November 4, 2010 by Ron Madson
Jeremiah was a colorful character. By way of summary his family/kin were part of an outcast priest group that were not allowed to perform in the temple the rituals/sacrifices, etc. (equivalent of disfellowshipped). He was rejected by the church/ the government/ and the community for the most part. He was truly on the fringes of society. He even went so far as to reject the belief that the sacrifices they were performing were God given (Jeremiah 7:22). Jeremiah denounced their sense of chosenness/specialness. He denounced their militarism. He contended with the prophet Hannaniah (means “happy talk”) and found himself thrown in a pit, placed in a yoke, (he even walked naked in the streets to make his point) and then eventually stoned (late in life).
Anyway, the voice of the Lord came to him and personally called him to deliver the Lord’s message despite not being allowed to speak by those in authority (I believe that Jeremiah needed a personal calling directly from the Lord in order to have confidence for what he was about to say/do)
The teacher wanted to follow the lesson plan and compare Jeremiah’s calling to our receiving callings today. It was asserted that this prophet’s calling can be compared to our present day calling of prophets/leaders/us..uuhhh.right.
So here was my point/question in class. It is evident in the scriptures that those identified as authentic prophets/messengers of God were most frequently called outside of the prevailing and well structured church authority lines/ institution. Rather they were called from the outcast (Jeremiah); shepherds (Amos); wilderness (John Baptist); children (Samuel–Joseph Smith); the dissidents (Lehi, who saw in vision the great and spacious building which, in my opinion, he was referring to the temple in Jerusalem in the same manner that Jeremiah had condemned temple worshippers pointing finger of scorn to the losers of their society); then of course the ultimate illegal alien, Samuel the Lamanite. So these charismatic prophets get direct, natural one on one calling from Lord and not from any man, church or institution. So after sharing these observations, I asked “since it appears that it seems to be the rule and not the exception that prophets such as Jeremiah are called directly from God among the outliers of a community of faith, while those that are identified as the pretenders (Hannaniah) are invariably groomed, called and endorsed by institutions/churches/and group consensus, THEN what is or would be equivalent of a Jeremiah type today? Or is that a pattern that God followed then but not now in that we have no need for such a radical, subversive voice to call us to repentance?
So, how would anyone in this forum answer this last question? Are there modern day Jeremiahs? And if so, who? And following the Jeremiad tradition (and the radical/subversive speech of his type among his contemporaries and those that followed) what would their message be today in your opinion?