In many other places Paul also warned us against the deceivers who would come even before his departing. And they have continued to come, and they are among us today. The authorities which the Lord has placed in his Church constitute for the people of the Church a harbor, a place of refuge, a hitching post, as it were. No one in this Church will ever go far astray who ties himself securely to the Church Authorities whom the Lord has placed in his Church. This Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths: it never has and never will. There could be individuals who would falter; there will never be a majority of the Council of the Twelve on the wrong side at any time The Lord has chosen them; he has given them specific responsibilities. And those people who stand close to them will be safe. And conversely, whenever one begins to go his own way in opposition to authority, he is in grave danger. I would not say that those leaders whom the Lord chooses are necessarily the most brilliant, nor the most highly trained, but they are the chosen, and when chosen of the Lord they are his recognized authority, and the people who stay close to them have safety.--Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1951, p.104
There are some among us now who have not been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church and who tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world-something of the "sky is falling, chicken licken" of the fables. They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults. Those deceivers say that the Brethren do not know what is going on in the world or that the Brethren approve of their teaching but do not wish to speak of it over the pulpit. Neither is true. The Brethren, by virtue of traveling constantly everywhere on earth, certainly know what is going on and by virtue of prophetic insight are able to read the signs of the times. Do not be deceived by them- those deceivers. If there is to be any gathering, it will be announced by those who have been regularly ordained and who are known to the Church to have authority. Come away from any others. Follow your leaders, who have been duly ordained and have been publicly sustained, and you will not be led astray.--Elder Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, October 1992
Let us take a course that will be pleasing to our Father, and lay aside our follies and our sins, and obtain favour with our God, that his angels may come and associate with us. They would do so now, if you would believe and practice that which is laid before you day by day. And if you will strictly follow the leaders of this people, you never would want for clothing, nor for any of the comforts of life; for if it must needs be that we be protected and delivered from our enemies, God would cause a famine to scourge them, and would rain manna down from heaven to sustain us, as he did to the children of Israel.--Heber C. Kimball, October 12, 1856, Journal of Discourses, Vol.5, p.205
I say that herein we can see how God has inspired His servants to teach the people; and though at times they have not understood the wisdom concealed in the counsel that has been given, yet in following strictly that counsel they have found blessing and profit. Take, for instance, the principle of tithing. If you announced that to the world and asked them to observe it, would they not consider it one of the most burdensome taxes that could be inflicted upon them? Yet every Latter-day Saint is my witness that those who follow strictly this law of tithing among the people of God do not find it a burden, but rather find it a temporal as well as a spiritual blessing; for their property has been abundantly blessed, so that they have not missed the tithing which they have given to the work of the Lord. Take, again, the missionaries which we send into the world. If a man in the world was called to leave his business for two years or more to preach the Gospel, he would think it was ruinous to all his temporal affairs. But here are Elders who go out and spend year after year, and the very men who have spent the most time in the missionary field, and who stand at the head of the Church today, are the men who are the most prosperous and the most free from debt. And so the Lord will show forth the wisdom of the course which He presents to the people through the results which follow the efforts of the Latter-day Saints. We can do no better than to observe strictly every command that is given us by the servants of the Lord, however much they may conflict with our present ideas, and God will bless us in pursuing this course. We have before us the promises of great blessings.--Elder Abraham H. Cannon, General Conference October 7th, 1893
Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, ‘as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; ... as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.’ (D&C 21:4-5.) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.’ (D&C 21:6.) — Harold B. Lee, General Conference, October 1970
Long years ago when I was in the stake presidency in the St. Joseph Stake in Arizona, one Sabbath day I filled an assignment in the Eden Ward. The building was a small one, and most of the people were sitting close to us as we sat on the raised platform about a foot and a half above the floor of the building itself. As the meeting proceeded, my eye was attracted to seven little boys on the front seat of the chapel. I was delighted with seven little boys in this ward conference. I made a mental note, then shifted my interest to other things. Soon my attention was focused on the seven little boys again. It seemed strange to me that each of the seven little fellows raised his right leg and put it over the left knee, and then in a moment all would change at the same time and put the left leg over the right knee. I thought it was unusual, but I just ignored it. In a moment or two, all in unison would brush their hair with their right hands, and then all seven little boys leaned lightly on their wrists and supported their faces by their hands, and then simultaneously they went back to the crossing of their legs again. It all seemed so strange, and I wondered about it as I was trying to think of what I was going to say in the meeting. And then all at once it came to me like a bolt of lightning. These boys were mimicking me! That day I learned the lesson of my life—that we who are in positions of authority must be careful indeed, because others watch us and find in us their examples. — The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.484-5
The prophets of God, from Joseph Smith to the present day, have guided us and they have guided us aright, when we have listened to that guidance. The mistakes which have been made have been because of our failure to listen to the prophet whose right it is to guide the people of God. I will give you one practical incident:
Brigham Young stood in front of the home of the late apostle, at that time bishop, Marriner W. Merrill, in Richmond. He pointed over to the sandy country where Lewiston now stands, and he said to Bishop Merrill: "Call some man to go over there and be a bishop, and organize a ward there. That will be the most valuable part of this valley, agriculturally, the greatest grain-producing part of this country." Brother Merrill told me this, standing upon the spot where Brigham Young stood, and he said, "I called Brother Lewis to go over there, and he was subsequently ordained as a bishop, and set apart to preside at Lewiston. After he had been there one season and ploughed up the ground, a windstorm came and took all his fine soil and piled it up in a heap by the fence. He came back and said, 'Bishop Merrill, I would not give my little twenty-acre farm here at Richmond for the whole country over there and I want to come back.'" Brother Merrill said: "Well, you will not come back with my consent. If you come back you will have to run away from the call that has been placed upon you. I will not release you. The prophet of God has said that is to be the granary of Cache Valley and you go back there." And Brother Lewis went back disheartened and discouraged. Brother Lewis, who afterwards became the president of the Benson Stake of Zion, no doubt thanked Brother Merrill that he did not let him run away, seeing that during the last few years of his life, he harvested over ten thousand bushels of wheat a year. I know that the path of safety for the Latter-day Saints is not only to sing, "We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet, to guide us in these latter days," but to be ready and willing and anxious to be guided.--CR, October, 1913:88
You know, if the Lord wished he could preach this gospel to the world by declaring it from the heavens. He could have his angels blow their trumpets and declare the message of salvation in the ears of all the world. Would not that be a much easier way to get the message of truth before the world than the expensive way of sending messengers clothed with authority at great expense and toil to try to teach the world? But the ways of the Lord are not man's ways. He works through his witnesses, and in establishing his work in every age, he uses the few, not the many. Never since the beginning has the Lord declared himself to the unbelieving world, but he has sent out his messengers to preach the gospel to the world. — Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.209
I believe that Spencer W. Kimball was foreordained to be the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; to be the prophet seer, and revelator to the Lord's people; and to be the mouthpiece of God on earth for the time and season that lies ahead. I know he was called and chosen and ordained to this ministry by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and was present when the Spirit of the Lord testified to each member of the Council of the Twelve that it was the mind and will of him whose witnesses we are, and on whose errand we serve, that President Kimball should now step forward and lead his people. It was as though the Lord by his own voice said: "My servant President Harold B. Lee was true and faithful in all things that I appointed him to do; his ministry among you is completed; and I have called him to other and greater labors in my eternal vineyard. And I, the Lord, now call my servant President Spencer W. Kimball to lead my people and to continue the work of preparing them for that great day when I shall come to reign personally upon the earth. And I now say of him as I said of my servant Joseph Smith: `. . .thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; "`For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. "`For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.'" (D&C 21:4-5, 7.) It seems easy to believe in the prophets who have passed on and to suppose that we believe and follow the counsel they gave under different circumstances and to other people. But the great test that confronts us, as in every age when the Lord has a people on earth, is whether we will give heed to the words of his living oracles and follow the counsel and direction they give for our day and time. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, April 1974
Question: ''As you know, some skeptics say that major changes in Church policy have come from political pressures, not necessarily as revelations from God. For example, the business of ending polygamy say the skeptics, wasn't because it was revelation but because Utah wanted to become a state.''
Response: ''One of the purposes of a prophet is to seek the wisdom and the will of the Lord and to teach his people accordingly. It was the case with Moses when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. It was the case for the Old Testament prophets when people were faced with oppression and trouble and difficulty. That is the purpose of a prophet, to give answers to people for the dilemmas in which they find themselves. That is what happens. That is what we see happen. Is it a matter of expediency, political expediency? No. Inspired guidance? Yes.'' — Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October 1996 (portion of interview with Mike Wallace of CBS Television)
Repetitive experience teaches Church members that we need not be prey to pretenders. Besides, "The day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord,... neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people." (D&C 1:14.) Additionally, the very process of Church government also ensures that we do not have secret leaders: "It shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church." (D&C 42:11.) President Wilford Woodruff urged the Church flock to follow the Brethren, because, he said, "the very moment that men in this kingdom attempt to run ahead or cross the path of their leaders,... they are in danger of being injured by the wolves .... I have never in my life known it to fail." (In Journal of Discourses, 5:83.)--Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 1993
In this age of increased individualism and selfishness, opinions now matter more than facts or doctrine; attitudes glorify personal choice above other values and principles; and language is typified by "I don't need anyone to tell me how to be saved; I don't need prophets, seers, or revelators to tell me what God expects of me; I don't need to attend church meetings, to hear talks, or to be challenged."
Today the concept of priesthood and Church authority is on trial by the world and even by some members who think that the Latin expression vox populi, vox Dei can be literally interpreted in the Church as "the voice of the people is the voice of God." The commercial slogan "Have it your way" certainly does not apply in God's plan for the salvation of his children when we read that the very cause of apostasy is when "every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god' (D&C 1:16). — Elder Charles Didier, General Conference, April 1994
"When Pilate stood on the stage of life and pondered what to do with Christ, he listened to the voices of an angry mob and consented to his death. Now that we are on center stage, whose promptings will we follow? In the wings of our stage, prophets of the past and present are pleading for us to 'look to God and live' (Alma 37:47), to 'seek this Jesus of whom the... apostles have written' (Ether 12:41), to taste and know of 'the goodness of Jesus' (Morm. 1:15), and to be men and women of Christ. (See Hel. 3:29.)" - Carlos E. Asay, "Three Questions," Ensign, January 1984, p. 74
"Developed nations of the world are becoming so secular in their beliefs and actions that they reason that a human being has total autonomy. An individual does not have to give an account to anyone or anything except to himself and, to a limited extent, to the society in which he lives.
"Societies in which this secular lifestyle takes root have a deep spiritual and moral price to pay. The pursuit of so-called individual freedoms, without regard to laws the Lord has established to govern His children on earth, will result in the curse of extreme worldliness and selfishness, the decline of public and private morality, and the defiance of authority.
"Such secular societies are described in Doctrine and Covenants 1:16: "They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world."
"For this reason, the Lord's Church was instructed to follow the prophet and seek something different from what the world is seeking." - L. Tom Perry, "What Seek Ye?" General Conference, April 2005
"When one follows the course marked by the road signs of the gospel of Jesus Christ and places his trust in the Lord, its influence is such that it is manifest not only in action and deed but by a marked and visible change in his very being. There is a special light and a spirit which radiates from his eternal soul. It can be described in words like brightness, light, joy, happiness, peace, purity, contentment, spirit, enthusiasm, etc." - L. Tom Perry, "Trust in the Lord", Ensign (CR), May 1978, p. 51
“I take the liberty of again reminding you that you here assembled are voting for the Church. In a very true sense you are a constituent assembly, you represent the Church, you will be asked to sustain, or otherwise, those who are proposed to be sustained, and I would like to urge upon you the realization that this is not a pro-forma presentation. It is a presentation in which those who vote in the affirmative pledge themselves with their uplifted hands that they will sustain those for whom they vote. And this sustaining means that you will support, follow, and obey in the proper ways those who preside over you.” - J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “Conference Report,” April 1957, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p. 41
"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. 'Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.' At the opening of this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, the Lord reaffirmed that He would communicate with us through His prophets. He stated, 'My word . . . shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.'
"Trusting in and following the prophets is more than a blessing and a privilege. President Ezra Taft Benson declared that 'our [very] salvation hangs on' following the prophet." - Kevin R. Duncan, "Our Very Survival," Ensign (CR) October 2010
Hear and heed. To hear is relatively simple. To heed and apply what is heard becomes life’s perpetual challenge. - Charles Didier, “Man’s Search for Divine Truth,” Ensign (CR) October 2005
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