The gift of prophecy is a sacred and powerful lifeline to God’s children on earth. Thus prophets, in all of their forms, are of paramount importance. Revealing God’s word, giving a voice of warning, and foretelling the future are great blessings to people on earth.
In the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, Apostles receive keys that give them the invitation and authorization to give commandments to the covenant body on earth. These apostolic keys are necessary for providing ordinances and officiating in the Lord’s work.
We also sustain Apostles who have priesthood keys that they may have the gifts of prophesy, seership, and revelation. These gifts are available to apostles who are authorized to deliver God’s commandments to covenant Israel. Like all callings in the church, the gifts associated with those callings are available as those called fulfill the measure of their calling and qualify to receive those gifts. We should give our whole hearts, minds, and sustaining might to those called to carry that heavy burden so that them may have all of the gifts and abilities available to lead the covenant people.
Hearing the voice of a prophet is one of my fundamental desires. I desire to receive revelation and desire that the covenant people may grow in light and truth through the leadership of God’s appointed stewards and key-holders.
When Moses received the fullness of his endowment (Moses chapter 1) he desired all of the children of Israel to also receive for themselves the great endowment of being in the Lord’s presence while in the flesh (D&C 84). When the children of Israel rejected that invitation they entered into a condemnation. The Higher Priesthood was removed from them, which was the power that brought them into the presence of the Lord while in the flesh (D&C 84: 23-24; D&C 107: 19).
The children of Israel rejected the invitation to personally come into the presence of the Lord and therefore rejected the priesthood. They no longer desired a prophet that would lead them into a fullness of the Gospel, they desired a proxy that would go on their behalf.
When a people reject the invitation to come into the presence of God while in mortality they reject the prophet and seek a proxy. They love the man they call prophet because he, in their view, fulfills the need to have someone speak to God on their behalf.
Are we as the covenant people of the Lord embracing the invitation to come into presence of the Lord while in mortality with all of our hearts? Are we desiring to be endowed with priesthood power? Are we seeking to receive our actual temple endowment?
Or is this lost knowledge? Is the invitation being made to the covenant people? Are they aware of this primary purpose of the Melchizedek Priesthood?
Do we really desire a prophet?
Or do we desire a proxy?
Do we want someone to go on our behalf, talk with God, and give us a direction through an intermediary?
This has been the dominant desire of Israel for most of its existence. Has anything changed in the Latter-Days?
It seems that many of us in the Church rejoice in the presence of a prophet. Do we rejoice because we are prepared to be led into the presence of the Lord and are being guided to do so, or do we rejoice that the pressure is off?
Do we rejoice in the prophet because it means that God affirms us in our unbelief and we no longer have to perform the sacrifice or develop the faith to receive of actual power in the Priesthood?
One cannot receive the power of the priesthood unless one is walking the path into the presence of the Lord outlined in the temple. The veil of the temple represents the presence of the Lord on earth, and receiving power in obtained only on the path that leads to his presence.
If you rejoice in the presence of a prophet and sing with the House of Israel in cheers for the Prophet and “sustain” him, what is the cause of your rejoicing?
Are you excited because of what the Prophet is teaching? Or are you excited that there is a proxy releasing you from the heavy lifting of piercing the veil in this lifetime?
If you answer the former, how familiar are you with the words of President Nelson?
You can count on at least 4-6 general addresses a year from him. Do you know what he says? Or is his presence as a proxy alone cause to rejoice?
Do you believe that all you need to know is being delivered to you? Are you rejoicing that if the Prophet hasn’t directed you to do something specific on your path of faith that you are still on a path of exaltation?
Do you believe that staying in the “good ship Zion” (which you should do) ensures your exaltation? That if you live in the shadow of the prophet somehow you will be saved?
In reality, do you thank God for a Proxy in these Latter-Days?
For all of those that rejoice and are excited about President Nelson, how many are actually doing what he has counseled?
He has told us to stop seeking power in our professions and to seek power in the priesthood.
He has told us to stop seeking wealth and to seek priesthood power.
He has told us to seek repentance every day.
We have warnings and invitations, and yet the excitement reflects not the content of his message but his presence as a proxy.
How often is it discussed in our Sunday meetings the bold assertion from President Nelson:
“In a coming day, only those men who have taken their priesthood seriously, by diligently seeking to be taught by the Lord Himself, will be able to bless, guide, protect, strengthen, and heal others. Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity” ( The Price of Priesthood Power, Russel M. Nelson).
The italics in that quote from President Nelson were inserted by him, not me.
Many dismiss this invitation, the scriptural invitations , temple doctrine, and teachings from prophets such as Joseph Smith to come into Christ’s presence while in the flesh as metaphorical and symbolic. I’m afraid that those who do so will find that their own admission into God’s Celestial Kingdom will remain symbolic and metaphorical. In other words, they will experience the glory of God from afar but will not receive the reality of the promises.
Just as Moses could not dissuade the covenant body from making him a proxy, neither can President Nelson compel us to seek the face of Christ. It is our collective decision to either accept the invitation into the higher priesthood delivered by President Nelson and the collective body of prophets, or to make an idol of our chief apostle.
Taking his priesthood on in name, but denying the invitation is an act of blasphemy. It is taking the Lord’s name in vain because we take his Holy Order in vain. He is patient with his covenant people, but eventually their vanity and blasphemies force him to in mercy and grace strip them of their covenant protection and allow the enemies of God to stir them into repentance.
Moses as the great prophet archetype shows us that a prophet of God is always inviting us into the presence of the Lord, or is giving us preparatory commandments to do so. If the Higher Priesthood is present on the earth, then this is the invitation.
Will we seek to truly follow the Prophets (all those that have delivered this invitation) or will we maintain the condemnation placed upon us in 1832 because we have sought a proxy to enter into his presence on our behalf?
Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. How long will the Lord allow us to chose whether we will follow a prophet or a proxy?