In response to a comment, perhaps the most easily shown "mistake" is President Brigham Young's claim of Adam as our God. This teaching was opposed by Orson Pratt from the time it was introduced. After hearing the doctrine advanced by President Young as a revelation from God, the following took place on March 11, 1856:
"A very serious conversation took place between President B. Young and Orson Pratt upon doctrine. O.P. was directly opposed to the President's views and freely expressed his entire disbelief in them after being told by the President that things were so and so in the name of the Lord. He was firm in the position that the President's word in the name of the Lord was not the word of the Lord to him." The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Volume 2, p. 1061.
President Brigham Young was opposed by Orson Pratt. Brigham Young was the church president at the time, and for decades after. Later his "doctrine" that he claimed God revealed to him was denounced by President Spencer Kimball in general conference.
President Kimball in October 1976 general conference stated the following: "We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not
according to the Scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by
some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for
instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that
everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false
doctrine." Our Own Liahona, Ensign, November 1976.
This "doctrine" was taught by President Young, opposed when taught by one of the Twelve, and later denounced by President Kimball. This is the same as the church's teachings on priesthood being abandoned, and earlier teachings, when taught by earlier church leaders, were claimed to have been made "in the absence of revelation."
This is not a problem for me, and should not be a problem for you. The errors of men and the doctrinal mistakes which get advanced cannot, do not, and will not alter the truth. Orson Pratt was ultimately vindicated for disbelieving in "Adam-God." Anyone who today holds correct views will ultimately be vindicated. It is the prerogative of the church leaders to claim priority in teaching. When they are mistaken or wrong, that will eventually be discovered, abandoned, and their errors will be made known. In the meantime, it is your right to search for and believe in truth, even if the church does not presently recognize it. As long as you do not make it a practice of publicly opposing the church leaders, there is absolutely nothing wrong with disagreeing with them. It is your duty to study and find the truth, and that duty exists independent of faithfully supporting the leaders.
Notice that Orson Pratt did not leave the church. He disagreed, but served in the Twelve. He did not start a splinter group, nor attempt to unseat President Young. They disagreed and they worked together. This is what believers do.
You do not need to surrender your own independent search for truth, even when you disagree with others who are also Mormon. We share far more in common, even with doctrinal differences, than we will ever share with Historic Christianity. You belong in the church, even if you are not in complete agreement with some of its current teachings.
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