The Lord in his love and wisdom has called prophets to guide us and to help us meet the challenges that come as we journey through this life. We are blessed by knowing that the counsel we receive from the prophet is the same as if it came directly from the Lord. I am grateful to know that there is a living prophet on earth today and that he speaks for God. I am grateful to have the opportunity to listen to the prophet again this weekend.
Article of Faith 1:9 states: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the
. Kingdom of God
God has spoken through His prophets since the time of Adam to reveal important information; those people who listened to the prophets were saved both temporally and spiritually. The prophet Amos testified that "God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophet" (Amos 3:7).
Just as there were Old Testament prophets and Apostles in the New Testament, there are both prophets and Apostles in our day. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his counselors, and all twelve members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators by members of the Church.
Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed the importance of following the counsel of the prophets. This revelation from the Lord is contained in Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38. "This section constitutes the Lord's Preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation."
"Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the hearth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."
Blessings come to all people who listen to the counsel of the Lord as given through His prophets. The blessings may be spiritual or temporal. The following example shows how a group of people were blessed because they listened to the words of the prophet.
"Many years ago, before there was a temple on the
island of Tahiti, 30 Tahitian members of the Church had planned for a long time to make a trip to the . They had worked hard to repair a boat and to save the money necessary for their journey. They had also requested and received permission for the journey from their government and from President David O. McKay, who was President of the Church at that time. Hawaii Temple
"Shortly before the voyage was to begin, the Church members who would be making the trip were asked to gather at the mission home for a meeting. There they were informed that a special message had arrived that day from President McKay. He was asking them not to make the trip to
"The Church members did not understand why they could not make the trip, but they had testimonies that President McKay was a prophet, so they followed his counsel.
"A few days later the skipper of the boat the Saints had planned to use received a call from the harbor where the boat was kept. He was told to come quickly because his boat was sinking. When he examined his boat, he found that the repairmen who had been hired earlier had painted over some rotten wood and rusty pipe, which had then broken, causing the boat to sink. If the Church members had begun the trip, the boat would have sunk while they were on their way to
"The Church members had accepted the prophet's counsel without knowing why it was given, but now they understood why they had been advised not to make the journey. They were thankful that they had followed the prophet's counsel. (See R. Lanier and JoAnn M. Britsch, `A Prophet's Warning,' New Era, Mar. 1976, 12-14)."
The people had spent much time, money and effort to prepare for their journey, and yet they willingly listened to the counsel of the prophet. How would you feel if you had made all these preparations and then you were counseled not to go?
Would your feelings be different knowing that the prophet of God had asked you to stop the voyage? I know that we can be blessed by following the counsel of President Thomas S. Monson just as the people in the story were blessed by following the counsel of President David O. McKay. I am grateful for my testimony that the Lord speaks through His prophet.
We can all gain testimonies that the prophet represents God. We can ask God if His prophet on earth today in Thomas S. Monson and listen for His answer. We can heed the feelings we have when we see President Monson and listen to his words. Once we have a testimony of the prophet, we can also receive additional confirmation of the information.
Elder Boyd K. Packer shared the following experience: "I left the office one Friday afternoon … [and] waited for the elevator to come down from the fifth floor.
"As the elevator doors quietly opened, there stood President Joseph Fielding Smith. There was a moment of surprise in seeing him, since his office is on a lower floor.
"As I saw him framed in the doorway, there fell upon me a powerful witness - there stands the prophet of God. That sweet voice of Spirit… affirmed to me that this was the prophet of God.
"I need not try to define that experience to Latter-day Saints. That kind of witness is characteristic of this church. It is not something reserved to those in high office. It is a witness, not only available but vital, to every member" (Ensign, June 1971, 87).
Elder Packer knew that President Smith was the prophet of God prior to this experience, but the Holy Ghost confirmed his testimony. I know that each of us can have this same testimony, with or without being in the presence of the prophet. We can receive this same testimony through prayer, fasting, reading the prophet's messages, watching or listening to general conference, and/or following the prophet's counsel.
There is much information about prophets, their duties, and their responsibilities in the scriptures. In Amos 3:7, we are told that God reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets. In Matthew 16:19, we learn that the prophet holds the keys of the kingdom of heaven. In Doctrine and Covenants 1:14, we learn that we must obey the words of the prophets or be cut off from the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 1:38, we are told that the Lord's voice and the voice of the prophet to the Church are the same. In Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-5, we learn that we should receive the counsel of the prophet with all patience and faith. In Doctrine and Covenants 68:3, we are told that the prophet speaks as prompted by the Holy Ghost and that we sustain the President of the Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator. In Mosiah 8:17, we learn that a seer knows about the past and the future. In Ephesians 2:19-20, we read that the organization of the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:18, we read that the laws of the kingdom, meaning the Church, are given by prophets.
William Fowler, a convert from Great Britain in 1849, was so moved by the thought that there was a living prophet on earth that he wrote a beautiful hymn entitled "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" (Hymns, no. 19). This hymn is a favorite among members of our Church.
We thank thee, O God, for a prophet
To guide us in these latter-days.
We thank thee for sending the gospel
To lighten our minds with its rays.
We thank thee for every blessing
Bestowed by thy bounteous hand.
We feel it a pleasure to serve thee,
And love to obey thy command.
When dark clouds of trouble hand o'er us
And threaten our peace to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
And we know that deliverance is nigh.
We doubt not the Lord nor his goodness.
We've proved him in days that are past.
The wicked who fight against
Will surely be smitten at last.
We'll sing of his goodness and mercy.
We'll praise him by day and by night,
Rejoice in his glorious gospel,
And bask in its life-giving light.
Thus on to eternal perfection
The honest and faithful will go,
While they who reject this glad message
Shall never such happiness know.
I too am very grateful to live in a day when a living prophet walks the earth and reveals to us the words of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on earth today and that the Lord reveals His will through President Monson. I am grateful for the opportunity to listen to the prophet's counsel this weekend.