Heavenly Father Communicates To Us Through His Prophets

Besides the Holy Ghost, This is Another Communication Channel

President Gordon B. Hinckley answers questions on the Larry King Live show in September 1998. Photo courtesy of © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Since we cannot currently live with Heavenly Father or walk and talk with Him, He provides other ways for us to communicate with Him. Prayer is the obvious example. He communicates with us through the Holy Ghost and through living prophets.

Prophets are Heavenly Father's official representatives on earth. He chooses them and empowers them to speak for Him and to direct His church.

When a prophet speaks, we should consider it Heavenly Father speaking, because prophets are His mouthpiece on earth.

How Ancient Prophets Functioned

Having prophets is not a new thing. There were prophets throughout biblical and Book of Mormon times. Ancient prophets functioned largely the same as modern prophets.

Heavenly Father then, as now, chose and empowered men like Moses and Elijah. Prophets did not choose themselves. Heavenly Father chooses them through priesthood power.

Some prophets had specific responsibilities unique to the times. For example, Moses led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. John the Baptist prepared people for the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ. However, all prophets had certain things in common.

Prophets have always warned people of wickedness and the need to repent. Also, they have relayed truth to people, whether verbally or in what we now know as scripture.

How Current Prophets Function

In modern times, Heavenly Father chose Joseph Smith as the first prophet in the seventh dispensation known as the dispensation of the fulness of times. Other prophets have succeeded Smith.

Joseph Smith reestablished Christ's original church with official priesthood power.

Now that all power and authority has been restored to the earth, we have been told that there will only be one official prophet/president on the earth at any one time.

Former church president and prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley was asked how the current prophet is chosen. He responded to the effect that you get appointed to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, then you outlive everyone else. This is essentially correct.

When the prophet dies, the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve always becomes the next prophet. Men are called to the Quorum of the Twelve through priesthood power. They do not choose themselves.

Jesus Christ chooses his modern apostles the same way he chose them when he was on the earth. His choice is revealed to the current President of the Church, who extends the call to the new Apostle.

What are the Responsibilities of Prophets?

Modern prophets have many responsibilities. Their most important ones include the following:

  • Be a special witness of, and for, Jesus Christ.
  • Teach truth.
  • Call the unrighteous to repentance.
  • Interpret the will of God.
  • Preside and direct The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Receive revelation for the entire church.

Aren't There Other Prophets, Seers and Revelators?

Members of the First Presidency of the Church, as well as all members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are sustained as prophets, seers and revelators.

Prophets speak for Heavenly Father. Seers can discern the past, present and future. Revelators make the will of God, and other truth, known.

The First Presidency of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have all three capabilities. They use them when directed to do so by Heavenly Father.

How Should Knowing All This Change My Life?

We should study and follow inspired instruction from past prophets. However, the current prophet's instruction is most important, because he speaks for us in our day.

We should pray for the current prophet, because he shoulders a substantial burden.

Since the prophet speaks for Heavenly Father, we should listen to what he says.

Since we know he speaks for Heavenly Father we should follow all the prophets' inspired counsel, not just a portion of it or what we wish to follow.

Next: Scriptures: Our Textbooks for Life