“We do not lack a prophet; what we lack is a listening ear...That is the great need of our generation.”  (J. Reuben Clark, CR, October 1948, pg. 80, 82)

Prophet Defined

(BD 754)

01 – “What does it mean to be a prophet? The word prophet in the Greek language means ‘inspired teacher’ (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1164). In Hebrew, the word prophet means ‘one who announces or brings a message from God.’” (L. Tom Perry, Ensign, November 1994, pg. 18)

02 – “Christ and his prophets go together. They cannot be separated. It is utterly and completely impossible to believe in Christ without also believing in and accepting the divine commission of the prophets sent to reveal him and to carry his saving truths to the world.

“No one today would say: ‘I will believe in Christ, but will not believe in Peter, James, and John and their testimony of him.’ In the very nature of things belief in Christ is more than accepting him as a single person standing alone, as one person independent of any other. Belief in Christ presupposes and includes within it the acceptance of the prophets who reveal him to the world.”  (Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, pg. 81)

03 – “If the Lord wished he could preach this gospel to the world by declaring it from the heavens.  He could have his angels blow their trumpets and declare the message of salvation in the ears of all of the world. Would it not be a much easier way to get the message of truth before the world than the expensive way of sending messengers clothed with authority at great expense and toil to try to teach the world?  But the ways of the Lord are not man’s ways.  He works through his witnesses, and in establishing his work in every age, he uses the few, not the many.  Never since the beginning has the Lord declared himself to the unbelieving world, but he has sent out his messengers to preach the gospel to the world.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:208-09)

04 – “And those means always include sending the message by the mouths of His prophets, whenever people have qualified to have the prophets of God among them. Those authorized servants are always charged with warning the people, telling them the way to safety.”  (Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, May 1997, pg. 24)

05 – “When there are no prophets, there is no divine direction, and without such guidance the people walk in darkness.

“It is an infallible sign of the true church that it has in it divinely chosen, living prophets to guide it, men who receive current revelation from God and whose recorded works become new scripture.

“It is an infallible sign of the true church also that it will produce new and additional scripture arising out of the ministrations of those prophets. This unfailing pattern of God is clearly made manifest through his dealings with his people from the beginning.” (Mark E. Petersen, Ensign, May 1978, pg. 62)

06 – “In the last period of time, since the October conference, the Quorum of the Twelve has been following that admonition against the obvious hastening that is taking place; the unprecedented, miraculous changing of the circumstances across the world. Nations, in a sense, are being born in a day and the invitation now is for our missionaries to move into [those] countries... This hastening has been the source of sobering reflection and we of the Twelve, and under the direction of President Hunter, have held many meetings, over viewing and calling into attention things of the past; looking at our circumstances at the present, and looking into the future as is not only our calling, but our responsibility as prophets, seers, and revelators.” (Boyd K. Packer, Regional Representative Seminar, March 30, 1990, pg. 1)

07 – Did Christ speak this as a general principle throughout all generations? Oh no he spoke in the present tense no man that was then living upon the footstool of God knew the day or the hour But he did not say that there was no man throughout all generations that should not know the day or the hour. No for this would be in flat contradiction with other scripture for the prophet says that God will do nothing but what he will reveal unto his Servants the prophets consequently if it is not made known to the Prophets it will not come to pass.” (Joseph Smith; Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 180-181)

08 – “When President David O. McKay died, a Church member approached Elder Harold B. Lee and questioned him about the prospect of Joseph Fielding Smith, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, becoming the next prophet. Elder Gene R. Cook described the dialogue as follows: ‘Is it correct what I have heard that they’re going to make Joseph Fielding Smith the President of the Church?’

“Elder Lee answered politely and confirmed that he thought that would be the case. But the man persisted and said, ‘How can that be? I can’t believe that. How can we sustain Joseph Fielding Smith? He’s ninety-three years old. Why, he’s so old I’m not sure he is really quite with it.’

“The man continued developing this point. How could a man of that age, his body weak and worn down, still direct this Church? President Lee listened for a while, but his sharp mind was spinning. He responded, ‘My good brother, do you know what it takes to be a prophet of the Lord?’ The man said, ‘Well, I guess I really don’t know exactly.’ ‘Well,’ said Elder Lee, ‘What do you think it would take?’

“The fellow then said, ‘Well, I suppose he’d have to know all about genealogy, the missionary program of the Church, and all the missionaries and what they’re doing and how to supervise them. He would need to know about the Primary and the Relief Society and the building and construction programs.’ He named quite a few other major functions of the Church.

“When he finished Elder Lee said, ‘That’s all wrong.’ He could sometimes say that quite pointedly. The man was taken back a bit. Then Elder Lee answered his question by stating, ‘Shall I tell you what it takes to be a prophet? There’s only one capacity; just one. And that is to be able to hear the voice of the Lord. That’s all. He’s got all the rest of us to do the work. He just has to do one function. Do you suppose that this great living Apostle, who has been sustained a prophet for six decades, longer than any other man on earth, might be able to do that?’” (L. Brent Goates, He Changed My Life, pg. 32-33)

“Special Witnesses” or Office of Apostle

(Acts 1:15-23;Acts 10:38-43;1 Corinthians 12:28;Ephesians 2:20;Ephesians 4:11;Mosiah 8 13-18;D&C 107:23-39, 91-92;Charge to the Twelve - HC, 2:194-198;Message of Christ=s Special Witnesses - Ensign, April 2001, pg. 2-21)

09 – “All members of the First Presidency and the Twelve are regularly sustained as ‘prophets, seers, and revelators,’ as you have done today. This means that any one of the apostles, so chosen and ordained, could preside over the Church if he were ‘chosen by the body [which has been interpreted to mean, the entire Quorum of the Twelve,] appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church,’ to quote from a revelation on this subject, on one condition, and that being that he was the senior member, or the president, of that body (D&C 107:22).” (Harold B. Lee, CR, April 1970, pg. 123)

 “The Bible says God hath set in the church, first Apostles, then comes Prophets, afterwards, because the keys and power of the Apostleship are greater than that of the Prophets.” (Brigham Young, HC, 7:288)

 “The word ‘apostle’, by very definition is one of special significance and sanctity [in fact so sacred is the title of Apostle, that in general usage it is proper to use the appointed title of Elder, consequently the unnecessary usage of such a sacred title of Apostle is avoided (Doctrine and Covenants 20:38; Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation 1:95], it has been given of God, and belongs only to those who have been called and ordained as special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world, thus differing from other officers in The Church in the duties of their calling. (Doctrine and Covenants 107:23)  By derivation the word apostle is the English equivalent of the Greek apostolos, indicating a messenger, an ambassador, or literally one who is sent.  It signifies that he who is rightly so called, speaks and acts not of himself, but as the representative of a higher power whence his commission issued; and in this sense the title is that of a servant, rather than that of a superior.”  (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:307)

12 – Elder = Defender of the Faith.” (Harold B. Lee, CR, April 1970, pg. 54)

13 – These twelve disciples of Christ are supposed to be eye and ear witnesses of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. It is not permissible for them to say, I believe, simply; I have accepted it simply because I believe it. Read the revelation, the Lord informs us they must know, they must get the knowledge for themselves...That is their mission, to testify of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead...”  (Joseph F. Smith, CR, April 1916, pg. 6)

14 – “All Christendom knows, or should know, that the ancient apostles were special witnesses of the Lord’s name; that they saw him after he rose from the dead; that he spent forty days with them as a resurrected being, teaching them all things that it was expedient for them to know pertaining to his kingdom.  Those who believe the Book of Mormon are aware that, as with the Twelve in Jerusalem, so with the Twelve on the American continent: they were all witnesses of the Lord – they all felt the nail marks in his hands and feet; they all thrust their hands into his side.  There is general awareness in the Church that the latter-day Twelve hold the same office, possess the same priesthood and keys, and bear the same witness of the divine Sonship of him who redeemed us as did their predecessors in days of old.  It is true that the witness of the Holy Ghost is sure and absolute and that a man can know with a perfect knowledge, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God who was crucified for the sins of the world.  This unshakeable certainty can rest in his soul even though he has not seen the face of his Lord.  But it is also true that those who have this witness of the Spirit are expected, like their counterparts of old, to see and hear and touch and converse with the Heavenly Person, as did those of old.”  (Bruce R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pg. 592)

15 – “In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 27:12-13, the Lord says that he sent Peter, James, and John to ordain Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and that by virtue of that ordination they became apostles and special witnesses.  This is true, but as previously stated these men were not ordained to the specific office in the priesthood, but received the priesthood itself out of which the offices come. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were therefore, by virtue of the conferring of priesthood, apostles or special witnesses, for Jesus Christ, and the only men among men who could testify from knowledge and personal contact as did the Twelve in the meridian of time.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 3:147)

16 – “The question frequently arises: ‘Is it necessary for a member of the Council of the Twelve to see the Savior in order to be an apostle?’  It is their privilege to see him if occasion requires, but the Lord has taught that there is a stronger witness than seeing a personage, even of seeing the Son of God in a vision.  Impressions on the soul that come from the Holy Ghost are far more significant than a vision.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, Improvement Era, November 1966, pg. 979)

17 – “This principle ought to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 149)

18 – “It is true that some have actually seen the Savior, but when one consults the dictionary, he learns that there are many other meanings of the word see, such as coming to know Him, discerning Him, recognizing Him and His work, perceiving His importance, or coming to understand Him.”  (David B. Haight, Ensign, November 1990, pg. 61)

Calling of a Prophet

(Deuteronomy 13:1-11;Moses 1;John 1;I Nephi 1;JS-H 1;Amos 3:7;Isaiah 6;Jeremiah 23:16-24;Hebrews 5:4;D&C 49:7;AF #5)

19 – The grand rule of the heavens...that nothing should ever be done on earth without reveling the secrets to his servants the prophets.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 265)

20 – Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before the world was.”  (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 365)

21 – “The word secret also is a translation of the Hebrew word sod and carries the same meaning as the word council. Legitimate prophets must have received their mission in the premortal heavenly council.”  (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 365)

22 – Aaron received his calling by revelation.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 272)

23 – “This transition of authority, in which I have participated a number of times, is beautiful in its simplicity. It is indicative of the way the Lord does things. Under His procedure a man is selected by the prophet to become a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He does not choose this as a career. He is called, as were the Apostles in Jesus’ time, to whom the Lord said, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.’ (John 15:16.) The years pass. He is schooled and disciplined in the duties of his office. He travels over the earth in fulfilling his apostolic calling. It is a long course of preparation, in which he comes to know the Latter‑day Saints wherever they may be, and they come to know him. The Lord tests his heart and his substance. In the natural course of events, vacancies occur in that council and new appointments are made. Under this process a particular man becomes the senior Apostle. Residing latent in him, and in his associate Brethren, given to each at the time of ordination, are all of the keys of the priesthood. But authority to exercise those keys is restricted to the President of the Church. At his passing, that authority becomes operative in the senior Apostle, who is then named, set apart, and ordained a prophet and President by his associates of the Council of the Twelve.

“There is no electioneering. There is no campaigning. There is only the quiet and simple operation of a divine plan which provides inspired and tested leadership.”  (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1986, pg. 46-47)

NOTE - Close examination of each book of scripture reveals a similar paradigm; the first chapter or section of each book presents the calling and mission of a prophet of God.

Old Testament:  Moses 1 - Moses

New Testament:  St. John 1 - John the Baptist [Matthew was not the first book to be written.]

Book of Mormon:  1 Nephi 1 - Lehi

Doctrine and Covenants:  Doctrine and Covenants 1 Mentions ‘His servants’ (apostles, prophets, disciples, Joseph Smith, etc., 34 different times)

Pearl of Great Price: Joseph Smith – History 1 - Joseph Smith [The others preceding this record are simply inserts from other books of scripture. (Joseph Smith Translation)]


Heavenly Ascents according to the traditions of the Talmud


A –     Ascent into Heaven      

B –     Entering the Heavenly Palace

C –     Reception by the Holy Ghost in His Assembly

D –     Purification

E –     Anointing

F –     Robing in Royal or Heavenly Garments

G –     Handing over the Heavenly Book or Tablets to the Bearer of Revelation

H –     Calling with Names of Honor

I –      Initiation into the Heavenly Secrets

J –      Enthronement on the Father’s Throne

K –      Sending Forth with a Commission or Message to Instruct

(Jewish Quarterly Review 61:294/April 1971)





(1)  Prophet Retires to a Secluded Place

Secluded places, sometimes mountains, often acted and served as temples


(2)  Prophet Prays


(3)  Prophet Experiences (Sees and Hears) a Heavenly Vision  - Proverbs 29:18


(4)  Counterpart is Revealed to the Prophet

“The nearer a man approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishments of His own purposes.”  (Joseph Smith, Life of Heber C. Kimball, pg. 131-132)

 “Truth and untruth, travel together side by side.  Light and darkness both offer themselves to the seeker after truth, one to bless, the other to destroy mankind.  Whenever a man sets out to seek truth, he will for a time be overtaken by evil.  No seeker after truth is, therefore, ever free from temptation, from evil power.  No sooner had the Prophet reached the grove than evil sought to destroy him.  But he had come to find truth, and he fought against the evil power.  He would not be overcome. He fought for truth; and as he fought, light appeared... This is an eternal law.” (John A. Widtsoe, The Significance of the First Vision, Joseph Smith Memorial Sermon given at the Logan Institute; December 8, 1946)

 “Each of the great leaders before entering upon his mission was allowed to make his own choice between the two ways, the case for each being presented personally to him by the highest authority on either side.  Thus Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, the ancient Apostles, Joseph Smith, and, of course, the Lord himself were not only privileged to speak with God face to face, ‘even as a man talketh one with another,’ but were also exposed to intimate and personal interviews, however harrowing and unsolicited, with the prince of darkness as well.  Their opponents in each of the dispensations were also favored with direct manifestations from both sides, and each made his choice between enjoying power and dominion, here or hereafter.”  (Hugh Nibley, New Era, Man’s Dominion, January/February 1981, pg. 47)

(5)  Exhaustion to the Prophet Follows True Revelation

“An unusual outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord is typically followed by physical exhaustion.”  (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 280-81)

 “While the wonders of the heavens were focused to their view, [in the vision recorded in D&C 76, received by the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon] Joseph the Seer sat firmly and calmly in the midst if this magnificent glory, but his scribe sat limp and pale.  Observing Rigdon’s pallor and flaccidity, Joseph smiled and said, ‘Sidney is not used to it as I am.’”  (Juvenile Instructor, 27:202-204)

(6)  Prophet Receives a Book


(7)  Prophet Records His Revelation


(8)  Prophet Declares or Prophecies His Revelation


(9)  Prophet’s Message is Rejected

“A prophet is seldom popular, and the cost of being a prophet is always great, for he may be called upon to say those things which are not pleasing... and he may find himself fighting against a tide of mass misconception, and, as history records, be stoned, crucified, banished, ridiculed, shunned, or rejected. For the truth is not pleasing unto all men, and time has proved that majorities are not always right...It is not important that a prophet should say those things with which you and I are in full accord.  But it is important that you and I should bring ourselves into full accord with those things which a prophet speaks by virtue of his calling.”  (Richard L. Evens, Improvement Era, November 1939, pg. 672)

(10) Prophet’s Life is Threatened

“Every man to whom the heavens have been opened and who had received revelations from God has been hated by his fellows; his life has been sought, and he has had no peace on the earth.  No matter how numerous such persons have been they have been hunted and driven.”  (George Q. Cannon, JD 12:367)

 “It has been the desire of the wicked to destroy the people of God.  They have never slackened their efforts, nor failed to use all the means in their power, nor hesitated to resort to the most cruel, foul and fiendish acts to accomplish their nefarious purpose...  It is unmistakable.  The hatred of the wicked always has and always will follow the Priesthood and the Saints.  The devil will not lose sight of the power of God vested in man – the Holy Priesthood.  He fears it, he hates it, and will never cease to stir up the heart of the debased and corrupt in anger and malice towards those who hold this power, and to persecute the Saints, until he is bound.”  (Joseph F. Smith, HC 1:94)


Old Testament, Moses 1

1 -  Prophet Retires to a Secluded Place  [vs. 1]

2 -  Prophet Prays  [vs. 1]

3 -  Prophet Experiences (Sees and Hears) a Heavenly Vision  [vs. 8]

4 -  Counterpart is Revealed  [vs. 12-22]

5 -  Exhaustion Follows True Revelation  [vs. 9-10]

6 -  Prophet Receives a Book  [vs. 41]

7 -  Prophet Records His Revelation  [vs. 40-42]

8 -  Prophet Declares or Prophecies His Revelation  [vs. 41-42]

            9 -  Prophet’s Message is Rejected  [vs. 41; Exodus 7-10, 32]

10 - Prophet’s Life is Threatened  [vs. Exodus 14; Numbers 32]


New Testament, Revelation 1

1 -  Prophet Retires to a Secluded Place  [vs. 9]

2 -  Prophet Prays  [vs. 10]

3 -  Prophet Experiences (Sees and Hears) a Heavenly Vision  [vs. 2-3]

4 -  Counterpart is Revealed  [Revelation 17:11]

5 -  Exhaustion Follows True Revelation  [not mentioned in account]

6 -  Prophet Receives a Book  [vs. Revelation 10:9]

7 -  Prophet Records His Revelation  [vs. 11, 19]

8 -  Prophet Declares or Prophecies His Revelation  [vs. Revelation 10:11]

9 -  Prophet’s Message is Rejected  [One of the least understood books]

10 - Prophet’s Life is Threatened  [Banishment to the Isle of Patmos]


Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 1

1 -  Prophet Retires to a Secluded Place  [vs. 7]

2 -  Prophet Prays  [vs. 5-6]

3 -  Prophet Experiences (Sees and Hears) a Heavenly Vision  [vs. 8]

4 -  Counterpart is Revealed  [not mentioned in Nephi’s entry]

5 -  Exhaustion Follows True Revelation  [vs. 7]

6 -  Prophet Receives a Book  [vs. 11]

7 -  Prophet Records His Revelation  [vs. 16-17]

8 -  Prophet Declares or Prophecies His Revelation  [vs. 18]

            9 -  Prophet’s Message is Rejected  [vs. 19]

10 - Prophet’s Life is Threatened  [vs. 20]


Doctrine and Covenants, JS - History 1

1 -  Prophet Retires to a Secluded Place  [vs. 15]

2 -  Prophet Prays  [vs. 15]

3 -  Prophet Experiences (Sees and Hears) a Heavenly Vision  [vs. 16-19]

4 -  Counterpart is Revealed  [vs. 15-16, 20]

5 -  Exhaustion Follows True Revelation  [vs. 20, 48]

6 -  Prophet Receives a Book  [vs. 59]

7 -  Prophet Records His Revelation  [vs. 60...]

8 -  Prophet Declares or Prophecies His Revelation  [vs. 21...]

            9 -  Prophet’s Message is Rejected  [vs. 22...]

10 - Prophet’s Life is Threatened  [vs. 20]

Mortal Man - Monumental Message

(D&C 1:14;D&C 43:2-6;OD#1)

24 – I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.” (Joseph Smith, HC, 5:265)

25 – I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught.” (Joseph Smith, HC, 6:366)

26 – We do not believe in the infallibility of man. When God reveals anything it is truth, and truth is infallible. No President of the Church has claimed infallibility.” (Charles W. Penrose, Improvement Era, September 1912, pg. 1045)

27 – The First Presidency cannot claim, individually or collectively, infallibility. The infallibility is not given to men. They are fallible.” (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, 1:206)

28 – We must always remember, as has been said so many times, the Lord calls his prophets and the Lord releases his prophets. They cannot be called or released by any other power.” (N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign, May 1974, pg. 84)

29 – The living prophets are not perfect men, but they live close to Him who is perfect.” (Neal A. Maxwell, Things as They Really Are, pg. 77)

30 – Now, we may take the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and we may read them through, and every other revelation that has been given to us, and they would scarcely be sufficient to guide us twenty‑four hours. We have only an outline of our duties written; we are to be guided by the living oracles. The Ten Commandments are very good, and the great and glorious principles pertaining to the redemption of man, the revelations pertaining to events that are past and to the things of the mysterious and unborn future, and there are also many choice and precious things relating to the redemption of man, to the present and future greatness of the Saints; but where can we find one revelation that tells us that we should raise three hundred teams, or twelve hundred yoke of cattle, to bring up the poor from the Missouri river. We have been informed by the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ that there should be a temple built in Jackson County; but has there been a revelation to tell us how long or how high it should be? No, we have got to be governed by the mind and will of God, and this must be apparent to this people; it shows itself more and more. April 8, 1862, JD 9:324.”  (Wilford Woodruff, Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pg. 48)

31 – Is not our attitude toward these prophets an unerring reflection of our innermost feeling toward God? I mean our real, basic allegiance when it is divested of all outward show and stripped of all pretensions.

“Can we truly love the Lord and at the same time reject his servants?

“If we really do love God, then indeed we must and we will love and revere his anointed ones.”  (Mark E. Petersen, Ensign, November. 1981, pg 66)

32 – “I do not believe members of this church can be in full harmony with the Savior without sustaining his living prophet on the earth, the President of the Church. If we do not sustain the living prophet, whoever he may be, we die spiritually. Ironically, some have died spiritually by exclusively following prophets who have long been dead. Others equivocate in their support of living prophets, trying to lift themselves up by putting down the living prophets, however subtly.”  (James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1989, pg. 9)

The Role of a Prophet

Capacity as seen through Nephi, son of Helaman

 Helaman 7-11


1 -  Helaman 7:8-9               Mission is in the Present (JS, TPJS, pg. 365)

2 -  Helaman 7:17-19           Cry’s Repentance\Warns of Coming Judgments (JS, TPJS, pg. 361)

3 -  Helaman 7:29                Called of God - Not Self Appointed(JS, TPJS, pg. 307)

4 -  Helaman 8:4-6               Unpopular with Wicked (ETB, Speeches-2/80)

5 -  Helaman 8:11; 13-20     Consistent with Other Prophets (ETB, TETB, pg.66)

6 -  Helaman 8:20                Supported by External Evidence (JS, TPJS, pg. 266-67)

7 -  Helaman 8:27-28           Speaks on Current Events (JS, TPJS, pg. 302-03)

8 -  Helaman 9:25                Gives Signs When Appropriate (JS, TPJS, pg. 157; 278)

9 -  Helaman 10:7-10           Given Power (to Seal, to Bless, to Curse)(JS, TPJS, pg. 340)

10 - Helaman 11:5-6            Miracles Attend Prophets (ETB, TETB, pg. 68)

11 - Helaman 11:18             Held in High Esteem by the Righteous (ETB, Ensign, January. 1986, pg.12)

12 - Helaman 11:23             Receives Revelation Daily (ETB, Speeches-2/80)


#2  “Today I shall speak doctrine, by way of warning and of testimony, and shall do so as one holding the holy apostleship, whose responsibility it is to proclaim the Lord's message in all the world and to all people. Each of my brethren of the Council of the Twelve has the same responsibility I have to declare these things to the world and to bear record of them before all men.”  (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1975, pg. 33)


#4  “Every man to whom the heavens have been opened and who had received revelations from God has been hated by his fellows; his life has been sought, and he has had no peace on the earth.  No matter how numerous such persons have been they have been hunted and driven.”  (George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 12:367)


#4  “A prophet is seldom popular, and the cost of being a prophet is always great, for he may be called upon to say those things which are not pleasing... and he may find himself fighting against a tide of mass misconception, and, as history records, be stoned, crucified, banished, ridiculed, shunned, or rejected, for the truth is not pleasing unto all men, and time has proved that majorities are not always right...It is not important that a prophet should say those thing with which you and I are in full accord.  But it is important that you and I should bring ourselves into full accord with those things which a prophet speaks by virtue of his calling.”  (Richard L. Evens, Improvement Era, November 1939, pg. 672)


#7  “Judge, you will aspire to the presidency of the United States; and if ever you turn your hand against me or the Latter-day Saints, you will feel the weight of the almighty upon you; and you will live to see and know that I have testified the truth to you.”   (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 302-03)


#9  “The Lord once told me that what I asked for I should have.  I have been afraid to ask God to kill my enemies, lest some of them should, peradventure, repent.

“I asked a short time since for the Lord to deliver me out of the hands of the Governor of Missouri, and if it needs must be to accomplished it, to take him away; and the next news that came pouring down from there was, that Governor Reynolds had shot himself.  And I would now say, ‘Beware, O earth, how you fight against the Saints of God and shed innocent blood...’” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 340)

Accept or Reject

(D&C 21:4-5;D&C 121:16-24)

33 – “In conclusion, let us summarize this grand key, these Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, for our salvation hangs on them.

First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the people astray.

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.

Sixth: The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ to give us scripture.

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency – the highest quorum in the Church.

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency – the living prophet and the First Presidency – follow them and be blessed – reject them and suffer.

“I testify that these fourteen fundamentals in following the living prophet are true.  If we want to know how well we stand with the Lord then let us ask ourselves how well we stand with His mortal captain – how close do our lives harmonize with the words of the Lord’s anointed – the  living prophet – President of the Church, and with the Quorum of the First Presidency.” (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Speeches, February 26, 1980, pg. 8-9)

34 – I have traveled six solid weeks at a time in different settlements and heard ‘We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet’ sung in every one of them.  And I have thought time and time again that there were any number of Latter-day Saints who ought to put a postscript on it and say, ‘We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days provided he guides us in the way we want to be guided.’” (Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, 44:255)

35 – Let us hearken to those we sustain as prophets and seers as well as the other brethren, as if our eternal life depended upon it, because it does!”  (Spencer W. Kimball, CR, April 1978, pg. 177)

36 – One who rationalizes that he or she has a testimony of Jesus Christ but cannot accept direction and counsel from the leadership of His church is in a fundamentally unsound position and is in jeopardy of losing exaltation.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1982, pg. 64)

37 – “Various excuses have been used over the centuries to dismiss these divine messengers. There has been denial because the prophet came from an obscure place. ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ (John 1:46) Jesus was also met with the question, ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son?’ (Matt. 13:55.) By one means or another, the swiftest method of rejection of the holy prophets has been to find a pretext, however false or absurd, to dismiss the man so that his message could also be dismissed. Prophets who were not glib, but slow of speech, were esteemed as naught.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, May 1978, pg. 76-77)

38 – “I want to bear you my testimony that the experience I have had has taught me that those who criticize the leaders of this Church are showing signs of a spiritual sickness which, unless curbed, will bring about eventually spiritual death. I want to bear my testimony as well that those who in public seek by their criticism, to belittle our leaders or bring them into disrepute, will bring upon themselves more hurt than upon those whom they seek thus to malign.” (Harold B. Lee, CR, October 1947, pg. 67)

39 – That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 157)

40 – “Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the church in that day when the church was organized: ‘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.’ (D&C 21:4-5)

41 “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. But if you listen to these things:

‘For by doing these things 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).” (Harold B. Lee, CR, October 1970, pg. 152)

Classic Stories of Prophetic Counsel

“Now, brethren, if we will keep these things in mind, we shall not be deceived by false teachings. I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President 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.’” (Marion G. Romney, CR, October 1960, pg. 77-78)

42 – “One spring morning Ephraim was at work, building an adobe house in the city. The basement was almost completed and he was just beginning to lay the sun-dried brick when Brigham Young drove up in his carriage and said, ‘Ephraim, how thick is that rock wall?’ Ephraim answered  that it was eight inches thick. Brigham said, ‘Tear it all down, Ephraim, and build it twice as thick.’ Then as if to avoid argument, he turned his carriage around and drove away.

“Ephraim had been hauling rock from Ensign Peak for many days, and had paid a mason a good price to lay it in lime mortar. He dreaded the extra work and expense of doing it all over again. The mason, too, showed his disapproval by swearing and remarking ‘Brigham Young may be a saint, but he’s no kind of a prophet about building stone walls.’

“Nevertheless, Ephraim re-contracted with the stonemason to double the wall, and the next morning started hauling rock again. A month later they had laid on this sixteen inch wall much adobe brick and mud. As they were putting up the rafters, a terrific storm started. Rain fell in sheets causing streamlets of water to run in all directions. In a few minutes the basement of the new house was flooded, but the sturdy, thick walls stood safe and strong, supporting the house. A few days later when the water had drained out and they finished laying the rafters, Ephraim drove in the nails to the tune of ‘We Thank Thee, Oh God, For a Prophet.’” (Deseret News Press, Scouting for the Mormons on the Great Frontier, pg. 78-81)

43 – “Many times President Brigham Young called men to do things as a test of their faith. One evening at a dance, Brigham called Ephraim over to him and asked him to go home and shave. Like all the strong, virile men of that day, Ephraim wore a long beard. It was brown and wavy and almost reached his waist. Without a question, he walked home, and after a last look in the mirror and a gentle stroke of his favored possession, he went to work with scissors and razor. He left, however, a mustache but even with that, as he stated afterwards, he looked ‘like a peeled onion.’ Hurrying back to the hall, he was greeted with laughter by everyone but Brigham, who frowned and said, ‘Did I ask you to shave?’ Ephraim nodded. ‘Well, then, go back and do it right,’ Brigham demanded, with a gesture of his hand across his entire face. Without a word of remonstrance, Ephraim did as he was told.” (Deseret News Press, Scouting for the Mormons on the Great Frontier, pg. 78-81)

44 – “Upon another occasion my grandfather was assisting in the building of the Temple at Nauvoo and was driving a pair of beautiful high-spirited black mares. One day while backing his wagon in at the quarry which was down by the river’s edge, the Prophet came over to him and said: ‘Israel, on your next trip, stop and buy yourself a buggy whip,’ to which grandfather assented. On his next trip up town he bought a buggy whip and returned for another load of rock. Backing the team in this time, he attempted to stop them as usual by saying ‘Whoa,’ to which they paid no attention, but kept backing until Israel, in excitement, was compelled to use the whip which the Prophet had told him to buy. The horses jumped forward and the wagon stopped right at the edge of the quarry, beyond which they would have plunged below.

Grandfather frequently told this story as an illustration of what obedience meant. Grandfather accepted everything the Prophet Joseph Smith told him and never questioned ‘why?’ Some would call this blind obedience, but not so. Israel Barlow knew full well the divine calling of the Prophet and bore that testimony to the day of his death.” (Ora H. Barlow, The Israel Barlow Story and Mormon Mores, pg. 195-196)

45 – “The morning after the Battle of Crooked River, Haughn [sic] came to Far West to consult with the Prophet concerning the policy of the removal of the settlers on Log Creek to the fortified camps. Col. White [i.e., Wight] and myself were standing by when the Prophet said to him: ‘Move in, by all means, if you wish to save your lives.’ Haughn [sic] replied that if the settlers left their homes, all of their property would be lost and the Gentiles would burn their houses and other buildings. The Prophet said: ‘You had better lose your property then your lives; one can be replaced, the other cannot be restored; but there is no need of your losing either if you will only do as you are commanded.’ Haun [sic] said that he considered the best plan was for all the settlers to move into and around the mill, and use the blacksmith’s shop and other buildings as a fort in case of attack; in this way he thought they would be perfectly safe. ‘You are at liberty to do so if you think best,’ said the Prophet. Haughn [sic] then departed, well satisfied that he had carried his point. The Prophet turned to Col. White [sic] and said: ‘That man did not come for counsel, but to induce me to tell him to do as he pleased; which I did. Had I commanded them to move in here and leave their property, they would have called me a tyrant. I wish they were here for their own safety. I am confident that we will soon learn that they have been butchered in a fearful manner.’” (John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled: The Life and Confessions of John D. Lee, pg. 178-179)

46 – “It is an easy thing to believe in the dead prophets, but it is a great thing to believe in the living prophets. I will give you an 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 came 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,’ said he.

‘Do you believe that his successor, President Lorenzo Snow, 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.” (Marion G. Romney, Improvement Era, June 1953)

Bishops and Presidents = Apostles

47 – Some Latter-day Saints mistakenly think they can sustain the prophet while refusing to sustain a local ecclesiastical leader. Elder Boyd K. Packer stated unequivocally that an individual who does not sustain his local leaders will not sustain the President of the Church.

“You can put it down in your little black book that if you will not be loyal in the small things you will not be loyal in the large things. If you will not respond to the so-called insignificant or menial tasks which need to be performed in the Church and kingdom, there will be no opportunity for service in the so-called greater challenges. A man who says he will sustain the President of the Church or the General Authorities, but cannot sustain his own bishop is deceiving himself. The man who will not sustain the bishop of his ward and the president of his stake will not sustain the President of the Church.” (Boyd K. Packer, Teachings of the Living Prophets, pg. 52)

48 – “The Lord has but one man on the earth at one time to lead His church. It is the duty of the Saints to listen to his counsels and not oppose them. The word of the Lord comes to the people through that man. If the people accept this word they will be blessed. These leaders are expected to call presidents of stakes and bishops. These men so called become the anointed of the Lord and if the people reject the words of these servants it will be held against them as much as if they rejected the words of the president of the church. The man or woman who raises his of her voice against these men is sinning against the Spirit of God. The Lord will not look with favor upon you if you speak evil of your bishop or president.” (Abraham H. Cannon, Collected Discourses, (March 2, 1890))

The Priority of Prophets

(Luke 1:1-4; 3 Nephi 9; 3 Nephi 10:12; 3 Nephi 28:34-35; D&C 45:56-57; D&C 68:2-4; D&C 80:4; Mosiah 18:19)

49 – But it has been the living oracles of God that produced the written word, and that always must produce the written word not the written word that produces the living oracles. But the living oracles are those men whom God has chosen and has inspired and given responsibility to. Those are the living oracles of God, and they are the men that the Lord sustains and strengthens and preserves, and to whom He reveals His mind and will.” (Francis M. Lyman, CR, October 1897, pg. 18)

50 – Our relationship to living prophets is not one in which their sayings are a smorgasbord from which we may take only that which pleases us.  We are to partake of all that is placed before us, including the spinach, and to leave a clean plate!” (Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, pg. 74)

51 – The trouble with us today, is there are too many of us who put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says.  I want you to think about that.”  (Harold B. Lee, Ensign, January 1973, pg. 108)

52 – “My experience is that when you stop putting question marks behind the prophet’s statements and put exclamation points instead, and do it, the blessings just pour.” (Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, August 1982, pg. 24)

53 – “We are called upon in this life to walk by faith, not by sight, not by proclamation of heavenly messengers with the voice of thunder, but by the proclamation of accredited witnesses whom the Lord sends and by whom every word shall be established.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, CHMR, 1:40)

54 – When the Prophet speaks; the debate is over.” (Elaine Cannon, Ensign, November 1978, pg. 108)

Vindication and Fulfillment

(D&C 1:37-38)

55 – The words of the prophets are rapidly being fulfilled, but it is done on such natural principles that most of us fail to see it.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, CR, April 1966, 13)

56 – We live in a world of turmoil where we find sadness and destruction in every corner of the world; much of which is brought about by man’s failure to listen to the words of the true prophets of God.” (Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1995, pg. 15)

NOTE - The perfect validity indicated in the ‘Birth of Christ’ and the Reestablishing of the Covenant Anew (7 times prophets are mentioned):

1- JST Matthew 1:16

2- Matthew 1:22

3- Matthew 2:5

4- Matthew 2:15

5- Matthew 2:17

6- Matthew 2:23

7- Luke 1:70


“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 earth 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.” (D&C 1:37-38)



Isaiah 2:2-3

(Zion in the top of mts. – all nations will flow unto it)

Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 2002, pg. 69

[Partial Fulfillment]

Isaiah 54:1-2;  D&C 124:36

(tent = temple – will be strengthened by thy stakes)

Merrill J. Bateman, Ensign, May 1994, pg. 65

Isaiah 60:8

(People will fly through the skies)

John London, CR, April 1964, pg. 116

Jeremiah 3:14

(Gathering – one of a city and two of a family)

Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 2002, pg. 79

Jeremiah 5:7-8

(Everyone will ‘neigh’ after his neighbor’s wife)

Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward, pg. 112

Jeremiah 16:16

(Missionary work – many hunters after many fishers)

LeGrand Richards, Ensign, November 1975, pg.52

Jeremiah 31:8-17

(Restoring and gathering into the valleys of the west)

LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, pg. 224-228; Bruce R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pg. 478

Ezekiel 37:15-20; 2 Nephi 3:12

(Uniting of the stick of Judah & the stick of Joseph)

Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1982, pg. 53

Daniel 12:4

(Many shall run to and fro & knowledge increase)

Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2001, pg. 82

Joel 2:28-32

(Spirit upon all – sun turns black & moon into blood)

Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 2001, pg. 4-5

Malachi 4:5-6

(Hearts must turn or the earth be smitten with curse)

Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 2002, pg. 4

JS-Matthew 1; D&C45:26;  D&C 88:91

(Signs of times – All things in commotion – No peace)

Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2004, pg. 7-9

Luke 17:28-30

(Last days like unto the days of Lot)

Boyd K. Packer, CES Address, Feb. 6, 2004, pg. 4

2 Timothy 3: 1-5

(Perilous times including all manner of wickedness)

Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1971, pg. 17; Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 2004, pg. 81

(JST) Revelation 12:17

(Devil is wroth and makes war on faithful members)

Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, pg. 79

D&C 45:36-37

(Leaves of the ‘fig tree’ are beginning to show)

Spencer W. Kimball, Bernard P. Brockbank, Ensign, May 1976, pg. 74

D&C 88:88-90

(Testimony of Earthquakes, tempests, waves, etc.)

Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2004, pg. 7-9

Sustaining the Prophet

(1 Thessalonians 5:25;D&C 43:12;D&C 107:22)

57 – “There should never be a day pass but all of the people composing the Church should lift up their voices in prayer to the Lord to sustain his servants.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pg. 223)


58 – “The story is told of a navel captain in San Diego, the commander of a battleship. He sailed from the dock, out through the harbor, and into the open sea. They had been away from the harbor for just a few minutes when a huge, very dense fog bank rolled in, so they had to go to radar mode.

“All of a sudden, the signalman ran onto the bridge to this navel commander and said, ‘Commander, we’ve  picked something up on the radar; we’re on a collision course with another ship.’ The commander very coolly said, ‘Well, radio that ship and tell him to move ten degrees starboard [to the right].’ So they signaled and sent the message. Right back came the message, ‘We are on a collision course; suggest you move ten degrees port.’

“When they showed that message to the commander, he was really upset. So he said, ‘Send this message back. Tell them that I am a full navel commander, and I am ordering them to move ten degrees starboard.’ Back came the message, I am a seaman second class, and I am ordering you to move ten degrees port.’

“By now the commander was livid. ‘Send this message! I am on the bridge of a five thousand ton battleship. Suggest you move ten degrees starboard.’ Back came the message; ‘I’m at the bridge of a lighthouse. Suggest you move ten degrees port.’” (Paul H. Dunn, BYU-Speeches, 1983-84, pg. 73)

Types and Shadows

(Mosiah 3:15)

59 – “...all the ancient prophets and all righteous men who preceded our Lord in birth were, in one sense or another, patterns for him.

“A prophet is one who has the testimony of Jesus, who knows by the revelations of the Holy Ghost to his soul that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In addition to this divine knowledge, many of them lived in special situations or did particular things that singled them out as types and patterns and shadows of that which was to be in the life of him who is our Lord.”  (Bruce R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pg. 448)

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