Wilford Woodruff teaches that Joseph and other Church leaders have taught doctrines that seem contrary to the theories and principles one previously learned.

Speech / Court Transcript
Wilford Woodruff
Scribed Verbatim

Wilford Woodruff, "Necessity of Adhering to the Priesthood in Preference to Science and Art," April 9, 1857, in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: Amasa Lyman, 1860), 5:83

Amasa Mason Lyman
Wilford Woodruff
Reading Public, Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

have no fears in regard to the increase of this kingdom, and I may also add that I never had any, only so far as concerned the weaknesses and frailties of mortality. I hope we may all pursue the course laid down for us by the servants of the Lord; for, if we do this, I know that we shall be safe in this world, and secure happiness and exaltation in the world to come.

There are a few thoughts that I wish to present to the congregation touching one principle that has been alluded to by the brethren,—namely, in regard to following the instructions and counsels of those who lead us. I have reflected much upon this subject, and I contend that there is one principle by which the Lord leads his servants, and if we are faithful, they will lead us in the way of life; and inasmuch as we have faith to believe in their instructions—in the teachings of the Holy Spirit through them, we are always in the safe path, and shall be sure of our reward.

You take a shepherd, for instance; and, according to the ancient practice, we learn that they always went forward and prepared the way, so that there could be no danger in advance but what the shepherd would learn of in time to save the sheep. If they are allowed to run by the shepherd, the wolves are apt to catch them and destroy them; and the very moment that men in this kingdom attempt to run a-head or cross the path of their leaders, no matter in what respect, the moment they do this they are in danger of being injured by the wolves.

This is a subject upon which I have thought a great deal; and I have gained a little useful knowledge, during my experience, by watching the conduct of men; and I have never in my life known it to fail, that when men went contrary to the counsel of their leaders, either in the days of Joseph or brother Brigham, they always became entangled and suffered a loss by so doing.

Now, whatever I might have obtained in the shape of learning, by searching and study respecting the arts and sciences of men,—whatever principles I may have imbibed during my scientific researches, yet, if the Prophet of God should tell me that a certain principle or theory which I might have learned was not true, I do not care what my ideas might have been, I should consider it my duty, at the suggestion of my file leader, to abandon that principle or theme. Supposing he were to say the principles by which you are governed are not right —that they were incorrect, what would be my duty? I answer that it would be my duty to lay those principles aside, and to take up those that might be laid down by the servants of God.

I have seen men in the days of Joseph bring up principles, and read, and teach, and advocate theories, when the Prophet would say, "It is not right to do so: they are not true." Those men would still argue, maintain their position, and they would write in defence of their theories when the Prophet condemned them, and they would say, "We have no faith in your theory, nor in the system you present." The very moment a man does that, he crosses the path of the servant of God who is set to lead the way to life and salvation. This is one thing that the Elders should carefully avoid. The fact is, there are a great many things taught in the building up of this kingdom which seem strange to us, being contrary to our traditions, and are calculated to try men. Brother Joseph used a great many methods of testing the integrity of men; and he taught, a great many things which, in consequence of tradition, required prayer, faith, and a testimony from the Lord, before they could be believed by many of the Saints.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
Copyright © B. H. Roberts Foundation
The B. H. Roberts Foundation is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.