Note: I have some fun stuff to announce on Tuesday and Thursday – watch for it!
I’m sure there have been times when you’re watching TV late in the evening and you are feeling a little hungry. It seems like most of the time that happens to me, I am immediately barraged by commercials for all things delicious. It’s like Alexa can hear my stomach growl so she tells the computer in the sky that controls which commercials I see and they queue up pizza, burgers, ice cream, pastries, snacks – all the good stuff.
Well, the past few weeks I have been barraged by a spiritual message that I wasn’t even aware that I needed: FOLLOW THE PROPHET. Nothing different or groundbreaking, simply reminders coming at me from all sides to up my game in following the prophet(s).
Turns out that maybe I DID need to hear that message several times. It has been good for me, and has caused me to double-check how I feel and how I speak about prophets. I have found that there is always room for improvement in even the most basic concepts, let alone the most important ones.
Lately, I’ve been conversing a lot with family and friends about latter-day prophets – living and dead – and their counsel to us. I find that sometimes those conversations can get a little off track, and I haven’t always paid the proper respect to those servants of God. Especially when times are a bit daunting, and modern culture (even in the Church) likes to take potshots at those the Lord has chosen to speak for him. One can always do better.
Two of the reminders came from talks suggested to me by my friend Matthew Watkins. The third grew from the podcast I recorded with him and Shelbi Stanfill about Elder Dale G. Renlund’s recent conference address, “A Framework for Personal Revelation.” More on that later.
The first salvo came from a talk given by Brother Ahmed Corbitt, currently serving as the first counselor in the Young Men general presidency. He is awesome, and has a cool backstory. His audience consisted of military chaplains of the Church. Here is a link to his talk. And here is a quote that resonated with me.
“Activism toward the Church’s criticism of the Lord’s prophets is actively working in the minds of some to decouple prophets from the prophetic line that runs from Joseph Smith to President Nelson. The Lord further declared the First Presidency should be “upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church.” Naturally, this same sustaining faith applies to the Twelve apostles who “officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations…” The Lord calls upon His covenant children to sustain other general and local church leaders called under the direction of the First Presidency and the Twelve. Thus, any activism or advocacy that could weaken one’s own or another’s “confidence, faith or prayer” in or on behalf of church leaders or diminish one’s ability to “give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles” is obviously not of God. In my observation, such lack of faith inevitably leads to letting go of the Church entirely and losing the testimony of Jesus. Hence activism toward the Church often indirectly undermines faith in Jesus Christ.”
This concept is so timely and important, and that’s why I’m sharing it. (Read it a couple of times.)
Next up, Sister Sheri Dew spoke at a BYU-H devotional and her talk was entitled, Prophets can see around corners. (While she is not speaking from a position of authority, she is speaking from a position of knowledge earned through decades of service and interaction with said prophets.) Here are some quotes::
“ Question: Is there anyone you trust to give you more inspired advice unaffected by personal agenda than the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?
Answer: Can you think of any journalist, talk-show host, celebrity, athlete, or politician you trust more than our prophet? How about any entrepreneur, billionaire, or scholar? Any YouTube celeb or star of stage, screen, or Netflix?
I can’t. Each of these want something from us: our vote, money, or support. They all have personal agendas. Prophets of God do not. Their agenda is the Lord’s. And yet, too often we listen to them last.”
“Truth: Prophets won’t be popular. So, when the social media mob pounces on them, don’t let that threaten your testimony. When prophets refuse to embrace the disintegration of morals championed by a rabidly secular society, that does not mean prophets are wrong. Sustaining prophets in today’s world takes faith—but not faith in them, faith in Jesus Christ, who called them.“
And this is just a taste of Sis. Dew’s talk. It is wonderful. Here is a link to the video and transcript.
Finally, the podcast that I mentioned was not only enjoyable to be on, but I found the conversation to be enlightening. For a minute I took a brief tangent in regards to following the prophets that you might find helpful. Note: Remember, I have zero authority and do not speak for the Church (I know my place).
“Elder Renlund explains it as ‘receiving personal revelation only within our purview,’ and there’s something that I’ve noticed over the years that kinda makes me crazy. I see young people explain what the Church should do, or what the doctrine should be, and I think to myself, alright, President Nelson has spent 70, 80 years learning how the Spirit works, and how the Spirit speaks. He’s got a resume in spiritual experience that nobody else on the planet has! And so, a 25 year-old, or a 45 year-old, or a 65 year-old person is gonna come in and say, “Yeah, here’s why he’s wrong, and here’s what he should do.” It just…I don’t know any other word but arrogance – to think that we would know better than him. Even if I’ve spent my entire life trying my best, I can’t hold a candle to 80 years of spiritual experience.”
My point with this post is basically this: We need to follow the prophet – but follow him better. He speaks for Christ.
Sheri Dew closed with this challenge, and I second it, “I plead with you to gain your own witness of prophets of God and then follow them for the rest of your life. It will be the smartest thing you ever do. Because prophets will be the last safe voices on earth.”