I have been following the news lately about the troubles in the Episcopalian church. The church as a whole was moving in a direction that many of its' members disagreed. The members felt that the church was straying from the teachings of the Bible. Now they are gearing up to write up a new "constitution" of beliefs to guide them in re-establishing their religion.
What they really need is a prophet of God. They need someone called of God to get guidance and direction for the church. We aren't talking about a good person who just leads according to his best ability, and inspiration from the spirit. A Prophet is much more than this. A prophet is the one to whom God reveals His secrets. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7. Think of the direction that the prophet Moses received for the children of Israel. This was much different than the inspiration that we as individuals receive. The direction Moses got from God was monumental. It was miraculous. It was prophecy and revelation. The advantage to having "a" prophet, as opposed to "many" people who are inspired, is that there is more direct leadership. A prophet is called of God and holds all of the Priesthood authority to act in God's name. While we as individuals can receive revelation for our own lives, a prophet can receive revelation for the church as a whole. God's house is a house of order. To have many individuals getting inspiration for the direction of the church could be chaotic.
A church led by a prophet and apostles is the organization that the Lord himself established. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Ephesians 2:19,20. This kind of organization helps eliminate confusion. In addition, a prophet who receives revelation can give modern guidance for troubles and problems that occur anew in modern times. There are many happenings in the world today that cause the need for guidance. The Prophet can receive revelation as to what direction the church and its' members should move.
Most recently, our modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson gave our church guidance about the subject of same sex marriage. We were encouraged to uphold the sanctity of marriage, and do all we could to support that cause. We have the free will whether or not to follow his council, but those of us who know the value of a prophet, listen when he speaks. We have the right to pray to God to receive our own testimony about whether ot nor he is a true prophet. We can also pray to know if his guidance is from God. We may not see in the immediate future the importance of the guidance he gives to us, but time has proven the value of a prophet. Through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Gospel was restored in these latter days. Through the prophet Brigham Young, the pioneers were led to a land where they could worship freely. Through the other prophets that have lived, we have received guidance on many subjects, and have seen many temples built throughout the world. The prophets have guided the church to become that stone that is cut without hands that rolls until if fills the earth. The gospel of Jesus Christ continues, under the direction of a modern prophet, to go to all the nations of the world. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this foundation. He leads the church through a living prophet. He reveals His will to a living prophet, who then leads the church to obey.
I close with the words of a famous latter-day saint hymn:
We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet, no. 19
1. We thank thee, O God, for a prophet
To guide us in these latter days.
We thank thee for sending the gospel
To lighten our minds with its rays.
We thank thee for every blessing
Bestowed by thy bounteous hand.
We feel it a pleasure to serve thee
And love to obey thy command.
2. When dark clouds of trouble hang o’er us
And threaten our peace to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
And we know that deliv’rance is nigh.
We doubt not the Lord nor his goodness.
We’ve proved him in days that are past.
The wicked who fight against Zion
Will surely be smitten at last.
3. We’ll sing of his goodness and mercy.
We’ll praise him by day and by night,
Rejoice in his glorious gospel,
And bask in its life-giving light.
Thus on to eternal perfection
The honest and faithful will go,
While they who reject this glad message
Shall never such happiness know.
Text: William Fowler, 1830–1865