As we try to understand folly in terms of prophets, the following verse seems particularly relevant to Latter-day Saints:
And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people.
What if we applied these words to the Church, meaning the Ephraimite Gentiles? Instead of thinking this refers to the wicked or non-members, let's re-read the verse and pretend it is speaking about us: And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people.
What greater "folly" could there be than for the leaders of the Lord's people to teach them to practice "abominations" in His name?
Isn't this the story of the Bible?
What could be a greater mockery to God than that?
The Abomination of Desolation
The Lord prophesied something in 1837 that scares me.
As you read the following prophecy, notice each verse concludes with "saith the Lord":
A day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.
I guess people could blaspheme in General Conference, "in the midst of my house," but let's pretend the Lord means the temple when he says "my house."
Could this mean we "blaspheme" the name of the Lord when we use the temple in vain, pretending to act with His authority when in fact we "have not known me?"
Yikes. Folly is frightening.
And did you notice how the Lord compares his judgment to a "whirlwind?" That's a particularly graphic way to describe the desolation that shall sweep through us "as a whirlwind."
Can you outrun a tornado?
How fast does your truck need to be to outdistance a hurricane?
The Lord asks rhetorically:
For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it?
Who? Who is going to escape? Am I? Will the Church?
The Lord prophesied the fate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1833:
The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it.
Well, in case we missed it, that language is identical to what John the Baptist prohesied regarding the overthrow of the Jews:
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Umm. What does this mean? Does it mean our fate will be similar to that of the Jews who failed to repent and follow Christ, who were content to live the law and be good disciples of Moses?
Worried yet? Don't be. We can repent. And guess who shall escape?
Here is the Lord's promise to her:
Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.
So we needn't focus on the folly of the prophets. Instead, we can concentrate on becoming pure in heart, for such is Zion.
Let's conduct a little logic expirement.
We are frequently told the prophet cannot lead us astray (although here Jeremiah tells us that prophets can cause us "to err," but don't worry about that).
So if we frame this proposition logically:
If a peson is a prophet, then they cannot lead us astray.
Simple enough. Now, we can make certain logical inferences from (if a, then b) statements.
Unfortunately, we can easily make logical fallacies, too. One of the most common fallacies is to infer that (if a, then b) means (if b, then a).
For example, if I say that all Boy Scouts have large appetites, is it also true that anyone with a large appetite is Boy Scout?
Now we get to the important part: there is a logical inference we can ALWAYS make, which is ALWAYS true:
(if a, then b) = (if not b, then not a)
Now let's run our doctrine through to its logical conclusion:
If a person is a prophet, then they cannot lead us astray = If we are led astray, then they are not a prophet.
This exercise was theoretical because we all know the scriptures do not teach anything of the sort.