(July 27, 2014)
There is a hierarchy to the Lord’s Kingdom that we sometimes need clarifying in our mind. This hierarchy is traceable all the way upward, and we are instructed to follow the highest instruction that we receive. First, there is our own wisdom. Then, we have the counsel of those in direct stewardship over us (Quorum President, then Bishop, then Stake President, and so on). Up the chain we go in mortality until we reach the Prophet.
On any given issue, we are to follow the highest hierarchical counsel we receive. If the counsel of our Bishop is contradicted by the counsel of an Apostle, we follow the Apostle. If the wisdom of our hearts is contradicted by our Stake President, we follow our Stake President.
But the highest authority is always the Lord. When we receive revelation on any issue, that should be the end of things no matter whatever else people may say or do. Even the Prophet’s counsel does not exceed direct revelation from the Lord. We must be very wise and very careful to be certain that we are receiving revelation in such instances, but when we are sure we must act on it.
In these chapters, we see a righteous man who dies for failing to follow that counsel. He receives instruction from the Lord, but he follows a prophet instead of following the Lord’s words. As such, he is torn and killed. While it is likely extremely rare to have the Lord contradict a prophet in our lives (maybe once or twice in a lifetime) and while it is certain that receiving such inspiration does not authorize us in any extent to argue against the prophet’s counsel in any application except to our own in our particular, individual circumstance, we are still obligated to follow the orders of our King even when those orders contradict the orders of our Generals, the Prophets.