The First Presidency Message for the Month of June 2008 is very interesting.

In General Conference, we were told numerous times to listen to the prophets, specifically the new President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson.  This is good and sound advice.

The First Presidency Message this month is called “Safety in Counsel”.  It also drives home the importance of following the counsel of living prophets, especially when the counsel is repeated by several prophets.

We do live in troubled and difficult times, but there is a way to avoid much of the trouble of this world and this is acknowledged in the first part of the message.

There seems to be no end to the Savior’s desire to lead us to safety, and there is constancy in the way He shows us the path. He calls by more than one means so that it will reach those willing to accept it. Those means always include sending the message by the mouths of His prophets whenever people have qualified to have the prophets of God among them. Those authorized servants are always charged with warning the people, telling them the way to safety.

President Eyring then tells of the story of Haun’s Mill Massacre and specifically how the Prophet Joseph Smith warned the people to leave the area and move to Far West, Missouri,

“. . . but Mr. Haun did not deliver the message”.  Later, the Prophet Joseph recorded in his history: “Up to this day God had given me wisdom to save the people who took counsel. None had ever been killed who abode by my counsel.”  Then the Prophet recorded the sad truth that innocent lives could have been saved at Haun’s Mill had his counsel been received and followed.

It is important that we follow the counsel of the Prophets and obey them.  It will lead us to safety and security.  President Eyring then repeats some of the counsel given to us today by President Kimball, President Bensen, and President Hinckley.  This counsel is to provide us safety from “sin and sorrow”.  Of course, we won’t be protected from every little thing and sorrow is part of life, but following the counsel of Prophets will protect us from more of the sin and sorrow than we would have otherwise encountered.

So what is this important counsel?  It is about “the importance of a mother in the home“.  Too often people are taught that a woman cannot be complete if they are just a stay at home mom, or that it is demeaning or somehow oppressive for women to be at home with their children.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is a difficult job that only a mother can handle, really.  It is true that having a mother in the home will do great things for families and will protect them from sin and sorrow.

How can you tell how strong your faith is?  President Eyring gives us a practical test to follow if we are true to ourselves and can handle the self-evaluation.  It is based on how we respond to the counsel given us via prophets which really comes from God.

Looking for the path to safety in the counsel of prophets makes sense to those with strong faith. When a prophet speaks, those with little faith may think that they hear only a wise man giving good advice. Then if his counsel seems comfortable and reasonable, squaring with what they want to do, they take it. If it does not, they either consider it faulty advice or they see their circumstances as justifying their being an exception to the counsel. Those without faith may think that they hear only men seeking to exert influence for some selfish motive. They may mock and deride, as did a man named Korihor . . .

Emphasis added.  How we respond to the instructions and counsel from prophets is a great way to measure our faith.  I have never really thought to quantify it in that way, but it definitely makes sense.  If we believe in Jesus Christ and that he has prophets on the earth then we will obey those prophets because they speak the words of Christ.  Makes perfect sense, really.

So what about people seek to not listen to prophets and decide that they want to try to go their own way without undue influence from a higher power?  They are sadly mistaken about what influences them.  Nephi was taught by an angel that there are two churches only in 1Nephi 14:10

Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

Emphasis added.  President Eyring also teaches this but with a slightly different emphasis and he teaches this point masterfully.

Korihor was arguing, as men and women have falsely argued from the beginning of time, that to take counsel from the servants of God is to surrender God-given rights of independence. But the argument is false because it misrepresents reality. When we reject the counsel that comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving, all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven, whose whole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred. We have moral agency as a gift of God. Rather than the right to choose to be free of influence, it is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose.

We will never be independent in this life, we will simply choose to submit to God or the Devil.  This does not even allow for any middle ground.  We need to choose which side were are on.  It really does matter.

Further, it is easier to follow the counsel of prophets when the counsel is first given rather than waiting.  President Eyring wrote: “The best time to have decided to help Noah build the ark was the first time he asked. Each time he asked after that, each failure to respond would have lessened sensitivity to the Spirit. And so each time his request would have seemed more foolish, until the rain came. And then it was too late.”  Emphasis added.  If we don’t obey, the counsel seems silly or foolish and then when we see that the counsel really was inspired because of other outside evidence it will be too late.

The other prophetic counsel besides the importance of mothers in the home is to reach out to new members and to help them along.  We need to be doing more, even if the counsel does not seem to apply to us.  Pres. Eyring wrote:

Sometimes we will receive counsel that we cannot understand or that seems not to apply to us, even after careful prayer and thought. Don’t discard the counsel, but hold it close. If someone you trusted handed you what appeared to be nothing more than sand with the promise that it contained gold, you might wisely hold it in your hand awhile, shaking it gently. Every time I have done that with counsel from a prophet, after a time the gold flakes have begun to appear, and I have been grateful.

We need to consider and ponder prophetic counsel even when it does not seem to apply to us.  We need to do our best to obey and Pres. Eyring’s message is definitely one of warning.  He relates stories and teaches that we need to obey before it is too late.

I agree wholeheartedly and need to do better.

Comments Welcome

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