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Why do we need prophets?

Portrait of the Prophets (Temple Prophets) by D O Christensen

That was the title of the first article in the March 2012 Ensign. The first article is the one we are to use when home teaching. I reviewed the article before going out a couple of weeks ago, and it definitely got me thinking. I understand the theory of why we need prophets… they are God’s representatives on the Earth… it is the way God communicates with His people, etc. However as I thought about how prophets affected me on a daily basis, I thought of them more as inspirational speakers. I thought to myself that my life is generally in line with the teachings of the Church. I read and pray and the Holy Ghost guides me. So why do we need prophets? Is it just for the “big” revelations?

As we discussed this topic while home teaching, one of the people we visit said she sees one of the most important reasons is so that there is a consistent message to the world declaring what the standards of God are. I thought this was a good point. But in my mind I wondered if prophets had a greater role for non-believers than for me, since I know what the standards are.

Let me interrupt here and say that I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t know the role and importance of prophets. I do. But it was an interesting question for me to think about. Before thinking about this question, I don’t know if I would have been able to explain clearly why they are important to me.

We visited three people that one night, and I had the question in my mind for 4 days and then General Conference came along. There was nothing new taught at General Conference, but I felt the Spirit consistently throughout every session. It was perhaps the most inspiring conference for me. It became very clear to me that our prophets, seers, and revelators are NOT just inspirational speakers. They are not a version of Tony Robbins or Jim Fannin. They are speaking for God. They are the watchmen on the towers. They speak of love, kindness and compassion. The talk of Christ and preach of Christ. They do inspire people, but it is not just a feel-good seminary. Our spiritual intelligence increases as we are enlightened by the Spirit.

Why do we need prophets? We need prophets so that we will always have an authorized representative from God who warn the people of the consequences of not following His commandments. We need prophets to help us have hope in the atonement of Jesus Christ. We need prophets so that all of the keys of the priesthood, with the associated ordinances, can be on the Earth. We need prophets so there are always those on the Earth who will speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. We do indeed need prophets. We thank thee, O God, for a prophet!