Friday, December 21, 2012

Living Prophets Today

I was reviewing some conference notes found in earlier blogs, and I came across
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa's talk from October 2010 General Conference.
Along with Elder Costa, I feel to say,

"What a great blessing it is to have prophets in our day!"

Here are my notes from that conference:

After I read, pondered, and prayed, the Lord gave me the assurance that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that all his successors are prophets.

Prophet—a person called by God to speak in His name. It is a great blessing to receive the word the Lord.

He will reveal his will to us and He will instruct us through His prophets. If we believe in Him, we will follow His prophets and do what He asked us to do. When I accepted baptism into the church, I covenanted to always follow the prophet. 

Points made by President Benson

1. The prophet is the only man that speaks for the Lord in everything.
2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
3. The living prophet is more important to us than the dead prophets.
4. The prophet will never lead the church astray.
5. The prophet doesn’t need to have any special credentials.
    The Lord called a young man, Joseph Smith, to lead the Church. He was chosen by the Lord, and he     
    received from the Lord the gifts he needed to do His work.
6. The prophet doesn’t need to say “thus saith the Lord” to be speaking for the Lord.
7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
8. The prophet is not limited by man’s reasoning.
9. The prophet can receive a revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
10. The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
11. The two groups who have difficulty following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud
      who are rich.
12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
13. The prophet and his counselors make up the first presidency, the highest quorum in the church.
14. The prophet and the presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

Elder Costa testified of true prophet, counselors, and quorum of the twelve.

Now for my testimony:

I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time when I was 12. I remember praying early one evening to know if the Book is true. The warmth and power of the Spirit filling my bosom was enlightening and expanding. I had never experienced the Spirit to that degree before, and I knew that The Book of Mormon is true. My heart felt it and my mind comprehended it. I remember wanting to hold onto that feeling. I did not want to participate in any other earthly activity that evening. I had received a witness from the heavens.

A couple of years later, my older sister Sheila invited me to go with her to a play. I believe that it was called A Day, a Night, and a Day. I had been fasting to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I remember having a strong witness in answer to my prayer at the end of that day, and following that production, that Joseph truly was a prophet. 

I have felt the Spirit many times confirm to me that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I have felt the witness of the Spirit on many occasions as I have sought for the Lord's direction and to do His will. 

In one of my saddest times, after the death and temporary loss of our son Robby, I had a witness, in a very real and personal way, that Jesus Himself is aware of me and that His love for me knows no bounds. At this time, I felt these words from Him, "Thy sins are forgiven thee." Indeed, it is when our hearts are broken and we exercise faith in Him that we are not only healed from our emotional and spiritual wounds, but we receive a remission of our sins. (See Matthew 9:2-8)

I can also testify that when our most recent prophet Gordon B. Hinckley passed away, I saw the mantle of authority shift to our new prophet Thomas S. Monson. As he spoke in a news' address, I indeed knew that he is a prophet of God. 

In our confusing world today, there are important things that we must do to not be deceived. We must pray; we must fast if we are able (and, if not, we must carry the spirit of the fast); we must study our scriptures; we must partake of the sacrament worthily; and we must support the prophets of God. 

It is a wicked and adulterous generation that must have everything shown unto them before they believe that it is from God. (See Matthew 12:39Matthew 16:4) It is sad to note that even when the Lord Jesus Christ was on the earth, not only as God's Prophet, but as His Son, there were people who demanded proof that the things He taught were true. 

God has placed prophets on this earth for instruction, for counsel, and to issue His calls and commandments. Some try to separate the commandments from the counsel, like the one is from God and the other is merely opinion. This is not so. We need to accept the words from the prophets as though they are God's own words, which they are. (See Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38) And we need to trust that the Lord knows all things and that it is His right to counsel us through prophets. We should accept His counsel and stop seeking to counsel Him. (Jacob 4:10)

We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet

I am thankful to my Heavenly Father and to His Son Jesus Christ for their remarkable love for me. Because they know all things, and because I do not, I will put my trust in them as a daughter. It is through the Spirit that I do know that I am a literal spirit child of my Heavenly Father; it is through the Spirit and through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel that I also became a child of Jesus Christ and took upon me His name. It is through the Gift of the Holy Ghost that I can continue in faith and virtue, keeping the commandments and putting my trust in the Lord and His prophets until the perfect day. Without prophets both ancient and modern, I would not know of God's great love for me. I indeed am thankful for living prophets!

I am thankful for the counsel and teachings of all the prophets during my lifetime. I know that they were called of God just like the prophets that we revere in the scriptures.

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