Are the words of the prophet are subject to reason and the witness of Christ’s spirit?
Some quotes to ponder.
We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them — even if they knew it was wrong.
But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us. It is slavery in the extreme.
The man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly.
A man of God would despise this idea.
Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the Saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions.
When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.”
Joseph Smith, Jr. in the Millennial Star, volume 14, number 38, pages 593-595.*
“Concerning the question of blind obedience. Not a man in this Church, since the Prophet Joseph Smith down to the present day, has ever asked any man to do as he was told blindly.
No Prophet of God, no Apostle, no President of a Stake, no Bishop, who has had the spirit of his office and calling resting upon him, has ever asked a soul to do anything that they might not know was right and the proper thing to do.
We do not ask you to do anything that you may not know it is your duty to do, or that you may not know will be a blessing for you to do.
If we give you counsel, we do not ask you to obey that counsel without you know that it is right to do so.
But how shall we know that it is right?
By getting the Spirit of God in our hearts, by which our minds may be opened and enlightened, that we may know the doctrine for ourselves, and be able to divide truth from error, light from darkness and good from evil.”
Joseph F Smith 1892.
What do you think?
I don’t think that what JFS says harmonizes all that well with Page 32 of a talk by Heber C. Kimbal in General conference. It is best to read the whole talk however. I think that harmonizing the two statements would require some mental gymnastics.