What is a prophet? I like the definition given in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1 : one who utters divinely inspired revelations: such as
a: the writer of one of the prophetic books of the Bible
b: one regarded by a group of followers as the final authoritative
revealer of God's will
When we think of the Judeo-Christian prophets, the names Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, etc. come to mind. So, what was so special about these guys? Well, according to the Old Testament, they represented and spoke for God. Many people have the idea that God wants to keep Himself hidden and keep His will and His plans secret, but that just isn’t true. Although, to a certain degree He is hidden from most of the world, He really does want all of His children to find Him. And He really does want to share His will with us. Each of us can receive personal revelations from God, for our own lives. But, in order to avoid confusion, when God has a message or instructions for all of His children, He gives that message to His prophet, His mouthpiece. In his day, Moses was that mouthpiece. And whenever Heavenly Father plans to do something important for us, He tells His prophets first, so they can let us know. The Old Testament prophet Amos wrote:
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
That is what God did for His prophet Abraham, for Moses, for Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, and Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and all the others. The people of God had no excuse for not obeying His word, because prophets walked among them, as the mouthpieces of God, to let them know exactly what He expected of them. And why did God do this? To oppress them? To punish them? No! He loved them and he wanted to turn them into a holy people prepared to enter into His presence, to see Him and be with Him. Unfortunately, the people of that time simply would not overcome their sinfulness, and they were unsuccessful in truly becoming God’s people.
Finally, God sent His own Son to try and turn His people around, and they simply killed Him. Before He was killed He called more prophets, the 12 men we know as the Apostles; He called another 70 besides the 12. And despite their best efforts, over time these men were all killed as well, and their message mostly rejected. A form of Jesus’ teachings remained, but over time, those teachings were changed, or dropped completely, until the church became something totally unrecognizable as what Jesus had organized. The writings of the Apostles make up what is known today as the New Testament. After their deaths, Heavenly Father declined to send more prophets to this earth, for a time.
So, God loved the people of the Old Testament. He loved the people of the New Testament. Doesn’t He love us who are living in the 21st century? If so, why don’t we have prophets to guide as in former times? Well, as a matter of fact, we do.
I have already told you about Joseph Smith, and his mission. I also mentioned that he was killed at a very young age. But God did not leave us without a prophet after Joseph. Since the time of Joseph Smith, there have been living prophets on the earth again. There is a prophet today, and his name is Russell M. Nelson. There are also twelve apostles, who have been called as special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They are also considered to be prophets. There are more serving in positions known as “the Seventy”, and they are also prophets. Here is a link to photos of all of the church leadership, plus short bios for each one:
Twice a year, the whole world has the opportunity to hear these prophets speak, and to know exactly what God expects of us, and what His plans are for this world.
This coming weekend is the next opportunity to hear these leaders speak. They speak at a General Conference, which is broadcast worldwide. There are five two-hour sessions:
Saturday 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 6:00 PM, Mountain Daylight Savings Time
Sunday 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, MDT
The Prophet, President Nelson, usually opens the conference with a short greeting, and then speaks at the Saturday 5:00 session, and then again at the Sunday 9:00 session. He also is the closing speaker on Sunday afternoon.
What kinds of things does he talk about? Well, just like Moses, he is the Lord’s mouthpiece today, and he tells us what Heavenly Father expects of us, specifically in our day. The following video is a talk by President Nelson from the April 2021. It will give you an idea of what to expect from a prophet of God:
If you are interested in hearing more of what goes on at these conferences, here is a link to the broadcast of the entire April 2021 General Conference.
President Nelson is not the only speaker during this general conference. Each of the apostles will speak. Many members of the Seventy will speak. And some of the leaders of the general women’s and children’s organizations will also speak. If you are looking for spiritual knowledge and wisdom, or just an amazing spiritual experience, this is the place to be. You don’t need to go anywhere; you can watch it on TV or on your computer. Here is the link for this Saturday and Sunday:
I hope you’ll join us. The following Monday, in my blog post, I will discuss some of the messages presented over the weekend. Then, on Monday, October 11, I will return to the topic of the third of three important questions: “Where am I going?”