Following Jesus Christ

It is impossible to follow Jesus Christ while rejecting his prophets.


6 Responses to Following Jesus Christ

  1. Ray Sifdol says:

    Mr. Redelfs,

    Thanks for your response. I look forward to future exchanges.

    I’m sure you are already well aware of this, but I think it is important to note that Joseph Fielding Smith learned a great deal from his father, Joseph F. Smith, who was of course the 6th President of the Church.

    Question: Have you read the biography of Joseph Fielding Smith by Francis Gibbons titled “Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Scholar, Prophet of God”? I have not, but if you have read it do you recommend it?
    Also, I believe Gibbons has written other biographies of the Presidents of the Church.


    (I hope others start reading your site, “Mormons” and non-“Mormons” alike, for some rip roaring discussions)

    One more thing. There is an ani-Mormon site out there called “The Mormon Curtain” that I stumbled into by mistake one day. I only read a few of their articles about the Presidents of the Church, most of which are quite nasty and disrespectful.

    That’s all I have for now.


    Ray Sifdol

  2. Ray, thank you again for commenting on my blog post. I think you may be right about Joseph Fielding Smith and David O. McKay. They had very different qualities even though both of them were true prophets of God and deeply spiritual and good men.

    In the 12th chapter of First Corinthians Paul explains that we have all been blessed with different gifts of the Spirit. The body of Christ, or in other words the Church, has need of all our various gifts. David O. McKay and Joseph Fielding Smith had some spiritual gifts in common, but they also had wonder, unique gifts as well. The Lord felt that he needed the gifts of both men at the helm of the earthly Church.

    Part of the reason David O. McKay is so much better liked among the saints is that he was the president of the Church for a very long time. Only Brigham Young served as Church president longer. Joseph Fielding Smith on the other hand was only the president of the Church for about a year and a half. When he died so soon after becoming the Prophet, I was puzzled why the Lord would call a man to such a high responsibility and then only leave him in his office for such a short time. Then I thought to myself, and still believe, that calling Joseph Fielding Smith to be the Prophet was something God did to lend addition authority and weight to his lifetime of writing and publishing on doctrinal subjects. It is hard to dismiss the writings of a man who the Lord has trusted in the highest mortal calling.

    Our doctrine states that we believe in continuing revelation, but only the most faithful actually have a testimony of that. Joseph Fielding Smith and his son-in-law Bruce R. McConkie had a great influence on the developing doctrines of Mormonism, largely because of their writings. That is continuing revelation, in my opinion. That is how over time a greater light is spread among the saints. But more truth, or newly revealed truth, is not welcomed by all. Hence the unpopularity of these two men in some circles.

    David O. McKay was a true prophet, a kind and gentle man. Of all the prophets that have lived in this dispensation, he is the one I most need to emulate because of my own personal weaknesses. Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConke were also kind and gentle men, but not so much. They found it possible to preach the less popular truths, those that are hard to swallow because many saints want to be comfortable in their sins instead of repenting of them. As a result they were not as popular as David O. McKay. And that is OK. The Lord needs all of the spiritual gifts in his church.

    But I love the hard teachings. I do not always repent immediately, but when I am sinning, I like to know what my sins are. I feel like I am traveling blind through this life when I don’t. And reading Smith and McConkie has taught me more truth through their writings that any other man except the Prophet Joseph Smith. I do so love a man who can teach me something new that is true.

    Thank you for your comments, Ray. I write the Iron Rod primarily for my own benefit. But I feel deeply complimented when someone else reads it and even goes so far as to comment.

  3. Ray Sifdol says:

    Mr. Redelfs,

    It’s 24 hours later, and my comment is still “awaiting moderation” so I will just say that I think at least one reason why people don’t pay much attention to what President Joseph Fielding Smith said/says, is that he followed President David O. McKay whose strengths lay in his long tenure and high popularity even among non-LDS.

    President McKay’s emphasis was on other issues, but he really did not have the intellectual depth that Josepeh Fielding Smith had and continues to have through his writings.

    President McKay also had a very different personality which probably appeals to people who want cheer and comfort without the intellectual challenges posed by President Joseph Fielding Smith.

  4. Ray, thank you for commenting on my blog. I really loved your comment. I’m glad you had a chance to go to Primary when you were young and learned the Articles of Faith. I never heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until my junior year of high school and joined my senior year.

    You asked me why I focus on the teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie. It is hard to explain in a few words. Like you I love the doctrinal teachings of James E. Talmage and had learned much from The Articles of Faith and Jesus the Christ even before I joined the Church. I don’t believe I ever read anything written by Talmage that I disagreed with. But I focus on Smith and McConkie because they taught exactly the same things as Talmage for the most part and yet are extremely disliked by many Mormons here on the Internet. Maybe it is their personality. Maybe it was the way they expressed things. Maybe it is because they seem holier-than-thou to many. I just don’t know.

    But I received personal revelation concerning Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie. And because I did, I became a big fan of these two great prophets. I know of very little doctrine taught by Smith and McConkie that is not in complete harmony with Talmage, yet so many dislike these two men, at least here on the Internet.

    So I decided to champion them if I could. Of course a prophet of God doesn’t need a champion or defender. God does that very well. But bearing my testimony of them and giving wider exposure to their teachings gives me great joy. So many saints today have lost their interest in doctrine. They don’t read Talmage or anyone else. Many of them are cultural Mormons who are Mormon in name only having been brought up in an LDS family, but are not particularly religious, and they take everything taught by the prophets with a grain of salt instead of with a believing heart.

    I learned over fifteen years ago that those who believe the teachings of Joseph Smith, James Talmage, Joseph Fielding Smith and James E. Talmage are my kind of people. Those who think poorly of Smith and McConkie are not.

    Online, many saints like to label themselves as Liahonas or Iron Rods. The Liahonas are all about asking questions and doubt. The Iron Rods are all about answering gospel questions and belief. I believe their teachings with all my heart. Very little else seems true to me. I am a man of faith, not a skeptic. And when it comes to Mormon doctrine, I very much think like these two men.

    Of course, I do not know of any modern prophet that I do not try to follow. And I believe them all when they are speaking the words of Christ which is most of the time. But Smith and McConkie are my special heroes because they spoke with such boldness the things I believe and did not shrink from teaching the truth just because it was unpopular.

    Again thanks for commenting on my blog. I don’t post to it very often. I’m going to try to post more often because of your thoughtful comment.

  5. Ray Sifdol says:

    Mr. Redelfs,

    I’m not sure where to begin. I suppose I should start by telling you that I am not a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The “Mormons”). However, I was raised in Eugene, Oregon (a long, long time ago) although I now live in Kansas. Therefore, I can appreciate how close you are to the border between two great states.

    I did, however, attend Primary for many years in Eugene because my parents let me. I did like it a lot and have very happy memories of it. However, when it came time to be Baptized, my parents (now deceased) would not allow it. I remember that at the time I was the first kid and only non-LDS kid in the Primary class I went to, to memorize/learn the Articles of Faith.

    I stumbled into your website by accident but it interested me because your focus is apparently on President (Prophet, Seer, and Revelator) Joseph Fielding Smith and his (son-in-law?) Bruce R. McConkie. I have read some of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s writings and also McConkie. Anyway, why is your focus on them? Just curious. I prefer James E. Talmage and his “Jesus The Christ”. As far as I am concerned it is the definitive work about Christ, outside the Bible that is.

    That’s about all I have to say for now. Thanks for your time.


    Ray Sifdol

  6. Tom G. M. says:

    Although the statement is true and wonderful, it is only so, within an intended context. For example, someone who hasn’t yet developed a testimony of the living prophets, but has a testimony of the biblical prophets may be following Christ in an admirable fashion and will eventually gain a testimony in the living prophets as well, so long as they continue to make Christ-like decisions in their lives.

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