Listening to a Prophet of God

This upcoming weekend (April 3-4), Mormons everywhere will take some time to listen to the prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson.  Each year, during the first weeks of April and October, Mormons have a special meeting called “General Conference.”  This is where we can hear from living apostles and the prophet.

Yesterday, I was thinking about being able to listen to a modern-day prophet, so I e-mailed a few of my friends about it.  I asked them a couple of questions, and below I’ll share some of their responses.

Do you believe there is currently a prophet of God on the earth?

Yes

Yes, I do.

Yes.  I believe it’s an act of God’s love.

Is it important for there to be a prophet today?  If so, why?

Yes, because the world is ever changing and while principles may remain the same, applications are varied.

Yes.  We need God’s direction today more than ever before.  People that want to do the right thing don’t know what the right thing even is, or even if there IS a right thing, because of all of the false ideas (that are often combined with some half-truths) that are so widely propagated. As a result, too many good people wander around and get lost in life because they have no direction. A prophet of God can teach us what is right and what is wrong, and help us avoid dark paths and find the true way to happiness.

Yes.  I picture him as the liaison between God and us in a more literal sense, than just by prayer and personal revelation alone. He directs the world as a whole because they are all under his care

What does it mean to you to be able to listen to a modern day prophet?

It means so much more to me the older I get.  They give council and advice that applies to my modern day problems.  The older I get the more problems I get.  I love listening to the modern day prophet to see what the Lord wants me to do today.

I probably do not appreciate it enough.  Sometimes hindsight shows me that I should have listened better.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I know that God lives, and that He loves us. He is our Father. We can return to live with Him again after this life. This is possible because Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, which enables us to repent and become better people when we make mistakes. I know that Jesus lives today.

I know that there is a modern day prophet and that he is called of the one true God.

The Prophet directs us to follow Jesus Christ, who is our Savior.  If you are interested in hearing what the Prophet of God has to say, take a look at the following website.

www.generalconference.lds.org

Wonderful Christmas Gift

MangerEach year around Christmas time, it seems like life gets busier.  It can be quite challenging to find the time to finish off projects, decorate the house and get in that last minute shopping.  It’s important to take time and think about the reason for the season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

While I was growing up, each year we’d gather the family and we would read the nativity story from the Bible together.  Sometimes my father would read and the children would act it out.  In this picture, we are the wise men bringing gifts. (I’m the littlest wise man in the back)  By taking time to read and think about the birth of Christ it helps us think about the greatest gift that was given.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  – John 3:16

I am truly grateful for the birth and life of Jesus Christ.  Through his suffering in Gethsemane, death on the cross and his resurrection, he has made it possible that we can repent and receive forgiveness of our sins and that we can live again after death.  What a wonderful Christmas gift.

Simple Inspiration

For school, I had a comprehensive final in Bio-Chemistry.  After months of intense studying, the date of the big test was finally here.  Throughout the semester, my wife and I had been praying that I’d have a clear mind on the day of the test and that I’d remember the things that I had studied.

My test strategy is to go through the whole test and answer all the questions, and then go through again and double check them as I transfer my answers to the scan-tron.    I came to a particular question where I was able to narrow it down to two answers.  Initially I had marked “e” being pretty confident with my choice.  But when I came upon it for the second time, I had a distinct thought, “No, that’s not correct”.  Then I suddenly remember the things I learned when I studied the topic earlier.   I changed my answer to “d” and I got the question right.

I thought about my experience throughout the day.  I know that God does answer our prayers.  We believe to receive answers for our questions, we must do our part.  We must study it in our minds and then ask God if it’s right.  If it is, we will feel that in our hearts and in our minds that it is right. (see D&C 9:8 & Moroni 10:3-5)

Open Book Test

Open bookIn August, I arrived in Des Moines, for medical school.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve had a test just about every week.  They’ve sure kept me busy and I’m always studying for the next exam.  One morning as I was about to run out the door to school I noticed a card on my dresser.  It was a picture of the scriptures with a little saying, “Life is an open book test.  Find your answers in the scriptures.”  And then it quoted from 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

I thought about that saying all day.  I’ve always liked open book tests in school.  If you were ever unsure of an answer, you could flip through the pages and find it.  It also seemed that professors only gave open book tests on the hardest of materials.

Life truly is a test.  We are tested every day, to see if we are willing to choose Christ and follow him.  He has given us the scriptures to show us the answers for our life’s test.

Joseph Smith Spoke with God

Q: Was Joseph Smith hearing from God himself? Can you tell me about this one?

Good question. The answer is yes. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet who heard from and spoke with God himself. And yes, I’ll tell you about this too, but I’ll give a little background first.

We believe that God has always called prophets to teach and guide others. We’ve seen that God has called numerous prophets in the Bible, first starting with Adam. Adam taught the people, but eventually his teachings were rejected by the people and they fell into darkness and apostasy. But God loves his children, so he sent another prophet, Noah. Again, we see that he taught the people, but his message was also eventually rejected and the people fell from the truth. Again, God sends another prophet, Moses… and we see that this cycle continues. God calls a prophet, the prophet teaches the gospel, but his teachings are rejected and the people fall away. This continues throughout the Bible even until the time of Christ.

As we all know, Jesus Christ taught the people, but many didn’t listen to his teachings. Not only did they reject his message, but they crucified our Lord. Later, they also rejected and killed the apostles. At this time, the people fell into a great apostasy, a great rebellion against God and his gospel.

We know that God is an unchanging God, and that he still loves his children. That is why he has called a prophet for our day. As a young boy in 1820 Joseph Smith wanted to know which church was true. He searched the Bible for a better understanding and he read that he should ask of God. (James 1:5) Acting on this instruction, Joseph went into the woods near his home and prayed.

In Joseph Smith’s own words he says what happened, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith – History 1:16-17)

Joseph Smith did see God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. He spoke with them face to face. Joseph was given a divine mission as a prophet of God. Through him, the Lord accomplished a great and marvelous work that included bringing forth the Book of Mormon, restoring the priesthood, revealing precious gospel truths, and organizing the true Church of Jesus Christ.

As I mentioned, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, which comes with a promise given in the last chapter, “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can say they know that Joseph Smith’s story is true, because they’ve taken the time to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16)

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to study, pray, and find out for him or herself whether this story about Joseph Smith is true. I would encourage you to take the time to do these things too.