I received an email this morning from a good friend who got it from a best friend who got it from a trusted friend who got it from…you can guess the rest. It was one of those sensational Mormon stories about some impending pandemic and how we need to rush out right now and buy this special medicine that is only offered by this certain company based in Utah. If you subscribe to any of the LDS email lists you’ve seen these things many times over the years.
I felt like sharing a few quotes but didn’t want to offend the sender so I’ll post them here: “It never ceases to amaze me how gullible some of our Church members are in broadcasting sensational stories, or dreams, or visions, or purported patriarchal blessings, or quotations, or supposedly from some person’s private diary.” – President Harold B Lee, Oct 1970 and Jan 1973.
In a statement issued in August, 1913, by the First Presidency of the Church (consisting of President Joseph F. Smith, President Anthon H. Lund, and President Charles W. Penrose) one reads: When visions, dreams, tongues, prophecy, impressions or any extraordinary gift or inspiration conveys something out of harmony with the accepted revelations of the Church or contrary to the decisions of its constituted authorities, Latter-day Saints may know that it is not of God, no matter how plausible it may appear.
Also, they should understand that directions for the guidance of the Church will come, by revelation, through the head. All faithful members are entitled to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for themselves, their families, and for those over whom they are appointed and ordained to preside. But anything at discord with that which comes from God through the head of the Church is not to be received as authoritative or reliable.
In secular as well as spiritual affairs, Saints may receive Divine guidance and revelation affecting themselves, but this does not convey authority to direct others, and is not to be accepted when contrary to Church covenants, doctrine or discipline, or to known facts, demonstrated truths, or good common sense …. The Lord’s Church “is a house of order.” It is not governed by individual gifts or manifestations, but by the order and power of the Holy Priesthood as sustained by the voice and vote of the Church in its appointed conferences.
“…it is unwise to use stories, quotations, or information that we cannot verify. Temperance is especially important if the story is of a sensational nature…” – Joseph Fielding McConkie, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon. Why do we as a people insist on sharing and forwarding these sensational stories over and over again, especially via email?