Dear Elders and Sisters #8 Follow the Prophet, He knows the Way!
AN MTC UPDATE
I know I say this every letter, but this has been such an exciting week at the Provo MTC. Elder Cook came to speak to the missionaries Tuesday; that makes 3 Apostles in just one week’s time. This might be the first time in 10 years that has happened. Elder Cook explained to the missionaries that he had not written out his talk, but was asked by his quorum leader, President Russell M. Nelson, to at least spend some of the time speaking about Preach my Gospel, which of course, he did.
The majority of his talk, though, focused on “The 4 Loves that will make you a powerful missionary.” Since we all want to be more powerful missionaries, I thought you might like to hear them.
1. Love Your Companion.
You can learn something from each of them, especially the ones who are the least like you.
2. Love the People
Learn to love their culture, their food, everything. Learn to respect them. Even those who do not accept the gospel are His children.
3. Love your mission President
They will be special to you all of your life. Never speak ill of them.
4. Love the Lord
The Savior’s atonement covers everything that is unfair in life.
THE BLESSINGS OF A LIVING PROPHET: A THOUGHT FOR MISSIONARIES
One summer I led a tour of 200 youth to perform sacred music throughout the United States and Mexico. We traveled by bus, which meant we would spend 6-10 hours daily driving through sometimes less than exciting scenery. To help keep the singers entertained, we held daily gospel discussions on various topics. One day we spent the entire time speaking about prophets, particularly living prophets. At the end of the day our driver, who was not LDS, made the most curious statement. He said, “Do you know what the problem is with your church? In my church we use the scriptures, but you have to follow a prophet!” As you can imagine, his comment led to a lengthy discussion about the blessings of a “living prophet.”
Since that day, I have wondered many times how I, and those I teach, view the Living Prophets and their role in the Plan of Salvation. Do I feel that having a prophet is a burden or a blessing? As our driver argued, are living prophets really necessary when we have the scriptures?
One of the most powerful of all prophet related scriptures was given 2,700 years ago by the prophet Amos, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Even though we often quote this verse, I wonder how often we view the “revealing of God’s secrets” as a tremendous blessing.
Let me share a personal example. I was teaching a first period seminary class September 11, 2001 when the two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City. We had been alerted to the second plane crash by another teacher, and we turned on the TV in our classroom to get additional details. As we watched the towers fall, the room was silent and some were in tears.
We continued to watch as reports, both true and false, came in of additional planes crashing around the country. When we finally turned off the TV, I didn’t feel much like teaching the lesson I had prepared. I told the students we could discuss anything they would like. Usually that meant we are going to talk about dating. However, this day as they sat in shock and fear, they had one common question, “Is this the beginning of the Second Coming?” We searched through the many prophesies of the Second Coming in the scriptures, but were left somewhat unclear.
Then the answer came to me, we had a living prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley! If this was the start of the Second Coming, he would know. That was God’s promise. I had never in my life been so happy to have a “Living” prophet. Soon after the attack, President Hinckley did address members of the church. His words calmed my fears, and gave me guidance on what I personally should do.
In the talk 14 Fundamentals of Following the Living Prophet, President Benson teaches that prophets have, “TNT” which he said means, “Today’s News Today.” It would be unreasonable and irrational to think that one single prophet would receive, record, and provide detailed information and instructions covering the entire history of the earth. Although many prophets are given visions that show them the beginning to the end, each is primarily responsible for working with the people of their own time. Because of his intimate prospective regarding the challenges of his own day, each prophet is uniquely qualified to teach His contemporaries. Even Mormon and Moroni, who wrote primarily for our day, spent much of their time preaching repentance to their own people and teaching them essential doctrines, such as baptism.
Finally, prophets are essential to The Plan of Salvation. With the precious gift of agency came a frightening prospect–having forgotten all, how would we know our purpose on the earth, where we came from, and where we are going? How would we know the essential doctrines, the protective commandments, the covenants, the ordinances? All of this would be lost to us. Truly, we would be lost! In his infinite mercy, Heavenly Father provides prophets. Prophets teach us the crucial information that we had taken from us as we passed through the veil. He didn’t just provide one prophet, but many prophets to teach, and reteach each generation. Prophets whose teachings can be time and situation specific.
The Lord is very clear that we are to follow the words of the prophets “as if from mine own mouth.” Heavenly Father understands that being asked to follow another mortal will take “patience and faith [DC 21:5]” But, to those who follow the Prophets the Lord has promised three very specific blessings: “For by doing these things (1) the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will (2) disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and (3) cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.“ D&C 21:6
Thank you for following the Lord’s Prophet by serving a full-time mission. With General Conference approaching, this may be a great time to use “Living Prophets” as a conversation starter. It is something unique to the Lord’s church, and intriguing to others. Have a great time watching conference, and watch for me Saturday afternoon…you might see me directing the music!
Be Safe, Work Hard, and Follow the Spirit,
Love, Brother Eggett