The dirty little secret is that the contemporary LDS Church has replaced prophets with bureaucrats—men who obtain their position by working their way up the ladder, something much more of a seniority system than a spirit-driven system. The combined ages of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young on the dates they took office as LDS Church President and “Prophet” was 70 (Joseph was 24, Brigham 46; thus, their average age was 35). The average age of the next seven presidents at taking office was 73 (ranging between 62 and 82), while the average age of the most recent seven presidents at taking office was 83 (ranging between 73 and 93). The average age of the President of the Church, his two Counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is 75. These are all supposedly “apostles.”
Something dramatic happened to the LDS Church after Brigham died: it became an organization, run by a bureaucracy, rather than a movement led by charismatic men. Confirming the assessment that appointment as an apostle is a matter of seniority is the fact that it’s been a long time since the LDS Church president has been known for his visions and revelations. One fact (not the only fact) that reflects this change is that revelations added to LDS scripture went from a flood to a trickle to basically nothing. Joseph Smith was responsible for all of the LDS scriptures except for five texts added to D&C after his death (three chapters and two “official declarations,” the latter not really qualifying as revelatory). LDS Church Presidents are known not for what they “have seen” (most of them don’t even claim to “have seen” anything) but for being quintessential company men—faithful, loyal, lifelong servants of the organization. Mormons routinely criticize evangelicals who believe in a closed canon of Scripture. Yet the much-trumpeted continuing revelation of the LDS faith is almost entirely hypothetical: according to LDS theology, God could at any time choose to speak through his “living Prophet.” But he almost never does, unless you count platitudinous speeches urging the faithful to live morally commendable lives and to maintain their “testimony” to Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the LDS Church, and the system of living prophets and apostles—a system that is all but on life support.
Please understand—I’m not criticizing such men as Hinckley and Monson. I’m simply pointing out, with regard to the LDS Church’s claim to be a prophetically led religion, that “the old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.”
Edited by Rob Bowman, 08 October 2010 - 03:08 PM.