophet.

They never give you a list like that. How would a Latter-day Saint ever really know what they should embrace as opposed to what they should reject? Unless, of course, the current leader outright says, don't listen to what this prophet said, and they just don't do that. You don't find this idea in any of the ancient LDS scriptures, certainly the Book of Mormon, but even the Bible. You don't hear Malachi complaining about what Isaiah said about who God was, saying, well, that's a dead prophet, and here I'm going to tell you something different. Tomorrow we're going to continue looking at some of the comments that were made by this Area 70, Richard Nightsell holds up full when he spoke at a stake leadership meeting in Harriman, Utah in August of 2021. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another Viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-23 06:24:21 / 2023-08-23 06:29:50 / 5

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