HAROLD B. LEE: FOLLOW LIVING PROPHETSIt is very interesting to see the reaction of people. Soon after President David O. McKay announced to the Church that members of the First Council of the Seventy were being ordained high priests in order to extend their usefulness and to give them authority to act when no other General Authority could be present, a seventy I met in Phoenix, Arizona, was very much disturbed.
He said to me, "Didn't the Prophet Joseph Smith say that this was contrary to the order of heaven to name high priests as presidents of the First Council of the Seventy?"
And I said, "Well, I have understood that he did, but have you ever thought that what was contrary to the order of heaven in 1840 might not be contrary to the order of heaven in 1960?"
He had not thought of that. He again was following a dead prophet, and he was forgetting that there is a living prophet today. Hence the importance of our stressing that word living.
Years ago as a young missionary I visited Nauvoo and Carthage with my mission president, and we were holding a missionary meeting in the jail room where Joseph and Hyrum had met their deaths. The mission president related the historical events that led up to the martyrdom and then he closed with this very significant statement: "When the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, there were many saints who died spiritually with Joseph." So it was when Brigham Young died: so it was when John Taylor died. Do revelations given to President John Taylor, for example, have any more authority than something that comes from our president and prophet today? Some Church members died spiritually with Wilford Woodruff, with Lorenzo Snow, with Joseph F. Smith, with Heber J. Grant, with George Albert Smith. We have some today willing to believe someone who is dead and gone and to accept his words as having more authority than the words of a living authority today.
(Harold B. Lee, _Stand Ye In Holy Places_, pp. 152-3)