My church recently had it's semiannual General Conference. This is where the entire world membership gathers via Internet, radio, tv, and satellite broadcasts to listen to addresses from prophets and apostles. Did you know that there is a living prophet alive today? Prophets aren't all about biblical times, you know.

During Conference, I was interested to hear many of them refer to the 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, an address given by Ezra Taft Benson about thirty years ago. I was curious, so I looked it up.

President Thomas S. Monson
1.)The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
  • We are to "give heed unto all his words"--as if from the Lord's "own mouth."

2.)The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works (scriptures).
  • "...those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation (Brigham Young)."

3.)The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
  • "God's revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us."

4.) The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
  • "I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God (Wilford Woodruff)."

5.) The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
  • We encourage earthly knowledge in many areas, but remember, if there is ever a conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet, and you'll be blessed and time will vindicate you.

6.)The prophet does not have to say "Thus saith the Lord" to give us scripture.
  • "Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you" (D&C 21:4)

7.) The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
  • "...many are prone to garnish the sepulchres of yesterday's prophets and mentally stone the living ones. Why? Because the living prophet gets at what we need to know now, and the world prefers that prophets either be dead or mind their own business."

8.)The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning. There will be times when you will have to choose between the revelations of God and the reasoning of men--between the prophet and the politician or professor.
  • "Would it seem reasonable to an eye doctor to be told to heal a blind man by spitting in the dirt, making clay, and applying it to the man's eyes and then telling him to wash in a contaminated pool? Yet this is precisely the course that Jesus took with one man, and he was healed. (See John 9:6-7.) Does it seem reasonable to cure leprosy by telling a man to wash seven times in a particular river? Yet this is precisely what the prophet Elisha told a leper to do, and he was healed. (See 2 Kings 5.)"

9.)The prophet can receive revelation on any matter--temporal or spiritual.
  • "Temporal and spiritual things are inseparably connected, and ever will be." [Journal of Discourses, 10:363-364]

10.)The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
  • Isaiah was deeply involved in giving counsel on political matters and of his words the Lord Himself said, "Great are the words of Isaiah" (3 Nephi 23:1).

11.)The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
  • "The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them; otherwise, the prophet is just giving his opinion--speaking as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of a lowly prophet."

12.) The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
  • "Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out."

13.)The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency--the highest quorum in the Church.
  • Doctrine and Covenants (107:80)

14.) The prophet and the presidency--the living prophet and the First Presidency--follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.
  • "You cannot destroy the appointment of a prophet of God, but you can cut the thread that binds you to the prophet of God and sink yourselves to hell. (Brigham Young)"

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