Wilford Woodruff made this statement now included in Official Declaration 1: "The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty." (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.) This is a very comforting quote. It's nice to know that we have such righteous leaders and that God is in control so we just have to "follow the prophet" and we will be alright. It is a comforting idea, but God disagrees. “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel – said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church – that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls – APPLIED IT TO THE PRESENT STATE OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS – SAID IF THE PEOPLE DEPARTED FROM THE LORD, THEY MUST FALL – THAT THEY WERE DEPENDING ON THE PROPHET, HENCE WERE DARKENED IN THEIR MINDS, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy. ” - (TPJS Section Five 1842-43, p.237-38.) Right there Joseph Smith says that if we are depending on the prophets we will be darkened in our minds. Now this doesn't contradict Wilford Woodruff statement but just wait. So now has any of us actually read Ezekiel 14? I'm not going to do your homework so erad the whole thing yourselves. But the main points of the chapter is that if we have idols in our hearts God will give us answers according to those idols. towards the end it gives an example of how prophets cannot save us, but we are resposible for our own salvation. But one verse is very important. Ezekiel 14:99 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. Here it plainly says that God deceives prophets. Now it should be note that the JST versino of this verse says that God doesn't deceive the prophets. Now this may seem contradictory but it is not. The following scriptures explain it. 1 Kings 22:21-23 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a alying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a alying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. In these verse we learn that while God allows prophets to be deceived he is not the one who deceives. God allows someone else to deceived the prophets. Now one quess as to who that spirit is. But what for? Why would God allow his holy prophets to be deceived? The answer is quite simple. Deuteronomy 13:2-3 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. God allows prophets to be deceived so that we will be tested. He tests us to see if we will really follow Him or if we are trusting in the arm of flesh. Here's another quote from Joseph Smith. "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil." Now there is also a vers ein the D&C that supports this teaching. I found it the other day and I will find it again if anyone needs more convincing. But here Joseph Smith again confirms what the Bible is teaching us that Prophets can be deceived. So now it begs the question. How do we know when a prophet is teaching false teachings. We must again turn to Joseph Smith. “There have also been ministering angels in the Church which were of Satan appearing as an angel of light. [(Gives an example)].. Many true things were spoken by this personage, and many things that were false. How, it may be asked, was this known to be a bad angel? By the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by, and by his contradicting a former revelation.”(Joseph Smith, TPJS, pp. 214-215) We see that the way to tell false spirit is if it teaches something that contradticts a previous revelation. Therefor the way to detect a false spirit influencing a prophet is if what that prophet teaches contradticts a previous revelation. So let's examine Wilford Woodruff's statement again. "The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God." Now does this match previous revelations or contradicts them. For me this is a contradiction and thus a false teaching. Not only does it go against the Scriptures but also the teachings of the Prophet that opened this dispensation. It teaches us to be lazy and not learn the words of God so that we can compare them to current teachings. We let others do the thinking for us and we just follow along. Do we idolize our modern prophets so much that we will not seek to compare their teachings with the Word of God? If we follow along and accept anything our prophets teaches it because a living prophet "trumps" a dead one then we have failed the test. And our minds will be darkened as a result. Now I don't want people to think that I believe that our living prophets are false. I don't. I believe they are true prophets. And I also believe that today, just like in the past, God allows our modern prophets to mislead us as a test of our faithfulness to Him. Here's one last quote: “We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told do by their presidents they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.”-JOSEPH SMITH: Millennial Star, Vol 14, Number 38, pages 593-595. In conclusion I find it interested that the teaching, that prophets cannot lead us astray, came from the same conference where the Manifesto was presented. And also that Manifesto banning Plural Marriage contradicts four previous revelations. One of those revelations stating that God will never revoke it. But I'll save all the Manifesto/Plural Marriage stuff for another thread.