Sunday, April 17, 2016

What is a prophet?

Today was another interesting day at the congregation I go to in Boston. I showed up a little late and ended up arriving half way through Priesthood. The lesson was from the Teachings of the Prophets and when I arrived the discussion had drifted to how the prophets are just men and that they err just like we do and how they need to catch up with society. Whatever the prophetic teaching, I was sure the original lesson wasn't that.

Let me back up...

My ward is made up of Harvard and other Ivy League graduate students. These men and women are intellectual superpowers. They go to universities that sell that message and they themselves believe in it. They believe that they are better and smarter than anyone else. I saw it before at different conferences with my MBA program. I have seen it again in quorum at church. There is a perspective that there are different levels of individuals who are considered peers and those that do not understand. The reason for a separation between the different groups was the differing levels of understanding.

The sad thing is that no one really understands everything. It always feels like one big intellectual contest. In previous congregations I had gone to before, the contest was a physical one. Men would compete with other single men and they might as well as lived in caves and carried clubs. I don't care for either of these types of confrontations, especially since the reason I am going is to strengthen my faith in Christ.

It is a paradox because as much as these people claimed to know and understand in terms of their faith, they really only could define doctrine. Once they felt like they understood that they would want to dive into something deeper but they weren't prepared. We don't understand the basic principles of the gospel well enough, like faith, or even have any faith to be more honest. They only had fear. They were afraid that people may understand there were things that they did not know. They were afraid of their own doubts. In all reality, they understood very little.
"Faith is a house with many rooms."
"But no room for doubt?"
"Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful. It keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested (Life of Pi)."
They simply did not understand that having questions is good thing... Wonderful in fact. The issue with the questions they had were that they were questioning God. Their pride had put them in a place were they not only felt that they were above their fellow man but above God himself. They shouldn't confuse themselves into believing that they knew more or better about how the world works than the being that created it. Society can believe whatever they want but for those of us that know better, for those of us that know there is a God and know that He lives... for us, I know that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to not only fulfill the law of sacrifice and atone for the sins of the world, but as a loving Father in Heaven, He has given us prophets to guide us in our modern day.

As men, prophets are people. They form a quorum of disciples of differing opinions and beliefs. They even disagree from time to time on how to lead and guide the Church. The part that many people forget is that in all reality, they are not the ones to decide where the Church goes. They are simply the mouthpieces and the tools God uses because as His children, we simply don't have faith enough to walk with Him and be taught from Him directly. And even if we were able, He would still use prophets to direct His church as a whole because that is how He has always done things during our mortal experience.

Once prophets have completed meditating and pondering as we do in order to receive inspiration, they pray together after debating and deliberating what the Church should do in regards to any given subject. Once a prophet speaks in the office in which he is called to, they speak in unanimity as a quorum and they speak in behalf of God.

People always seem to become afraid because they are unwillingly to accept there are things that they do not understand. They rely on science as fact when in all reality true science continues to question itself all the time. Science is evolving and changing throughout time. What is an atom? What is it made of? Science has changed its mind on this time and time again as its perspective deepens and expands. Science is more like faith and religion than what most people are willing to admit. There are facts that have always been true. This is why faith is a form of courage. It is a form of strength.

When people question the prophets, they forget that they are questioning God, the one perfected being that knows all things in the universe. They forget the parables and the prophesies. They forget that it is because the Jews looked beyond the mark and lost their testimonies, forgot their covenants, and went the way of the world that they crucified their own Messiah. It is our pride that moves us in the Parable of the Ten Virgins from one of the prepared to one of the preoccupied. Remember who you are and remember that God has not forgotten you. He has prepared you and given you everything you need to become who you need to become. A prophet of God is one of those things that you need in order to reach your divine potential.