As I read through this week’s General Conference session (Saturday afternoon of April 1974), I was struck by how many more talks were given on the importance of having a prophet. It seems very repetitive, and almost boring in its incessant delivery. Yet, at the same time, it reminds me of reading the scriptures. Everyone knows that when the Lord repeats Himself, the message is important. Looking back from our day today I can see just how important having a prophet forewarning us of trouble is. And because we are selective listeners he has no choice but to repeat himself over and over again. For our sakes.
By listening to a prophet and trusting in his warnings, we can prepare better for the battle ahead. Trying to survive day-to-day in this world, we forget that a war is raging for our very souls. Why in the world do we need a prophet who is old and out of touch? As I’ve looked back over the years, I can see that the prophets of our church have indeed seen things on the horizon and given us ample warning. Indeed, their message is important.
A casual list of social issues over the years might be:
Religion–Believing in other gods
Substituting Marriage and the Nuclear Family
Economics/Debt/Influx of Excess
Gender Responsibility/Switching Roles/Ignoring Roles
Our prophets have warned us–several years in advance–of all of these and have tried to help us avoid these timebombs of pain. The majority of us aren’t listening to their message.
Today, our prophets are warning us. Letters from our First Presidency, offering direction, as well as restating standards, is unprecedented. Are we taking their warnings seriously? Do we believe them? Do we trust them?
The message they offer is one of strengthened spirituality. We can ride out any storm if we are spiritually strong, calling upon the Lord to ride with us.
Earlier this month, Pres. Monson asked us to read carefully the talks from conference; to study them out and talk about them in our families. This is a clear signal that there are genuine warnings in there that will affect our families. It is wise to follow the prophet willingly and obediently for their message is important.
As Bruce R. McConkie said in his talk:
“The great need in the world today is not for the Lord to send a prophet to reveal his mind and will. He has done that; we have a prophet; we are guided by many men who have the spirit of inspiration. The great need today is for men to have a listening ear and to give heed to the words that fall from the lips of those who wear the prophetic mantle.
“God be praised that there is a prophet in Israel!
“God be implored that we may have a listening ear and give heed to the voice of his prophet!”
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
The Opposite of Uncertainty Nathaniel Givens
The Gift of Prophecy and of Revelation Daniel Ortner
Cycles Marilyn Nielson