Sunday, February 20, 2011

Primary Stories - Follow the Prophet

I usually love primary. The doctrine is very simple and not misleading. It focuses on Christ.

I heard this story today however from the Primary 3 manual page 37, that left me a little troubled. This is word for word from the lesson.

"Show picture 3-19, President David O. McKay, as you tell the following story: When President David O. McKay was the prophet, he traveled throughout much of the world to meet and lead the members of the Church. Once when he was in Germany, he heard about a mother who was paralyzed (she could not move parts of her body) and could not come to the conference to hear him speak.

This mother had two children, and she wanted them to go to the conference and see and hear the living prophet. With great faith she said, “I know if I send my children to shake hands with President McKay, and then they come home and take my hand—if I can hold their little hands in mine—I know that I shall get better.”

Arrangements were made so that her two children were able to go to the conference. The children were thrilled and excited as they traveled to see the prophet.

At the end of the conference, President McKay shook hands with many people who were there. He knew that these two children were coming, and when he saw them, he shook hands with them and said, “Will you take this handkerchief to your mother with my blessing?”

The children took the handkerchief back to their mother. She was very happy and thanked the Lord every day for the handkerchief and the blessing which President McKay sent through her two children. Immediately after the children came home, she began to get better, and she was soon able to move her body and take care of her children. (See Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], pp. 149–51.)"

The story sounds a bit like the story from the New Testament when a woman who had an issue of blood sought to touch the garment of Jesus and was healed (Mark 5:25-34). Or a bit like a story from Acts. Acts 19:11-12 reads "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."

The scripture in Acts states very clearly that it was God who did the miracle. He used Paul as the means to accomplish it. The words leave no room for confusion on the matter, although I've read accounts of how such "handkerchiefs or aprons" would become objects of superstition, used for the wrong reasons, and potentially another idol to the people.  These stories can easily turn the Church president into an idol.  

Everything in the Gospel is supposed to point to Christ, yet so often there is a tendency to almost pass over that and focus on someone or something else.


  1. Good stuff Taylor. I teach sharing time next month and the lesson title is "There is safety in following the prophet". You've got me thinking...

  2. Interesting lesson title. The title to me just sounds incomplete and misleading.

    Look at Jonah, the guy spent a great deal of time trying to run from what God asked. Prophets are human too. They quarrel in the new testament, the apostles of Christ wondered who's the greatest in the kingdom, Peter denied Christ three times. Why on earth would we follow a mortal and then feel safe doing so? I don't see the logic. Unless of course you specify that you follow the voice of the Spirit when it speaks through that servant. But then it's still the Spirit you are following. Therefore I would have no need to think less of any servant of God for just doing his/her best. In fact I love prophets more when I see that they too struggle and have to learn and overcome things. It gives me great hope. It inspires me that I too can overcome my challenges and receive God's blessings.

    Nephi openly admitted he was flawed, and his flesh was prone to sin. Why would we be safe following that? Are present day prophets so much more superior that we can now follow them and be safe? The prophets clearly state in scripture they trust ONLY in God.

    But since they are dead, I suppose we can change what they meant to support our modern day views. :)

  3. Love your last sentence! I suppose to teach the lesson with integrity to myself as well as teach the prescribed lesson, I'm going to teach it as, "There is safety in following Jesus". Jesus himself said, "come follow ME", not follow the prophet. It reminds me of the hymn that says at the end, " this there is safety and peace" not referring to following the prophet, but in following Christ.