So, I can’t really recall my internet steps, but I found myself on a website that is quite unfriendly to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I think I was looking up some kind of church history thing and couldn’t tell from the Google preview that the site was unfriendly. Anyhow, I found the quote I was looking for, but I also found an interesting “argument” against the LDS church that I want to quickly address. Here’s the argument, paraphrased, that I actually found about four times on this particular site:
“Can any of you remember Thomas Monson prophesying about anything in the last general conference? Me either. I thought prophets were supposed to prophesy! Why do the Mormons think they have prophets if there isn’t any prophesying?!”
Ok, I get it. With the title of “prophets” you’d think that they would spend most of their talks in prophesy-mode. While our prophets do prophesy of future events at times, they play a much more important role outside of prophesy, as did the prophets of old. Here are a few basic things you ought to know about prophets in the latter days:
- Prophets “uncover” the Jesus Christ of the scriptures. One of a prophet’s main missions is to teach and testify of the living, resurrected, reality of Jesus Christ and His Father. You will find endless examples of prophets testifying of Christ in general conference addresses.
- Prophets speak for the Lord to the Church and the world. Though many people can (and should) receive personal revelation, only the Prophet can speak in behalf of God with authority.
- Prophets warn the world. A great example of this is the second to last paragraph in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
- Prophets teach and give counsel. Prophets are inspired to help us navigate through a fairly confusing world.
- Prophets direct the affairs of Christ’s church here upon the earth. That is a monumental challenge in a church filled with 15 million members scattered throughout the entire earth and he has an entire organization to assist in that work.
- Of course, at times, a prophet shares prophesy regarding possible future events, some contingent upon our choices and others not.
Our family has been blessed as we’ve followed different prophets and apostles in their teachings. I remember hearing President Gordon B. Hinckley teach us to try to faithfully hold Family Home Evenings and make sacrifices to do so. At his challenge, our family tried to push other things off of Monday evenings and worked on making sure we gathered our family together each week to teach the gospel and have fun together. That single act of family obedience to one of the Savior’s representatives on the earth has brought more closeness, happiness, and peace into our home than many other choices Janese and I have made as parents. I’ve also found that there have been blessings I’ve missed when I’ve purposely not followed the teachings of our prophet, and the missed blessings have been noticeable.
I’m thankful for prophets. I’m glad they don’t spend most of their time telling us of things to come. I’m thankful for insights into “now” and for their testimonies of a living, loving Savior.