Are the Mormon “prophets” the same as the prophets mentioned in the Bible?

 Photo:  The Prophet Ezekiel,  Gustave Doré, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Photo: The Prophet Ezekiel, Gustave Doré, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

SHORT ANSWER: No.

LONG ANSWER: After reading a few pages on the Mormon website, it looks like they use the term "prophet" to be synonymous with an organizational and religious leader. According to this page, there are currently 15 people alive today whom they call "apostles and prophets": the President, his top 2 advisers (making up the First Presidency), and his "cabinet" (called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).

The biggest issue I see here is the opening statement of this web page: "God has called prophets to lead His Church in our day, just as He did anciently." This is actually a very misleading statement. In the Bible, both the Old and New Testament, the prophets WERE NOT called by God to lead the church. They were called by God to speak a message which He would give to them.

In the Old Testament, there were three key leadership positions: kings, priests, and prophets.

  • The kings were the political and military leaders, maintaining righteousness and justice in the land.
  • The priests were the religious leaders, acting as the regular intermediary between God and the people
  • The prophets were people whom God called to speak His words into a specific time and place. Unlike the priests, they were raised up for special purposes rather than ordinary, daily religious service.

The Mormon church seems to have combined all of these positions into one set of positions and called them prophets.

Also, the prophets in the Old Testament were actually a very diverse bunch. They were public statesmen concerned with national issues, religious reformers fighting against unrighteousness and false worship, and evangelistic preachers calling people back to Yahweh God. Some were "professional", coming from a priestly/prophetic family or part of the prophetic schools (such as Jeremiah or Ezekiel), while others were laypeople (such as Amos – he was a farmer.) Some served for a long time (such as Isaiah or Elisha), while the service of others was very short (such as Nahum or Habakkuk). There were also both men and women prophets in both the Old and New Testaments. I'm not sure the Mormon prophets share this level of diversity.

So, the Mormon church may call them prophets, but they have little in common with the prophets of the Old Testament. This is the danger of false teachings. They often use biblical ideas and sound like they could be true, but beneath the surface they hold half-truths and distortions of God's truth. So, keep reading God's Word, listening to biblically sound sermons from pastors skilled in preaching, and staying in close community with other believers. Those are your best defenses against believing false teaching.