Thursday, June 21, 2012

President Paternoster Corrects the Prophet

There is a rumour going around my stake that I once corrected President Hinckley on a matter of Church doctrine.  At the request of the members I am now going to put that rumour to rest.  Those of you who read my blog posts will know that I am not one to boast.  The experience I will relate today is very sacred in nature and shows that even those who preside over the Lord’s Church and Kingdom upon the earth need to be taught and counseled by their fellow man. 

President Hinckley’s humility and willingness to learn, even from one as meek and lowly as I, showed the true character of the prophet and increased my testimony of his divine calling. 
In 1997 Church President Gordon B. Hinckley was asked the following question by a reporter (see this link
“There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?”

This question seemed to confuse the good President who answered:
“I wouldn't say that”.  He went on to say that this was deep theology that we (and by “we” he is really only referring to himself as you will see from the rest of my article) don’t know very much about.  President Hinckley was asked the same question in an interview for the Time magazine and said I don't know that we teach it.”  Unlike President Hinckley I do know that we teach this (and the teaching is on our official website today). 

I was fortunate enough to meet President Hinckley later that year while serving as a bishop and invited him to my office to have a private word with him about that response.  I said “President, I felt prompted to invite you here today to share with you the great secret of the gospel.” 

“The great secret?” President Hinckley said, and anxiously encouraged me to go on.  I pulled an Ensign from my drawer and asked him to listen very carefully so that next time the question came up as to whether God was once a man he would be better equipped to respond (readers feel free to follow along at the current official church website, even at this link  Quoting the prophet Joseph Smith this is what the article says:

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret……We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea…..He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.”

Critics have accused the prophet of knowing the doctrine of the Church with regards to God’s humble beginnings but of downplaying it in order to make the Church look more appealing.  What they do not understand though is that this is akin to accusing the prophet of being ashamed of the gospel.  The Saviour clearly told us in the Bible that “whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the son of man be ashamed”.

No, in fact President Hinckley was astounded when I finished reading from the words of the prophet Joseph as published in the Ensign article.  Never before had he understood that this was indeed Church doctrine.  He admitted that he had heard of the couplet that goes "As man is, God once was....” but had always considered this to be more of a couplet than anything else.

I was very humbled to be able to give the great secret of the gospel as revealed to Joseph Smith and passed on to all members of the Church through the Church’s official magazine (and all the world now through the Church’s official website) to the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I leave these thoughts with you in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Jesus Smith said...

I'm sorry, President, but Joseph Smith was speaking as a man when he said those words in the Follet discourse. Remember, the most modern prophet is always more inspired than the previous ones. Monson could correct Hinckley (who would have been speaking as a man) and tell us that we do indeed teach that, but for now, we don't.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, President.

Anonymous said...


This is NOT a website sanctioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nor is "President Paternoster" a stake president within the Church. Rather, the content of this site varies from farce to pointed criticism [which is, at times, painfully accurate].

Many, but not necessarily all, of the posts are written in mockery of those who are sincerely striving, albeit imperfectly, to follow Jesus.

Caveat utilitor.

Goldarn said...

President, the church would be lost without people like you.

A disciple said...

So I am confused now.

Was God once a man, or not?

grayacre said...

President, I am so glad to hear that the Prophet accepted your counsel. Without exalted leaders like yourself, the Church would be in serious danger of forgetting its own history and doctrine and falling into apostasy. It's good to know that even though the doctrine never changes, we have gifted stake and local leaders to keep the members on the strait and narrow.

Cindy said...

We are constantly being reminding that the leaders of the church are first and foremost men. They are not perfect, if they were they would have been translated. Thank you for showing the humility of our dear President Hinckley. He was a wonderful prophet and I loved him very much.

NeverMo Mike <> said...

Hi Cindy:

As some have asked here before, "Are you for real?"

If you are an ExMo writing here, I'm in love with your brain. You are more of a genius than PP in your parody of a MM.

If you truly are a TBM, then I pray you use your brain. (As opposed to your bosom.) Keep posting here, though. You prove many of President Paternoster's points about the members.

postmormongirl said...

Oh, but the prophet can never be wrong!

Samuel the Lame'innit said...

I'm not so sure that Gordon Hinckley was lying. For wasn't it the great man himself, even George Costanza, who said, and I quote: "Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it".

Anonymous said...

In the report of the 167th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, published in the Ensign of November 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke the following words:

You need not worry that I do not understand some matters of doctrine. I think I understand them thoroughly, and it is unfortunate that the reporting may not make this clear. I hope you will never look to the public press as the authority on the doctrines of the Church.

Dear President Paternoster, I now feel sure that no small thanks are due to you for the part you played in making this blessed reassurance available to the Saints. It is a tribute to your great humility that even as you have revealed some portion of this sacred experience, you have felt constrained from claiming the credit which is surely yours for these spoken words.

Emma the Younger said...

I'm so relieved you cleared this up. I was surprised and confused by Hinckley's responses because I had read many scriptures (that is, words of prophets, for what else is scripture?) that belied Hinckley's words. However, since I am only a woman and don't have the priesthood, there was no way for me to point out the mistake. After all, if I don't have the priesthood I can never receive revelation on behalf of anyone else, or have any authority over them.

At any rate, you've eased my addled lady-brain with this explanation. Perhaps next week you can talk about the exalted role of women when they become the plural-wife helpmeets to the men who become like God in the next part of our eternal existences. Members such as myself love that the message of the church holds women up as even more spiritual and worthy than men. This secret feminism is obviously the reason women will never be troubled with creating worlds or learning priesthood science, but will instead give birth to spirit babies (in beautiful deliveries from our spiritual vaginas) for eternity so that they can grow up to worship our husbands as the gods they will become.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was just a little Godlet in my pre-existence and promised not to partake of any of the wrong drinks, (coffee etc.), or put my tiny priesthood where it doesn't belong or evil speak of the Lord's anointed, I could be just like my Dad someday and have a lot of pretty wives. What a great plan.

Dara said...

Are you serious? You talked to PRESIDENT HINKLEY? I guess I knew he traveled a lot, but I didn't know he would just visit with fsomebody. Sometimes I get kind of mad that guys get to do all the cool stuff.

James said...

I'm glad President Hinckley admitted during conference that he lied, so we wouldn't think he really didn't know anything. Because for a while I thought he was stupid. It's good to know he was just a liar.

Anonymous said...

Dear President Paternoster
Thank you for your comment about the late president Hinckley. I'm not really sure that you are speaking the truth when telling us that you had to teach president Hinckley about this very common knowledge of the LDS church. Or that the prophet was ashamed or a liar  His life proves something else.
But I see this as a perfect example of the cunning way of deceiving people. I must admit that this site is one of the more cunning and sneaky sites and not without humor. I even guess this is a former member who is behind ‘Pr. Paternoster’ and have been excommunicated.
Below is just a short example, warning from the Book of Mormon:
8 Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities.
9 And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.
10 And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king—
Mosiah 27:8-10

One of the three Nefites :)

Anonymous said...

OMG a 1 of 3 Nephite has finally revealed himself after 2,100+ years of living in obscurity! Surely the end is near.

~No longer Anonymous

Anonymous said...

But anonymous doesn't know how to spell Nephites, curious isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Question: Did God create the universe? If so, how? He was once a man? Could you please explain.

Anonymous said...

President, you also could have quoted Pres. Hinckley's own words from his Confrents address from just three years before that Time magazine interview, in which he taught that very same Great Secret you revealed to him anew. We must remember that although these great men are more holy and knowledgeable than any of us, they are still men. That means they get to occasionally or frequently teach false man-made doctrines and forget even their own teachings in media interviews, and yet we still have to accept every word from their mouths as if it were from The Lord's own mouth, for verily they are one and the same. THAT mind-boggling concept is the Greatest Great Secret of the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

Oh President.

Your flocks awaits another missive. We have been rudderless for nigh on three weeks!

Monson the Younger said...

To; One of the three Nefites;

It is good to finally hear again from one of the three Nefites! Which one are you? I met #1 in my dreams a while back and I am wondering if that was you... or if it might have been another #.

Why don't we hear more about you dudes these days? Where do you spend your time?

I have especially been wondering since you priesthood carrying guys are still around,... Why was it necessary to send angels to Joseph Smith to restore the priesthood? Are you guys on suspension for some reason?

Don't make yourself so scarce! It is great to hear from you!

Anonymous said...

Monson the Younger made me laugh!

Hey "Pres" Paternoster --- are you doing ok??? Your silence is distressing.

Anonymous said...

I served as a stake president and earlier as a stake president's counselor for many years. I know many stake presidents. None of them, even if they had such an experience, would ever post it on the internet.

Anonymous said...

This site is a fraud. He is illegally using a picture of Ed Madden as his own.