Prophets Are God’s Representatives on the Earth
• What powers and gifts does a prophet have?
Many people live in darkness, unsure of God’s will. They believe that the heavens are closed and that people must face the world’s perils alone. How fortunate are the Latter-day Saints! We know that God communicates to the Church through His prophet. With grateful hearts, Saints the world over sing the hymn, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days” (Hymns, no. 19).
A prophet is a man called by God to be His representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking (see D&C 1:38). A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. He calls the unrighteous to repentance. He receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. He may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned.
A prophet may come from various stations in life. He may be young or old, highly educated or unschooled. He may be a farmer, a lawyer, or a teacher. Ancient prophets wore tunics and carried staffs. Modern prophets wear suits and carry briefcases. What, then, identifies a true prophet? A true prophet is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority (see Articles of Faith 1:5).
Latter-day Saints sustain the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets. However, when we speak of “the prophet of the Church,” we mean the President of the Church, who is President of the high priesthood.
Through the Ages God Has Called Prophets to Lead Mankind
• In what ways have prophets guided God’s children in the past?
• What have you learned from the lives and teachings of prophets?
We Have a Living Prophet on the Earth Today
• Why do we need a living prophet today?
We should do those things the prophets tell us to do. President Wilford Woodruff said that a prophet will never be allowed to lead the Church astray:
“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff , 199).
• In what ways has the living prophet influenced the Church?
We Should Sustain the Lord’s Prophet
• What can we do to follow and sustain the prophet?
How can we sustain the prophet? We should pray for him. His burdens are heavy, and he needs to be strengthened by the prayers of the Saints.
We should study his words. We can listen to his conference addresses. We can also subscribe to the Ensign or Liahona so we can read his conference addresses and other messages he gives.
We should follow his inspired teachings completely. We should not choose to follow part of his inspired counsel and discard that which is unpleasant or difficult. The Lord commanded us to follow the inspired teachings of His prophet:
“Thou shalt give heed unto all his [the prophet’s] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (D&C 21:4–5).
The Lord will never allow the President of the Church to lead us astray.
• What has the President of the Church taught or emphasized recently?
Great Blessings Follow Obedience to the ProphetIf we obey, the Lord promises, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory” (D&C 21:6). When we do as our prophet directs, blessings pour down from heaven.
In order to stand, the true Church must be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). We are blessed in this insecure world to have a prophet through whom the Lord reveals His will.
• What experiences have you had when you have obeyed the counsel of
• Numbers 12:6 (God speaks
• 1 Samuel 9:9 (prophet
called a seer)
• Amos 3:7 (God reveals
His secrets to the prophets)
• Mosiah 8:16–18 (a seer
can know of things past and things to come)
• Luke 1:70 (God speaks
• D&C 45:10, 15 (God
speaks today as in days of old)
• 1 Nephi 22:2 (by the
Spirit things are made known to prophets)
• D&C 68:3–5 (when the
Lord’s servants speak as moved by the Holy Ghost, it is the mind, will,
and voice of the Lord)
• D&C 107:65–67, 91–92
(duties of the President of the Church)
• D&C 43:1–7 (only the
prophet is authorized to receive revelations for the Church)
Joseph F. Smith
Heber J. Grant
George Albert Smith
David O. McKay
Joseph Fielding Smith
Harold B. Lee
Spencer W. Kimball
Ezra Taft Benson
Howard W. Hunter
Gordon B. Hinckley
Thomas S. Monson
D&C 3:16–20 . “Nevertheless, My Work Shall Go Forth”
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained the significance of this prophecy and its fulfillment: “Joseph Smith, in his own strength, would scarcely have dared to predict to a bitterly hostile world that no power could stay this work and that it would go forth as a witness to all the world. The Lord has decreed that his work would be established. He called it a ‘Marvelous work and a wonder,’ even before the organization of the Church. If Joseph Smith had been guilty of practising a fraud; if he had endeavored to palm off the Book of Mormon on this hostile, unbelieving world, he never would have dared to say that it would go forth to the convincing of Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. Even if he had been foolish enough to make such a declaration, and the work being spurious, it would have come to a speedy and ridiculous end. It never would have survived the first year of its existence. It would have been so filled with flaws that the scrutinizing gaze of the world would have exposed it in all its folly. The truth remains that, after the thousands of attacks and scores of books that have been published, not one criticism or attack has survived, and thousands have borne witness that the Lord has revealed to them the truth of this marvelous work.” ( Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:28–29.)