4 | Prophets

Infographic explaining what a Prophet is, and God's pattern of calling prophets throughout Judeo-Christian religious history.

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Prophets play an important role in God’s communication with his children. We are all individually expected to communicate personally with God. We should pray, ask God questions, receive answers, and act on the answers we receive. A prophet, however, communicates with God on the behalf of a large group of people.

A Prophet’s first responsibility to is teach people about Jesus Christ, Nephi, a prophet from the Book of Mormon said this:

“We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).”

Prophets also communicate recommendations from God about adopting behaviors, or avoiding negative behaviors in order to better follow Christ. Thomas S. Monson, the current prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered this recommendation about being grateful for our blessings in October of 2010:

Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.

This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” 

How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude? President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer. Said he: “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”

Ezra Taft Benson, the prophet of the Church from 1985 to 1994, had this to say about avoiding pride:

“The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough. Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.”

If we love God, do His will, and fear His judgment more than men’s, we will have self-esteem.

Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression. (See Alma 12:10–11.) The proud are not easily taught. (See 1 Ne. 15:3, 7–11.) They won’t change their minds to accept truths, because to do so implies they have been wrong.

Pride adversely affects all our relationships—our relationship with God and His servants, between husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, teacher and student, and all mankind. Our degree of pride determines how we treat our God and our brothers and sisters. Christ wants to lift us to where He is. Do we desire to do the same for others?

Pride fades our feelings of sonship to God and brotherhood to man. It separates and divides us by “ranks,” according to our “riches” and our “chances for learning.” (3 Ne. 6:12.) Unity is impossible for a proud people, and unless we are one we are not the Lord’s. (See Mosiah 18:21;D&C 38:27D&C 105:2–4Moses 7:18.)”

The prophet might also be asked by God to warn the church about temporal pitfalls, like this address given in 1998 by Gordon B. Hinckley,  the prophet of the Church from 1995-2008:

“I recognize that it may be necessary to borrow to get a home, of course. But let us buy a home that we can afford and thus ease the payments which will constantly hang over our heads without mercy or respite for as long as 30 years. . . I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can. . . That’s all I have to say about it, but I wish to say it with all the emphasis of which I am capable.”

Another important function of the Prophet is the administration of Jesus Christ’s church–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet serves as the president of the Church, and has two appointed counselors and a group (quorum) of twelve Apostles that together lead the church. They oversee the administration of ordinances (religious rituals like baptisms), the construction and maintenance of Church buildings, and the operations of the Church. The Prophet and the Apostles of the church are very important, as they provide a way for Christ to continually communicate with his church. This continual communication allows Christ’s church to adapt to any changes or challenges it faces.

Additional reading:

Amos 3:7 God reveals information to his Prophets

Ephesians 4:11-12 Christ called people to different offices in His church. Apostles, prophets, teachers, etc.

Matthew 16:19 An example of Christ giving his authority, the Priesthood, to a person.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Prophecy of the apostasy, a “falling away” from truth.

Also, more information: www.mormon.org

***Update! If you like the style of these infographics, I’ve also created some artwork based on parables from the New Testament. Please take a look and pin/share them if you like them:

www.thesimpleword.net

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