Follow The Prophet Web site

follow-the-prophetThe mission of a new Web site, FollowTheProphet.net, is to make it easier to follow the words and deeds of God’s living prophet, as he travels the world meeting with members of the Church, speaking at conferences and devotionals, visiting Church historical sites, attending cultural events, dedicating temples, and even in his daily encounters with people.

FollowTheProphet.net aims to give better access to the activities of the prophet.  When he speaks, they write about it with links to his words.  When he visits locations, they let you know.  When he meets with the Saints, they post about it.  They will help you “follow the prophet.”  You can follow the prophet on Twitter, RSS feed, by e-mail, or Facebook.  Note that they only post about the prophet’s activities after he has visited a location, unless it is a scheduled event, so there is no security concern for the prophet.

The site was created by Bryce Haymond (editor at TempleStudy.com, a Web site dedicated to sustaining and defending the LDS temple through scholarship and learning) and his brother Brad Haymond. They hope that this new Web site will enable you to feel more engaged with what the Prophet is doing and saying as the Lord’s prophet on the earth. Learn more about the launch.

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Bryce Haymond November 25, 2009, 1:02 pm

    Thanks, Larry, for the complimentary post. I’m glad to see you appreciate the site, and what it will provide the Saints.

  • Last Lemming November 25, 2009, 1:29 pm

    They hope that this new Web site will enable you to feel more engaged with what the Prophet is doing and saying as the Lord’s prophet on the earth. (emphasis mine)

    It will certainly do that, but apparently it will also enable us to feel more engaged with what the Prophet is doing outside of his role as prophet–such as eating at Dee’s. I’m sure you don’t intend to imply that everything reported on that site falls within his role as Prophet.

  • Xe November 25, 2009, 1:33 pm

    The best part, in Bryce’s own words: “Rest assured that we will do everything we can to assure the security of the prophet.”

    Nothing like the added security of an additional website to bring peace of mind.

  • Matt November 25, 2009, 1:41 pm

    On one hand, I can catch the spirit of this site. But can the man at least enjoy a meal in peace? Reporting on official business is one thing, but it seems that we’re crossing a few lines here and bordering on “stalking the prophet.”

  • Brad Haymond November 25, 2009, 3:49 pm

    An example of why we feel it is worthwhile to follow the president when he goes out to eat is to show how he is a real person, and that he is down-to-earth. He doesn’t necessarliy nightly frequent La Caille, but is going to Dee’s like the rest of us.

  • Emily M. November 25, 2009, 3:57 pm

    Count me in as someone who felt some sympathy for him when I read about his dinner at Dee’s. Let him go to Dee’s and not be stalked! And heck, what if he went to La Caille? Would someone see him there and feel the need to post about it, or worse, criticize? I just don’t think he needs his comings and goings to be tracked and up for comment by everyone. Official business, fine. But I think we would do him a much greater service to limit attempts to record every single encounter people have with him. Isn’t it kinder to allow him as much privacy as possible? Sites like this only encourage more people to track him.

  • Bryce Haymond November 25, 2009, 4:26 pm

    Last Lemming,

    The prophet doesn’t cease to be the prophet when he sits down from the pulpit. That is the point. He gives us a great example that we should strive to emulate in all his public dealings. That doesn’t mean that everything he says and does is prophetic, but it does mean that he is one of the best examples of Christ-like behavior on the earth today. One commenter on another blog noted that her kids thought the website was fun, and liked picturing the prophet at Dee’s. It makes the prophet more real to them, and personable.

    Xe and Emily,

    We don’t plan to track every movement of the prophet in real-time. You might have noticed that we’ve posted a handful of activities per month for the last several months. That might be all we know. And it will only be things we come to know through publicly available channels. Our postings will hardly be tracking every single comings and goings, or every single encounter he has with anyone. We are not actively tracking him. And the things we post will be delayed by days after the prophet has been somewhere.

  • Michael November 25, 2009, 5:25 pm

    So I assume he created this website after he created one called http://www.FollowtheSaviour.net?

  • Last Lemming November 25, 2009, 10:55 pm

    He gives us a great example that we should strive to emulate in all his public dealings.

    In other words, if we want to follow the prophet, we should strive to emulate his public dealings and eat at Dee’s or its local equivalent. At least until he was spotted at La Caille–then it would be OK to eat at fancy restaurants again.

    I know that’s not what you mean, but I have encountered people who think that way, and I don’t want to give them more ammunition.

  • Ken November 25, 2009, 11:11 pm

    Living Colour/Cult of Personality, 1988

    Cult of Personality
    Living Colour
    (V Reid, C. Glover, W. Calhoun, M. Skillings)

    Look into my eyes, what do you see?
    Cult of Personality
    I know your anger, I know your dreams
    I’ve been everything you want to be
    I’m the Cult of Personality
    Like Mussolini and Kennedy
    I’m the Cult of Personality
    Cult of Personality
    Cult of Personality

    Neon lights, A Nobel Price
    The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
    You don’t have to follow me
    Only you can set me free

    I sell the things you need to be
    I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
    I’m the Cult of Personality
    I exploit you still you love me

    I tell you one and one makes three
    I’m the Cult of Personality
    Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
    I’m the Cult of Personality
    Cult of Personality
    Cult of Personality

    Neon lights a Nobel Prize
    A leader speaks, that leader dies
    You don’t have to follow me
    Only you can set you free

    You gave me fortune
    You gave me fame
    You gave me power in your God’s name
    I’m every person you need to be
    I’m the Cult of Personality

  • Utgeek November 26, 2009, 6:59 am

    This is really, really scary. The obsession with LDS leader worship and mixing their opinions with gospel doctrine is reaching new heights.

  • Dobbie November 26, 2009, 12:03 pm

    When Pres Monson was visiting Dee’s did they chill his milk for him? Was he dining as a man or a Prophet?

  • LDSFive November 26, 2009, 3:11 pm

    I wonder if this will end up trivializing the life of the prophet. I would agree it has the potential of perpetuating the obsession that many “less secure” Saints have in regard to “leadership worship” and they will use this to remain overdependent upon the milk offered by the general authorities instead of learning to eat the meat provided by direct communication with the Lord through the Holy Ghost.

  • Silus Grok November 26, 2009, 8:04 pm

    Creepy, indeed.

    * shudders *

  • Alison November 27, 2009, 5:39 am

    I love President Monson, but I think the website goes too far. Remember what President Hinckley said: “Adulation is poison.” (http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/51125/Messages-of-inspiration-from-President-Hinckley.html)
    I’m not for a minute implying that this website will have any effect on President Monson in person, but I think it may have a counter-productive effect on the way that people, those of faith and those of none, view the Church as a whole as well as our Prophet.

  • John November 27, 2009, 8:00 am

    I, too, am uncomfortable with this site. “Leadership worship” is something we avoided in this church for many years. No church president from Brigham Young through George Albert Smith was ever referred to as “The Prophet.” That began with David O. McKay. What’s next – a tv show called “The Prophet Tonight”?

  • Alison November 27, 2009, 11:06 am

    I think the question the website’s owners need to ask themselves honestly is, “Would President Monson approve of this?” If they are in any doubt whatsoever, they should suspend the site.

  • Silus Grok November 27, 2009, 11:33 am

    I hope the irony of Alison’s litmus test isn’t lost on us.

    :)

    But it does work … I can’t imagine President Monson being comfortable with this.

  • Bryce Haymond November 27, 2009, 2:41 pm

    Just chatted with a sister this morning who said, “I’m really looking forward to that FollowTheProphet site as well! You guys did a wonderful job. I think Pres. Monson would like it. And we did!”

  • Alison November 27, 2009, 5:22 pm

    Sorry, Bryce, some random sister saying she “thinks Pres. Monson would like it” isn’t the same thing as him saying he likes it.

  • Hiker November 27, 2009, 5:26 pm

    I am pretty sure the phrase “follow the prophet” doesn’t mean that you actually follow the prophet. This smacks of the paparazzi that chase around the British Royal Family. It’s creepy.

  • Steve November 28, 2009, 9:35 pm

    President Monson is a fantastic individual and not just because he is a prophet. You could probably get the same information from the Chruch News or LDS.org. However, many people want to know about our prophet out there in the world. Who is he? What good does he do for mankind? He is an international leader, that’s a fact. There are a billion sites out there covering a billion different topics. It’s nice to go to a site based on only one topic, especially if that one topic is the only thing that you were looking for.

    So everyone chill and don’t get all up-in-arms, if someone can’t put up a little site that gives us more info into what our leader is doing, then I guess the church shouldn’t do any news stories about him between conference sessions, they should take out all the stories about him in the LDS.org newsroom and no one should speak another word about him. I suppose we should have the primary kids stop singing “Follow the Prophet” and tear the hymn “We thank thee O God for a Prophet” out of the hymnal.

    It’s not adulation, it’s information. Know the difference.

  • LDSFive November 29, 2009, 8:16 am

    Nice try Steve. But I don’t buy it. It still perpetuates a very serious and growing problem of “leader worship” amongst a large subset of Latter-day Saints. We need to be emphasizing the need for spiritual maturity which occurs when one’s focus and nourishment come directly from the Lord through the Holy Ghost with the prophet providing needed correction when orthodoxy is threatened. This new website does not further the cause of every man and woman becoming their own prophet as we have been directed to pursue.

  • Steve November 30, 2009, 3:31 pm

    “This new website does not further the cause of every man and woman becoming their own prophet as we have been directed to pursue.”

    There are a billion other sites that do that. If this was the only lds website on the web, there would be a problem. I live in an area where there are tons of Latter-day Saints and have rarely-to-never seen “leader worship” among the people. I don’t know what ‘large subset of Latter-day Saints’ you are talking about. Do they have a site where they profess their doctrines of ‘leader worship’. Are you making an assumption or basing your opinion on the members in your area?

    I don’t know how you can just throw a large subset of the church under the bus without any proof of that claim. I’ve lived in several parts of the country and in virtually every ward I lived in, the proper relationship between a prophet, the people and the Lord was taught. Every ward teaches Gospel Principles and the same doctrine.

    Anyone with open eyes who visits lds.org or visits General Conference can see the appropriate and true direction we are led. This is just one other site in a sea of millions. If you are interested in what President Monson is up to, where he’s visiting and what he’s saying, then this is a great little site for that.

    If a large subset of the church bookmarks this site and never visits any other site and stops reading their scriptures and praying so they can let their whole worlds revolve around the prophet’s activities, then they are numbskulls. Obviously that’s not a realistic scenario, which is why I don’t see the problem with this site.

    I read lds.org, several other sites and I pray to my Father in Heaven and get answers for my personal life. If I get a second or two between jobs to head on over to FollowTheProphet.net and see what Pres. Monson is up to, I don’t think I’m going to burn in hell. What’s wrong with seeing what Ol Monson is up to when I follow all my friends on facebook, twitter, and other people in my industry? Why can’t I be interested in what the brethren are up to? I follow my friends, but I don’t worship them.

  • Jared December 6, 2009, 10:42 pm

    I think the site is great. I admit, I had the thought that it might be a bit stalkerish but it’s not like Bryce or Brad are outside Pres. Monson’s apartment with telephoto lenses trying to catch his every move. They have simply created a resource that consolidates some of Pres. Monson’s activities and teachings.

    Is it worshiping Pres. Monson? I don’t see how the site encourages anyone to worship him – if someone worships Pres. Monson, that’s their own issue. There’s plenty of stuff on the Church’s own site about Pres. Monson (http://www.thomassmonson.org/ ), which site people could similarly misconstrue as worshiping him. Is it wrong to become a “fan” of Pres. Monson or the Church or the Book of Mormon on Facebook? Is it wrong to care about the president of the church and what he does and says? He is Christ’s representative here on earth, yes even when eating at Dee’s (now what he might say in that situation is not necessarily doctrine but he is the Lord’s prophet regardless of situation). The site is Followtheprophet.net, not followthomasmonson.net.

    I think Bryce and Brad created a beautiful site allowing people to get to know the prophet and his teachings better. We do not live in the past, we live in a world of social media and instant news. Our web-based PR approach (if I may call it that) needs to change with the times. Look at how open Pres. Hinckley was with the press. Besides, as Bryce pointed out, most of what is posted is readily available in the Church News or other public sources.

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