What Would the Prophets Want Me to Do?

By Linda Sherwood

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Follow the prophet; he knows the way (Children’s Songbook, page 111).

Do you sometimes wonder what you should do? I do. That’s when I try to think about the prophets and some of the decisions they made and the things they did. …

I saw a boy fall off his bike. He was crying. What would the prophets want me to do?

Margarette and her older brother, Wallace, were walking to school. Rain had made the ground very muddy. The children got stuck in the mud and could not move. They began to cry.

They looked up and saw the Prophet Joseph Smith coming toward them. He lifted both children out of the mud. Then he stooped and cleaned the mud from their shoes.

The Prophet Joseph Smith wiped the tears from their faces with his handkerchief. He spoke kind and cheering words to them.

Margarette and Wallace went on their way to school, rejoicing.

My Primary teacher asked me to give a talk in Sharing Time, but I’m scared. What would the prophets want me to do?

Twelve-year-old Heber J. Grant stood up to give a talk he’d memorized. He saw President Brigham Young sitting in the third row of the audience. President Young was the most famous speaker in the Utah Territory!

Heber shook like a leaf. He was so nervous, he forgot his talk. He stammered and stuttered again and again. Finally he started his talk over. This time, he remembered what to say.

After the meeting, President Young put his arms around Heber and told him, “Heber, you demonstrated a true spirit of determination to accomplish the task given to you. Your father would have been proud.”

When I see people with problems, I feel sorry for them. What would the prophets want me to do?

One stormy winter day, President Spencer W. Kimball was at an airport in Chicago. A bad storm had caused thousands of people to be stranded or delayed. One young woman was standing in a long line. She was going to have a baby soon, and she was sick and very, very tired.

She had a two-year-old child, who was sitting on the dirty floor. Because her doctor had warned her that she must not bend over and pick up anything heavy, all the woman could do as the line slowly moved forward was push her crying, hungry child with her foot.

Other people who saw her only made nasty remarks, but President Kimball smiled at her and said, “You need help. Let me help you.”

He picked up the little girl, soothed her, and gave her a piece of gum. He talked to the people in line about how the woman needed help. He talked to the ticket agent, too, and the woman was soon checked in. He found a place where she and her little girl could be comfortable until they could get on their plane. Then he quietly left.

When I feel lonely or frightened, what should I do? What would the prophets want me to do?

One night when his father was away from home, David O. McKay heard noises outside his house. He was sure it was burglars, and he was very frightened. He decided to pray.

David had always said his prayers while kneeling beside his bed. It took all his strength and courage to climb out of bed now and kneel and ask Heavenly Father to help him.

Then, just as clearly as one person speaks to another, he heard a voice say to him, “Don’t be afraid. Nothing will hurt you.”

David climbed back into bed and fell fast asleep.

Some boys in my neighborhood kill birds with their sling shots and BB guns. They asked me to join them. What would the prophets want me to do?

As a young boy, Spencer W. Kimball’s job was to walk the cows to pasture. He would take along his sling and his flipper.

He was a good shot. He could hit a fence post from fifty yards (45 m) away.

Sometimes he was tempted to use his sling to shoot the little birds. Then he would remember the words to a song* he sang in church:

Don’t kill the little birds,

That sing on bush and tree,

All thro’ the summer days,

Their sweetest melody.

Don’t shoot the little birds!

The earth is God’s estate.

And he provideth food

For small as well as great.

Spencer W. Kimball did not kill the little birds.

One Sunday, a girl sitting by me made fun of the way I sing. I don’t want to sing anymore. What would the prophets want me to do?

Heber J. Grant was not a good singer. His mother made him take singing lessons.

The teacher tried and tried to teach Heber to sing. Finally the teacher said, “Heber, you’ll never be able to sing!”

Years later, Heber told a friend how much he wanted to be able to sing a few Church hymns.

“It will take time and effort,” said his friend. “But, you can do it.”

Heber prayed for help. He practiced and practiced. He learned to sing the Church hymns.

Some people swear and take the Lord’s name in vain. What would the prophets want me to do?

After an operation, a young man was wheeling Spencer W. Kimball back to his hospital room. The strong medicine used during the operation had left the prophet barely conscious.

The young man got angry at something. He swore, using the Lord’s name.

Spencer W. Kimball struggled to speak. “Please … don’t say that. I love Him … more than anything in this world. Please.”

At first, the young man was silent. Then he apologized.

“I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.”

Should I tell my friends that I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? What would the prophets want me to do?

Joseph F. Smith was called on a mission when he was fifteen years old. He served in the Hawaiian Islands for over three years.

After his mission, he was traveling through California with a small group of men while returning to the Salt Lake Valley.

One afternoon, a mob of drunken men on horses rode into their camp. They were swearing, shooting their guns, and yelling, “Kill the Mormons!”

The other men in the camp ran and hid in the bushes by the creek. Joseph F. was gathering firewood. Why should I run from those men? he thought.

The leader of the mob rode up to Joseph F. and aimed a gun at him. “It’s my duty to kill every Mormon. Are you a Mormon?” he yelled.

Joseph F. stood tall. He looked the mob leader in the eyes. “Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.”

The mob leader was surprised. “Well you are the … pleasantest man I ever met! Shake, young fellow. I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions.”

Then the mob rode off. Joseph F. and the other men were not harmed.

Note: These stories about latter-day prophets can be found, in order, in the following magazines and books: “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, 15 January 1892, pages 66–67; Susan Arrington Madsen, The Lord Needed a Prophet, pages 105–106; “‘Do Ye Even So to Them,’” Ensign, December 1991, pages 2–5; Marie F. Felt, “David: A Boy of Promise,” Instructor, September 1969, page 330; President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1978, page 71; Bryant S. Hinckley, Heber J. Grant: Highlights in the Life of a Great Leader, pages 45–49; Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball, page 264; Joseph Fielding Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, second edition, pages 188–189.

Children’s photos, bicycle, wheelchair, and slingshot photos by Photodisc, posed by models

Painting by Clark Kelley Price

Heber J. Grant

House photo by Digital Stock

David O. McKay

Paintings by Robert T. Barrett

Joseph F. Smith. (Portrait by A. Salzbrenner.)

Show References

  • “Don’t Kill the Little Birds,” Deseret Songs, 1909, no. 163.