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Doctrine & Covenants – Lesson 37

“We Thank Thee, Oh God, For A Prophet”

Taught by Jeff Stone
November 1, 2009

Lesson Introduction:

The purpose of this lesson is to help us recognize the need for our living prophet, understand his roles, and more faithfully obey his counsel. Here are some of the great quotes and stories from the lesson and a copy of the quiz mentioned in class:

While serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age. This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from God to us today.

God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Every generation has need of the ancient scripture plus the current scripture from the living prophet. Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece” (in Conference Report, Korea Area Conference 1975, 52).

John Lyman Smith and his family came to Nauvoo when it was first being settled by the Saints. The only place the family could find to live at first was a stable made of logs. Everyone in the family except the mother soon came down with fevers as a result of living in the swampy area. John Lyman Smith said of the experience:

“The Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum visited us and administered to all of us, father being delirious from the effects of the fever. Their words comforted us greatly, as they said in the name of the Lord ‘you all shall be well again.’ Upon leaving the hovel, Joseph placed his slippers upon my father’s feet and sprang upon his horse from the doorway and rode home barefoot. The next day Joseph removed father to his own house and nursed him until he recovered” (quoted in Stories about Joseph Smith the Prophet: A Collection of Incidents Related by Friends Who Knew Him, comp. Edwin F. Parry [1934], 33–34). Ask the assigned class member to share the story of Elder Spencer W. Kimball helping a mother and her children in an airport (Our Heritage).

In 1998 a devastating hurricane caused great destruction in Central America. The Church sent large amounts of relief food and supplies. President Gordon B. Hinckley felt that he should go to Honduras and Nicaragua to meet with and encourage the people there. Later in a Christmas devotional, President Hinckley spoke of a two-year-old girl he met on this trip who had been orphaned in the disaster. Her mother had died a few months before the hurricane, and when the hurricane hit, the father piled the furniture in his house to avoid the rising water.

President Hinckley related that the father “took a little mattress and placed it at the top and laid [his daughter] on it. In his frantic and desperate effort he suffered a stroke and died. … No one knew anything of her, until a young man, two days later, happened to look up in that abandoned house and saw her still alive. He tenderly brought her down and delivered her to the bishop and the bishop’s wife. It was there that we saw her.

“I would hope that at this Christmas season, when there will be no gift-giving among these devastated people, this small orphan girl might receive perhaps a little taste of candy, something sweet and delicious. I must see that that happens. “God bless the people everywhere … that their hearts may be opened and their hands extended to help the needy” (Church News, 12 Dec. 1998, 4).

 “When my wife and I were a young married couple, we lived in the Boston area, where I attended school. Another young couple moved into our ward shortly after we did. They were converts of about two years . . . I was concerned about how they would do, . . . so it was with pleasure that I accepted the calling to be their home teacher. I looked forward to helping strengthen their testimonies of the gospel.

“My companion and I arrived at their modest apartment one evening to home teach them. They had just completed a home evening with their little baby. I made a mental note that it would be a good idea for my wife and I to start holding home evenings so … when a child arrived we would already have the habit. They then eagerly showed us their Book of Remembrance in which they had collected many names of ancestors from both sides of their family. I remembered that it had been a long time since I had looked at my Book of Remembrance.

“After our lesson they took us out to the screened back porch where were stacked ice cream buckets filled with wheat, sugar, flour, and other food—a complete year’s supply of food. I had supposed, somehow, that as students that counsel didn’t apply to us! By now I was feeling very humble. I had come to teach them, but they were teaching me in every point. As we left their little apartment I noticed a picture of the temple hanging near their door. I remembered that President Spencer W. Kimball said that every Latter-day Saint family should have a picture of the temple prominently displayed in their home, and I remembered that we didn’t have one . . .

“I went home, filled with a spirit of repentance, and found a small picture of the Swiss Temple in a mission brochure. I cut it out and taped it on our wall. Since that time we have always had a picture of the temple in our home. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of a young convert couple who taught us what it meant to ‘follow the prophet’ ” (address given in the Bountiful Mueller Park Stake conference, 17 Jan. 1999). Story by Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy

Before President Brown was called as a General Authority, he spent some time in England working as a barrister, or attorney. He befriended a prominent Englishman who was a member of the House of Commons and a former justice of the supreme court of Britain. The two men often discussed various subjects, including religion.

In 1939, when it appeared that World War II would soon break out, the English gentleman called Brother Brown into his office. He asked Brother Brown to defend his religious beliefs in the same way he would discuss a legal problem. In a general conference address, President Brown recalled part of their conversation:

“I began by asking, ‘May I proceed, sir, on the assumption that you are a Christian?’

“‘I am.’

“‘I assume that you believe in the Bible—the Old and New Testaments?’

“‘I do!’”

The English gentleman said that he believed the biblical accounts of the Lord speaking to prophets. However, he maintained that such communication had stopped soon after the Resurrection of Christ. The conversation continued with
another question from Brother Brown: “Why do you think it stopped?”

“‘I can’t say.’

“‘You think that God hasn’t spoken since then?’

“‘Not to my knowledge.’

“‘May I suggest some possible reasons why he has not spoken. Perhaps it is because he cannot. He has lost the power.’ “He said, ‘Of course that would be blasphemous.’

“‘Well, then, if you don’t accept that, perhaps he doesn’t speak to men because he doesn’t love us anymore. He is no longer interested in the affairs of men.’ “‘No,’ he said, ‘God loves all men, and he is no respecter of persons.’

“‘Well, then, . . . the only other possible answer as I see it is that we don’t need him. We have made such rapid strides in education and science that we don’t need God any more.’ “And then he said, and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war, ‘Mr. Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why he doesn’t speak.’

“My answer was, ‘He does speak, he has spoken; but men need faith to hear him’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 117–18; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1967, 36–37). The Lord continues to speak today through a living prophet. This lesson discusses the blessings of being led by a living prophet and our responsibility to follow his counsel.

How Well Do You Know The Prophets?

If you would like to print out the quiz that was mentioned in class on Sunday, the two links below will bring up pdf versions of the quiz that you can print and use for Family Home Evening or just your own personal study:

I would challenge you to take the quiz first. Don’t click on the “Answers” link until you’ve tried the test. Good Luck, and may the force (aka the spirit) be with you.