14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, Day 5

Today is the final day of this series, where we’ve been studying each one of Ezra Taft Benson’s “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.”  Tomorrow and Sunday, we will have the opportunity to LISTEN TO A LIVING PROPHET, so don’t miss it.  Why? Take it from President Benson. Here are his twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth fundamentals:

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world, the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet, or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out. As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming, you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them.

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord refers to the First Presidency as “the highest council of the Church” (107:80) and says, “whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those, the First Presidency, whom I have sent” (112:20).

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the first presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

President Harold B. Lee relates this incident from Church history:

The story is told in the early days of the Church—particularly, I think, at Kirtland—where some of the leading brethren in the presiding councils of the Church met secretly and tried to scheme as to how they could get rid of the Prophet Joseph’s leadership. They made the mistake of inviting Brigham Young to one of these secret meetings. He rebuked them, after he had heard the purpose of their meeting. This is part of what he said: “You cannot destroy the appointment of a prophet of God, but you can cut the thread that binds you to the prophet of God and sink yourselves to hell.” [In Conference Report, April 1963, p. 81]

In a general conference of the Church President N. Eldon Tanner stated:

The Prophet spoke out clearly on Friday morning, telling us what our responsibilities are. . . .

A man said to me after that, “You know, there are people in our state who believe in following the Prophet in everything they think is right, but when it is something they think isn’t right, and it doesn’t appeal to them, then that’s different.” He said, “Then they become their own prophet. They decide what the Lord wants and what the Lord doesn’t want.”

I thought how true, and how serious when we begin to choose which of the covenants, which of the commandments we will keep and follow. When we decide that there are some of them that we will not keep or follow, we are taking the law of the Lord into our own hands and become our own prophets, and believe me, we will be led astray, because we are false prophets to ourselves when we do not follow the Prophet of God. No, we should never discriminate between these commandments, as to those we should and should not keep. [In Conference Report, October 1966, p. 98; emphasis added]

“Look to the Presidency and receive instruction,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 161). But Almon Babbitt didn’t, and in the Doctrine and Covenants section 124, verse 84, the Lord states: “And with my servant Almon Babbitt, there are many things with which I am not pleased; behold, he aspireth to establish his counsel instead of the counsel which I have ordained, even that of the Presidency of my Church.”

In conclusion, let us summarize this grand key, these “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” for our salvation hangs on them.

First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

Fifth: 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.

Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.


General Conference Preparation tip of the day:

Here’s a tip as you listen to the talks at general conference this weekend. Pay special attention to themes, patterns, and repetition. Why? Consider these words by President Henry B. Eyring:

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. For instance, more than once in these general conferences, you have heard our prophet say that he would quote a preceding prophet and would therefore be a second witness and sometimes even a third….The Apostle Paul wrote that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Cor. 13:1). 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 and fill our hearts with gratitude to live in such a blessed time.

I love the phrase “warned with counsel of where to find safety from sin and sorrow.” I have found that to be so true in my own life as I sincerely try to hear and follow what the living prophets and apostles are teaching us. I have felt the power of protection in my life and in my family. I know that President Monson, President Eyring, and President Uctdorf and the Twelve Apostles are called of God to bless, warn, and guide His children in the ways of truth. I love and sustain them as prophets. Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to join us starting this Sunday for a new round of General Conference Book Club.


3 thoughts on “14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, Day 5

  1. Thank you for sharing this. You answered a question for me, or rather President Benson did in his talk, that I have been wondering about for some time. I actually have asked several people about this and no one could give me a concrete answer, we all thought we knew and we just weren’t certain. It involves the council given by the the First Presidency, are their words to be taken in and followed with the same weight as coming directly from the Prophet? It may sound like a silly question but I don’t think that it is, and everyone who I’ve asked thought it was a good question once they started thinking about it. Number 13 answered this for me! Yeah! I have a feeling that we will be given some clear guidance in this conference relating to what is going on in our country right now, I mean specific to those of us in the USA and the current political stuff. There has been a lot of craziness and since one of the major candidates is a member there has been a lens put on us like never before. I hope we are given some guidance and direction. My Mom said that there was some no nonsense council given at her regional stake conference by Elder Oaks. I’m praying that there will be a talk like the one she described to me in General Conference. I don’t think that I’ve ever been as excited about a conference before, Should be good!

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