The Reality of a Living Prophet

by
July 5, 2015

the first vision

In 1820 when Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father, and Jesus Christ, a young boy became God’s prophet.  He became a prophet like Moses, Abraham, Enoch, or Noah.  His purpose was the same–to teach all of God’s children about the reality of Christ and Christ’s mission, that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was once again upon the earth, and that the coming of Christ was close at hand.

Prior to Joseph Smith there had not been a prophet on the earth since the martyrdom of Christ’s apostles.  As such people had departed from God’s truth.  When God does not have a mouthpiece to speak to his children, God’s children are left to their own understanding and invariably they get off track.  This pattern is repeated in the Bible–God calls a prophet, that prophet teaches God’s words, the people believe, then they stop believing, then the people fall into error and depart from God’s ways.

One might ask, “Who needs a prophet? We have the Bible, and it is sufficient!”  The Bible is the word of God, but it was God’s word to people in a different time and place.  It is absolutely still relevant today, but Moses didn’t know what a movie was, or computers. Pornography wasn’t available on every screen, and if you slept with someone you weren’t married to, you just might have rocks thrown at you until you died.  Nor did the children of Israel, or the Jews of Christ’s time have to deal with the social issues that beset us today.  Hence the need for a prophet.  He is a beacon of light in an ever darkening world.

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Many people accept Moses as a prophet, because they can read about him and think of him as if he was something out there, some force for good and “Of course, I would have followed him out of Egypt.  He
was God’s prophet!”  However, you must ask yourself a question, would you? Really?  Would you really leave all of your possessions just because he said it was time to leave Egypt?  Or how about when he said you should look at his serpent on a stick and it would heal you? Isn’t that kind of crazy? Plus “what does he know? My friends say there is no way that looking at a snake can heal you.”  Or how about Abraham?  Would you leave your favorite city–the place where your home and work was?  You would surely miss all that the big city had to offer, all of the nice restaurants, and shopping, and entertainment.  What about Christ?  Would you believe in Him, the son of your next door neighbor who is now quite possibly homeless?  The list could go on forever.  It is easy to watch a re-run of a football game and say exactly what you would do as a lazy-chair quarterback, but what if you were in the game and didn’t have a coach on the sideline, would you know what to do? 

football coach

There is a prophet on earth today, Thomas S. Monson is his name.  He stands at the head of Christ’s church and together with his counselors, and 12 other men who are Christ’s apostles, he speaks to all of God’s children and lets us know what is true and what is right. He is the coach on the sidelines and he can see what the other’s team playbook is, but we still have to listen to him to know what plays to run.  If you will listen to him, you will be guided back to live with God, just the way that Moses and then Joshua, lead the children of Israel back to the promised land.

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4 Responses to “The Reality of a Living Prophet”

  1. Barry

    If you believe the Bible what would make you think Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus? The Bible says no man has seen God except the Son.
    And what makes you think you need a profit? Because when Jesus rose again he said he would send the comforter the Holy Spirit and he would lead and guide you in all things. Not a man.

  2. Barry

    What would make you think Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus? If you believe the Bible it says no man has ever seen God except the Son.

  3. Ben

    Barry, I appreciate your comments. I disagree, Moses saw God (Exodus 33:11), Isaiah saw God (Isaiah 6:1).

    I also disagree, we do need prophets. However, you are right, Jesus Christ has sent the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us, but that is not sufficient. It is very clear from the early church that revelation was given to Peter so he could guide the church in the absence of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:9-Acts 11:18).

    The Bible does not contain all of the truth that God has ever revealed or ever will reveal. God continues to disseminate his truth to us today through prophets just as he always has from the beginning. However, that does not mean that we cannot search out and understand the deep mysteries of God on our own. God does not only speak to prophets, he speaks to all of his children and will continue to do so throughout time. Think of a prophet as a watchman on a tower–he can see farther than we can and is always warning us of danger.

  4. Peyton

    Hi Ben,

    I was reading your thoughts on a living prophet and had a couple of questions.

    I saw you said:
    “The Bible is the word of God, but it was God’s word to people in a different time and place. It is absolutely still relevant today,”
    If the Bible is “the word of God” and “absolutely relevant today”,
    why couldn’t we solely use it for guidance and direction if it came directly from God Himself, especially when God tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 (All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works)?

    I understand that we live in a different time and place today than say, people in old testament times. However, the problems and issues we deal with are still essentially the same aren’t they? (1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man)
    For example, just because people in Bible times didn’t have computers and view pornography per say, the core of the sin is still lust which was just as prevalent then. Do you think you could read Jesus’ words on lust in the Bible today and be able to clearly understand that looking at pornography is wrong?

    Also, I was wondering when you said, “Nor did the children of Israel, or the Jews of Christ’s time have to deal with the social issues that beset us today.”, what issues you might be referring to?

    Thank you for your time,
    Peyton