Poll: Who is the most prophetic?


We all know that President Thomas S. Monson will become the new President of the High Priesthood now that President Gordon B. Hinckley has passed on to the other side. The apostles will all unanimously vote for him and then the body of the LDS will all unanimously raise their hands to sustain that vote. If there are any dissenters, it will not be among the apostles, but among the body and it will be a small minority, nowhere near the 51% needed to stop the appointment. So, Monson is going to have this office. This is a no-brainer.

What I wonder, though, is who the average LDS would really choose if they could choose the “most prophetic person” for this position. By most prophetic, I mean the person most filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

So, first, some background facts, and then the poll.

  • The 12 apostles must unanimously choose the same person to fill the office of President of the High Priesthood. If there is one dissenting vote, the appointment does not go through. (See D&C 107: 25-29 below.)
  • They may choose any male church member to fill that office. They need not choose the senior apostle. In fact, they need not choose an apostle, at all. Any male member of the church can be chosen, regardless of whether he has the priesthood or not. If he doesn’t have the priesthood, or holds the priesthood of Aaron, he can have the Melchizedek priesthood conferred upon him and qualify for the office. If he has the priesthood, but is an ordained elder, seventy or patriarch, he can be ordained a high priest and qualify for the office. Even a non-member can be selected, baptized, have the priesthood conferred upon him and then be ordained a high priest to qualify for the office, so in theory (if not in practice) the entire male population of the world is a potential candidate for this (or any other priesthood) office.
  • The only ones who are barred from this office are women.
  • Although the quorum of the twelve vote for the new President of the High Priesthood, the majority of the body of the saints (51%) must sustain the calling by vote, using the law of common consent. If 51% or more raise their hands in approval, the appointment goes through. If, however, 51% or more raise their hands in disapproval, the appointment does not go through and the apostles need to choose another man for the office, which then requires another sustaining vote from the members.
  • Traditionally, the apostles always choose the senior apostle of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the President of the Quorum) and then the members all vote unanimously to sustain that vote. No one ever breaks from this tradition, ever.

Now for the poll. Of all the people you know, who would make the most prophetic President of the High Priesthood? Again, I’m defining most prophetic as “most filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.” You can name anyone you want, whether an apostle, seventy, patriarch, elder, bishop, priest, teacher, deacon, un-ordained male or even a non-member who, in your opinion, is filled with the Spirit, as all of these people are potential candidates.

I am curious as to whether the body of members, if they could vote for the most prophetic person, would inevitably pick President Monson, or if they would choose someone else. To help, I will list the 14 apostles here, in case the person you would choose is among them, but you can list anyone you want.

Lastly, keep in mind that you should not give your opinion as to whom you think the Lord would pick, but only as to whom you personally consider the “most prophetic” person.

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Boyd K. Packer

L. Tom Perry

Russell M. Nelson

Dallin H. Oaks

M. Russell Ballard

Joseph B. Wirthlin

Richard G. Scott

Robert D. Hales

Jeffrey R. Holland

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

David A. Bednar

Quentin L. Cook

The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named. And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other—a majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise—unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were righteous and holy men. (D&C 107: 25-29, emphasis mine.)

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8 Comments

  1. I nominate the man with the courage to be bold and to put an end to the “doctoring” of certain things that are not necessarily faith promoting. I nominate the man that doesn’t pander to the media and try to make us more mainstream when we are in fact against the mainstream. Call me a heretic or call me apostate, but I sadly do not think any of these men fit that description.

  2. I’d vote my former Bishop. A polynesian with both executive and spiritual substance. However… its a pity the the concept for a poll is flawed. Members can not nominate a candidate and hypothetically the Presiding officer, or body, can also over ride (ignore) the “will of the people”. Incidently the law of Common Consent specifies no percentage. I’d love to know where you got this 51% figure. Having said that any presiding officer conducting business in the Church would hold off setting apart someone or cannonising a revelation even if 5% or even 1% didn’t sustain the decision. He’d reconsult with those opposing to see if he receives further light and knowledge. The genius in this system is the symbiotic principle of “study it out in your mind”. This means a Bishop or general authority consults widely before making a decision.

  3. You are right, there is no specification of 51% in the scriptures. I borrowed the term “51%” from what4anarchy, who uses it all the time. However, I think what4anarchy is right in that the scriptures seem to imply that “the voice of the people” is a majority, or 51%. For example, if you look at the pre-mortal experience, two-thirds (66%) sustained Jesus as the Savior, while one third (33%) didn’t. In this case, “the voice of the people” went with Jesus. The 33% number is far above your 1% or even 5%, yet it wasn’t high enough to stop the election of Jesus. Common sense would indicate, therefore, that the law of common consent works on the majority principle. It does not require a unanimous vote to sustain an appointment, nor can a minority (49% or less) stop an appointment.

    You also bring up a fallacy that LDS routinely believe, namely that “the Presiding officer…can…over ride (ignore) the will of the people.” In reality, the presiding officer can only ignore the will of the minority of the people, but if a majority says left, while he says right, it is to be left, as the scriptures indicate that we are “to do [our] business by the voice of the people.” (Mosiah 29: 26.) If the Presiding officer attempts to ignore the will of the majority, he becomes a usurper and a tyrant because in the kingdom of God the governors must govern with the consent of the governed. Any attempt to govern without that consent draws Satan into the picture, as governing without consent is satanic.

    As long as LDS hold these views about the law of common consent, it will never function as a means to check tyranny and error, which is its purpose.

  4. I just discovered the concept of a ‘mormon anarchist’ today. I found myself being drawn in by the articles in the mormon worker, but I’d have to say I’m not too impressed with this poll. I’m no scriptorian but the thought of democratic prophets seers and revelators seems wrong to me. I haven’t heard of an account in the scriptures describing one.
    I hope this doesn’t come across harsh, condescending and judgemental. I still would like to frequent your blog and enjoy your other articles here. And maybe I missed the point of this post (just for fun etc), but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

  5. Yes, this poll is just for fun. The kingdom isn’t set up as democratic, of course. The Lord calls people to various callings through revelation, and then we the people either approve of the calling or disapprove of it. We don’t actually select anyone (the Lord does that through revelation), but we do ratify the selection. This is one of the meanings of “calling and election”: a calling (by the Lord) and an election (by vote of the people.) Every calling requires a sustaining election in order to “be made sure.”

    I posted this poll also because of the intriguing concept we LDS have of combining priest and prophet into the same role or same person. The President of the High Priesthood is the role of a priest, even that of “head or chief” priest, but we LDS also consider the one to possess that office as a prophet, seer and revelator. So, I was curious as to which of the 14 apostles, or even which of any of the men known to LDS would be considered by them as most prophetic, and if those selections would correspond to President Monson, who traditionally will become the President of the High Priesthood and will also start to be called by the LDS “the prophet.”

    The expression “the prophet” implies in my mind “the main prophet” or “the chief prophet” and also “the most prophetic” compared to the rest of the living prophets of our time. If a prophecy is pronounced by, for example, President Monson, we LDS will tend to look upon it with legitimacy. But if a prophecy is pronounced by one of the elders of our local elder’s quorum, we LDS tend to look upon it dubiously, until confirmed by the Spirit as true or confirmed by the “chief prophet,” the President of the Church.

    So, following this logic, it would make sense that President Monson would immediately and naturally be considered the “most prophetic.” This poll is to find out if such is the case.

  6. I think you might be getting scriptural lingo mixed up with the secular (Maybe I am the one in error, pls read on!). Calling and Election in the Gospel sense, has nothing to do with “vote of the people”. The Lord makes the call, and it is we that make our election sure through our actions and the choices we make. In Doctrine and Covenants 121 we learn that “there are many called, but few are chosen.” vs34 And why are they not chosen? Could it be that not enough people coted for them or sustained them? No! Well, not according to the scriptures anyway. It is because “their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men…”vs35

    In short, it due to the way they have chosen to exercise their agency. It is our actions, coupled with the tender mercies of the Lord through the atonement that our election is secured.

    Secondly, the issue of most prophetic being elected (secular form) will always be prejudiced. Can you surely see where this starts to be a matter of taste?

  7. You are not in error. The phrase “calling and election” can refer to at least three things, one of which you point out. It is merely the principle of ratification. This means that the Lord calls and then that calling is ratified (by someone else) in order for the calling to be made sure. In the case of church callings, the “someone” who does the ratifying are the people themselves, through an “election” or vote, via the law of common consent and the action of sustaining (or approving) or disapproving by the raising of the hands. In the case of the spiritual state of an individual, each person is called by the Lord into his church and elected by the Spirit, becoming sanctified. These people are the “elect of God,” meaning the sanctified members, or saints, which means the same thing. At best, this is a temporary sanctification, as even the sanctified may fall from grace. (See D&C 20: 32-34.) Then there is a final election, also made by the Spirit, which is the final ratification. This is when a person is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This occurs when a person has overcome the world and is permanently sanctified, not being capable of falling from grace. In the scriptures, when the Lord is referring to an election by the Spirit, the word “election” is used and when the Lord is referring to an election by the people, the word “vote” is used, but the principle is the same. Every calling requires ratification for it to be “made sure.”

    Concerning your second issue, see the section of this blog on Common Consent for more information.

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

  8. The president of the church is the presiding high priest. You know, I never thought of that before, in the light of the Old and New Testaments. He is the high priest. Interesting.


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