Quotes on Prophets
See also: D&C 136:39; Alma 60:12
What happened when [Joseph Smith] died? . . . [The Saints] didn’t hold a conclave, choose a chairman and pick a new leader. The leader had already been chosen by the Lord. He was the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Brigham Young. . . . The Church as a body in all its sessions sustained him as President. When he died, his counselors did not say they were the President, but the Quorum of the Twelve presided for a long time, and then their senior member was sustained as President of the Church. Perfect order prevailed. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 59
The Presidency of the Church . . . are the representatives of our Heavenly Father, not only to this people, but they represent him to all the people of the earth. We would do well if we would magnify and honor these men he has placed at our head. They are men with human frailties, they will make mistakes, but if we will be as charitable to the mistakes that they make as we are to our own failures and mistakes, we will see their virtues as we see our own. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 63
An early Apostle, Elder Orson Hyde, said, “It is invariably the case, that when an individual is ordained and appointed to lead the people, he has passed through tribulations and trials, and has proven himself before God, and before His people, that he is worthy of the [position] which he holds. . . . Some one that understands the Spirit and counsel of the Almighty . . . is the [one] that will lead the Church” (in Journal of Discourses, 1:123). — Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, May 1995, p. 36
A prophet does not select where and when he will serve the Lord. God chooses when and to whom the prophets will be sent. One may be an Enoch and build Zion, or a David O. McKay and preside over the Church in times of peace and prosperity. Another may be a Mormon or a Jeremiah and try in vain to save a rebellious and backsliding people. Each has his calling. Each has his time. (Old Testament Student Manual on subject of Jeremiah) — Church News, August 13, 1994, p. 12
President Brigham Young has assured us we can have complete confidence in the prophets. He said:
“The Lord Almighty leads this Church, and he will never suffer you to be led astray if you are found doing your duty. You may go home and sleep as sweetly as a babe in its mother’s arms, as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth. Your leaders are trying to live their religion as far as [they are] capable of doing so” (in Journal of Discourses, 9:289). — Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, November 1994, p. 19
I would like to read to you a statement about the need of a prophet. This is from a minister. . . . Bishop Warren A. Candler made this statement:
“We need the reappearance of prophets sent from God.” Then Dr. Ainsworth discussed the condition of the world and the need of something to arrest the world from its present decadent condition, and asked these words: “Never in the nation’s history was the arresting voice of a prophet of God more needed than it is today.” Then here are the words of a minister in England a few years ago: “We all recognize that something has got to be done, or at the moment we are in a plight where our earthly leaders falter, our people drift and die. We cannot forget that when the blind set out to lead the blind, chances are that both will find themselves in a ditch. A dictator being out of the question, what about a prophet? The prophet never is self-appointed. It is well to keep that in mind. Nor is he chosen of his fellows. Always he is heaven-sent; yet I am cheered at the thought that he has the knack of appearing at the right time. That being so, I incline to the belief that our prophet must surely be getting ready for us. Let us not forget that; hope and pray as we will for his coming. Men have an old habit of greeting the true prophet with stones. We need not be surprised if an old-fashioned welcome awaits the prophet of our day. No one can say when such a prophet will come, but of our need of him there is no question.” — Elder LeGrand Richards, The Improvement Era, December 1955, p. 926
A revealing characteristic of a true prophet is that he declares a message from God. He makes no apology for the message, nor does he fear for any social repercussions which may lead to derision and persecution. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1981, p. 61
I have never been very particular to determine when [Church leaders] were speaking as prophets of God and when they were speaking as men. It has never occurred to me that I had the ability to determine that. It has been the rule of my life to find out if I could, by listening closely to what they said and by asking the Lord to help me interpret it, what they had in mind for the Latter-day Saints to do and then do it. I am happy to say, not boastfully but gratefully, that I have never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life. I am very grateful now that I may have some opportunity to associate more closely with them. — President Marion G. Romney, General Conference April 1941, p. 123
Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, “as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; . . as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.” (D&C 21:4-5) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life.
. . . Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants to preside over this church, and he will make no mistake. The Lord doesn’t do things by accident. . . .
Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church. (President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1970, pp. 152-53) — Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 45
We are not dependent only upon the revelations given in the past as contained in our standard works – as wonderful as they are. . . . We have a mouthpiece to whom God does and is revealing his mind and will. God will never permit him to lead us astray. As has been said, God would remove us out of our place if we should attempt to do it. You have no concern. Let the management and government of God, then, be with the Lord. Do not try to find fault with the management and affairs that pertain to him alone and by revelation through is prophet – his living prophet, his seer, and his revelator. (Elder Harold B. Lee, “The Place of the Living Prophet,” address delivered to seminary and institute of religion personnel, 8 July 1964, p. 16) — Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 45
Elder Brigham Young stressed the importance of living prophets. Referring to the written scriptures, he asserted that “when compared with the living oracles, those books are nothing to me; 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. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.” The Prophet Joseph Smith then confirmed, “Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.” — Cited by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1963, p. 17; Richard O. Cowan, The Doctrine and Covenants, A Book of Answers, p. 16
There aren’t many guarantees in this life. There isn’t a car made with a warranty that covers everything. No bank on earth can absolutely guarantee that your money is completely safe. Even the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval has a disclaimer written right on it! Nothing man-made or man-controlled can ever be truly guaranteed! But here’s the miracle. The Lord has given some marvelous guarantees without any disclaimers. And this is one of them: He will choose the prophet, and He will never let that man lead us astray. Imagine for a moment the impact of that promise. There is at least one place we can turn for pure, unpolluted guidance. — Virginia U. Jensen, “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice,” Ensign, November 1998, p. 13
A prophet is seldom popular, and the cost of being a prophet is always great, for he may be called upon to say those things which are not pleasing, . . and he may find himself fighting against a tide of mass-misconception, and, as history records, be stoned, crucified, banished, ridiculed, shunned, or rejected. For the truth is not pleasing unto all men, and time has proved that majorities are not always right. . . .
It is not important that a prophet should say those things with which you and I are in full accord. But it is important that you and I should bring ourselves into full accord with those things which a prophet speaks by virtue of his office and calling. (See Helaman 16:6) — Richard L. Evans, Improvement Era, November 1939, p. 671
How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our faithfulness. — Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1980, p. 28
The Lord has suffered some of our Prophets and Apostles to be martyred; and what for? That the cup of the iniquity of the nations might be full and that his servants might be crowned heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ to a martyr’s crown. — Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 5:269
Speaking to his prophets, the Lord said: “He that receiveth you receiveth me. . . .” (Matt. 10:40) Always the words of the living prophet took precedence, for it was God’s message to the people at that particular time. Had any man accepted the ancient scripture in the days of Noah but refused to follow the revelation that Noah received and failed to board the ark, he would have been drowned. Always the words of the living prophets are of the most vital concern to the people; and always, if a man would know of Christ and learn his commandments so that he can obey them, he must seek to find his authorized representatives. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, January 1973, pp. 57-58
Living prophets are leading this church today. The greatest security of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes from learning to listen to and obey the words and commandments that the Lord has given through living prophets. I would hope that the world would understand the importance of having a living prophet on earth today. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Hear the Prophet’s Voice and Obey,” Ensign, May 1995, p. 17
A derogatory comment occasionally made about members of the Church is: “They are like sheep waiting to be told what to do by their leaders. Why can’t they think for themselves?” While this comment may sound plausible on its face, the truth is that faithful Latter-day Saints, in a thoughtful and prayerful manner, study the doctrines and principles in the scriptures and in the counsel from living prophets and then seek to receive a confirming witness from the Holy Ghost. They don’t have to make every heart-breaking mistake in life. They know what is right and what is wrong. They don’t have to decide over and over again how they will live. They can benefit from the life experiences of all those generations that have preceded them and from instruction from our Father in Heaven and His anointed servants. They can turn away from temptation. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “In the World but Not of the World,” Ensign, February 2006, p. 55
Understanding the role of prophets, we recognize that we make a terrible mistake whenever we disregard their counsel, thinking we know better. We believe that if we see with the eye of faith, and patiently wait for all things to be revealed, we will understand that prophetic teachings are preparing us not for this world but for God’s kingdom. With that assurance, we humbly and willingly seek prophetic direction. — Elder Robert D. Hales, Return, Four Phases of our Mortal Journey Home, p. 360
The trouble with rejection because of personal familiarity with the prophets is that the prophets are always somebody’s son or somebody’s neighbor. They are chosen from among the people, not transported from another planet, dramatic as that would be! . . .
Of course, rejection of the holy prophets comes because the hearts of people are hardened, as people are shaped by their society. Yet even when the hardening is swift, it can also be subtle. Who, for instance, a scant twenty years ago would have foreseen the massive use of abortion in society today, like all the diseased doctrines of the devil. The practice is pleasing unto the carnal mind.
Prophets have a way of jarring the carnal mind. Too often the holy prophets are wrongly perceived as harsh and as anxious to make a record in order to say, “I told you so.” Those prophets I have known are the most loving of men. It is because of their love and integrity that they cannot modify the Lord’s message merely to make people feel comfortable. They are too kind to be so cruel. I am so grateful that prophets do not crave popularity. (President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, May 1978, pp. 76–77) — Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 343
It has always been hard to recognize in fallible human beings the authorized servants of God. Paul must have seemed an ordinary man to many. Joseph Smith’s cheerful disposition was seen by some as not fitting their expectations for a prophet of God. Satan will always work on the Saints of God to undermine their faith in priesthood keys. One way he does it is to point out the humanity of those who hold them. He can in that way weaken our testimony and so cut us loose from the line of keys by which the Lord ties us to Him. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Faith and Keys,” Ensign, November 2004
Prophets say the same things because we face basically the same problems. Brothers and sisters, the solutions to these problems have not changed. It would be a poor lighthouse that gave off a different signal to guide every ship entering a harbor. It would be a poor mountain guide who, knowing the safe route up a mountainside, took his trusting charges up unpredictable and perilous paths from which no traveler returns. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Stone Cut Without Hands,” Ensign, May 1976
Keys are delegated down a line that passes from the prophet through those responsible for ever-smaller groups of members, closer and closer to families and to individuals. That is one of the ways by which the Lord makes a stake a place of safety. For instance, I have sat with my wife in a meeting of parents called by our bishop so that he could warn us of spiritual dangers faced by our children. I heard more than the voice of my wise friend. I heard a servant of Jesus Christ, with keys, meeting his responsibility to warn and passing to us, the parents, the responsibility to act. When we honor the keys of that priesthood channel by listening and giving heed, we tie ourselves to a lifeline that will not fail us in any storm.
Our Heavenly Father loves us. He sent His Only Begotten Son to be our Savior. He knew that in mortality we would be in grave danger, the worst of it from the temptations of a terrible adversary. That is one of the reasons the Savior has provided priesthood keys, so that those with ears to hear and faith to obey could go to places of safety. — President Henry B. Eyring
In the very year Mr. Emerson gave his Divinity School address implicitly pleading for such, Elder John Taylor, a young English immigrant to this country, was called to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, a prophet, a seer, a revelator. In that calling Elder Taylor once said in sympathy with honest seekers of truth: “Whoever heard of true religion without communication with God? To me the thing is the most absurd that the human mind could conceive of. I do not wonder,” said Brother Taylor, “[that] when the people generally reject the principle of present revelation, skepticism and infidelity prevail to such an alarming extent. I do not wonder,” he continued, “that so many men treat religion with contempt, and regard it as something not worth the attention of intelligent beings, for without revelation religion is a mockery and a farce. . . . The principle of present revelation . . . is the very foundation of our religion.
The principle of present revelation? The very foundation of our religion? Let me return from those foundations to the present, the here and now, the 21st century. For one and all – ecclesiastics, historians, and laymen alike – the issue is still the same. Are the heavens open? Does God reveal His will to prophets and apostles as in days of old? That they are and that He does is the unflinching declaration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to all the world. And in that declaration lies the significance of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, for nearly 200 years now. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators,” Liahona, November 2004, pp. 6-9
Today there are many issues under debate as controversies rage all around us. It should be evident to all that we need divine direction, as men and women who argue their causes seem to be unable to come to workable or peaceable solutions. It is sad indeed that the world does not know or accept the fact that in our midst is a prophet through whom God can direct the solution of world problems.
True Latter-day Saints have no such dilemma. They know that the messages of the prophet have come from the Lord and have the concurrence of all the General Authorities, who are men of vision and integrity, and who themselves try to keep in tune with deity. They are not, as some would suggest, following blindly and acting without their own agency to speak and think for themselves. Through prayer to our Heavenly Father each of us can have the assurance that the course we choose has his divine approval. . . . Whose side are we on? When the prophet speaks the debate is over. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign August 1979
The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. “God’s revelation 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. Therefore the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each month in our Church Magazines. Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazine. Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” Tambuli, June 1981, p. 1
In my experience I never did let an opportunity pass of getting with the Prophet Joseph and of hearing him speak in public or in private, so that I might draw understanding from the fountain from which he spoke, that I might have it and bring it forth when it was needed. . . . In the days of the Prophet Joseph, such moments were more precious to me than all the wealth of the world. No matter how great my poverty – if I had to borrow meal to feed my wife and children, I never let an opportunity pass of learning what the Prophet had to impart. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 12:269–70
A person can not be a witness to that which he merely believes. God requires mankind, or certain individuals among mankind, to be witnesses for him – witnesses of his existence – so that they can bear testimony to others. It is important and necessary that they should have a knowledge of the things whereof this testimony is given; hence, in some few cases among the inhabitants of our globe, there have been men raised up to whom there has been a knowledge imparted almost immediately, and they knew, most perfectly, concerning the things which they were to communicate to their fellow-beings. They were true witnesses, and on their evidence and testimony the world have been condemned, and will be judged in the great judgment day. — Elder Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 16:211
Elder George Q. Cannon, who was in the presidency of the Church at one time, said this: “I know that God lives. I know that Jesus lives; for I have seen Him. I know that this is the Church of God, and that it is founded on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. I testify to you of these things as one who knows – as one of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ that can bear witness to you today in the presence of the Lord that He lives and that He will live, and will come to reign on the earth, to sway an undisputed sceptre. — Delivered in the October 1896 General Conference and reported in The Deseret Weekly, October 31, 1896, vol. 53, p. 610
As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. It is true light shining in a dark world, and it shines from these proceedings. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign, November 2006
I testify that the heavens are open. I testify that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I testify that Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet, a modern apostle with the keys of the kingdom in his hands, a man upon whom I personally have seen the mantle fall. I testify that the presence of such authorized, prophetic voices and ongoing canonized revelations have been at the heart of the Christian message whenever the authorized ministry of Christ has been on the earth. I testify that such a ministry is on the earth again, and it is found in this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “My Words . . . Never Cease,” Ensign, May 2008
What is the first thing necessary to the establishment of his kingdom? It is to raise up a Prophet and have him declare the will of God; the next is to have people yield obedience to the word of the Lord through that Prophet. If you cannot have these, you never can establish the kingdom of God upon the earth. — Journal of Discourses, 6:25; see also John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, p. 214
It is not alone sufficient for us as Latter-day Saints to follow our leaders and to accept their counsel, but we have the greater obligation to gain for ourselves the unshakable testimony of the divine appointment of these men and the witness that what they have told us is the will of our Heavenly Father. — President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1950, p. 30
We declare eagerly and unequivocally that there is again a living prophet on the earth speaking in the name of the Lord. And how we need such guidance! Our times are turbulent and difficult. We see wars internationally and distress domestically. Neighbors all around us face personal heartaches and family sorrows. Legions know fear and troubles of a hundred kinds. This reminds us that when those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants – the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike. In that allegory all face opposition and travail, and only the rod of iron – the declared word of God – can bring them safely through. We all need that rod. We all need that word. No one is safe without it, for in its absence any can “[fall] away into forbidden paths and [be] lost,” as the record says. How grateful we are to have heard God’s voice and felt the strength of that iron rod in this conference these past two days. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign, November 2006
I have worked with the presidents of the Church from President Heber J. Grant onward. I have known in a very personal way President Grant, President George Albert Smith, President David O. McKay, President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Harold B. Lee, and President Spencer W. Kimball. I have known the counselors of all of these men, and I have known the Council of the Twelve during the years of the administrations of these Presidents. All of these men have been human. They have had human traits and perhaps some human weaknesses.
But over and above all of that, there has been in the life of every one of them an overpowering manifestation of the inspiration of God. Those who have been Presidents have been prophets in a very real way. I have intimately witnessed the spirit of revelation upon them. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Strengthening Each Other,” Ensign, February 1985, p. 5
The gospel gives us that harbor of enduring safety and security. The living prophet and the apostles today are as lighthouses in the storm. Steer towards the light of the restored gospel and the inspired teachings of those who represent the Lord on earth. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Finding a Safe Harbor,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 59
A general conference of this Church is a remarkable occasion indeed – it is an institutional declaration that the heavens are open, that divine guidance is as real today as it was for the ancient house of Israel, that God our Heavenly Father loves us and speaks His will through a living prophet. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland,”The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom,” Ensign, November 1996
The more we treasure the words of the prophets and apply them, the better we will recognize when we are drifting off course – even if only by a matter of a few degrees. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “A Matter of a Few Degrees,” Ensign, May 2008, pp. 57-60
One of the principal purposes of this general conference of the Church is to announce again that God has raised up a prophet by whom he declares his will to the peoples of this world. This means that not only is the prophet sent to those who accept his words, such as the members of the Church, but also he is speaking in the name of God to all the inhabitants of the earth. He says, as did an ancient prophet, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken” (Isa. 1:2). He has been sent especially to you who do not believe in God or in prophets. Wouldn’t you like to know what he is saying? He says that in these last days God has restored the ancient gospel in its fulness and wishes to make a new covenant with all people. He says that Jesus Christ will shortly come again to the earth to save and judge the world and that we should all get ready. Now whether you believe it or not, this is earthshaking news. — Elder William Grant Bangerter, “The Voice of the Lord Is unto All People,” Ensign, November 1979, p. 9
Of all mortal men, we should keep our eyes most firmly fixed on the captain, the prophet, seer, and revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . . This is the man who stands closest to the fountain of living waters. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Seoul Korea Area Conference 1975, p. 52
You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that “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.” (DC 21:6) — President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1970, p. 152
Faith comes by hearing the word of God, through the testimony of the servants of God; that testimony is always attended by the Spirit of prophecy and revelation. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:379)
If we talk about the living oracles and want to pay respect to them, how shall we do this? Shall we do it by never reading their words – by paying no attention to that which they say? That is a very poor way of doing. We ought to listen to their words. When we cannot hear their words, we should read them; for they are the worlds of the authorized servants of God. I feel that there is a great neglect among us in this respect. — George Q. Cannon, Conference Report, 1897, p. 38
A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.
The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father . . . ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Mormon 9:31)
Joseph Smith said, “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 522) The miracle of God’s hand in the history and destiny of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is understood only through the lens of spiritual inquiry. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Every [person] eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there . . . must make his stand.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Tambuli, May 1988, 6; Ensign, May 1975, 65) Don’t be surprised when it happens to you! — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign, November 2012
The Lord has never permitted [a prophet to be lead astray] and He never will, because that would be an act of deceit of which He is incapable. — President J. Reuben Clark, Address to general priesthood meeting, October 1946
Keep your eye upon those who preside in the Church today, or tomorrow, and pattern your life after them rather than to dwell upon how ancient prophets may have looked or thought or spoken, because if you really believe what you say, you will honor the one who presides today as a prophet, seer, and revelator. For the Lord gives to his leaders in their own dispensation and their own time the things that he would have given to his church for the guidance of his people in this present day. This is the thing that makes this church strong. God isn’t an absentee father. Jesus is the head of this church. This church is founded upon apostles and prophets, but Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is the chief cornerstone. He reveals his mind and will by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who preside, as each President of the Church can testify. Today we see the evidence of His direction as we are seeing His work going forward day by day in our time. — President Harold B. Lee, “Be Loyal to the Royal Within You,” BYU Devotional, September 11, 1973
Feeling that he had received “a sacred communication” that he should guard carefully, Lorenzo Snow did not teach the doctrine publicly until he knew that the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught it. (See Biography and Family record of Lorenzo Snow, 46-47) Once he knew the doctrine was public knowledge, he testified of it frequently.
In addition to making this truth a theme for many of his sermons, he adopted it as the theme for his life. His son LeRoi said, “This revealed truth impressed Lorenzo Snow more than perhaps all else; it sank so deeply into his soul that it became the inspiration of his life and gave him his broad vision of his own great future and the mighty mission and work of the Church.” (LeRoi C. Snow, “Devotion to a Divine Inspiration,” Improvement Era, June 1919, 656) It was his “constant light and guide” and “a bright, illuminating star before him all the time – in his heart, in his soul, and all through him.” (LeRoi C. Snow, “Devotion to a Divine Inspiration,” Improvement Era, June 1919, 661) — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 5, pp. 83-84
But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21).
President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had “never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life” (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978
Prophets have a way of jarring the carnal mind. . . . Those prophets I have known are the most loving of men. It is because of their love and integrity that they cannot modify the Lord’s message merely to make people feel comfortable. They are too kind to be so cruel. I am so grateful that prophets do not crave popularity. — The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 466-467
To help you pass the crucial tests which lie ahead I am going to give you today several facets of a grand key which, if you will honor them, will crown you with God’s glory and bring you out victorious in spite of Satan’s fury. . . . Here then is the grand key – follow the prophet. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” BYU Devotional, February 26, 1980
I believe in the beauty of nature – the flowers, the fruit, the sky, the peaks and the plains from which they rise. I see and believe in the beauty of animals. Is there anything more regal than a magnificent horse – its coat brushed and clean, its head held high, its gait a symphony of motion?
I see and admire beauty in people. I am not so concerned with the look that comes of lotions and creams, of pastes and packs as seen in slick-paper magazines and on television. I am not concerned whether the skin be fair or dark. I have seen beautiful people in a hundred nations through which I have walked. Little children are beautiful everywhere. And so are the aged, whose wrinkled hands and faces speak of struggle and survival. . . . Those wrinkles have a beauty of their own, and inherent in their very presence is something that speaks reassuringly of strength and integrity and a love that runs more deeply and quietly than ever before.
I believe in beauty – the beauty of God’s unspoiled creations, the beauty of his sons and daughters who walk without whimpering, meeting the challenges of each new day.
I believe in the beauty of good music and art, of pleasing architecture, and of good literature untainted by profanity or verbal filth.
My dear young friends, there is so much of ugliness in the world in which you live. . . . But you can rise above this and revel in the beauty to be found with a little effort. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “This I Believe,” BYU Devotional, March 1, 1992
It is grievous to [the President of the Church] when he sees the people reckless in pursuing their own course leading them to destruction; when they are not willing to take his counsel and abide the doctrines he teaches; but when he sees the people willing to obey wholesome counsel, and endeavor to sanctify themselves before the Lord, he feels strengthened and sustained. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 201
Today the Lord is revealing His will to all . . . through the living prophets, with the First Presidency at the head. What they say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if He were here in person. . . . What the [First] presidency says as a presidency is . . . scripture. — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1945, p. 90
The Church is founded on eternal truth. We do not compromise principle. We do not surrender our standards regardless of current trends or pressures. Our allegiance to truth as a church is unwavering. Speaking out against immoral or unjust actions has been the burden of prophets and disciples of God from time immemorial. It was for this very reason that many of them were persecuted. Nevertheless, it was their God-given task, as watchmen on the tower, to warn the people. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Watchman, Warn the Wicked,” Ensign, July 1973
On the sacred occasion three months ago when I began to sense the magnitude of the overwhelming responsibility which I must now assume, I went to the holy temple. There, in prayerful meditation, I looked upon the paintings of those men of God – true, pure men, God’s noblemen – who had preceded me in a similar calling.
Now I stood alone with my thoughts. Somehow the impressions that came to me were simply that the only true record that will ever be made of my service in my new calling will be the record that I may have written in the hearts and lives of those with whom I have served and labored, within and without the Church. — President Harold B. Lee, “Speaking for Himself – President Lee’s Stories,” Ensign, February 1974
We sing and have done so constantly, “We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet to guide us in these latter days.” [Hymns, no. 19] There are a great many who . . . put a postscript to that and say: “Provided he guides us to suit our own fancies and our own whims.”
The prophets of God, from Joseph Smith to the present day, have guided us and they have guided us aright, when we have listened to that guidance. The mistakes which have been made have been because of our failure to listen to the prophet whose right it is to guide the people of God. . . .
I know that the path of safety for the Latter-day Saints is not only to sing, “We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet, to guide us in these latter days,” but to be ready and willing and anxious to be guided. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, pp. 80-81
Now in conclusion, may I repeat that I have worked with seven Presidents of this Church. I have recognized that all have been human. But I have never been concerned over this. They may have had some weaknesses. But this has never troubled me. I know that the God of heaven has used mortal men throughout history to accomplish His divine purposes. They were the very best available to Him, and they were wonderful.
These men whom I have known and with whom I have worked have been totally unselfish in their zeal to build the kingdom of God and bring happiness into the lives of the people. They have been unsparing in giving of themselves to the great work for which each had responsibility in his particular season. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Believe His Prophets,” Ensign, May 1992