God calls prophets to be His representatives on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as though God were speaking. An Old Testament prophet by the name of Amos taught, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
We do not need to live in darkness because the heavens are not closed. We do not need to go through life alone because we can know God’s will for us by listening to His prophets.
A prophet has the responsibility to be a special witness for Jesus Christ, to testify of His divinity and to teach his gospel. A prophet of God teaches the truth and interprets the word of God. He receives revelations and directions from God to bless His children; he can also see into the future and foretell coming events. A prophet can be young or old, highly educated or unschooled; he may be a farmer, attorney, doctor, or any other honest vocation.
We have a prophet of God living today. He is the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He wears a business suit and carries a briefcase and cell phone, but he speaks for God. He has the right to receive revelation for the entire Church and holds the “keys to the kingdom.” This means that he has the right to control the administration of the ordinances. He is the only person who can receive God’s will for the membership of the entire Church.
We should follow the counsel of the prophets in order to receive the blessings God has for us. We should sustain the Lord’s prophet in our words and actions. We should pray for him that he might have strength to carry the burdens of his great calling. We should study his words and listen to his conference addresses. We should follow his teachings and not pick and choose what we will obey.
“Thou shalt give heed unto all his [the prophet’s] 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” (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-5).
The Lord will never allow the President of the Church to teach false doctrine or lead the Church astray. President Wilford Woodruff taught: “I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so he will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. God bless you.” (See The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212-213.)
God promises to bless us as we obediently follow the prophet: “The gates of hell shall note prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness form before you; and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his names’s glory” (Doctrine and Covenants 21:6).
When we do as the prophet directs, God pours blessings down from heaven. When Lorenzo Snow was the President the Church had great financial difficulties with little money to pay its debts. Then a great drought hit, affecting many Latter-day Saints. President Snow prayed to God, begging for relief. As he was speaking in the St. George Tabernacle, he received revelation through the Holy Ghost. He promised the Saints that they would be blessed with rain if they would pay a full tithe. He quoted another prophet named Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse … and prove me herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). The people were obedient to the words of the prophet, and rain fell upon the parched crops.
The true church of Jesus Christ is always built upon the foundation of prophets (Ephesians 2:20). In this uncertain and tumultuous world, we can feel secure with the knowledge that God speaks to His prophet today and gives guidance on a regular basis. I am grateful to know we have a living prophet of God on earth today!