Follow the Prophet | Sheldon F. Child | 2002

Sheldon F. Child exhorts us to follow the prophet by heeding his timely and inspired counsel. Prophets help us prepare for the future.

This speech was given on June 4, 2002.

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"My dear brothers and sisters, I am so grateful for the assignment to be here with you today. I trust that the Spirit of the Lord will be with us and that I might be able to express the thoughts that are in my heart. As I have thought about what the Lord would have me say today, I have been impressed with how blessed we are as a people to be living in this day and age when the gospel of Jesus Christ and the keys of the priesthood have been restored and the Church is moving forward in such a remarkable way.

It all began on a spring day in 1820 when a young boy walked into a grove of trees to pray. That was the beginning of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days. It was through that young boy, Joseph Smith, that we learned the true nature of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. In time he brought forth the Book of Mormon. He received the priesthood from those who held it anciently. He organized Christ’s church upon the earth today. He built temples so that men and women could make eternal covenants with God and enjoy the blessings of eternal life together as families.

How fitting it is that President Gordon B. Hinckley will dedicate the 113th temple of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois—the City of Joseph—on June 27, the 158th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The temple, which is built on the original building site, will complete what Joseph left unfinished as he rode to Carthage and to martyrdom.

I am so grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith and the role he played in helping the Lord bring about the restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the Church. I am grateful for the prophets who followed him and for our living prophets today. We sustain 15 men as prophets, seers, and revelators. President Gordon B. Hinckley holds the keys of the kingdom. He is the Lord’s chief apostle on the earth today. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord said:

For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.

And this ye shall know assuredly—that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.[D&C 43:2–3]

God’s prophet is the Lord’s mouthpiece. He gives us direction and guidance.

Many people in today’s world are seeking guidance and direction in their lives. A few years ago, while serving in the Philippines, I was assigned to reorganize a stake presidency in Northern Luzon. At the Sunday general session of stake conference, I asked the wife of the newly called stake president to bear her testimony.

She told of being raised in a good, religious home not of our faith but with wonderful, caring parents. She told how her father and mother would call the family together every day and read from the scriptures. As they read of the prophets of old, she asked her parents why the Lord did not have prophets on the earth today. They answered that God had spoken through the scriptures and that a prophet was no longer needed.

At the parochial schools she attended, she would ask her teachers why there were no prophets on the earth today. Again, she received the same answer. She could not understand why God would give some of His children prophets and not give them to others. When she reached college age, her parents sent her to Manila to study at one of the finest universities. She asked her instructors there the same question, and again she received the same answer.

One day while eating lunch at a small fast-food establishment near the university, she noticed two young men come in and sit down not far from her. She could see the name of Jesus Christ on the black badges that they wore. She boldly stood up and approached the young men."