LDS: “But that was just his opinion.”

If you’ve ever been in a discussion with a Mormon and you’ve quoted one of their prophets or church leaders (and that quote was not favorable to their organization’s current position on any given matter), then you no doubt have received the following response:

“But that was just his opinion.”

So, is this a valid response or is this simply a dishonest retort which completely evades the issue?

Using only Mormon published materials, I will prove to you in this post that it’s the latter.

Please read the following 23 quotes very carefully.


We do not wish incorrect and unsound doctrines be handed down to posterity under the sanction of great names, to be received and valued by future generations as authentic and reliable . . . .  Errors in history and in doctrine, if left uncorrected by us who are conversant with the events, and who are in a position to judge of the truth or falsity of the doctrines, would go to our children as though we had sanctioned and endorsed them.– Brigham Young, Millennial Star, Volume 27, Page 659, 1865


I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve.  The people have the oracles of God continually. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, Page 95


I will commence by saying to the Latter-day Saints and to all the inhabitants of the earth that I am responsible for the doctrine I teach; but I am not responsible for the obedience of the people to that doctrine. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, Page 1, 1869


I will take up my text again—I am responsible for the doctrine I teach. – Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, Page 4, 1869


Brigham Young has said “when he sends forth his discourses to the world they may call them Scripture.”  I say now, when they are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible, and if you want to read revelation read the sayings of him who knows the mind of God. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, Page 264, 1870


What man or woman on the earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens?  – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 12, Page 127, 1867


I am here to give this people, called Latter-day Saints, counsel to direct them in the path of life . . . .  If there is an elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; that is the reason. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 16, Page 161, 1873


In my doctrinal teachings I have taught many things not written in any book, ancient or modern, and yet, notwithstanding the many things I have told the people, I have never looked into the Bible, Book of Mormon, or the Doctrine and Covenants, or any of our church works to see whether they agreed with them or not.  When I have spoken by the power of God and the Holy Ghost, it is truth, it is scripture, and I have no fears but that it will agree with all that has been revealed. – Brigham Young, Deseret News Weekly, June 6, 1877


When did I ever teach anything wrong from this stand? . . . I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelation which I have taught. – Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Page 368


I have kept several good, faithful, and efficient clerks in constant employ: they have accompanied me everywhere, and carefully kept my history, and they have written down what I have done, where I have been, and what I have said; therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions; and my enemies cannot prove anything against me. – Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume 6, Page 409


The inspired words of our living prophets are also accepted as scripture. – Gospel Principles, Page 52, 1997


Scriptures: Words written and spoken by holy men of God when moved upon by the Holy Ghost. – Gospel Principles, Page 382, 1997


WHAT IS SCRIPTURE?  When one of the brethren stands before a congregation of the people today, and the inspiration of the Lord is upon him, he speaks that which the Lord would have him speak.  It is just as much scripture as anything you will find written in any of these records, and yet we call these the standard works of the Church.  We depend, of course, upon the guidance of the brethren who are entitled to inspiration. – Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, Page 186, 1954


In my public teachings I never permit my mind to follow in any channel except that which the Spirit dictates to me, and this is the position we all occupy when we meet with the Saints. – Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Volume 15, Page 275, 1873


And this is my ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.  And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.  Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants. – Joseph Smith, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 68:3-5, 1831


The inspired words of the President are not to be trifled with. All men are entitled to inspiration, and various men are entitled to revelation for their particular assignment. But only one man stands as the Lord’s spokesman to the Church and the world, and he is the President of the Church. The words of all other men should be weighed against his inspired words. Though His prophet is mortal, God will not let him lead His Church astray. – Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Page 140


The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray.  It is not in the program.  It is not in the mind of God. – Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, Pages 212-213


The Lord Almighty leads this Church, and he will never suffer you to be led astray if you are found doing your duty.  You may go home and sleep as sweetly as a babe in its mother’s arms, as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 9, Page 289, 1862

Mormon Prophet Ezra Taft Benson issued the Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet in 1980. The following are some of those fundamentals:



The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. . . . Did you hear what the Lord said about the words of the prophet? We are to “give heed unto all his words”—as if from the Lord’s “own mouth.”



The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard work. . . . Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,’ said he, ‘when compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.’ That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation: ‘Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.’ [in Conference Report, October 1897, pp. 18-19)



The prophet will never lead the Church astray.  President Wilford Woodruff stated: “I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)



The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture. Sometimes there are those who haggle over words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel, but that we are not obligated to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet Joseph, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you” (D&C 21:4).



The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them; otherwise, the prophet is just giving his opinion–speaking as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of a lowly prophet.

For those savy Mormon apologists who think they’ve found a loophole and cite that the prophet must be moved by the Holy Ghost in order for his utterings to be considered Scripture, you have two problems:

Firstly, how do you determine which sermon was inspired and which was not? And since many of the quotes that modern Mormonism finds objectionable come from sermons where other parts of that same sermon are acceptable, how do you determine which parts of a sermon are acceptable and which parts are “just his opinion?” By what standard of measure do you determine when the Holy Ghost was inspiring the speaker, and when the Holy Ghost left him for a few moments (at which time the speaker provided uninspired objectionable information)?

Secondly, since the most recent or current prophet trumps the older, deceased prophets, then you have an impenetrable wall to scale. Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson said in 1980:

The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.


The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. . . .  Did you hear what the Lord said about the words of the prophet? We are to “give heed unto all his words”—as if from the Lord’s “own mouth.”

These revelations were given after all those other remarks about having to be inspired were penned.

Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence. – Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Page 136

Now that you know the truth, you will be better armed to deflect this spin from Mormon apologists–not using “anti-Mormon” literature–but by using the words of their own prophets.

6 thoughts on “LDS: “But that was just his opinion.”

  1. Outstanding post! Thanks for providing everyone with information such as this which only those of us who study the LDS have access to. I’ll be getting to more LDS stuff on my blog when I get finished with my major project and have more time to assemble the information. We need it out there in as many places as possible.


  2. “They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:” (Psalm 12:2-3).

    God has given us a great gift in being able to communicate through talking. What a shame that Mormons usurp the use of their tongues, and use them to spread lies, instead of repenting, believing the true Gospel, and surrendering to the Holy Spirit. It appears that their “communication” is really “manipulation” in disguise.


  3. I’m sort of sticking myself out there, and I don’t know how to exactly address 95 percent of your post, but I would like to take issue with one thing you said.

    “(because so many of them have been indoctrinated to respond this way)”

    I’m often accused of being “indoctrinated”, by virtue of the fact that I happen to be LDS. First off, “indoctrinated”, is often meant to be an insult of sorts. However, in my opinion, everyone is indoctrinated, to some degree. Let me know if you need examples. Secondly, is being “indoctrinated” a bad thing? I suppose that it could be in some cases and not such a bad thing in other cases. But in the context of this post, I had to ask myself, “Have I ever used the phrase ‘That was just his opinion'”? I think that I have. But it’s important to clarify that most of the time that I say this or something like it, I am pretty carefully putting words into a sentence. I’m not just throwing “it was his opinion” together for the sake of a ‘pat’ answer. I really mean it. And not because I’ve heard it so many times.

    When I tell my wife I love her, I mean it. But I’ve said the same thing to several girls that I dated before I met her. But I still believe that the words hold meaning, even though the exact phrase has been put together many more times than “it was just his opinion”.

    Like I said, I don’t have the energy to address most of your post (and a lot of it may have validity), but as for the brainwashing and indoctrination, I think that it’s a little too easy to just use the word “indoctrination” to explain something that’s probably a little deeper than one would like to delve into.


  4. Dear Nathan:

    Thank you kindly for your comment.

    The reason for the remark was that in my many discussions with LDS in person and on the internet, this is the inevitable pat answer that follows whenever a particular LDS prophet is quoted as saying something that’s offensive, blasphemous, racist, or down right loony. Canned answers are also provided for a variety of other LDS subjects too. I don’t feel a genuine thought-out answer or argument is often provided by the average LDS member, but just a quick pat answer. This is what precipitated the sentence.

    With that said, I can see how that sentence could be construed as “an insult of sorts.” And because of this I have removed it from the post. I also ask that you forgive me for any unnecessary offense that I may have caused. My intention is not to insult Mormons (in fact my blood boils when I hear others do that). And contrary to what Mormons may say about me (because I examine and challenge their doctrines), I have a true compassion and love for them.

    Thanks again for bringing my attention to this matter. You have 95% of this post to contend with now without having to be distracted by the 5%.

    – Pilgrim


  5. OK, obviously this was posted a long time ago (just read it today), but I really appreciate you using their words to define their errors. I also appreciate you replying gently to a mormon who was bold enough to look at some of the errors of their belief. They are AWESOME people (not the enemy), just misled by the enemy. I hope & pray that many mormons will examine deeply their ‘religion’.


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