Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/The LDS as Mindless Followers

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The Latter-day Saints as mindless followers?

A FAIR Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims

One Nation under Gods, page 413-414 (hardback and paperback)

Some of the most disturbing instructions about blind obedience came from LDS president Ezra Taft Benson in his "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet" speech. His fundamentals for living a righteous Mormon life left little room for independent thought (see this endnote for transcript).39

Author's Sources

Endnote 39, page 609-610 (hardback); page 607-608 (paperback)

39. Ezra Taft Benson, "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet," February 26, 1980, online at Excerpts from this speech:

Detailed Analysis

It needs to be emphasized that Ezra Taft Benson was not the "president" of the LDS Church when he delivered this address at Brigham Young University on 26 February 1980. He was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and he was talking to "students." This devotional was published only once, in the Church's overseas magazine (Liahona/Tambuli, June 1981), but it was still specified in the text that Elder Benson belonged to "the Quorum of the Twelve" when his remarks were delivered.

ONUG only lets its readers see a truncated version of only half of the points that Elder Benson covered. The full text of the speech can be found here: A summary of the 14 points -- included in Elder Benson's talk -- are as follows:

  • 1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
  • 2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
  • 3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
  • 4. The prophet will never lead the church astray.
  • 5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
  • 6. The prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord,” to give us scripture.
  • 7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
  • 8. The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
  • 9. The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
  • 10. The prophet may advise on civic matters.
  • 11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
  • 12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
  • 13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency — the highest quorum in the Church.
  • 14. The prophet and the presidency — the living prophet and the First Presidency — follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.