Should you always agree with what a prophet says automatically or should you pray about it? I heard that Brigham Young said don’t take my word for it, pray about it. I do understand that he can speak as a prophet and as a man, but how do you know the difference?
I am sure that there are times when prophets speak as men, perhaps expressing personal opinion or preference. My trouble is, I don’t really know by listening to them just when that would be. I would hesitate very much to take upon myself the responsibility of trying to determine, even with fervent prayer, when a prophet spoke as a prophet and when he would speak as a man. I could not ever imagine that the Lord would honor my prayer to stand in judgment of the prophet. Recognizing that all men are fallible, I would much, much rather err on the side of belief than on the side of disbelief.
Further, I have made a sacred covenant with the Lord, which I renew at every General Conference of the Mormon Church, to sustain the Prophet and all the General Authorities. That was not a conditional covenant on my part, implying that I sustain them only when they are speaking by revelation. I obligate myself to sustain every counsel they give and every action they take.
So, applying your question to myself, I never ask the question. I know that they are the official representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth, and as official representatives, the Lord will honor, accept and sustain every one of their pronouncements while they are acting in the office of their calling. I concur wholeheartedly with the counsel given by Elder Marion G. Romney, in his General Conference address of April 1941—
“In all the experiences of my life…. I have never learned of a single instance where a person who has followed the advice and counsel of the leaders of the Church suffered therefrom. On the other hand the record of the past is full of instances where men have refused to follow such advice and counsel and as a result have lost the Spirit of the Lord and the companionship of His people. These observations have persuaded me that the Church leaders speak under the inspiration of the Lord regardless of the subject under consideration, and have strengthened my determination not to try too closely to discriminate between when they speak as prophets and when they speak as men. I should like very much to avoid the consequence of making a mistake for it is a terrible thing to lose the Spirit of the Lord.”