Prophet Worship at Stake Conference

stake conference

This last Sunday, April 14th, 2024, we had Stake Conference in my Stake, which is the Sandpoint Idaho Stake. I specifically moved here because I wanted to get away from the heavy-handed authoritarian control, however it looks like it has arrived. During the conference there was a very heavy focus on following President Nelson in all things without question. In addition, it was mentioned, more than once, that people that didn’t obey and get the covid vaccine were wrong and should have obeyed without question. The general message was that anyone that doesn’t follow President Nelson, exactly and completely, is spiritually deficient and needs to repent.

Stake President

I first want to mention that my Stake President, without a doubt, means well. He is trying to get the members of the Stake to be better people and to focus more on what he considers good things. I don’t doubt that for a moment. The issue though is with an increased focus on living men and a legal corporation he is getting people to ultimately focus on someone and something that is going to be a stumbling block for them. Certainly, they may have good counsel however the problem is when we treat it as more than counsel, which they want us to do.

The conference began with some youth speakers that did a fine job. They of course sprinkled their talks with “Think Celestial”, “Beloved Prophet”, and “Let God Prevail” which I don’t blame them for it. They of course are just echoing what they see at General Conference. I am not sure why, if a leader introduces a new slogan that we need to start using it everywhere. I think this aspect is certainly getting worse over time. Maybe we should “ponderize” the cause of this.

During Covid my area saw a lot of people that didn’t wear masks or get the vaccine. They were essentially doing what they felt best, and I guess that was very upsetting to the Stake President. He began his talk by discussing how these people were not as spiritually faithful as those that did obey. Of all the subjects he could speak about he chose to focus on this.

Brothers and Sisters I’ll get real with you here for a second. A few years back when covid hit I think a lot of people struggled with counsel from the Prophet. It was difficult and I know that because I talked with different people about it. Some people may not have seen some of the benefits and I think it actually may have shaken some people’s testimonies of the Prophet which saddened me. But I also saw others that did listen to the counsel that the Prophet gave and they grew. Though they didn’t always understand it.

We don’t always understand some of the counsel that we are receiving. Interestingly enough there is a promise that we have that we have been given that if we listen to the counsel of the prophet, or the leader, that we will be blessed no matter what. We will be safe. Sometimes that safety is our testimony, our testimony of the Savior and his gospel.

Stake President

You always know things are going to go well when a leader starts a talk like this. I believe what he is referring to is the First Presidency Letter which recommended masks, social distancing, and the covid vaccine. He may not be aware however this was never a requirement, yet local leaders treated it as such. My Bishop at the time even told my wife and I that we were not welcome to attend with everyone else because we didn’t want to mask up or get the vaccine. The Stake President may also not be aware however masks have been proven worthless, social distancing was completely ineffective, and the vaccine has been proven to actually be dangerous.

The Stake President does state though that none of these things matter, because if we followed the prophet we would be blessed. This blessing, according to him, can be spiritual in nature so the terrible side effects of an experimental medical procedure should be viewed with joy instead. Having permanent heart damage is a good thing. Having an auto immune disorder is a blessing in disguise. Having extremely rapid cancer is a sign of God’s love. These are all good because someone was obedient to a suggestion. Is this not completely backwards, even if you agree with the suggestion?

As far as being blessed, I would imagine the Stake President was referring to the October 1960, quote from Marion G. Romney, where he claims Heber J. Grant told him:

My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. … But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.

Marion G. Romney relating Heber J. Grant statement

I seriously doubt this was ever said and is likely just a manufactured statement to illustrate a point. However, the statement is provably false. Does God want us to do a wrong thing simply because someone told us to do it? There are numerous cases in the scriptures where prophets were used to test the people, therefore disobeying them was the correct choice. There are also numerous examples of prophets today stepping outside of their bounds so disobeying them is certainly the correct choice. God doesn’t want mindless robots however that is what we are being molded into. I have focused on this previously and I would encourage you to review that. The only person that wanted mindless obedience was Satan.

In the next section of the Stake President’s talk, he quotes several people in a rapid-fire style. All of these people are speaking of following the President of the church in whatever he says or does. They don’t mention following God in whatever he asks. They just mention the prophet.

This is from Elder Rasband. I promise that as you listen and follow their counsel, speaking of the prophet and apostles and First Presidency, you will never be led astray. Never. And that is how he said it. You will never be led astray. Never.

Stake President

The Stake President then mentioned Elder Haynie’s talk from General Conference, which I already analyzed. That talk is also a form of prophet worship and frankly should have been removed. It is talks like Haynie’s or the Stake President’s that when they remain unchallenged, they become doctrine in people’s minds. The Stake President is just repeating what he was told and others are repeating what they were told in a vicious never-ending cycle.

Please show me one single scripture which supports the idea that we can blindly follow our leaders and we will either never deviate from God’s path or God will bless us for our mindless obedience. Of course there are none. In Christ’s time the Pharisees and Sadducees were so deeply embedded in their mindless obedience to the law that they ignored the giver of the law when he was with them. Was man created for the law or was the law created for man? Today it is even worse because we don’t care about the laws of God, just one man’s opinions of the laws of God.

President Marion G. Romney, of the First Presidency, years ago said this. I assure you however that the spirit of the Lord will never direct a person to take a position in opposition to the counsel of the Presidency of this church. Let me repeat that.

Stake President

This statement is just a restatement of the concept that the President of the LDS church can’t lead a person or the church astray. If they can’t lead us astray then God and the President of the LDS church are always in sync. However, this concept completely disagrees with the scriptures and common sense.

For instance, Lehi, the first prophet in the Book of Mormon, was directed to teach against his church. God’s people hated the words of God so much that they wanted to kill Lehi to silence him. Another example is Abinadi who God called to speak against a people that thought they were a chosen people of God. Those people also hated the message so much that they actually did kill Abinadi to silence him.

A last example is the writings of Jeremiah and Isaiah. They both existed at a time where the “church” was flourishing, and the church thought it was untouchable. Both of these prophets spoke harshly about the leaders of the church at the time as they were leading the people astray. Jeremiah said the people were focusing so much on the temple that they lost sight of what the temple represented. The leaders hated Jeremiah so much that they threw him into a well and left him to die.

Of course, today, people like the Stake President would say that we are different and are uniquely special because we are the last dispensation, and we can’t go astray. However, this is a complete misinterpretation of the scriptures and is not based on anything at all. The only support I have ever seen for this is D&C 13 which says nothing even remotely similar. All it says is the Aaronic Priesthood won’t be removed from the earth. However, I believe it has always been on the earth, in some form, at least since the time of Moses.

One last statement from the Stake President I believe is key to understanding the mindset that he has and that our leaders want us to have. Essentially we should follow them because as we do so then we are really following Jesus. If they are doing something wrong or saying something wrong, then it is Jesus who is doing the wrong thing and saying the wrong thing.

Brothers and Sisters, it’s not always easy to follow the prophet. But I know when we do were blessed. When we follow his counsel, for when we follow his counsel were following the Lord’s counsel.

Stake President

The President of the LDS Church certainly has some good things to say. Much of his counsel is good. However, some of it is certainly not. Scripturally always following the President of the LDS church is certainly wrong. Jeremiah 35 describes Jeremiah testing the Rechabites. 1 Kings 13 has a seasoned prophet testing a younger prophet. Joseph Smith corrected this account through the JST. Deuteronomy 13 describes prophets can go astray. Ezekiel 14 describes God giving false counsel to prophets that don’t really want a true answer.

This of course is also wrong on many levels and is the exact thing that has been said for 1000’s of years. The leaders are a unique class of people, and we must follow them because they know the way. There is no mention that the leaders are just as clueless as everyone else. I completely understand that it feels good to attach yourself to someone that claims to have insider information. I completely understand that it feels good to think that you are part of a chosen group that are God’s favorites. I understand that. However, we almost always assume that God can’t talk to us, he can’t direct us, he can’t guide us. Therefore, we outsource this task to someone else and frankly we deserve to be led astray as Brigham Young claimed. We have done this to ourselves and there is no one else to blame.

Mission President

The Mission President’s wife then spoke and gave a very Christ centered talk by focusing on Helaman 5:12. I think she did a very good job however her talk was overshadowed by everything else. After her talk her husband spoke and returned to a focus on the Prophet and the church. During his talk he mentioned eight things that his family does to follow Christ more closely he said:

We as a family have adopted the following eight things of our soul as Elder Rasband calls it. There are eight things that we do called, the Covenant 8, to keep us on the covenant path.

  1. Daily personal and family scripture study.
  2. Daily personal and couple prayer.
  3. Each week we worthily partake of the ordinance of the sacrament and we worship on the sabbath day.
  4. We keep our covenants that we have made with God and worship in the house of the Lord by partaking of those ordinances often.
  5. We serve others by accepting a call to serve.
  6. Accept a ministering assignment and engage in missionary work.
  7. We focus on daily detailed repentance. We indeed repent at the speed of thought. If you repent of those thoughts, they never become actions. When you stop repenting you fall away so never stop repenting.
  8. Listen and follow the prophet’s counsel. Be worthy of and hold a current temple recommend which is required to enter the house of the Lord.
Mission President

This list is fine, and I think it does include good things. However, this list is a perfect example of how the LDS church has become a replacement for God. #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, and #8 are things that are done through the LDS church. The first one, scripture study, is also done in an LDS specific way since we are recommended to use the Come Follow Me resources by the church. This study manual proof texts the scriptures to support the LDS church and completely ignores other scriptures. The second one, prayer, is certainly a good thing for anyone.

Therefore, the Mission President is essentially saying the way he follows Christ more, is by being more obedient and faithful to the LDS church. He may not have intended to say that however the message is clear. Imagine hearing a message like this in 1000 different forms throughout your life. Eventually you start to feel as if God and the LDS church are the same or maybe even that the LDS church is more important than God in your personal life. That message becomes deeply embedded in your mind unintentionally.


The last speaker of the conference was a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. He began his talk by reading from D&C 112 which he completely misunderstood. He essentially was claiming that because he was sent by the Apostles then everything is their words, and their words are Gods words. In the original organization of the church the Apostles only governed the unorganized areas of the world. The Seventy were to go before the Apostles and help prepare the way. However once an area was organized with a Stake then the Apostles no longer had authority there. He of course doesn’t understand this and believes instead that Apostles should minister only to members of the church.

After speaking about D&C 112, he chose to focus his message on how there is safety in staying in the church and following the prophet. Therefore, according to him this message is from the Apostles and their message is from God directly.

President Nelson offers a voice of warning. Do we look at that voice of warning as just a suggestion, or do we take it for what it is. President Strock talked a little bit about this when he talked about following the prophet. I thought to myself how many times do we listen to the counsel of the prophet and don’t follow that counsel of the prophet.

I hope not to be controversial right now, but when covid came there were lots of problems with following the prophet. I am not being judgmental. I’m not asking for repentance. I am just giving an observation. My wife and I chose to follow the prophet. You might say oh you didn’t have a brain for yourself or oh don’t you know what’s out there. I said simply that I decided to follow the prophet because I know there is safety in doing so.

You may have your own political opinion your own medical opinion. I don’t really care what your opinion is. I just want you to know that I am making an observation and those of you that didn’t follow the prophet your still here. Your active in the church your faithful temple goers. Your fine. Your great and I’m not judging you. The question I have then is the next time the prophet says something that we don’t agree with, what will we do? What will we say? What will we teach our children? What will we teach those around us?


This has got to be a reference to the people that didn’t wear masks or get the vaccine during the covid pandemic. In the minds of the Stake President and the Area Authority those people are less faithful members of the church. They are spiritually deficient and are likely to not follow the prophet the next time they are asked to do something. Of all the messages that he could teach 1000’s of people this is what he chose to focus on.

This is simply just a reiteration of what the Stake President already said. We should follow the current leader of the church in whatever they say or do. We should not question it. We should not think about it. We shouldn’t speak negatively about it. We should just do it and be happy about doing it. If the next President of the church changes things, then we should just do that also. There is no thinking needed or even wanted. Thinkers may not apply.


There is a growing problem in the LDS church. I agree with President Nelson that we need the guidance of God more than ever before. However, in the minds of the LDS people this means the guidance of the leaders. This is the fundamental problem. The leaders have become an intermediary between us and God. For instance, if God told you not to mask, not to get the vaccine, or to do some unpopular thing then you are spiritually deficient. God will supposedly never tell you anything contrary to the leaders of the church. Therefore, we should just sit down in the back with the less faithful people and mind our own business.

This is scripturally wrong, and it is spiritually dangerous to even teach. As I showed previously, there are several cases where it is not even true. Do we worship a God that relies on a military style hierarchy where only the leaders can access God, or do we worship a God that can talk to us individually? This seems to be a repeat of what plays out constantly. The leaders have a better access to God so we should just be quiet and listen to them.

In several ways this is exactly what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to be compliant. He wants us to be obedient to the ideas of men. He wants us to stay in the spiritual box. We must though be like Abraham and flee from our current idolatry in order to seek the God of our Fathers. We must seek God above all other things. Most certainly above the thoughts and opinions of highly paid men. This can sometimes be a lonely road because it is so easy to lose focus and become distracted. However, it is the only way to truly come to know God.

Author: Patrick