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LUKE - Since the current LDS prophets sometimes contradict the former ones, how do you decide which one is correct?

JOEL - Whatever the current prophet says is what we go with. According to one of our own prophets, Ezra Taft Benson, his third of fourteen fundamentals for following a prophet says:

"The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet."(Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, 1980)

The scriptures tell us that God "will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7). Over the centuries God has revealed His secrets following the "line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept" (Isa 28:10) progression. He dosen't give us everything all at once (John 16:12), but a little at a time; and when He knows we are ready to receive additional doctrine, He communicates it through His current prophet. That's why some things our current prophet says might sound contradictory to past prophets. It is not contradictory; it simply means that God has decided that we are ready for a change or new information that we need today; or a more full understanding of a particular doctrine has been made known to the current prophet.

There is a history in the Bible of prophets saying something different compared to what earlier prophets said. Circumcision was said to be "an everlasting covenant" in Genesis 17:13, yet this commandment was later changed, making circumcision of no importance at all (1 Corinthians 7:19, Galatians 5:6). Peter and Paul even argued about this subject between themselves.(Acts 15:1-31)

A revelation to Peter showed him the Gospel was now to be preached to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. That revelation in Acts 10:9-18 occurred with the help of a vision in which Peter was commanded to eat "unclean" things. This revelation directly contradicted two previous Biblical revelations. One was the instruction from Christ that the Apostles were sent to preach to the house of Israel, not to the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5; see also Matthew 15:24); the other was the prior strict prohibitions against eating the very things that Peter was commanded to eat (Leviticus 11:2-47). Those changes may have seemed contradictory to Peter and hard to accept, but they were from God and he obeyed.

Good modern-day examples of this are when God first commanded the saints to live plural marriage and then later revoked the commandment and in 1978 when God revealed that the priesthood should be given to to all worthy male members regardless of race (Official Declaration-2). A scripture that explains both these and the Biblical accounts is where God said:

"Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good;" (D&C 56:4)

The heavens are not closed. God speaks to the world through His prophets today as we need it

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