Follow the leader: satanic in nature?


Disclaimer: Although I am the author of this post, it really is the idea of what4anarchy. I invited him to participate in this blog when I first started it, but he declined due to concerns over anonymity. Still, there are many topics of his that I’d like to broach. This particular one is from his camp. As he refuses to write, I must do the dirty work.

Our experience is the same

Over the years, both what4anarchy and myself have come across the following bizarre responses of LDS we have talked with when discussing the reason for their taking certain actions: “I have to follow my bishop.” “I have to follow the stake president.” “I have to follow my leaders.” “The bishop told me to do it and I’ve got to do as he says.” Etc. I personally have asked many of these same people, “Well, if the bishop told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” The majority response I’ve gotten is a resounding, “Yes!”

Essentially, what I’ve learned is that these people believe it is a sin to not follow the chain of command, or the leaders who preside over you, even if those leaders are guiding you down the wrong path. They feel (and I state this based on the answers I’ve received from people who have been asked, by me, questions about why they feel this way, so this isn’t speculation on my part) that it is better to obey an incorrect command or unwise counsel than to disobey, as disobedience is rebellion, which they immediately equate with sin.

Now, no amount of reasoning with such individuals can change their minds. At least, all of my attempts have failed and I have since stopped trying. However, what4anarchy, continues to strive with these saints, attempting to open their minds to other, less cultish thoughts.

One of the tactics he uses, as he has revealed to me, is to bring up Lucifer and the war in heaven.

what4anarchy’s approach

Lucifer was an angel in power in the pre-mortal existence. As such, he was in a leadership position and presided over some and perhaps many of heavenly Father’s children. If it were a sin to disobey a command or counsel that came from the direct chain of command, even if that counsel was incorrect or unwise, then all those people under Lucifer’s stewardship, he being the priesthood leader who presided over them, who did not follow him and his counsel, sinned, while all those who did follow behaved righteously, yet became devils. Does this make sense to you?

Granted, I’m paraphrasing what what4anarchy says to LDS when faced with the “Follow the Brethren” mantra we hear all the time. He says it better than I do. But I think you get the point.

After stating the above and seeing if it dispels the myth, what4anarchy will then attempt to teach the principle that following a leader no matter what is satanic in nature.

(In fact, what4anarchy even goes so far as to state that the one-third that followed Lucifer were likely those who were directly under his priesthood leadership, that he was their presiding leader and that they literally followed their leader down to hell.)

Now, what I want to know is this: Do you agree with his assessment? And do you think this is a good analogy? If not, what is wrong with his approach?

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6 Comments

  1. I agree with his assessment, of course (even if the leader in question is the president of the Church), but I don’t like the analogy. After all, I don’t think anyone would argue that we should follow a bishop even if a stake president questions his counsel, or follow a seventy even if an apostle says otherwise. Likewise, I think it was clear by the time of the War in Heaven that Lucifer was in opposition to Elohim (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Sadly, I don’t think any amount of analogizing or other argument will sway the vast majority of members, since the leadership of the Church has long endorsed the new doctrine. In other words, we should follow our leaders no matter what because our leaders, whom we should follow no matter what, have told us that they are to be followed no matter what.

    I have little hope for those who have abandoned reason to the extent necessary to adhere to this new doctrine.

  2. Regarding your first paragraph: I pointed out the same thing to what4anarchy when he first told me his analogy. Most people would go with the higher authority that was denouncing the lower authority. Initially, I discarded his analogy as flawed, though he did say that it was successful in getting people thinking along lines that they had never thought. However, in retrospect, I wonder whether the analogy may be correct. You see, if a stake president didn’t denounce a bishop, it would be up to the people of the ward to judge the bishop’s counsel and conduct, and there might be some or even a great number of them who simply “followed their leader.”

    Typically, when there are rogue bishoprics, (and yes, according to what4anarchy, this does in fact happen,) who refuse to heed the stake president’s counsel, essentially putting themselves in rebellion, sometimes they need to be forcefully dissolved. This occurs but is not publicized. Now, I would think that Lucifer, in rebellion against God and his Christ, would have been denounced and his “presidency” dissolved in like manner. Yet, we learn in holy places that Satan still possesses “authority.” (I’ll leave it at that.) So, maybe, just maybe, his “presidency” wasn’t dissolved and maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t even denounced. Maybe in the heavens we followed the principle found in D&C 64: 38-40. Maybe it was a “nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee” kind of thing, where we were both judges of the facts and the law (jury nullification.)

    We mortals tend to view all things as black and white, right and wrong, this is the only way it can be, etc. But for all we know, the pre-mortal existence was more or less a blank piece of paper in which we could determine what reality would exist, whether the reality that had gone on before, or a new reality created by the children of God. In such a situation, right and wrong don’t hold much weight. Lucifer and his followers wanted to create a new reality, completely opposite than the current one existing in heaven. I find that indicative that it was possible to create a new reality, even that it wasn’t against the law to do so. (See my Deep Waters post “What If Lucifer Had Won the Vote” for a deeper treatise on this topic.)

    So, I am now willing to concede the possibility that maybe Lucifer wasn’t denounced and dissolved in his presidency and that maybe what4anarchy is correct in pointing to those one-third as demonstrating the folly of the follow the leader, no matter what, policy.

  3. …maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t even denounced.

    Judging by my own understanding and experience, I find that very likely. But it wouldn’t fly with anyone who holds the “follow the leader” idea.

  4. I agree that we are not to be mindless followers. However, we have made covenants to sustain our leaders by raising our right hand to the square. What does that mean? I don’t think that means to just follow blindly. We have the responsibility to find out whether or not the direction given by our leaders is His will. If I were asked to jump off a cliff by a church leader I would go to the Lord in prayer about it. If the guidance of my church leader was confirmed by the Lord, I would do it. If not, I wouldn’t.

    I don’t agree with the above comment about this “new doctrine” of following church leaders no matter what. I’ve never heard any of the leadership say that. That sounds like a misinterpretation of what the leaders have said about sustaining our leaders and about obedience. The doctrine is that not even the prophet is considered infallible. A prophet (and all church leaders for that matter) is only a prophet when acting as such.

  5. Ahem,

    The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God.

    This statement by President Woodruff is the main justification I have heard for the “follow the leader” ideology. There have been other, even stronger, statements to the same effect since that time. If you take it at face value, how else could you interpret it but “follow the prophet no matter what”? Indeed, if it weren’t for earlier statements directly contradicting Pres. Woodruff’s (thus making it a self-negating statement), I would understand the widespread belief that blind obedience is the correct attitude.

    A prophet is only a prophet when acting as such.

    Yes, and when precisely is that? I’ve can’t recall a president of the Church having declared “I say this as a prophet,” or “thus saith the Lord” in my lifetime. What is the criterion?

  6. My Stake President who happens to also be one of my closest friends has asked all members of the stake that hold leadership positions to have no facial hair. He has done this based upon a revelation that he had concerning his stake. I wore a mustache for 30 years without comment from anyone and was asked by him to shave it off due to my calling as an assistant clerk.

    This counsel has torn me from one end to the other as I watch general conference asnd they pan the Tabernacle Choir members… a few of which, have mustaches. I then have to ask myself, if the ambassadors of the church have facial hair, why is wrong for me to have facial hair?

    I have never confronted my president with my concerns (my wife says it is not worh it and she like me better clean shaven) but it has made me doubt the “revelation”. When others have questioned the directive, they have received answers such as: missionaries, temple presidents, and the “brethern” don’t have facial hair and we should look to them for our example. Then I am tempted to say I choose to follow the example of the two white haired “brethern” in the temple.

    OK. I feel better now.


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