Sunday, March 16, 2014
Christine Marcheschi, three days before leaving for the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission
Hello, Brothers and Sisters. Both my sister and I were given the same topic: “Living Prophets.” At first when we heard the topic of our talks we were so nervous because you can take that literally so many ways and we didn’t know what was the best way to give this but I’m excited to give this talk. I really have come to have a testimony of the prophets and I hope I can share that with you.
As I was preparing to give this talk, I turned to the first lesson in Preach My Gospel entitled “The Restoration” and the scriptures that went along with the teachings about living prophets. As I read, I noticed patterns in the script of the lesson and in the scriptures. In Acts 10: 39 & 42-43, the apostles say,
“… We are witnesses of all things which He did” […] “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
In Jacob 4:4 we read from the mouth of Jacob,
“For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of His glory many hundred years before His coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.”
Amos 3:7 assures that
“surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth his secret unto His servants the prophets.”
Between these three scriptures and the Preach My Gospel text, I noticed that there seem to be a few critical doctrines concerning prophets that God wants us to understand.
First, a prophet is a man who is truly called by God to lead His children on the Earth. In the first lesson of Preach My Gospel, we read, “the prophet acts as a steward to oversee the household of God here on earth.” I have come to know that God is only motivated by love. President Uchtdorf said, “Because Heavenly Father loves His children, He has not left them to walk through this mortal life without direction and guidance. That is why He pleads so earnestly with us through His prophets. Just as we want what is best for our loved ones, Heavenly Father wants what is best for us.”
I am so grateful that our Father in Heaven has given us this blessing. As long as there are righteous saints of God on the Earth, there will be living prophets to lead and guide the Lord’s church.
The second doctrine I feel God wants me to understand is that Prophets are teachers of the truth. Because God calls prophets and apostles to be his servants, they are given the authority to act and speak in His name. The men called by God to guide this church will never lead us astray. Man himself is imperfect, but President Monson taught, “when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.”
Remember Amos 3:7: “surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth his secret unto His servants the prophets.” To His prophets, God reveals eternal truths through revelation for the salvation of His children. Those truths are shared in vain if they are not in turn shared with the people of the world. They are similarly shared futilely if we as children of God do not heed them. Listening to the counsel of the prophets and apostles, like praying and reading our scriptures, is a way for us to draw or remain close to God. The word of these men is the word of God. What they teach is modern scripture—truth revealed to them by our Father in Heaven, specific to our needs today. By following our living prophets, we follow God. We follow them because they follow God.
Living Prophets preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every General Conference we receive a constant stream of guidance, gentle or sometimes not-so-gentle warning of sin, advisement and teaching. When we were discussing my talk yesterday, my mom was sharing her love for General Conference talks and compared them to a big green smoothie for the soul. I LOVE that! The words of the prophets nourish our soul and lift our spirits.
I know that heeding the guidance of the prophets brings blessings. There have been so many times in my life when I haven’t understood why a certain teaching was important until later in my life. One of these teachings that I knew was important but I don’t think truly understood why or had a testimony of, was obedience to my parents. I wasn’t really disobedient but so many times I wished that they would cut the reins and let me free, confident that I would find my own path and my own testimony better than I ever could being confined by all their rules and guidelines. Their own goal of exact obedience seemed annoying and inconvenient at times. But it wasn’t until I was in college, on my own, with the midnight curfew I wasn’t exactly following anymore and all of their rules and guidelines in the back of my mind that I realized how smart my parents actually were. And are. I didn’t have anyone to wake me up for church and expect me to be there. I did not have anyone making sure I read my scriptures or said my prayers. And I sure did not have anyone to make sure that I followed a curfew! I was on my own, just like I had always wanted, and I realized after a few months that I WANTED to live like my parents had always raised me to live. I noticed a difference in my mood and spirit, my schoolwork, my goals, when I wasn’t doing everything in my power to live the way my parents had taught me. I recognized and began to really appreciate the prophets’ and apostles’ teachings of exact obedience to our parents. I know that Heavenly Father knows what is best for me, and inspires his servants to teach us what will make us the very happiest. I am grateful for prophets in my life to follow! I know they teach eternal truths.
Lastly, and perhaps the most important duty of Prophets is to testify of Jesus Christ. The prophets are special witnesses of our Savior, and of the power of the Atonement. I love General Conference because we get to hear the prophets’ and apostles’ testimonies. I know that every time I watch General Conference I am strengthened by their testimonies. And I’d like to read a couple special testimonies of prophets throughout history.
Thomas S. Monson said,
“Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity.
Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change.
With all the strength of my soul, I testify that God lives and loves us, that His Only Begotten Son lived and died for us, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that penetrating light which shines through the darkness of our lives. May it ever be so.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley said,
“I know that I am not the head of this Church. The Lord Jesus Christ is its head. My mission, my chief responsibility, my greatest honor comes in bearing solemn testimony of His living reality. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who condescended to come into this world of misery, struggle, and pain, to touch men’s hearts for good, to teach the way of eternal life, and to give Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He is ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He shall reign forever and ever’ (Handel’s Messiah). … I bear solemn witness that He lives and stands on the right hand of His Father.”
President Spencer W. Kimball said,
“We place [Jesus Christ] on a pedestal as no other group I know of. To us he is not only the Son of God, he is also a God and we are subject to him. …
“No matter how much we say of him, it is still too little.
“He is not only the Carpenter, the Nazarene, the Galilean, but Jesus Christ, the God of this earth, the Son of God, but most importantly, our Savior, our Redeemer. …
“I add my own testimony. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
“He is my friend, my Savior, my Lord, my God.”
President Heber J. Grant said,
“To members of the Church throughout the world, and to peace-lovers everywhere, we say, behold in this Man of Galilee not merely a great Teacher, not merely a peerless Leader, but the Prince of Peace, the Author of Salvation, here and now, literally and truly the Savior of the World!
“… Jesus is the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, who came to the earth with a divinely appointed mission to die for the redemption of mankind. Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Only Begotten in the flesh. He is our Redeemer, and we worship him.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith said,
in D&C 76:22, “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
I know that my Redeemer lives. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice for me and for each of us and I know that He loves each of us and knows each of us. He only wants us to be happy. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me and that He inspires our prophets and apostles to teach us according to our needs in this day. I know that we can be blessed by following the counsel of living prophets. I know that living prophets are called of God and that they teach truth. I am so grateful for this gospel and for my wonderful family and friends. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.