Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Importance of A Living Prophet

When I started my blog, my target audience was readers who aren't members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It still is, although I'm pretty sure the majority of my readers are members. And today I want to address my comments directly to them, that is, to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the people who know that God has called a living prophet on the earth today and that Jesus Christ leads this Church through His living prophet and apostles.

The article this week which I hope you all read is a talk given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles entitled, "'Abide in Me.'" I wish to share a story he told in this talk of a man he met while serving in Chile.

Recalled Elder Holland, "Just eight weeks ago I was holding a mission district conference on the island of Chiloe, an interior location in the south of Chile that gets few visitors. Imagine the responsibility I felt in addressing these beautiful people when it was pointed out to me that a very elderly man seated near the front of the chapel had set out on foot at five o’clock that morning, walking for four hours to be in his seat by nine o’clock, for a meeting that was not scheduled to begin until eleven o’clock. He said he wanted to get a good seat. I looked into his eyes, thought of times in my life when I had been either too casual or too late, and thought of Jesus’ phrase, 'I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' (Matt 8:10)."

That man walked for four hours to hear an apostle of the Lord speak. He started at five o'clock in the morning which means he was up before then to be ready to leave by five. And many others have done similar things and made equal sacrifices in order to participate in the blessings of being within the sound of a prophet's voice.

When I hear that story I think of the CES Broadcast last Sunday and of the sparsely populated chapel in Boise, Idaho where Elder L. Tom Perry's talk was broadcast. The Church has enough young people here in Boise to make young adult stake and fill seven wards yet those who chose to come listen to a prophet's voice didn't even fill one chapel. The fireside is even broadcast online so that you don't even have to put your tie back on or change out of your jeans, but somehow I don't think the majority of those not present were at home participating online. The Church holds these firesides every couple months in order to give our age group across the world a chance to be uplifted and edified by a prophet of God, a person who holds a calling that the world was not worthy to experience for hundreds and hundreds of years. Elder Perry spoke to our generation, addressed those concerns and issues that we specifically are facing, and counseled how we can live in this world and be happy. He spoke the will of the Lord to us.

President Thomas S. Monson, the Lord's prophet, seer, and revelator today, taught in a recent General Conference, "How grateful we are that the heavens are indeed open, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that the Church is founded on the rock of revelation. We are a blessed people, with apostles and prophets upon the earth today." ("Closing Remarks", Ensign, Nov 2009, 110.)

Do we echo his words?

I just feel so strongly about the immense blessing we have to hear living prophets speak. The God the Father Himself appeared to call Joseph Smith to be a prophet and begin the line of prophets in this dispensation. A man walked four hours to hear Elder Holland speak. We should do all we can to hear and apply every word spoken by the servants of the Lord.