My beloved brothers and sisters, I am honored to be in your presence
today. You students are a part of a choice young generation--a generation
which might well witness the return of our Lord. Not only is the
Church growing in numbers today, it is growing in faithfulness and,
even more important, our young generation, as a group, is even more
faithful than the older generation. God has reserved you for the
eleventh hour--the great and dreadful day of the Lord. It will be
your responsibility not only to help bear off the kingdom of God
triumphantly but to save your own soul and strive to save those
of your family and to honor the principles of our inspired constitution.
To help you pass the crucial tests which lie ahead I am going to
give you today several facets of a grand key which, if you will
honor them, will crown you with God's glory and bring you out victorious
in spite of Satan's fury. Soon we will be honoring our prophet on
his eighty-fifth birthday. As a Church we sing the song, "We
Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet." Here then is the grand key:
follow the prophet. And here now are fourteen fundamentals in following
the prophet, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
In section 132, verse 7, of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord
speaks of the Prophet--the President--and says: "There is never
but one on the earth at a time on whom his power and the keys of
this priesthood are conferred." Then in section 21, verses
4-6, the Lord states:
Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all
his 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.
For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail
Did you hear what the Lord said about the words of the prophet?
We are to "give heed unto all his words"--as if from the
Lord's "own mouth."
Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard
President Wilford Woodruff tells of an interesting incident that
occurred in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith:
I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtiand
in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made that
have been made here today, with regard to the living oracles and
with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was
presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when
a leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject,
and said: "You have got the word of God before you here in
the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have
the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give
revelations according to those books, as what is written in those
books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them."
When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young
and said, "Brother Brigham, I want you to take the stand
and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the
written word of God." Brother Brigham took the stand, and
he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon,
and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants,
and laid it down before him, and he said: "There is the written
word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning
of the world, almost, to our day. And now," said he, "when
compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me;
those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as
do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood
in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles
than all the writing in the books." That was the course he
pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation:
"Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he
has told you the truth." [in Conference Report, October 1897,
Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
The living prophet has the power of TNT. By that I mean "Todays
News Today." God's revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah
how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore,
the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is
the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently
revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading
we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each week
in the Church Section of the Deseret News, and any words of the
prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching
orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses,
which are printed in the Ensign magazine.
I am so grateful that the current conference report is studied
as part of one of your religion classes--the course entitied "Teachings
of the Living Prophets," number 333. May I commend that class
to you, and suggest that you get a copy of the class manual at your
bookstore, whether you're able to take the class or not. The manual
is entitled "Living Prophets for a Living Church."
Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living
prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.
Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
President Wilford Woodruff stated: "I say to Israel, The Lord
will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of
the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not
in the mind of God." (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected
by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)
President Marion G. Romney tells of this incident, which happened
I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber
J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home....Standing
by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: "My boy,
you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if
he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do
it, the Lord will bless you for it." Then with a twinkle
in his eye, he said, "But you don't need to worry. The Lord
will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray." [In
Conference Report, October 1), p. 78]
Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly
training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter
at any time.
Sometimes there are those who feel their earthly knowledge on a
certain subject is superior to the heavenly knowledge which God
gives to His prophet on the same subject. They feel the prophet
must have the same earthly credentials or training which they have
had before they will accept anything the prophet has to say that
might contradict their earthly schooling. How much earthly schooling
did Joseph Smith have? Yet he gave revelations on all kinds of subjects.
We haven't yet had a prophet who earned a doctorate in any subject,
but as someone said, "A prophet may not have his Ph.D. but
he certainly has his LDS." We encourage earthly knowledge in
many areas, but remember, if there is ever a conflict between earthly
knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet,
and you'll be blessed and time will vindicate you.
Sixth: The prophet does not have to say "Thus saith the Lord"
to give us scripture.
Sometimes there are those who haggle over words. They might say
the prophet gave us counsel, but that we are not obligated to follow
it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the
Prophet Joseph, "Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and
commandments which he shall give unto you" (D&C 21:4).
And speaking of taking counsel from the prophet, in D&C 108:1,
the Lord states: "Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant
Lyman: Your sins are forgiven you, because you have obeyed my voice
in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom
I have appointed".
Said Brigham Young, "I have never yet preached a sermon and
sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture"
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book
Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always
what we want to know.
"Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are
able to bear," complained Nephi's brethren. But Nephi answered
by saying, "the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it
cutteth them to the very center" (1 Nephi 16:1, 3). Or, to
put it in another prophet's words, "Hit pigeons flutter."
Said President Harold B. Lee:
You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church.
It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your
social views. It may interfere with some of your social life....
Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow....
Let's keep our eye on the President of the Church. [in Conference
Report, October 1970, p. 152-153)
But it is the living prophet who really upsets the world. "Even
in the Church," said President Kimball, "many are prone
to garnish the sepulchres of yesterday's prophets and mentally stone
the living ones" (Instructor, 95:257).
Why? Because the living prophet gets at what we need to know now,
and the world prefers that prophets either be dead or mind their
own business. Some so-called experts of political science want the
prophet to keep still on politics. Some would-be authorities on
evolution want the prophet to keep still on evolution. And so the
list goes on and on.
How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us
what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our
Said President Marion G. Romney, "It is an easy thing to believe
in the dead prophets." And then he gives this illustration:
One day when President Grant was living, I sat in my office across
the street following a general conference. A man came over to
see me, an elderly man. He was very upset about what had been
said in this conference by some of the Brethren, including myself.
I could tell from his speech that he came from a foreign land.
After I had quieted him enough so he would listen, I said, "Why
did you come to America?" "I am here because a prophet
of God told me to come." "Who was the prophet;"
I continued. "Wilford Woodruff." "Do you believe
Wilford Woodruff was a prophet of God?" "Yes, I do."
"Do you believe that President Joseph F. Smith was a prophet
of God?" "Yes, sir."
Then came the sixty-four dollar question. "Do you believe
that Heber J. Grant is a prophet of God?" His answer, "I
think he ought to keep his mouth shut about old age assistance."
Now I tell you that a man in his position is on the way to apostasy.
He is forfeiting his chances for eternal life. So is everyone
who cannot follow the living Prophet of God." [in Conference
Report, April 1953, p. 125]
Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning. There will
be times when you will have to choose between the revelations of
God and the reasoning of men--between the prophet and the politician
or professor. Said the Prophet Joseph Smith, "Whatever God
requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see
the reason thereof until long after the events transpire" (Scrapbook
of Mormon Literature, vol. 2, p. 173).
Would it seem reasonable to an eye doctor to be told to heal a
blind man by spitting in the dirt, making clay, and applying it
to the man's eyes and then telling him to wash in a contaminated
pool? Yet this is precisely the course that Jesus took with one
man, and he was healed. (See John 9:6-7.) Does it seem reasonable
to cure leprosy by telling a man to wash seven times in a particular
river? Yet this is precisely what the prophet Elisha told a leper
to do, and he was healed. (See 2 Kings 5.)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways
my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than
your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8,9]
Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter--temporal
Said Brigham Young:
Some of the leading men in Kirtland were much opposed to Joseph
the Prophet, meddling with temporal affairs... .
In a public meeting of the Saints, I said, "Ye Elders of
Israel.... will some of you draw the line of demarcation, between
the spiritual and temporal in the Kingdom of God, so that I may
understand it?" Not one of them could do it....
I defy any man on earth to point out the path a Prophet of God
should walk in, or point out his duty, and just how far he must
go, in dictating temporal or spiritual things. Temporal and spiritual
things are inseparably connected, and ever will be. [Journal of
Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
When a people are righteous they want the best to lead them in
government. Alma was the head of the Church and of the government
in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was mayor of Nauvoo, and Brigham
Young was governor of Utah. Isaiah was deeply involved in giving
counsel on political matters and of his words the Lord Himself said,
"Great are the words of Isaiah" (3 Nephi 23:1). Those
who would remove prophets from politics would take God out of government.
Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following
the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are
The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees
with them; otherwise, the prophet is just giving his opinion--speaking
as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of
a lowly prophet.
In the Book of Mormon we read:
O that cunning plan of the evil one! 0 the vainness, and the
frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they
think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of
God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves,
wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not.
And they shall perish.
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of
And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the
learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of
their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches--yea, they
are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things
away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down
in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them. [2 Nephi
Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world
or the worldly.
As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest
in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet
or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world,
the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet, or else
act as if the prophet didn't exist, rather than repent of their
sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been
killed or cast out.
As we come closer to the Lord's second coming, you can expect that
as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will
be less popular with them.
Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency--the
highest quorum in the Church.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord refers to the First Presidency
as "the highest council of the Church" (107:80) and says,
"whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those....the First Presidency,
whom I have sent" (112:20).
Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency--the living prophet
and the First Presidency--follow them and be blessed; reject them
President Harold B. Lee relates this incident from Church history:
The story is told in the early days of the Church--particularly,
I think, at Kirtland--where some of the leading brethren in the
presiding councils of the Church met secretly and tried to scheme
as to how they could get rid of the Prophet Joseph's leadership.
They made the mistake of inviting Brigham Young to one of these
secret meetings. He rebuked them, after he had heard the purpose
of their meeting. This is part of what he said: "You cannot
destroy the appointment of a prophet of God, but you can cut the
thread that binds you to the prophet of God and sink yourselves
to hell." [In Conference Report, April 1963, p. 81]
In a general conference of the Church President N. Eldon Tanner
The Prophet spoke out clearly on Friday moming, telling us what
our responsibilities are... .
A man said to me after that, "You know, there are people
in our state who believe in following the Prophet in everything
they think is right, but when it is something they think isn't
right, and it doesn't appeal to them, then that's different."
He said, "Then they become their own prophet. They decide
what the Lord wants and what the Lord doesn't want."
I thought how true, and how serious when we begin to choose which
of the covenants, which of the commandments we will keep and follow.
When we decide that there are some of them that we will not keep
or follow, we are taking the law of the Lord into our own hands
and become our own prophets, and believe me, we will be led astray,
because we are false prophets to ourselves when we do not to follow
the Prophet of God. No, we should never discriminate between these
commandments, as to those we should and should not keep. [In Conference
Report, October 1966, p. 98]
"Look to the Presidency and receive instruction," said
the Prophet Joseph Smith (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,
selected by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book
Co., 1938], p. 161). But Almon Babbitt didn't, and in the Doctrine
and Covenants section 124, verse 84, the Lord states:
And with my servant Almon Babbitt, there are many things with
which I am not pleased; behold, he aspireth to establish his counsel
instead of the counsel which I have ordained, even that of the
Presidency of my Church.
Tehkäämme lopuksi yhteenveto tästä suurenmoisesta
avaimesta, näistä "Neljästätoista perussäännöstä
profeetan seuraamisessa", sillä pelastuksemme riippuu
- Profeetta on ainoa mies, joka puhuu Herran puolesta kaikessa.
- Elävä profeetta on meille tärkeämpi kuin
- Elävä profeetta on meille tärkeämpi kuin
- Profeetta ei ole koskaan johtava kirkkoa harhaan.
- Profeetalla ei tarvitse olla mitään erityistä
maallista koulutusta tai valtakirjaa puhuakseen mistä tahansa
aiheesta tai toimiakseen missä asiassa tahansa koska tahansa.
- Profeetan ei tarvitse sanoa "Näin sanoo Herra"
antaessaan meille pyhää kirjoitusta.
- Profeetta kertoo meille sen, mitä meidän tarvitsee
tietää, ei aina sitä, mitä me haluamme tietää.
- Ihmisjärkeily ei rajoita profeettaa.
- Profeetta voi saada ilmoitusta mistä asiasta tahansa, sekä
ajallisesta että hengellisestä.
- Profeetta voi olla mukana siviililuonteisissa asioissa.
- Ne kaksi ryhmää, joiden on vaikeinta seurata profeettaa,
ovat oppineet ylpeät ja rikkaat ylpeät.
- Profeetan ei tarvitse olla suosittu maailman tai maailmallisten
- Profeetta ja hänen neuvonantajansa muodostavat Ensimmäisen
presidenttikunnan kirkon ylimmän koorumin.
- Profeetta ja presidenttikunta elävä profeetta
ja Ensimmäinen presidenttikunta seuraa heitä
ja ole siunattu; hylkää heidät ja kärsi.
Todistan teille, että nämä neljätoista perussääntöä
elävän profeetan seuraamiseksi ovat todet. Mikäli
haluamme tietää asemamme Herran silmissä, kysykäämme
itseltämme, mikä on asemamme Hänen kuolevaisen kapteeninsa
silmissä. Kuinka tarkasti elämme sopusoinnussa Herran
voidellun sanojen kanssa elävän profeetan, kirkon
presidentin ja Ensimmäisen presidenttikunnan sanojen kanssa?
Rukoukseni on: siunatkoon Jumala meitä kaikkia niin että
kuuntelisimme profeettaa ja presidenttikuntaa tulevina kriittisinä
ja ratkaisevina päivinä. Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessä,
Näin siis silloinen apostoli, tuleva profeetta Ezra T.
Benson kehotti suorin sanoin kirkon jäseniä luottamaan
lihan käsivarteen esimerkiksi häneen itseensä.