Robert Kirby, everyone’s favorite Jack-Mormon writer for the SLTrib, wrote an intriguing column this morning. This got me to thinking about the claims of obedience to the prophet and I had to respond (I post under the name SofP). Here’s my response:
As is typically the case, I agree with Kirby on this… Though I don’t think he takes his autonomy far enough. Frankly, I see no reason to pay any heed to self-proclaimed prophets and religious leaders, like Hinckley. Hinckley doesn’t know me and, well, I don’t think he has a clue concerning what is best for me, my wife, or anything to do with my life. I’m almost 70 years younger than he is and have grown up in an entirely different time. I don’t think he is in touch with “my reality,” at least not enough to have any advice that is relevant to me.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with paying attention to the thoughts of someone you respect, but you should never, ever turn your autonomy over to them. Doing so does kind of seem common among Mormons, but if they were to truly consider what it is they are doing, they might want to reconsider.
Not that I believe any of the following, but maybe this will help Mormons think about this the way Kirby is describing it:
Think about it this way: What was Satan’s plan? Wasn’t it to force you to do everything right so you would be saved? Following that plan, Satan got the glory. Jesus’s alternative was to allow you to make your own decisions. From a logical standpoint, there is no difference between: (1) having no autonomy because someone takes it away from you and (2) giving up your autonomy because you want to. In both situations you are giving up responsibility for your actions to someone else. In the first scenario, you are putting the responsibility on Satan. In the second, you are putting the responsibility on the prophet. Either way, you are taking the easy way out. You are refusing to think for yourself.
When the prophet speaks, the thinking isn’t over. When the prophet speaks, the thinking should have just begun!