I am wary of the priestcraft among us


Ancient Priestcraft defined by Nephi

He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. (2 Ne. 26: 29)

Modern Priestcraft demonstrated by an Imaginary Interview

Bob the Interviewer:  Our guest today is a distinguished member of the Latter-day Saint community, Brother Harold P. Kraft.  He is the author of seven top-selling books published by Deseret Books.  He has served as president of the Lofty Heights Stake, 3 times bishop of the his home ward in Ammatoast, Colorado and is currently on the stake high council.  In addition to these high and holy callings, he also has taught both Gospel Essentials, Gospel Doctrine and also the temple classes in his area over the past 15 years.  He has multiple degrees from BYU, BYU-Hawaii and also from Ricks.  He was often on the Especially for Youth circuit and is a frequent Fireside speaker.  When not at home with his lovely blonde wife and four beautiful children (and I must say, from this picture I’m looking at, they have marvelous teeth), he travels around giving symposiums and lectures to mostly LDS audiences.  He is a frequent contributor to Sunstone, Moonstone and Starstone, and has even been featured on Seerstone and the Jupiter Talisman Daily.  By profession he is a lawyer.  Well, I think that intro about says it all.  Thank you, Brother Kraft, for taking the time to come on this program!

Brother Harold P. Kraft:  It is my pleasure, Bob.  I love your show.

Bob:  Where do we start?  There’s so much ground to cover.

Kraft: Well, we could pattern the interview after the Lord’s holy word and start, “In the beginning…”

Bob:  Ha!  Yes, and what a beginning it was.  You must have been a special child.

Kraft:  No, not really.  I started out quite average, but then as time went on the Lord blessed me.

Bob: He certainly did!  You really took to the gospel!

Kraft: I really took to the gospel.  Yes, it became my life, my focus, my obsession.  After being a stake president and bishop and teaching all those years, well, you begin to develop an understanding, you know.

Bob: Oh, certainly!  And your understanding of the gospel is so profound!

Kraft: Yes, well, like I said, it didn’t start out that way.  Over time, as you accumulate more and more gospel knowledge, you just sort of get this desire to share what you have obtained from the Lord with others.  He inspires you to share.  I just acted on an impulse.

Bob: Thank the Lord you did!  Your first book, The Lord Has Saved Me: He Can Save You, Too, really hit home for me.  It was a home run.  It was just what I wanted to hear.

Kraft: A lot of people said the same thing to me.  I received thousands of emails and letters on that one and many were saying that it was like a revelation to them.  They wanted to be saved.  They said that that book was what placed them on the path to salvation.  I’m so glad to have written it.  It has done so much good in this world.

Bob: The way you explained how you are saved, and how we all could be like you, saved, that is, it really was incredible.

Kraft: Yes, well, when I realized I was saved and that I had saving knowledge, meaning that I possessed knowledge that if others possessed it, they, also, could be saved, well, of course as a follower of the Savior I had to write that book.  It was the only charitable thing I could do, sharing with others this saving knowledge.  And it sold well.

Bob: It sold amazingly well!  It stayed on the Deseret Books bestselling list until your second book came out.  Absolutely incredible!

Kraft: Yes, I didn’t expect such a reception, but then I did price it to sell, only $29.97 a book, so it was almost like giving it away.

Bob: Now, I’m sure our listeners want to know, what made you write the second book?

Kraft: After the first book sold like hotcakes, I realized that perhaps I needed to lay down my professional career, which, as you said, is law, and take a different path, one that was more in line with the Savior’s teachings.  I realized that what I really wanted to do was teach the people, explain to them what the Lord had shown me over the years, that perhaps my words might be of spiritual benefit to people, instead of just a legal benefit.  So, I wanted to write a second book, but I needed the time to do it and the legal profession did not afford me that time.  So I took a leave of absence to dedicate my time to writing.

Bob: This was a risky venture, was it not?

Kraft: It was.  The first book sold so well that we ended up buying a much bigger house with more land upon which to raise up a family to our Lord, a larger SUV with which to transport the family to signing events, etc., so I had larger payments to deal with, but I was confident that my dedication to teaching the word would pay off.

Bob: And pay off it did!

Kraft: Yes, the word of God truly is marvelous to behold growing.   That second book sold better than the first one.  We were able to provide much more to our family than before, than with my legal job.  But all of that is just the icing on the cake.  The cake were the lives changed by that book!

Bob: Now, the second book, and for our listeners, that book was called, The Secret Knowledge that No One Knows Except Me and Jesus, But I’ll Tell You Anyway!, that book I couldn’t put it down.

Kraft: No one could.  I had people jokingly tell me I ought to run for prophet.  They kept saying to me, “It’s like the Savior is back!  You’ve brought the Savior back!”  Of course, that’s just silly.  I am just a lowly mortal.  I did nothing.  The Lord did everything through me and my nothingness.

Bob: What’s amazing is that the second book cost more than the first, yet sold better.  How do you explain that?

Kraft: I realized that the people hungered for more than what they were getting at church and I realized that they wanted what I could offer them.  So I offered them more, more pages, more words.  The book was almost twice the size of the first one, at 789 pages, so I had to make the price commensurate.  I think it sold for $39.97 or something like that, so although the book was double in size, it’s price was not.  I was giving them a better deal, something really for nothing.  People recognized the generosity, I think.  They saw it for what it was, a Christlike attitude in trying to get the word out.  As a result, they bought many copies to send to their sons and daughters, etc.

Bob: It was that second book that pretty much made you an overnight sensation with the Latter-day Saints.

Kraft: Yes, although we don’t have celebrity status in the church, the General Authorities are as close as you can come to that, after that book I was essentially held in regard as a “G.A.. without the office.”  My book even sold more copies than all the G.A.-authored books on the stand!  It was hard not having any privacy and always being asked so many gospel questions, as if I had the answer to all the questions, but I did my best.  Still there were too many to answer.

Bob: Is that when you got the three book deal?

Kraft: Yes.  Deseret approached me and I told them I had a lot of unanswered emails and questions and that I could write three more books with it.  They loved the idea.

Bob: And so we got, Answers to Your Gospel Questions, More Answers to Your Gospel Questions and Even More Answers to Your Gospel Questions.  The titles were catchy. I mean, who doesn’t want answers to their gospel questions?

Kraft: Exactly.  I felt, the Lord had freely given to me answers, I ought to share them with others.

Bob: You went into topics that no one dared enter.  I mean, there are people saying that your Answers trilogy is comparable to the effect that Mormon Doctrine had on the church.

Kraft: Time will tell, but so far it looks that way.

Bob: Your latest book is a change of topics, of sort.  You still talk of the gospel, but you narrow it down to missionary work.  In fact, you speak directly to the prospective missionary and current missionary, and also the member who wants to preach the gospel, giving him or her what they need to succeed and this most important aspect of the church missions.  Why the change?

Kraft: My books are directed to a Latter-day Saint audience.  The non-Latter-day Saint has no interest in what I say, which is sad, as they could really benefit from what I’ve written.  There are only so many LDS in this church.  If everyone one of them buys my books, great for them, but what about all the other people on the planet?  Shouldn’t they have access to this information, too?  But, although they can buy the book, they won’t because they aren’t LDS.  So, we must convert these people to bring them to a knowledge of the wonderful gospel.  Then they will be ready to learn the things I’ve written.

Bob: It is fascinating how your mind works!  Bring them to the simple gospel of Christ and then you teach them the profound doctrines in the marvelous manner you have performed with your books.

Kraft: Of course.  But I don’t want to wait for that to happen.  I want to do my part to make it happen, as quickly as it can, for the more hands I can get these inspired books into, the more people’s lives will be changed.  So, I wrote a book on how to be more effective missionaries.

Bob: The title of the book is, Missionaries on Steriods: How Knowing Answers to Gospel Questions will Convert the World.  In this book, you refer extensively to the Answers trilogy and how to use that trilogy in conjunction with the Standard Works to win converts.

Kraft: Obviously, I couldn’t quote the entire trilogy.  The missionary will have to get himself his own copies, but I give enough examples to show that the Answers trilogy is sufficient to make every missionary confident that they are the teachers, that they are to teach and not be taught, that they have the answers and no one else does.  This confidence is necessary and the answers, also, in order to instill confidence in the investigator that they are being taught by knowledgeable people.  They need to know that you know what you are talking about.  With the Answers trilogy, you now know what you are talking about and can answer any question.

Bob: I hear some missionaries are now relying almost exclusively on the Answers trilogy and setting aside their scriptures.

Kraft: Yes, I have heard that, too.  Although I don’t recommend that people do that, it may make for a better Topical Guide or Index or Guide to the Scriptures.  I cannot in good faith recommend that anyone use the scriptures alone.  They ought to have on hand the Answers trilogy at all times.

Bob: And for the missionaries?  Should they also have the Missionary Steriod book?

Kraft: No.  But they should have at least bought and read it, so as to know how to use the Answers trilogy.

Bob: It is marvelous how you have brought these wonderful tools into existence so that we members can further the work of the Lord!  Okay, now I see there are some callers, so I’m going to take a call and Brother Kraft can answer the caller.  Ready?

Kraft: Fire away!

Caller #1: Hi, I just want to say what a wonderful, God-blessed man you have on your program.  He is inspired from God.  A teacher sent from heaven.  A gift to us all.  I am almost in tears thinking that I can ask him a personal question.

Bob: Go ahead caller, with your question.

Caller #1: Brother Kraft, I wanted to know what you think about the current events we are seeing today, whether you think these are signs of the times and that we are approaching a time of tribulation.  In particular, I’m wondering what your opinion of President Obama is?  Thank you.

Kraft: First, thanks for your question.  That question really has quite a lengthy response.  I’m not sure if I’ll have the time on this short program to answer that, but I did write an extensive chapter on current events and signs in Answers volume 3 and also in Secret Knowledge.  Although I don’t go into politics, the principles found therein apply to any presidency.

Bob: Yes, it’s probably not a good thing to go into politics.  Okay, let’s take one more caller before we wrap this up.  Go ahead caller.

Caller #2: Hi, Brother Kraft.  I just want to say you are a light to us all!  I was wondering how we could get you as a speaker in our neck of the woods.  People really need to listen to your massive understanding of the gospel.  I wish you were our Sunday School teacher, I really do!  Well, I’ll hang up now and listen to your answer over the radio.  Thanks.

Kraft: You’re welcome, caller.  If you would like to have me as a speaker, I am available for speaking engagements and firesides and also gospel workshops.  Email me at hipriest@kraft.com and I’ll tell you the ticket prices and scheduling.  If you cannot have me come personally to your stake, anyone can obtain my books through Amazon.com or via Deseret books.  The Answers trilogy now is available in a soft cover missionary edition, too, if you need that.  Missionaries get a special discount when they order the Answers trilogy and Missionary Steroids through Deseret.  So, I’m trying to make it easier to get the word out.

Bob: You truly are a God-send.  My guest tonight has been Brother Harold P. Kraft and it has been an immense and utterly enlightening experience.  What, Brother Kraft, can we expect out of you in the future?

Kraft: Well, we are going to take a sabbatical from all the press and questions coming from all the members.  My family needs a little break and some privacy, so we are going on a two month vacation to Costa Rica.  I think a little relaxing will calm me down enough to where I can collect my thoughts for another book on our Lord’s wonderful gospel.

Bob: Sounds like a divine plan.

Four keys of detecting modern priestcraft

1)  People are praising the individual and not Christ.  The individual is not attempting to stop the praise and divert attention back to Christ.

2)  The individual is teaching people, meaning they are presenting themselves as a teacher.  By this I mean that he or she is not humbly sharing information which is presented as possibly right, possibly wrong, but is, instead, attempting to bring people up to his or her level of gospel understanding, as if his or her level of gospel understanding is higher than other people’s level.  (This is not to be confused with arguing with people, saying, “I am right and you are wrong.”  People have many different opinions and will argue over everything, but this does not mean they are practicing priestcraft.)

3)  The individual is presenting himself or herself as an expert.  He or she may present credentials to booster the perception of expertise.  In the case of latter-day saints practicing priestcraft, the credentials will be priesthood offices and callings held and also teaching positions and church school studies and degrees obtained.

4)  Almost invariably, the individual will be selling a book or books and will often tell people that the answer that they seek is found in one of those books that are for sale.

Why this post

From my vantage point, priestcraft appears to be a rapidly growing profession in the church.  This disturbs me to no end because of where it will ultimately lead.

But Alma said unto him: Behold, this is the first time that priestcraft has been introduced among this people. And behold, thou art not only guilty of priestcraft, but hast endeavored to enforce it by the sword; and were priestcraft to be enforced among this people it would prove their entire destruction.  (Alma 1: 12, bold emphasis mine.)

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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9 Comments

  1. Whooowheee! Humor is so theraputic and should be enlightening. Thanks for this post as well as the previous. Both covered the exact topics pressing most on my mind as of late so it is always exciting when synchronicity comes into play, letting you know that The Spirit truly guides each of us tenderly and individually.

    I find myself using sarcasm to point out the awful situation to myself and my friends. And while it is entertaining, our awakening should also cause alarm in that it focuses us mentally rather than lulling us back to sleep.

    It is simultaneously laughable and angering (as in a defender of the flock, Jesus in the temple yard type way) that lines like this should sound so familiar to us…
    “I had people jokingly tell me I ought to run for prophet. They kept saying to me, “It’s like the Savior is back! You’ve brought the Savior back!” Of course, that’s just silly. I am just a lowly mortal. I did nothing. The Lord did everything through me and my nothingness.”
    Titles like: The Secret Knowledge that No One Knows Except Me and Jesus, But I’ll Tell You Anyway! are commonplace if read between the lines with the lenses of truth.

    I just recently wrote a letter to a friend which I felt I would rather not have written. To be specific I was lamenting the fact that I should have to point out such plain and precious things to a fellow LDS. I employed a lot of sarcasm, irony and what I would view as humor in an attempt to appeal to the light of Christ in my brother. Although I made it clear that I did not mean to be harsh towards him only bold in defense of truth, it seems to have offended/scared him rather than given him cause to pause. Were talkin plain and precious principles which are basic to the plan of salvation and that any child and ANY human being, with or without the Latter Day Gospel should be clear on which I find myself needing to break down for close friends and family. I was questioning my boldness of speech and sarcastic tactics. But I now see that it is a style which is perfectly valid and at certain times most effective in proclaiming the gospel.

    As a kid my favorite bible story was the one about Elijah and the priests of Baal. Even back in the day I just loved how his remarks poked fun at the sheer stupidity of their blindness and the blindness that they perpetuated on the people. I got the same sort of chuckles plus a few laugh out loud moments from reading this post just now. Thanks man.

    ps. Not to divert attention off this very crucial topic, at all, but I guess I am very interested in hearing others’ opinions on tactics in exposing priestcraft; since I’m sure I am not the only one with loved ones negatively effected by this plague. Any cases where this type of tounge in cheek stuff has worked or back-fired?

  2. What I grapple with is the scripture. “The laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion, for if he labors for money he shall perish.” Also, I think we all set our selves up as lights in some way to get gain. We do it through advertising. We all offer “salvation” in some way or other. It doesn’t have to be only related to the church. I think the only “profession” the Lord approves of would be agrarian related.

  3. It isnt that farming is the ONLY labor God approves of. Your right that many people from healers and musicians to architects and electricians are offering parts of salvation and we all operate off of God’s mercy and should strive to work out of his love. So whatever you do, do it for Zion…for your brothers and sisters. I know we are all living in captivity currently and forced to labor for money. But if we will at least make the change in our hearts and in whatever ways possible, depending on where on this big babylonian farm you find yourself, try to implement the law of consecration, then we will be ready to exodus fully and live without money one day.

  4. Wonderful post. I think many church members sense there is something amiss in making money from writing books about the gospel. Yet the false concepts of the society we live in which we have heard from our birth cloud our understanding. This only slightly enhanced example is good to help us see the elephant in the room.
    I want to comment on the Alma 1:12 verse. My thoughts come from the teachings of H. Verlan Anderson. I don’t state his name to add credence but to give credit and thanks for having pointed this out.
    In the book of Mosiah the priests of King Noah are prime examples of people practicing priestcraft. The teaching of these priests is clearly described that they taught the Lamanites how to read and write and taught them math for the purpose of business [how to make money and be cunning] but they taught them nothing about the ways of the Lord [how to be honest and kind].
    Nehor was not just practicing priestcraft but wanted to use the power of government law to force people to pay the priests for preaching and teaching. By the way the word popular means “supported by the people”. Alma explains that Nehor was trying to enforce this or make it a law that the priests were supported [paid] by the people.
    When you describe a manner of teaching which excludes the things of God and then enforce attendance and payment for this upon the people, you have described perfectly the present system of public education in the US at least and I am quite sure in most of the “democracies” of the world.
    I ask all who read this, “Who can deny the coming entire destruction of the society and government of the United State of America.”
    Want a solution? Want to at least try and save your family? I suggest you homeschool your children. I homeschooled my kids and all went to college. Not that college is all that great and certainly not required or even desirable since it has a tremendous and powerful body of false teachings. My point is they were all able to attend as much schooling as they wanted and were not deprived of any technical learning. They lost nothing of value by not attending public school. They and we as a family were able to avoid many negative and harmful experiences. We know this because for the first years they were in public school. We felt a tremendous difference from the beginning of our adopting this way of teaching our children. We all gained priceless blessings by having our home be their school. I highly recommend it.

  5. There certainly is something to be said about selling Gospel knowledge for money. It seems so low. If a person feels they truly have something of spiritual worth to share, why not go to sites like this and simply share it for free ?

    It’s hard to fathom the arrogance displayed in that interview….The Patronizing remarks of the interviewer and the self importance portrayed by the one being interviewed, as though he were an idol of religious thought.

    It’s wierd how things like this creep in over time and replace the humble feelings of thanks to God the Gospel message should instill in our hearts.

    Instead it has become a Rock Star Arena for selling Gospel superior intellegence.

    Someone like Joseph Smith or any of the Ancient Prophets would feel as though they were addressing their own people of their time which the Lord sent them to to call them to repentance. Yet we hear very little more than words of flattery by having been graced by such Divine intellegence flowing from the hearts of many LDS authors at $39.95 a pop.

    It’s amazing what blind arrogance and pride can do to cause a person to think they are speaking for God.

    Thank you for posting this. It is a reminder to remember not to be caught in the ebb & flow of popular trends especially when it comes to knowledge that should be given freely.

    Ever since I figured out how to use the internet and find sites like this, I have found zero need for purchasing God’s Words. He speaks them freely to us so why should we turn around and make a buck off those same words He never tried to sell US ?

    The ill spirit that accompanies God’s Words for profit aren’t worth the paper they are written on….The Scriptures themselves excluded. Any comments we have to make concerning them should be FREELY given in person or on sites like this.

  6. And when an Apostle or Prophet writes a book and sells it for profit…What does this reveal about his nature ? Is he FREELY speaking God’s Inspiration to us, or is he mearly using God’s Words to his advantage ?

  7. I just reread this interview again as I was browsing old posts I’ve read before but this is one post that really sinks in and is worth reading more than once to serve as the most simple clear reminder of what’s wrong in the Lord’s Church .

    This is probably the single best post I have ever read that helped me to corrolate all the individual wrongs I sense.

    I certainly don’t claim to be perfect and have a ton of things I stuggle with to keep me from feeling too lofty, but it is a very sad and hard to endure reality that must be endured to have to wittness this sad decline in true faith.

    I know it’s a part of what was predicted and was given to us to know that somewhere beyond these things that must be endured for a time, that help is over the horrizon.

    I for one am feeling very weak and hope help soon arrives from Heaven in the form of someone truly appointed by God with the power to inspire and encourage and allows me to hear the real voice of God in his own voice.

    I remember a time when that voice was very famillar coming from the mouths of our brothers & sisters and now it is only a voice I struggle to hear on my own…Even among my own family members…It makes me cry.

  8. Zack,

    I strongly encourage you to impliment tribal worship services within your family and look into ways of spicing up your church expirence . Try to wake-up your ward/branch with a letter campaign .

    This is Jesus’ church — not theirs. You have a place in it, even if they say you don’t. Don’t lose heart in this fight. They will not overcome.

  9. I recently got into a facebook argument with the author of a new book called “Building Wealth for BUilding the Kingdom.’

    http://buildingwealthforbuildingthekingdom.com/
    http://www.amazon.com/Building-Wealth-Kingdom-Latter-day-ebook/dp/B006VVHQJA

    the author sent me a free copy, and i started to read some of it. it has been by far the most troubling thing i have ever read apart from the “The Franklin Coverup”

    let me quote some of the insane false doctrine that is now starting to make its way through the hearts and minds of some of the most influential (monetarliy speaking) members of our church.

    “Tithing is not uniquely an LDS doctrine, but few other religionists practice a ten percent tithe with the commitment of the Latter-day Saints. The Saints practice the law of tithing with enthusiasm that may result in part from relief at not being asked to practice the higher law of consecration.” page 17

    “A wealthy Stake President was reportedly asked by a poor widow in his stake how he achieved financial success. He replied without a thought, “I’ve always paid my tithing.”

    Her quiet-and likely unheard-retort, “I, too, have always paid mine,” raises the question of just how one accepts the Lord’s challenge to “prove [Him] now herewith.”

    This simple story suggests that wealth is either not the measure of the proof the Lord intended or that the challenge is more complex than simply paying tithing.

    It would be unfair to suggest that this widow, or other people, who have paid their tithing but have not accumulated wealth are undeserving or that the Lord hasn’t blessed them-certainly they are worthy and he has undeniably blessed them in other ways

    If your objective in accepting the Lord’s challenge, however, is to accumulate sufficient means to not only provide for your family but also provide for lifelong, active church service, there is likely more to the Lord’s challenge than merely paying tithing and waiting for the windows of heaven to open and rain prosperity on you. Malachi’s record may subtly hint at the issue-“there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

    Imagine that 401 (k) plans, IRA’s, mutual funds, are buckets to catch the Lord’s blessing from heaven and that a disciplined spending plan is a funnel to get the blessings into the buckets. This is how we make “room enough” to receive some of the Lord’s blessings” page 35-36

    “This labor {building zion} includes the things that you have done in the Church for your entire life, particularly home and visiting teaching. Sunday school lessons, primary lessons, Boy Scout campouts and enrichment activities are all part of building the Kingdom. Having done these things, take pride in having done your part. Continue, regardless of your age, to do your part and the Lord can ask no more.” page 139

    in a 141 pages there are 7 quotes from the scriptures, none more than 2 verses long.

    i would recommend calling this man to repentance and presenting the scriptures to him. i did it and got a free book out of it. then you can see for yourself just how evil his teaching is.


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