Let's pretend I am a faithful Latter-Day Saint once again, just for fun.
In my youth I read several accounts, and was taught by several authority figures, that we must listen to the prophet and must trust that what he says is coming directly from the Lord Himself. It is up to us to prayerfully ask Heavenly Father if what we have heard is what we should believe, just the same as we ask Him about the truthfulness of the BoM. But the expected result will be that Yes, indeed the prophet is speaking God's Truth, just the same as the certain response that Yes, the Book of Mormon is indeed what it says it is.
It seems like leaders of the 2012 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have forgotten this, and whenever a new prophet or apostle comes into play, we are supposed to wipe our memories of the past "revelations". To quote the official spokesperson (Michael Purdy) for the LDS Church:
"For a time in the church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent...It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding."
We have documentation of the "some" whom Purdy is referring to: Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, George Q. Cannon, Mark E. Petersen are just to name a few. These men were Prophets or Apostles, Seers, and Revelators at the time their "speculations" were offered. These men were not mere BYU Professors, speaking beyond their station. At the time they spoke about the doctrine (yes it WAS doctrine) regarding the black mark of Cain and the curse on his descendants, they were not speculating, they were explaining and enlightening.
Along comes the revelation in 1978 from President Spencer W. Kimball, where it was announced that all worthy men would be eligible for the Priesthood. Not long after that revelation, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said the following:
"Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world."
Oh, I see. Well as a faithful LDS member, I have to say that this would concern me. How can I trust what the current prophet is saying if the next one might completely contradict them and tell me to forget what the last one said? If they are just speaking merely as men and not as mouthpieces of God, how are the people to discern at the time?
There is a reason why religions use a sheep as a metaphor for the faithful followers. I'm just saying. Okay it's not fun pretending anymore--I'm glad I'm out.