Why does the Prophet not answer direct questions relative to the current issues facing the church? He instead relies on apologetic sites, such as this on, to respond for the church. Is he a prophet in name only?
I would venture to guess that the Lord does not typically instruct modern prophets to engage in apologetics, because He recognizes that a direct revelation from Him is the best apologetic possible. Rather than scholarly or intellectual endeavors, a prophet’s major role is to get people into a position where they can receive their own revelation–first through faith, repentance, baptism, and receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost; and then by helping them to avoid sin, so that they can remain in a situation where they can receive additional strength, guidance, and knowledge from God Himself.
My experience is that after a little introspection, nearly everything a modern prophet says ends up being very relevant to me indeed–but as it turns out, the teaching is usually what I need to know (which tends to be the “whats” of the Gospel); not necessarily what I want to know (which tends to be the “whys” of the Gospel). If, for some reason, there is something that God determines we truly need to know but that cannot be appropriately revealed to the Church as a whole at the present time, we can rest assured that God will reveal it to us at the appropriate time and in His own way.
Jesus Himself cautioned against expecting prophets to teach according to our own expectations in Matthew 11:16-17:
16. But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
So while we might wish our prophets to explain the rationale behind the LDS Church’s policies on who may be ordained to the priesthood, or expound the finer points of the translation of the Book of Mormon, or take a more aggressive stance against the physical destruction of war, or change certain stances on morality, the reality is different. Of late they have tended to reinforce that the Church’s policies on who may hold the priesthood are divinely inspired. They confirm that the Restoration continues, and warn that the spiritual destruction of pornography is one of the world’s great dangers today. And they proclaim that the Church’s moral teachings offer safety and ARE worth defending. (Please follow links)