GCBC Week 4: Follow the Prophet

“Obedience to the Prophets”
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
Saturday morning session


“Our Very Survival
Elder Kevin R. Duncan
Of the Seventy
Saturday afternoon session


It was interesting that both of these speakers based their talks on this same talk by President Ezra Taft Benson:  Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet

I thought it would be appropriate to study both of their talks together this week and take an up-close look at the importance of placing our trust in the Lord by heeding the words of his servants.  President Henry B. Eyring said the following specifically about listening to the messages we hear at General Conference:

“There seems to be no end to the Savior’s desire to lead us to safety. And there is constancy in the way He shows us the path. … Those means always include sending the message by the mouths of His prophets whenever people have qualified to have the prophets of God among them. Those authorized servants are always charged with warning the people, telling them the way to safety…

“In our own time, we have been warned with counsel of where to find safety from sin and from sorrow. One of the keys to recognizing those warnings is that they are repeated.

“One of the ways we may know that the warning is from the Lord is that the law of witnesses, authorized witnesses, has been invoked. When the words of prophets seem repetitive, that should rivet our attention…”  — Henry B. Eyring, “Finding Safety in Counsel,” Ensign, May 1997, 24

So, since this message was repeated so obviously in these two talks, and then also mentioned in several other talks during general conference, it certainly begs our careful attention.

“This world is full of so many self-help books, so many self-proclaimed experts, so many theorists, educators, and philosophers who have advice and counsel to give on any and all subjects. With technology today, information on a myriad of subjects is available with the click of a keystroke. It is easy to get caught in the trap of looking to the “arm of flesh” for advice on everything from how to raise children to how to find happiness. While some information has merit, as members of the Church we have access to the source of pure truth, even God Himself. We would do well to search out answers to our problems and questions by investigating what the Lord has revealed through His prophets.”  — Elder Duncan

“We are privileged to have the words of our living prophets, seers, and revelators during this wonderful general conference. They will speak the will of the Lord for us, His people. They will transmit the word of God and His counsel to us. Pay attention and follow their instruction and suggestions, and I testify to you that your life will be completely blessed.”  — Elder Costa

What rivets your attention in these talks?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What stood out to you as you studied them?  What do you think is the warning associated with this repeated message?  What did it make you feel or want to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. If this is your first time to General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it, and then join us.


15 thoughts on “GCBC Week 4: Follow the Prophet

  1. “follow them and be blessed, reject them and suffer” was the phrase from both talks that most struck me–as #14 of Pres Benson’s Fundamentals that they both quoted. I suppose this point seems pointed and powerful to me as I have noted swirling about the bloggernacle a lot of discontent and the “wisdom of men” as it were. Some times I think it is tempting to be smart, to take comfort in our own intelligence, in the arm of the flesh. Maybe I’m just not smart enough, but my own wisdom has never been enough to give me the guidance and peace I have needed, but the guidance of the Lord as it comes through His prophets has always and will always keep me and mine safe. Safety is a rare commodity in this crazy world. Physical safety is something that we can’t be promised, but eternal safety is available and easy to find in the counsel of the prophets. What a rare and precious gift that is!

    • I found myself wondering how some of the people who often use the counterarguments to this list to defend their opposition to the Church’s stand in the bloggernacle were taking this talk. Then to hear it repeated again. Ouch!

  2. I really loved these talks, both during Conference and when rereading them. I had two thoughts when reading/listening to these talks. First, the thought kept circulating in my mind ‘the Prophet has spoken during Conference, what do you need to change to put yourself and your family in better alignment with his directives?’ Second, the 14 points helped me to better understand that in order for us to more effectively follow the prophet we must know what he is saying – specifically from each conference. I knew that I needed to better hone in on his words and then make sure that my sweet children had a clear understanding of the counsel from the prophet from Conference. Only when we have a clear understanding of his teachings can we follow his teachings.

    Thank you so much for hosting this! It is wonderful!

  3. The part that stuck out to me was that the proud and rich are those that have the hardest time following the prophet. I am definitely not rich and I hope I am not proud but these are things that we can constantly be checking and evaluating in our own lives to help us be more obedient and faithful in following the prophet.

    Another part that stuck out to me was that the words of the prophet are more vital than the standard works. I know that I am guilty of sometimes not reviewing the conference talks but being more concerned about my scripture reading. They both have a place in our lives but perhaps I need to start putting some more time and thought into the words of the Latter-Day prophet.

    • We used this talk for FHE tonight! One thing we pointed out on this fundamental is that it is the PROUD who are learned and the PROUD who are rich who have difficulty in following the prophet. There are many learned and rich men and women who are not proud who humbly, obediently and faithfully follow the prophet.

    • I thought your point was a good one. Reading and reviewing (and applying!) the conference talks is very important and should have the same level of importance as do our scriptures. I remember on the Pioneer Trek that we were asked to bring our scriptures or the Ensign and at the time I didn’t feel that they should be at the same level. After reading Pres. Benson’s talk, however, and the two from this last session, I feel that they are.

      I also want to be better about looking for answers in the words of our prophets through lds.org. For parenting and other problems, I sometimes look more to worldly sources, and that’s something I want to change.

  4. “What the prophets teach may to some seem outdated, unpopular, or even impossible. But God is a God of order and has established a system whereby we may know His will.”

    I think this statement is important to remember in light of the uproar that happened in response to E. Packer’s talk. I was saddened as I read on different sites people criticizing us for following these “old men”. I think these “old men” are a great gift to us. Some things they tell us are not popular right now, but I am grateful to have a reliable source for knowing God’s will during these turbulent latter-days.

  5. I really liked the list when it was given and was shocked to hear it given twice. We went over the talk they quoted from in FHE the next week (as was requested).

    I liked the reminder that the living prophet is greater than old prophets or the standard works(#’s 2&3). After all, he is receiving direction for this very moment. I also liked #6 that “thus sayeth the Lord” is not necessary to be spoken, it is implied whenever the prophet speaks.

    The reminder that the prophet will never lead us astray (#4) and he is the mouthpiece for the Lord in everything (#1) makes it possible to accept the other parts of the list, too, about his authority to speak on anything regardless of personal experience or worldly popularity.

    I think that the most touching part of the list for me is (#7) “The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.” It might take me a lifetime to master that one.

  6. You talked about witnesses “ in the month of two or three witnesses shall every word be establish”
    – I was in awe then two speakers referenced this same talk which was given how many years ago? What made it more unbelievable was in the single branch in our stake (that my husband was just called to be a councilor in ) had a speaker talk on prophets just a week or so before -pick what old talk? You guest it. 14 Points. Before conference, I talked to my old RS president from my ward we were called out of and told her I wish I could of heard her presidency message which I knew she meant to prepare the sisters for general conference with and asked what she decided to share. Bet you can’t guest what the lesson was based on. Yes, you guessed it. When I was telling someone in our stake about this they added that the youth Had been exposed to this talk too in the last month. Wow! What does this mean?

  7. I love the quote from Elder Duncan: “the only sure and secure road to protection in this life comes through trusting in and obeying the counsel from the prophets of God.” I have come to learn and understand that even when I don’t feel that it is necessary to follow the counsel given, and as I choose to follow the prophet with trust and obedience I will have protection because of my faith or even sometimes–my lack of faith and my children will be more willing to follow my example because I am willing to

    Follow The Prophet.


  8. I still remember the first time I attended General Conference in 1982 (as a convert of 8 years) and sat in the Tabernacle when Pres. Kimball came in and we sang “We Thank Thee O God for A Prophet”. The feeling I had that day has always stayed with me. I’m so grateful for the testimony I have that we have a Prophet.

    I think the key is listening and applying. I was so touched by President Eyring’s talk where he said he and his wife took to heart the counsel that was given to pay off their mortgage. I want to have that kind of faith. I would much rather trust in the Prophet than in the arm of flesh.

  9. I enjoyed listening to both of these talks. As I listened to Elder Duncan’s, I wondered what kind of early saint I would have been. Would I have wanted to move on to California? Would I have stayed in Utah? I hope that I would have followed the prophet.

    The point that stuck out to me was how the prophet wont always be popular with the world or the worldly. I know some people are certainly struggling with certain things right now that our prophet has said.

  10. I read both talks this week, and found a few things that did not originally pop out to me. I found it interesting that this talk given by President Benson was mentioned TWICE in the same conference. What I got from both was that if we want to be safe, we must follow the prophet. Often times when I’ve studied talks such as these, I compare some of the things I’ve read to some questions that arise as to the validity of our prophets on earth today (questions coming from my non-member friends). One that I thought about today when I read Elder Duncan’s talk was when I read fundmental #5: “The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.” I’ve thought about the prophets we have had in our modern day, as well as Joseph Smith, who was chosen at such a young age. People outside the Church might think “thats preposterous”… but is it really? Moses was chosen, and had a speech impediment, thus being one who was not well spoken. Samuel was chosen at an extremely young age. The Bible is crawling with examples of men who were chosen to be His prophets, who weren’t “learned” men, by the standard of the world. How is Joseph Smith any different?

    I also loved that Elder Duncan mentioned that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet for our Church and for the world. Sometimes I think we forget that Pres. Monson doesn’t just instruct us, but his instruction is valid to anyone and everyone. I felt the warning was pretty obvious in both of these messages: Follow the prophet and be blessed; reject them and suffer. Its the only thing that can save us in this world. Its the way we show God we’re humble and willing to follow Him, because the words that Pres. Monson speak *are* indeed the words of God.

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