We have been counseled from the beginning of this Dispensation to follow the prophet and to receive his counsel as if from the Lord Himself:
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (D&C 21:5,6)
In this weekend’s conference we were reminded of this same counsel from a number of our leaders.
From Elder M. Russell Ballard
“And make no mistake about it: the Lord directs His Church through living prophets and apostles. This is the way He has always done His work. Indeed, the Savior taught: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.” We cannot separate Christ from His servants. Without His first Apostles, we would not have an eyewitness account of many of His teachings, His ministry, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His death on the cross. Without their testimonies, we would not have an apostolic witness of the empty tomb and the Resurrection.
“He commanded those first Apostles: “Go ye therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” This commission has been renewed in our own day when the Lord called Joseph Smith to restore the Church with ordained Apostles to declare His gospel one last time before He will come again.
“It has always been a challenge for the world to accept living prophets and apostles, but it is essential to do so in order to fully understand the Atonement and teachings of Jesus Christ and to receive a fullness of the blessings of the priesthood that follow those He has called.
“Too many people think Church leaders and members should be perfect or nearly perfect. They forget that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to accomplish His work through mortals. Our leaders have the best intentions, but sometimes we make mistakes. This is not unique to Church relationships, as the same thing occurs in our relationships among friends, neighbors, and workplace associates and between spouses and in families.”
From Elder Robert D. Hales
“Much has been written and said about today’s generation of young adults. Research shows that many resist organized religion. Many are in debt and unemployed. A majority like the idea of marriage, but many are reluctant to take that step. A growing number don’t want children. Without the gospel and inspired guidance, many are wandering in strange paths and losing their way.
“Fortunately, young adult members of the Church lag behind in these troubling trends in part because we are blessed with the gospel plan. That plan includes holding fast to the iron rod—cleaving to God’s word and the word of His prophets. We need to tighten our grip on the rod that leads us back to Him? Now is the “day of choosing” for all of us.”
From Elder Vern P. Stanfill
“Brothers and sisters, we have not been left alone to be influenced by every whim and change in the world’s attitude, but we have the power to choose belief over doubt. In order to access the promised compensatory spiritual power, we must choose to heed prophetic counsel, recognize and act upon spiritual promptings, be obedient to God’s commandments, and seek personal revelation. We must choose.”
From Elder Neil L. Andersen
“Another gift from God that enlarges our faith is the guidance of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Today we sustained three new members to the Twelve, and I welcome them. Paul said, “He [called] apostles; and …prophets; … ‘For the perfecting of the saints…Till all come in … unity of … faith, and … the knowledge of the Son of God. No more …tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by… [the] cunning craftiness [of those who] lie in wait to deceive.’
“The guidance of the First Presidency and the Twelve help protect our faith.”
From Elder Randall K. Bennett
“As we progress along the covenant path, we will make mistakes, some multiple times. Some of us struggle with behaviors or addictions we feel powerless to overcome. But faith in Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ is a principle of action and power. If we are willing to act, we will be given the strength to repent and change.
“We fail only if we fail to take another faithful step forward. We will not fail if we are faithfully yoked to the Savior of the world—He who has never failed . . . and will never fail us!
“I promise that each faith-filled step will be met with help from heaven. Guidance comes as we pray to our Heavenly Father and listen to the Holy Spirit. Strength comes because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.18 Healing and forgiveness come because of God’s grace. Wisdom and patience come by trusting in the Lord’s timing. Protection comes by following God’s living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.”
From President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“Brethren, we have been given much. We have been taught the divine truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been entrusted with priesthood authority to help our fellowmen and build up God’s Kingdom on earth. We live in a time of great outpouring of spiritual power. We have the fullness of truth. We have priesthood keys to seal on earth and in heaven. Sacred scriptures and teachings of living prophets and apostles are available as never before.
“My dear friends, let us not take these things lightly. With these blessings and privileges come great responsibilities and obligations. Let us rise up to them.”
From Sister Carole M. Stephens
“Trust the counsel of living prophets. Our Father has provided a way for us to hear His word, and know His law, through His prophets…
“There is safety in following the word of the Lord through His prophets. God called President Thomas S. Monson, the counselors in the First Presidency, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. In this world of increasing fear, distraction, adversity, and anger, we can look to them to see how disciples of Jesus Christ, filled with charity, look, sound, and react to issues that could be divisive. They testify of Jesus Christ and respond with charity, the pure love of Jesus Christ, whose witnesses they are.”
From Elder David A. Bednar
“I have observed in my Brethren at least a part of the Lord’s purpose for having older men of maturity and judgment serve in senior leadership positions of the Church. These men have had a sustained season of tutoring by the Lord whom they represent, serve, and love. They have learned to understand the divine language of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s patterns for receiving revelation. These ordinary men have undergone a most extraordinary developmental process that has sharpened their vision, informed their insight, engendered love for people from all nations and circumstances, and affirmed the reality of the Restoration.
“I have witnessed repeatedly my Brethren striving diligently to fulfill and magnify their responsibilities while struggling with serious physical problems. These men are not spared from affliction. Rather, they are blessed and strengthened to press forward valiantly while suffering in and with affliction.
“Serving with these representatives of the Lord, I have come to know their greatest desire is to discern and do the will of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son. Counseling with my Brethren, inspiration has been received and decisions have been made that reflect a degree of light and truth far beyond human intelligence, reasoning, and experience. Working together in unity on perplexing problems, our collective understanding of an issue has been enlarged in marvelous ways by the power of the Holy Ghost.
“I am blessed to observe on a daily basis the individual personalities, capacities, and noble characters of these leaders. Some people find the human shortcomings of the Brethren troubling and faith diminishing. For me those imperfections are encouraging and faith promoting.”
Follow the prophets, they truly know the way.