Is Thomas S. Monson the LDS equivalent of a "pope"

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I would say yes and no. For many members, everything the Prophet says is doctrine and cannot lead us astray. For other members, the Prophet can share both opinion and doctrine and they think that if he cannot lead us astray then why when he receives a revelation he then must presented to the Quorum of the Twelve who anonymously must accept it in order to be considered doctrine and binding upon the Church.

Make your pick.

Maybe because the apostles will receive a confirmation from the Holy Ghost after the prophet presented it to them, which gives them assurance that what the prophet has presented is indeed a revelation from God and they all ought to know it either by revelation too, or by the confirming of the Holy Ghost. Remember the Holy Ghost stands as a witness of the Father and the Son.:)

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