God has spoken to His prophets since the time of Adam and continues to speak to His prophets in our day. In fact, the prophet Amos said, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). Through Joseph Smith, this statement was corrected to read, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing until he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (JST Amos 3:7) (emphasis added). From these two statements, we learn that God always warns His people through a prophet before He does anything affecting His children.
Adam was a prophet who walked and talked with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were cast out of the Garden of Eden, God continued to instruct them by revelation through the Holy Ghost.
God spoke to Noah and instructed him to cry repentance to the people, and Noah preached to the people for 120 years before the Flood came. God also told Noah how to build the ark. Noah followed God's instructions and was able to save his family and some animals from the Flood.
God spoke to Enoch and instructed him to call his people to repentance. Enoch and his people built the city of Zion and became so righteous that the entire city of Zion was translated and taken into heaven.
God spoke to Moses and instructed him to take the Israelites out of Egypt. By following God's instructions, Moses led thousands, maybe millions, of people out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land.
God spoke to Lehi 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ and warned him to take his family and flee out of Jerusalem because the city was going to be destroyed. Lehi was obedient and took his family to the American continents.
God spoke to Nephi, the son of Lehi, and he became a great leader. He and those prophets who came after him left many important writings in the Book of Mormon.
The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. According to Jesus Christ, there were no prophets greater than John.
Joseph Smith was a modern-day prophet who translated the Book of Mormon, organized the Lord's Church once again on earth,and laid the foundation to prepare the people in our day for the Second Coming of Christ.
The Lord's prophet for all the people on earth today is Thomas S. Monson, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a prophet, seer, and revelator. He is assisted by fourteen other men who are the two Counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Council of Twelve Apostles.
A prophet is a man that has been called by God to be His spokesman on earth. When a man speaks for God, it is as though God himself were speaking. A prophet testifies of Jesus Christ as His special witness and teaches the gospel of Jesus Christ. A prophet explains or interprets the word of God and teaches His truth. He calls all sinners to repentance. He receives directions, instructions, and other revelations from God to bless all mankind. He can see into the future and know of events to come in order to warn the world. How grateful I am to know that God does speak to His children and that He does so through His prophets.
A prophet may be old or young. He may be uneducated or highly trained. He may be an engineer, a doctor, a farmer or a businessman. He does not look like the prophets of old with long beards, tunics, and staffs. Modern day prophets look like businessmen with their suits, briefcases, and Blackberries. A true prophet can be identified because he is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority.
Many people are able to believe in the prophets of old but do not believe in prophets today. Heavenly Father always works through His prophets on earth. We need prophets today to help us with today's problems. The information that God gave to Noah on how to survive the Flood or to Moses about leading the Israelites to the Promised Land will not help us to know what we need to do today. God always reveals to the living prophet whatever He wants his people to know. I know that the Lord speaks to his prophet today and tells him what we need to survive these troubled times.
Our duty is to pray for the prophet and to pay attention when he speaks. We should be completely obedient to his teachings. When we follow the prophet obediently, blessings flow down from heaven.
I know we have a prophet on earth today, even Thomas S. Monson. I have received many blessings through following the counsel of prophets and am always anxious to hear the counsel given by the living prophet. President Monson, our current prophet, recently reminded us of the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. He was met by ten lepers who called to Him to have mercy on them. When He saw them, He told them to go to the priests. As they went, they were healed of their leprosy. One of them, a Samaritan, turned back to thank Jesus for the healing. "And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? … Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
President Monson added, "Through divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master's blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.
"My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God's love."
President Monson then quoted the late prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley as saying: (Whenever a prophet quotes another prophet, we need to pay particular attention because it means that the information is very important.) "When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives."
President Monson added, "A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort - at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don't get around to it. Someone has said that `feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
President Monson summarized his thoughts, "My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." (See Ensign, Nov 2010, pp 87-90.)
I thank God everyday that He has a prophet on earth today to guide us through these troubled days.