Following the Prophet – Idaho State Journal

following-the-prophet-–-idaho-state-journal

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On Oct 2-3, a 2-day, 10 hour ‘general conference’ held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints occurred. Both members (Latter-Day Saints) and non-members were entreated to messages centered on Jesus Christ, spoken by the church’s leaders, even prophets.

What is a prophet? A prophet is God’s mouthpiece on earth. According to one of the church’s volumes of scriptures, The Doctrine and Covenants: “when a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God [is] speaking” (D&C 1.38). Prophets have existed in periods throughout time and the current prophet and president is Russel M. Nelson, who has authority to “receive revelation for the entire church” (Gospel Principles).

When a prophet speaks, his listeners follow his teachings. This is how faith in Christ increases, which has been an overarching theme in recent conferences. Increasing one’s faith in Christ is more than believing in Christ-it is studying about Christ in the scriptures, seeking God’s will through prayer, and acting on the invitations from the prophet.

Following the prophet requires sacrifice. One must be willing to obey God’s commandments reiterated by the speakers, as well as the invitations from them and the prophet. Having examined every talk given by Pres. Nelson since he was ordained the President in 2018, I have found close to 100 invitations by Nelson alone! This does not include invitations from formal announcements by Nelson and other church leaders between general conferences. It is important to understand that invitations from the prophet do not always include the word “invitation” or the phrase: “I invite.” There have been many synonyms to “invite” that have been used to invite listeners to follow the prophet.

What have listeners been taught and invited to do by Pres. Nelson? Nelson (2020), states: “The very first word in the Doctrine and Covenants is hearken. It means ‘to listen with the intent to obey.’ To hearken means to “hear Him.” We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. (Nelson, Hear Him, 2020). Notice that the word “invite” was not used, yet Nelson invited his listeners to “hear [Christ]” by refining their abilities to recognize the Holy Ghost. In the same April 2020 conference Nelson stated: “talk about the temple with your family and friends. Because Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do in the temple, as you think more about the temple you will be thinking more about Him” (Nelson, Go Forward with Faith, 2020). Likewise, Nelson did not use the word “invite,” nor did his invitation include a synonym to the word “invite.” In fact, his invitation may have felt more like a command when he told his listeners to talk about the temple. Latter-Day Saints have been talking about the temple with their friends as they have “invited” them to attend an open house tour of the Pocatello, Idaho LDS temple.

What else has Pres. Nelson taught and invited his listeners to do? Nelson (2020), states: “With the help of two Hebrew scholars, I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is ‘let God prevail.’ [You] can choose to be of Israel, or not. [You] can choose to let God prevail in [your] lives, or not. [You] can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in [your] lives, or not” (Nelson, Let God Prevail, 2020). Once again, Nelson did not use the word “invite.” He did, however, invite his listeners to “choose” to let God prevail.

Synonyms to “invite” have been used by Pres. Nelson over the years. From 2018: “rise up;” “stretch;” “we need to;” “take time to.” From 2019: “leaders should;” “should develop.” From 2020: “we are urged to.” Like acting on the exhortations by ancient prophets in the scriptures, it is the same principle to

follow the current prophet by acting on his invitations whether he uses the word “invite” or not. Nelson and his counselors in August 2021 stated: “to limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective” (The 1st Presidency, 2021).

I invite everyone to review Pres. Nelson’s talks and look for his invitations to follow the prophet, whether he used the word “invite” or not. In the October 2021 conference, Pres. Nelson invited listeners to listen for pure truth, doctrine and revelation from God. (Nelson, 2021) Everyone needs to do what is necessary to follow the prophet, even if that means sacrificing beliefs contrary to what the prophet reveals and teaches at general conferences or at other times. Everyone will be blessed by God and your faith in Christ will increase exponentially by doing so!

Case Stayner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Idaho State University and is currently working to obtain his master’s in secondary education from Grand Canyon University. He loves writing in his free time and teaching English and other subjects at his place of employment. The most important things he values in life are his religious beliefs, including his faith in God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and his dedication to his family.

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