My parents were baptized in 1963 when I was six years old. I didn’t know it at the time, but their choices changed my life forever. Through their example and teachings, they led me and my siblings to learn and live the gospel. They also frequently expressed their respect and love for the living prophet. Indeed, the teachings of our living prophets have significantly influenced me in the years since, starting from President Joseph Fielding Smith all the way up to our current living prophet, President Russel M. Nelson.
The Lord chooses prophets to be His representatives on the earth. This is indicated in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” How fortunate we are! We know that God communicates to the Church through His prophet today. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking. “…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.”1
Elder Neil L. Andersen said, “The most important role of the Lord’s prophet is to teach us of the Savior and lead us to Him.” 2
This begs the question, in what ways have prophets led God’s children to Christ?
“The most important role of the Lord’s prophet is to teach us of the Savior and lead us to Him.”Elder Neil L. Andersen
One way is that prophets are special witnesses for Christ. They testify of His divinity and teach His gospel. One of the most powerful passages, which always makes me feel immense love, loyalty, and gratitude for the Lord, is the prophet Alma’s testimony in Alma 7:11-13:
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
“Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.”
Another way is that prophets call us to repentance. The prophet Joseph Smith gave us the Lord’s instruction, “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.”3 President Russell M. Nelson also taught, “When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!”4
And lastly, prophets receive revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. They may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned. They are a watchman on the tower, protecting us from spiritual dangers we may not see. The Lord said to Ezekiel, “I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”5
I testify that President Nelson is our living prophet on the earth today. I am grateful that we have continuous revelations from him, such as keeping the Sabbath holy, ministering in a higher and holier way, establishing home-centered gospel learning, strengthening the faith of the rising generation, gathering Israel on both sides of the veil, and making and keeping covenants with the Lord.
The Lord promises, “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 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.”6
I know when we follow the prophet’s inspired teachings completely, especially those unpleasant or difficult, we will receive great blessings. The Lord will bring into our lives the miracles He knows we need. Changes in our family will be dramatic and sustaining. The influence of the adversary in our lives and in our homes will also decrease.7 And through all of this, we will draw nearer to Christ and become more like him.
“…we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [Christ] is pure. 8 “…let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he [Christ] is righteous.” 9
- Doctrine & Covenants 1:38
- “The Prophet of God”, by Elder Neil L. Andersen, 2018 April General Conference.
- Doctrine & Covenants 6:9
- “We Can Do Better and Be Better”, by President Russell M. Nelson, 2019 April General Conference.
- Bible, Ezekiel 33:7
- Doctrine & Covenants 21:5-6
- “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints”, by President Russell M. Nelson, 2018 October General Conference.
- Bible, 1 John 3:2-3
- Bible, 1 John 3:7