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#1 Eowyn

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:34 PM

This came up somewhat today. I know my thoughts, but I'm curious to hear from others. If we believe in personal revelation and acting with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, why do we need living prophets?
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

#2 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:53 PM

Because we need someone to train us how to listen to the Holy Ghost; and a cross-check to our own personal revelations to ensure that we aren't being deceived.

I think Elder Oaks recently gave a Conference talk about "two lines of revelation", or something to that effect--too rushed to look up the link at present; but it may be of interest.
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#3 SpiritDragon

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 03:55 PM

God is a God of order. Having living prophets to direct the affairs of the church and receive guidance for the world helps to ensure order. While there are many who love to hate organized religion and believe a more free spirited approach to personal revelation is ideal, it simply isn't. Such a system leads to chaos and confusion. God is not the author of confusion.

#4 ElectofGod

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 04:23 PM

I asked this question a few days ago. Not sure if I will post all my thoughts but two more thoughts to add. Still working my head around it. So glad for the discussion.

God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what he will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them...
Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150-151


So if god will reveal to us all things why need a prophet? Not to reveal individually.

1 John 2:27.

But the anointing which ye have received of him bideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.


Zion will be like this...

King James Bible
Numbers 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!


I think McConkie always says things very well...

Truly, the Holy Ghost is a revelator. He speaks and his voice is the voice of the Lord. He is Christ’s minister, his agent, his representative. He says what the Lord Jesus would say if he were personally present.

Speaking “unto all those who” are “ordained unto” his “priesthood,” the Lord says: “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:2–4).

Truly this is that promised day when “every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world” (D&C 1:20).

If all of the Latter-day Saints lived as they should, then Moses’ petition would be granted: “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29).

This is the promised day when “God shall give unto” us “knowledge by his Holy Spirit,” when, “by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost,” we shall gain knowledge “that has not been revealed since the world was until now” (D&C 121:26).

This is the day of which Joseph Smith said: “God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them” (Teachings, p. 149).

And we look forward to that glorious millennial day when “they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:34).

But even now there is no end to the revelations we may receive. “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (A of F 1:9).

To the prophets, seers, and revelators he will manifest his mind and his will concerning the Church and the world. To the presiding officers in the stakes and wards and quorums he will reveal what should be for those organizations. To fathers and mothers and children he will reveal “great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” (D&C 89:19) to guide them along the way to perfection.

It is his will that we gain testimonies, that we seek revelation, that we covet to prophesy, that we desire spiritual gifts, and that we seek the face of the Lord.

The Lord wants all his children to gain light and truth and knowledge from on high. It is his will that we pierce the veil and rend the heavens and see the visions of eternity.

By his own mouth he has given us this promise: “It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am” (D&C 93:1).

Such is his promise to us here and now while we yet dwell as mortals in a world of sorrow and sin. It is our privilege even now—the privilege of all who hold the holy priesthood—if we will strip ourselves from jealousies and fears and humble ourselves before him, as he has said, to have the veil rent and see him and know that he is. (See D&C 67:10.)

To carnal men, and even to those among us whose souls are not attuned to the Infinite, these promises may seem as the gibberish of alien tongues, but to those whose souls are afire with the light of heaven they will be as a bush that burns and is not consumed. As Paul, our fellow apostle and witness of that same Lord whose servants we are, expressed it: “The things of God knoweth no man, except he has the Spirit of God” (JST, 1 Cor. 2:11). LDS.org - Ensign Article - “Thou Shalt Receive Revelation”



#5 Anddenex

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 04:56 PM

I have always liked this verse, which would be also in relation to Spiritdragon's post, found in our D&C 46: 29, "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby."

Since our Father in heaven is a God of order and not confusion it makes perfect sense that a "head" is necessary to retain order; a proper channel by which the Lord instructs his children collectively. The prophet, while our Savior is not upon the earth, is the leader, or a head by which we know when something is doctrine and when something is personal opinion.

#6 james12

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 05:47 PM

Ephesians 4:11-13 answers this question very well:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

I believe the JST starts verse 13 by saying, "Till we, in the unity of the faith, all come to the knowledge of the Son of God..." Not until we all come in unity to know the Son and reach the stature of Christ will the need for prophets be done away. Until such a time as all reach the stature of the Son "of necessity there [will be] presidents, or presiding officers" (D&C 107:21).

#7 Quin

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:36 PM

This came up somewhat today. I know my thoughts, but I'm curious to hear from others. If we believe in personal revelation and acting with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, why do we need living prophets?


I'd honestly get in as big of a knock down drag out fight as one could with a deity if I were ever lobbed the status of prophet.

I have immense sympathy and pity for Gods prophets on earth.

Simply put: When I'm talking to God, I only have to worry about myself. What's right for me.

Prophets have to do what's right for everyone. Which is often a very different thing than what's right for the individual, or the individual's nearest to their heart.

That is an immense burden almost always accompanied by personal tragedy.

My heart goes out to them.

...

As far as why we need a living prophet?
I'll borrow from the Qur'an for that one.
Luqman (chapter, I don't have the verse lines). Translation by Khalidi

If every tree on earth was a pen refilled by the sea, and 7 more seas besides... The word of god would not be exhausted. God is all knowing. All wise.

Q

#8 skalenfehl

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:47 PM

Amos 3:7. God does nothing save he'll reveal it to his prophets. Furthermore, Joseph Smith also said:

God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them.-History of the Church, 3:380

God revealed to Lehi that he must depart Jerusalem. God revealed to Nephi he must build a ship, etc. As much as prophets reveal things to His people, however, they are not keepers of the gate. Only Christ is and he employeth no servant there. It is the Holy Spirit that brings us to Jesus Christ.

There is a distinction.

#9 pam

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 09:28 PM

We can receive revelation for ourselves. But we need a prophet to receive revelation for the church and for the people of the world.

#10 skalenfehl

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 06:00 AM

All we need do is look to past prophets. In every dispensation, prophets have come forward to warn and to call to repentance. And when they speak to their assemblies/write epistles, they have been to declare doctrine and/or correct false teachings, etc.

Isaiah warned and prophecied concerning the future of Israel in his time, the future and the last days (repeating cycles of history)

Jeremiah warned Jerusalem of coming destruction and called them to repentance.

Jesus Christ came to fulfill laws and redeem the world, correcting false doctrines and teachings. He is the greatest prophet.

There are many more in the Bible.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi was like unto Isaiah, even quoting much of Isaiah. His primary prophecies and declaration concerned the condescension of a Messiah and coming unto Jesus Christ.

Jacob corrected false practices such as having multiple wives.

Abinadi called the leaders of the church in the land of Nephi to repentance and corrected them in their beliefs concerning the law of Moses.

The list goes on. Mormon wrote epistles to Moroni concerning the baptism of small children.

Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the gospel.

The common denominator of all prophets (many of which were killed or mocked for doing so) was their testimonies of a living Messiah--the son of God who is the redeemer of mankind and that through Him and only Him, mankind can be saved in the kingdom of heaven. But no single prophet can work out anyone's salvation. They can point the way, as they have always done, but they cannot walk the path for anyone or keep the gate. There is a difference between "receiving" a prophet and "following" a prophet.

Nephi said it best:

2 Nephi 32

1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.


This happens at the veil. A real veil. No prophet can ask for you. No prophet can seek for you. No prophet can knock for you.

7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.

8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.


The key word in his final bit of advice is to pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Consider the parable of the unjust judge.

D&C 101
81 Now, unto what shall I liken the children of Zion? I will liken them unto the parable of the woman and the unjust judge, for men ought always to pray and not to faint, which saith—

82 There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man.

83 And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying: Avenge me of mine adversary.

84 And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself: Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

85 Thus will I liken the children of Zion.

86 Let them importune at the feet of the judge;


See also Luke 18:1-5.

Prophets are very important. That is why the Lord has always sent His prophets. But they are not as important as personal revelation. If saints had always and would always pray and not faint (importuning as the brother of Jared), stripping themselves of all ungodliness and knocking at the veil until the Lord proved them in all things, there would be no need for prophets. Everyone would be a prophet because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of Prophecy. (Rev 19:10)

The definition of importune is to ask (someone) pressingly and persistently for or to do something. This is what God wants of us. The gift of the Holy Ghost, the first Comforter, is a great gift indeed, but the greater gift is the other Comforter, even Jesus Christ. This is the gift we should truly covet. I wish more prophets and apostles would declare this precious truth!! But only very few in our dispensation have.

#11 Doctrine

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:21 AM

Before Christ came to the earth there were only patriarchs or fathers that lead their family's but to bridge that gap and unite the family's of the world christ gave us apostle, prophets, and keys.
Now the family's can help teach one another.
Example, iam the head of my family with my beautiful wife by my side. And we together lead our family and teach them the gospel. Then if I need any guidance I talk with the bishop to help me guide my family.
And so on and so on.

#12 Eowyn

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:29 AM

There were no prophets before Christ came?
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

#13 ElectofGod

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:10 AM

I believe the JST starts verse 13 by saying, "Till we, in the unity of the faith, all come to the knowledge of the Son of God..." Not until we all come in unity to know the Son and reach the stature of Christ will the need for prophets be done away. Until such a time as all reach the stature of the Son "of necessity there [will be] presidents, or presiding officers" (D&C 107:21).


Excellent. Going along with this idea and Skal's.

Teachings of Joseph Smith:

“I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes [limits] for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”8

“The great thing for us to know is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world. Who knows it? It is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes and set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty. … That which hath been hid from before the foundation of the world is revealed to babes and sucklings in the last days [see D&C 128:18].”9

“When men open their lips against [the truth] they do not injure me, but injure themselves. … When things that are of the greatest importance are passed over by weak-minded men without even a thought, I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom. I believe all that God ever revealed, and I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief.”10

“When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.”11


Anything false traditions, things not of heaven, must removed and replaced with truth. We must speak to God. We don't look to the prophet to get things revealed. They point to Christ, else they are a false prophet.

A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God.

Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137



#14 SpiritDragon

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:23 AM

There were no prophets before Christ came?


There absolutely were prophets before Christ came. Simply open the Old Testament and read about many from Moses to Jeremiah and so forth. They called the people to repentance, not just their families. Think of Jonah wanting to avoid Ninevah... he didn't get swallowed by a creature from the deep because he was scared to face his family.

#15 Eowyn

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:29 AM

There absolutely were prophets before Christ came. Simply open the Old Testament and read about many from Moses to Jeremiah and so forth. They called the people to repentance, not just their families. Think of Jonah wanting to avoid Ninevah... he didn't get swallowed by a creature from the deep because he was scared to face his family.


Yes, I was just trying to clarify what Doctrine was saying.
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

#16 rameumptom

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:36 AM

Prophets are necessary for several reasons. First, to bestow on others the gifts, powers, blessings and authorities of the holy priesthood. We cannot give it to ourselves.
Second, to organize the believers so that important ordinances may occur: baptism, Sacrament, endowment, sealings.
Third, to bring to pass God's work: missionary, temple, etc.
Fourth, to ensure the key doctrines remain pure and to bring light and instruction to all the people. Through prophets we received the Book of Mormon, Bible, D&C, for example.
Fifth, to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ and to establish Zion.
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#17 beefche

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:41 AM

Anything false traditions, things not of heaven, must removed and replaced with truth. We must speak to God. We don't look to the prophet to get things revealed. They point to Christ, else they are a false prophet.


I'm not sure I would go so far as saying that we don't look to prophets to get things revealed. If I were an 19 y/o female who felt God was calling me now on a mission, prior to God revealing the age change to Pres Monson, I wouldn't be able to go on a full time mission.

We look to God to confirm the things revealed to His prophets (scriptures, current revelations), but we also follow His prophet in the things he has revealed (whether clarification on doctrine or new procedures/programs, etc).
I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures...But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today."
--President Harold B. Lee, December, 1972

#18 rameumptom

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:42 AM

Before Christ came to the earth there were only patriarchs or fathers that lead their family's but to bridge that gap and unite the family's of the world christ gave us apostle, prophets, and keys.
.



Sorry, but there were many prophets before Christ's ministry. Enoch, Noah, Moses, Isaiah, Samuel, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, Malachi, Joel, Amos, Zechariah, etc. Lehi, Nephi, Alma and others were also prophets in the New World.

Moses, Elijah, Elias and others held keys that they gave to Joseph Smith (D&C 110). Clearly, families are important, but the concept of prophets began with Adam, and was adjusted from the family level to the tribal and national levels as needed. I believe there is a Primary song that begins, "Adam was a prophet".
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#19 ElectofGod

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 10:55 AM

I'm not sure I would go so far as saying that we don't look to prophets to get things revealed. If I were an 19 y/o female who felt God was calling me now on a mission, prior to God revealing the age change to Pres Monson, I wouldn't be able to go on a full time mission.

We look to God to confirm the things revealed to His prophets (scriptures, current revelations), but we also follow His prophet in the things he has revealed (whether clarification on doctrine or new procedures/programs, etc).


Semantics. For the church, your right. For us, we can receive all the truth there is in the world. As joseph smith said, I have the four gospel books with me always. For he had the holy ghost. So do we.

However, that may have been the thought of mosses people, they wanted him to receive it "as a church"... Interesting thought. "Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses (JS)" cf. D&C 84 around verse 23-25??.

#20 Eowyn

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 11:11 AM

Elect, are you saying that those who are righteous enough have no need of a living prophet?
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.




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