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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mormon Theology no. 34 - The Role of the Prophets

As it can be seen that many non-Mormons seem to misunderstand the role of the Prophets in Latter-day Saint teachings, it will be elucidated herein.

It must first be understood that Latter-day Saints worship the Father and Him only.  We pray to the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ His Son, because Christ is the Mediator between us and God.  The Prophets' role in the equation is simply to teach the people of God the way of Salvation.

 I will have Moses illustrate for us.   

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.  And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.  And Moses prayed for the people.  And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:5-9)

It is seen that Moses, as the Prophet, was the mouthpiece of God.  When the children of Israel murmured because of the Manna in the wilderness (which was commanded of God to be picked up every morning, and that twice on Fridays), God smote them with poisonous snakes.  The only way they could alleviate this curse was to go ask the Prophet what the Lord wanted.
The Lord, knowing all things, gave Moses (through revelation) a way to both heal the people and to instruct them about the Messiah.  The brazen serpent event as quoted above was the result.

There is another example I can pull from modern events - the march of Zion's Camp from Kirtland, Ohio to Missouri.  In 1834 the Saints in Missouri were being persecuted severely, and the 200-man Zion's Camp marched to their rescue.  However, disunity was rampant between the men.  For this reason President Joseph Smith, Jun. wrote,  

I said the Lord had revealed to me that a scourge would come upon the camp in consequence of the fractious and unruly spirits that appeared among them, and they should die like sheep with the rot; still, if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge, in a great measure, might be turned away; but, as the Lord lives, the members of this camp will suffer for giving way to their unruly temper. . . . Previous to crossing the Mississippi river I had called the camp together and told them that in consequence of the disobedience of some who had been unwilling to listen to my words, but had rebelled, God had decreed that sickness should come upon the camp, and if they did not repent and humble themselves before God they should die like sheep with the rot; that I was sorry, but could not help it.  The scourge must come; repentance and humility may mitigate the chastisement, but cannot altogether avert it. But there were some who would not give heed to my words. (HC 2: 80, 106-107)

The above is a perfect example of the role of the Prophet: to declare repentance from sin and iniquity, bu also to warn of immanent danger, plague, calamities, etc.

I know that following the President of the LDS Church is the only way to achieve personal spiritual safety and avoid the calamities foretold by ancient and modern Prophets.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet today.  In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

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