(March 1, 2014)
It is easy for us to say that we would have followed Abinidi if he had come in our day, but I don’t think that it is really that simple for us to say. I think that, at least in my case, I am far more likely to be standing in the crowd mocking the prophet as he comes to preach to us. I don’t see me stoning him, but I likewise don’t see myself as being brought out of my wickedness and to the Lord.
This, as you can imagine, is a big concern for me. How can I know and recognize the ‘prophets’ in my day? Of course, in some ways I have things easier because when people speak at General Conference they have a little graphic under them that says that they are Apostles or in the First Presidency or members of the Quorum of the Seventy or something similar. And I know who my Bishop is and who my Stake President is, and so we have those lines of authority that make recognizing the person who should be speaking under their stewardship easier and avoids confusion.
But I don’t think that is it. I think that, in addition to having a Prophet to lead us, the Lord will continue to call prophets to guide us in our lives. They may be friends or family or work associates or any number of similar people. We may accept them, or we may ‘stone’ them symbolically. But how can we recognize them? I think the answer to that is a simple one – a prophet always calls you to repentance. False prophets never call you to repentance, because Satan would not have you repent. When you hear someone call you to repentance, you had better listen. Perhaps you aren’t even guilty of what they are calling you to repentance for, but you are guilty of something. Perhaps you don’t need to repent in the way they believe you do, but you do need to repent. In this life, we are blessed with the capacity to repent and to forgive. At any point we are not exercising both of these capacities, we risk our very souls. Anyone who helps us to remember these obligations put us in their debt.