Lesson 12: Following the Living Prophet

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 39–41


Objective

Each young man will resolve to learn and follow the counsel of God’s ordained prophet.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      A picture of the living prophet.

    3. c.

      (Optional) A key lock or combination lock.

  2. 2.

    Obtain a copy of a recent general conference address by the living prophet. Study it and prepare to share specific items of instruction that the living prophet has given that would be particularly meaningful to the class members.

  3. 3.

    Assign a young man to read Amos 3:7 and comment briefly on what the scripture means to him.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Optional object lesson

Have some or all of the young men try to open the lock without the right key or combination. Then ask why no one could open it. The young men will probably indicate that unless they have the right key or combination, they cannot open the lock. Explain that the prophet’s inspired instructions are like the key or combination. They reveal or unlock the will of the Lord to us. The prophet helps us learn the way to salvation and eternal life.

Quotations

As the servant of the Lord, the prophet receives “light and truth and revelation from him … to proclaim his truth” and to “give counsel and direction to the Saints and to the world” (Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, pp. 12–13; or Ensign, July 1972, p. 27).

Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve Apostles emphasized the way in which the prophet guides us as follows: “His voice becomes the voice of God to reveal new programs, new truths, new solutions. … He must be bold enough to speak truth even against popular clamor. … He must be certain of his divine appointment, of his celestial ordination, and of his authority to call to service, to ordain, to pass keys which fit eternal locks” (“Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice,” in Speeches of the Year, 1976 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 291).

The Lord Reveals His Will through His Prophet

Scripture report and discussion

Have the young men turn to Amos 3:7. Invite the assigned young man to read Amos 3:7 and give his comments on the scripture.

Read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 1:38.

  • Whose voice is the same as the Lord’s voice?

Explain that these and other scriptures tell us that the Lord has always spoken through his prophets and that he will continue to do so. In 1829 the Lord told Joseph Smith, “This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C 5:10). When the Church was organized in 1830, Joseph Smith received another revelation in which he was told he would be called “a seer, … a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father” (D&C 21:1). This passage describes the responsibility of all of the prophets who have led the Church from its organization to the present. The Lord emphatically stated that the inspired words of his ordained leaders are his words:

“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost … shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).

Quotation and discussion

Explain that the Lord sends his prophets because he loves us and wants us to return to him. A prophet teaches us how to follow Christ and return to his presence. President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency testified: “I have had the great privilege of being with four Presidents of this church and of seeing how the Lord works through them. One cannot doubt when he sees them that they are prophets of God, leading us in the paths of truth and righteousness and helping us to prepare ourselves … for eternal life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, p. 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 6).

  • Why is it important for each of us to know personally that the will of the Lord is made known through his ordained leaders?

We Are Blessed When We Follow the Living Prophet

Picture presentation

Display a picture of the living prophet. Point out that we have been specifically directed to follow the living prophet’s inspired counsel.

Explain that the living prophet receives instruction from the Lord for the members of the Church at this time. Because each generation lives under different conditions, the Lord guides his Church in each generation through the living prophet.

Quotation

“In this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, we have all the essentials of every other dispensation plus things that have been revealed that have never been revealed in other dispensations. …

“Yes, we believe in a living prophet, seer, and revelator. … We are not dependent only upon the revelations given in the past … but we have a mouthpiece to whom God does reveal and is revealing His mind and will” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975], pp. 161, 164).

Explain that the living prophet’s inspired leadership helps Church members meet challenges, fulfill their responsibilities, and reap the blessings that come from obeying the Lord.

Chalkboard activity

Write Prophet’s Instructions at the top left of the chalkboard and Promises and Blessings on the top right of the chalkboard.

Using a message from the prophet, help the young men appreciate the prophet’s concern for them by sharing the message and extracting specific instructions and particular promises and blessings. Have the young men supply the items for the lists as they listen to the prophet’s counsel.

Point out that we may not see an immediate reason for following the prophet’s advice. For example, over 150 years ago the Lord revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith that tobacco, coffee, and tea are harmful to our bodies. At that time, people thought those items were harmless, and they were amazed by this revelation. Only recently modern science has confirmed the truths that a prophet revealed so many years ago. The many Saints who have followed the Prophet and obeyed the Word of Wisdom have been blessed spiritually and physically for their obedience. Likewise, if we obey our prophet’s counsel, we will be blessed.

Conclusion

Quotation and discussion

Sister Elaine A. Cannon, who has devoted much of her life to guiding and teaching young people, bore this witness of the living prophet: “Now, as he speaks to us … it is as if the Lord Jesus Christ himself were addressing us. … Christ made this very clear when he said to others of his children a time ago, ‘Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these … whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you’ (3 Nephi 12:1). … Your course should become clear, your priorities ought to be known to you. … Personal opinions vary. Eternal principles never do. When the prophet speaks … the debate is over” (“If We Want to Go Up, We Have to Go On,” New Era, Jan.–Feb. 1979, pp. 40–41).

  • What did Sister Cannon mean when she said that when the prophet speaks, the debate is over?

  • Why is this so important to us?

Testimony and challenge

Bear testimony of the blessing of having a living prophet. Challenge each young man to choose one of the instructions from the prophet’s message discussed in the lesson and live it more fully each day. Furthermore, challenge quorum members to listen more carefully to the prophet’s future advice and to use it in making everyday decisions.