One of our favorite, most oft-repeated family stories goes back to the toddler days of the oldest grandchild. When Abby was 2 years old, my mom and dad (Grammy and Pops) were in Utah visiting my brothers and their families. Abby wanted McDonald’s for lunch. But it was Sunday. My mom reminded Abby that we don’t eat out on Sundays. She said that we follow the prophet, and keep the Sabbath day holy. Trying to keep it on Abby’s level, Grammy started singing the familiar primary song, “Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, he knows the way!”
At this point Abby impatiently waved her hands, dismissive of any singing sermons. “I don’t need to follow the prophet. I know the way to McDonalds.”
She went on to describe how to get to her dream lunch. Yet the vision she had for her short-term fulfillment was not the vision the adults had for teaching her about the Sabbath day. Precocious Abby is now a beautiful, faithful young woman, and if we asked her why or how she follows the prophet, she would have a different answer. Not to mention, she could drive herself.
This weekend we get to sit at the virtual feet of God’s living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. The 15 months since he’s become prophet have been filled with announcements, refinements, and exciting changes. While we may use the terms “prophet” and “president” most often in referring to President Nelson, we can also interchange his calling with the words “seer” and “revelator.” As Ammon explained to King Limhi, “a seer is greater than a prophet (Mosiah 8:15).” And in terms of our discussion of vision, a seer is just what we need.
In 2016, while serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Nelson spoke at a Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults. He extended many invitations. He also offered a treasure trove of promised blessings. Before closing, he said “as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bless each one of you, as though I had my hands upon your heads, with the ability to become the True Millennial you were born to be. I bless you to have the desire and ability to learn your true identity and purpose, that you will expect and prepare to do “impossible” things, that you will be undaunted in your efforts to learn how to access the powers of heaven to help you solve your problems and answer your questions. And I bless you to follow the prophets with exactness, to feel peace in your heart as you do so. I bless you to know and feel how much the Lord loves you and how much confidence He has in you. (“Becoming True Millennials,” 2016).
This was the blessing of the Lord’s prophet, seer and revelator. And it is offered to all who are willing to do the spiritual work necessary to be a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ.
With God-given vision of who we are, who we can become, and the way we can change the world, President Nelson has clearly outlined the Lord’s promised blessings to us. He has invited, exhorted, pleaded, encouraged, and offered. A friend and I have started charting his counsel. We’ve only just begun, and already have many, many pages of promised blessings.
As I have worked to enhance my vision and see what the Lord sees, ingesting prophetic teachings has further sharpened my focus. Here are a few questions I have asked, and some answers that come directly from President Nelson’s recent teachings.
Can I really accomplish grand things?
“Pray to understand your spiritual gifts – to cultivate, use, and expand them even more than you ever have. You will change the world as you do so.”
How do I do it?
“More regular time in the temple will allow the Lord to teach you how.”
“Loving service…opens your heart to personal revelation.”
“Give the Lord a generous portion of your time. He will multiply the remainder.”
What resources are at my disposal?
“The Lord will help you.”
“Miracles will begin to happen.”
“You have as much access to the mind and will of the Lord for your own life as we Apostles do for His Church. Just as the Lord requires us to seek and ponder, fast and pray, and study and wrestle with difficult questions, He requires you to do the same.”
What results can I expect?
“The Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need.”
“Patience to endure your personal challenges”
“The Spirit in abundance”
“Greater spiritual power”
“Unleash the power of families”
“Guided in matters large and small”
“Your sabbath days will truly be a delight.”
“Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings.”
“The influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease”
“Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.”
The answers to these questions are not only exciting, but they deliver a large dose of optimism. It’s wonderful! I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This weekend we will hear from our prophet again. I always appreciate getting answers to specific questions. I arrive at conference with questions in mind, and a prayer in my heart – and this year will be no different. Nephi inspires me. Because of his example, I seek to see what our leaders see. After all, because of a vision, his father (the prophet!) invited Nephi’s family to leave behind the life they knew. With many possible options for reacting to this news, Nephi chose to inquire of the Lord. He asked to see what his father saw. With that question came answers, vision, and determination to remain faithful.
I am confident that as we supplicate our Heavenly Father, He will share the vision He has for each one of us with us personally. We can listen for specific counsel from our prophet, listen more closely to the whisperings of the Spirit, and get answers to the questions we seek.
My four-year old niece knew the way to her immediate wants. Chicken nuggets and french fries were only a short distance away – and there was no need to get outside help. While I might know the next few steps in my day or week, I want the master plan to come from Him. With that hope in mind, I arrive at General Conference ready to follow the prophet.
Russell M. Nelson, “Standing as True Millennials,” January 2016
Russell M. Nelson, “Ministering with the Power and Authority of God,” April 2018
Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives,” April 2018
Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel – Worldwide Youth Devotional,” June 2018
Russell M. Nelson, “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” October 2018
iRussell M. Nelson, “Sisters Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” October 2018