Following the Prophets means embracing their current teachings, especially the united voice of the Q15:
President Dallin H. Oaks
As to all of these, the wise cautions of Elders D. Todd Christofferson and Neil L. Andersen in earlier general conference messages are important to remember. Elder Christofferson taught: “It should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.”
In the following conference, Elder Andersen taught this principle: “The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk.” The family proclamation, signed by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, is a wonderful illustration of that principle.
Following the prophets means adopting their stance towards the world.
President Ezra Taft Benson
My heart has been filled with an overwhelming love and compassion for all members of the Church and our Heavenly Father’s children everywhere. I love all our Father’s children of every color, creed, and political persuasion. My only desire is to serve as the Lord would have me do.
“Follow the Prophet” means following a group of people. That group includes women.
Elder Quentin R. Cook
When important changes to bless our homes were announced at the October 2018 general conference, I testified “that in the deliberations of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the temple, … after our beloved prophet petitioned the Lord for revelation …, a powerful confirmation was received by all.”
At that time, other revelations relating to sacred temple ordinances had been received but not announced or implemented. This guidance commenced with individual prophetic revelation to President Russell M. Nelson and tender and powerful confirmation to those participating in the process. President Nelson specifically involved the sisters who preside over the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations. The final guidance, in the temple, to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was profoundly spiritual and powerful. We each knew we had received the mind, will, and voice of the Lord.
Most of our guidance comes from the Holy Ghost. Sometimes and for some purposes, it comes directly from the Lord. I personally testify that this is true. Guidance for the Church, as a whole, comes to the President and prophet of the Church.
Following the prophets means adopting their tone.
President Dallin H. Oaks
Here is one of our Savior’s teachings, probably well known but rarely practiced:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.
Loving our enemies and our adversaries is not easy. “Most of us have not reached that stage of love and forgiveness,” President Gordon B. Hinckley observed, adding, “It requires a self-discipline almost greater than we are capable of.” But it must be essential, for it is part of the Savior’s two great commandments to “love the Lord thy God” and to “love thy neighbour as thyself”. And it must be possible, for He also taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find”.
President Thomas S. Monson
We’ve all felt anger. It can come when things don’t turn out the way we want. It might be a reaction to something which is said of us or to us. We may experience it when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave. Perhaps it comes when we have to wait for something longer than we expected. We might feel angry when others can’t see things from our perspective. There seem to be countless possible reasons for anger.
I ask, is it possible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we are angry? I know of no instance where such would be the case.
May we make a conscious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we may be tempted to say.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Therefore, brothers and sisters, quiet goodness must persevere, even when, as prophesied, a few actually rage in their anger against that which is good. Likewise, the arrogance of critics must be met by the meekness and articulateness of believers. If sometimes ringed by resentment, we must still reach out, especially for those whose hands hang down. If our shortcomings as a people are occasionally highlighted, then let us strive to do better.
Marvin J. Ashton
Has our prophet taught us anything through his prayers? Very often the Twelve and the First Presidency pray together. When President Kimball takes his turn to be voice, he generally includes this phrase in his prayers: “Bless our enemies. Help us to understand them, and them to understand us.” He doesn’t ask for vengeance or retaliation, just for understanding so differences can be resolved. Perhaps family differences and neighborhood problems could be resolved if we would follow our prophet’s example and pray for patience and forgiveness.
Have we learned the power and the need of unconditional love? He even shows love to his enemies and many become friends. He has no time for envy, hate, ridicule, or evil speaking. Do we?
Following the prophets means that facing ridicule and harassment from the great and spacious building, we don’t clone it and become a mirror image of it. We respond as Lehi, and “heed them not.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen
Because of this adversity, Lehi’s dream also includes a warning! On the other side of the river is a spacious building with people of all ages pointing their fingers, mocking, and scoffing at the righteous followers of Jesus Christ.
The people in the building are ridiculing and laughing at those keeping the commandments, hoping to discredit and deride their faith in Jesus Christ and in His gospel. And because of the verbal attacks of doubt and disdain launched at the believers, some of those who have tasted of the fruit begin to feel ashamed of the gospel they once embraced. The false allures of the world seduce them; they turn away from the tree and from the fruit and, in the words of the scripture, “[fall] away into forbidden paths and [are] lost.”
In our world today, the adversary’s construction crews are working overtime, hastily inflating the large and spacious building. The expansion has spread across the river, hoping to envelop our homes, while the pointers and the scoffers wail day and night on their internet megaphones.
President Nelson explained, “The adversary is quadrupling his efforts to disrupt testimonies and impede the work of the Lord.” Let us remember Lehi’s words: “We heeded them not.”
Following the prophets means not claiming for them a level of infallibility that they do not claim for themselves.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Brigham Young also said things about race that fall short of our standards today. Some of his beliefs and words reflected the culture of his time. During this period, Brigham also taught, with respect to race, “Of one blood has God made all flesh.” He then added, “We don’t care about the color.”
Following the prophets means never, ever countenancing sin. It also means teaching the reality that God does not countenance sin either.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” and “whosoever shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be the least in the kingdom of heaven.”
And what of those who just want to look at sin or touch it from a distance? Jesus said with a flash, if your eye offends you, pluck it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off. “I came not to [bring] peace, but a sword,” He warned those who thought He spoke only soothing platitudes. No wonder that, sermon after sermon, the local communities “pray[ed] him to depart out of their coasts.” No wonder, miracle after miracle, His power was attributed not to God but to the devil. It is obvious that the bumper sticker question “What would Jesus do?” will not always bring a popular response.
Following the prophets means conveying God’s love as we teach God’s law.
Elder Boyd K. Packer
We understand why some feel we reject them. That is not true. We do not reject you, only immoral behavior. We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.
A young woman in Spencer and Camilla’s neighborhood was excommunicated after confessing serious misconduct. For a month, every night after their supper, Spencer and Camilla walked down the street to her house to visit and comfort, setting an example for their neighbors. Elder Boyd K. Packer mused, “A lot of people like things clean and comfortable. He’s always been willing to go out to where the people are…
Following the prophets means seeing the value of expressions of faith in other faith communities.
President M. Russell Ballard
Today I expand my call for prayer to all people from every country around the world. No matter how you pray or to whom you pray, please exercise your faith—whatever your faith may be—and pray for your country and for your national leaders. As I said last October in Massachusetts, we stand today at a major crossroads in history, and the nations of the earth are in desperate need of divine inspiration and guidance.
Following the prophets means being careful about our interpretation of scripture, and consulting multiple sources produced by people with professional training and expertise.
Recently I have been studying James 1:5. I have looked at various translations and definitions of specific words in various languages. I have become intrigued by the word “wisdom” in verse 5. The original Greek word “sophia” means in part “the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living.”
Following the prophets means being honest and introspective about where we are diverging from their example.
Elder Boyd K. Packer
Would you, I plead, overrule the tendency to disregard counsel and assume for just a moment something apostolic in attitude at least, and ask yourself these questions: Do I need to improve myself? Should I take this counsel to heart and act upon it? If there is someone who is weak or failing, unwilling to follow the brethren, Lord, is it I?