Friday, December 23, 2011

The Tenth Day: A Living Prophet

"On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
ten lords a-leaping."

There is a unique tension between the principles of agency, personal revelation, and a living prophet. Most people prefer their prophets dead, unable to argue with them and their choices. It is much more comfortable to direct our own spirituality without another source of input.

When we used to teach investigators into our Church, the first thing we taught them was Joseph Smith's vision. The second thing was the pattern by which they could find out for themselves if their Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ did actually visit Joseph in the grove.

That same pattern, the ability for us to ask God directly if something is from Him or not, is not just a test of truth, it is also a way for us to learn to listen to the Lord.

I have often searched, pondered, and prayed about something only to remain confused and unsure what to do. But when I have heard a prophet speak the Lord's will, I get an additional dimension, something concrete to test and try, and often new information.

The words of dead prophets can do this, as can the words of friends. But a living prophet tests my paradigms, pushes my understanding, inspires me to question my assumptions, try a little harder, reach a little further.

I am grateful that I don't have to rely on scripture alone for the words of the Lord. A living prophet, right now President Monson, is open to directions from the Lord. Both times my name has come up before a member of the Twelve Apostles or First Presidency, I have received a powerful spiritual witness that these men are directed by God. Not only in the broad sense of directing the Church and the Lord's affairs in the world, but also in the microcosm of directing me.

Knowing that they are there has been a comfort to me.

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