(December 5, 2015)
We believe, in this Church, in prophetic fallibility. We understand that prophets are mortal men and subject to making mistakes the same as others. Anyone who has given a Priesthood blessing, and struggled to give voice to the promptings of the Spirit, understands just how difficult that can be at times.
But I think that, as a culture, we carry that too far sometimes. There seems to be a great divide being created where on one side are those who think the prophet is always right, and on the other side are those who think the prophet is fallible and thus can be disregarded.
I thought of this when I read through 3 Nephi 23:3. Here we have the words of the Lord saying that “all” of the words of Isaiah will be fulfilled. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for prophetic fallibility. I think that, between the two positions, the greatest danger lies in disregarding the prophet. But the true position is very close to (but not actual at) believing the prophet is always right. We should accept that the prophet is the prophet, we should not assume that just because he disagrees with our political or social or moral views that he is wrong and we are right, but if he happens to make a mistake (and we can trust that, when this happens, the Lord will rectify it without our help) we can accept that as part and parcel of working with mortals and move on.