Watchmen on the Tower
Associate Dean and Professor of J. Reuben Clark Law School
August 2, 2016
Associate Dean and Professor of J. Reuben Clark Law School
August 2, 2016
When I was an undergraduate, I had the privilege of studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. On one field trip we visited an area in which a large stone tower stood. From the tower a watchman could detect threats before they were visible from the ground, protecting the olive, fig, and grape vineyard from plunder.
Years later I reenacted this scene with my family in family home evening. We live in a two-story home. Our backyard is relatively flat close to the home but descends rapidly into a wooded area. For our family home evening lesson, all but one member of the family stayed on the main floor and looked out the windows toward the backyard. One family member climbed the stairs to a second-story bedroom with a window that also looked toward the backyard.
I hid in the backyard and, unbeknownst to my children, was armed with a bow and arrow. Now, with my skills as an archer, I might have been able to harm someone only by accident, but I looked menacing, and that was enough for our lesson.
As I climbed the wooded ascent toward our home, the members of my family on the main floor could not see me. They saw only the grass and trees in our backyard. I was detected, however, by the child at the upstairs window. Before I could lunge from the woods in surprise, I was spotted, and a warning cry went out to those below.
The Lord has described the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as watchmen on the tower. Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators. In each of these related roles, they, like watchmen on a tower, expand our vision of things of eternal significance.
Prophets particularly enlarge our understanding of the Savior Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”1 Consistent with this truth, the “primary responsibility [of a prophet] is to bear witness of Christ.”2 From the beginning of the world, prophets have declared the Savior and His Atonement.3 Prophets bear witness from a unique vantage point as “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world.”4 In this way they strengthen our testimonies of Christ, testimonies that are critical to having “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”5
The prophets also bear testimony of Christ through their actions. In a recent Face to Face conversation with the youth, Elder David A. Bednar explained that members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles certainly participate in large, public events like general conference and temple dedications, “but perhaps most importantly,” he said, “it’s about ones.” The Lord routinely sends His Apostles around the world to minister to the one.6
I have caught glimpses of this private, individual ministry in my life. My wife’s grandfather, to whom she was very close, passed away when she was a young woman. Elder Richard G. Scott took my wife under his wing and influenced her life in profound ways. On one occasion I had the unusual experience of being at the home of an apostle on Christmas Day. He had carved a breadboard that he was going to deliver with a loaf of bread to a widow who lived nearby.
The prophets have a worldwide stewardship, but they bear testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ by serving as His ministers to bless individuals. Their witness and example have strengthened my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s watchmen on the tower also serve as revelators. As Amos affirmed, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”7 The Lord reveals His will to us through the prophets; the scriptures are evidence of this pattern. They contain select accounts of the revelations the Lord gave to the prophets.
Our understanding of the state of the soul between death and the Resurrection, for example, is informed by the revelation Alma received and shared with his son Corianton.8 We know that baptism should occur at accountability rather than in infancy because of the revelation received by Mormon.9 We have the Doctrine and Covenants, with its many precious truths, because of revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors. And we receive revelation through the living prophets in general conference and other venues. These revelations have helped me to understand the Lord’s word and will, and I am grateful for the prophets’ role as revelators.
The prophets are also seers. “A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them . . . shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light.”10 The prophetic gift of seership is evident in the Word of Wisdom and the family proclamation. Long before scientists and laymen knew the far-reaching harm of tobacco and before the concept of gender came under serious attack, the Lord’s seers foresaw the need to counsel against the use of tobacco and to affirm the eternal nature of gender.
As prophets, seers, and revelators, members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles help us to see and understand in ways we could not on our own. They are watchmen on the tower. It should be apparent from the roles of prophets, seers, and revelators that these watchmen are a great blessing to us. The scriptures affirm the blessings of following the prophets.
When the Savior appeared in the Americas after His death and Resurrection, He taught the Beatitudes as He had in the Old World: “blessed are the poor in spirit,” “blessed are the meek,” “blessed are all the pure in heart.”11 Interestingly, when Christ taught the Beatitudes in the Americas, He added this declaration: “Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants.”12 As with the other Beatitudes, we are blessed to come closer to Christ when we develop the gift of believing in and following the living prophets.
This principle is reiterated in a famous scripture in Ephesians concerning the organization of the Church: “And he gave . . . some, prophets.”13 Why?
For the perfecting of the saints . . . , for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.14
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians identifies another blessing that prophets provide. They assist us
that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.15
For Scout camp this summer, we took our Scouts to Flaming Gorge. One day we rafted the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam. They were letting extra water out of the dam, so the currents in the river were impressive. Each raft had a guide who told us how and when to stroke—“forward three,” “left four,” “back two.” We responded quickly with the required strokes. In this way the guide directed us to currents in the river in which we could enjoy the rapids as well as safety.
There are strong currents in the world today as the devil “rage[s] in the hearts of the children of men.”16 Elder Neil L. Andersen said, “The world will not glide calmly toward the Second Coming of the Savior. . . . ‘All things shall be in commotion.’”17 In this environment, if we are responsive to the prophets as well as to personal warnings from the Holy Ghost, our strokes can be guided to currents of peace and eternal life.
President Harold B. Lee summarized the protection that comes from following the prophets when he said:
The only safety we have as members of this church is to . . . learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet. . . . There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes. . . . It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with . . . your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, . . . “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; . . . and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you.”18
Following the prophets will not only guide us, it will change us. Exercising faith in the words of the prophets can work a mighty change in our hearts. King Benjamin’s people reported “a mighty change . . . in [their] hearts” that led them to “have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”19 Alma the Elder likewise experienced “a mighty change . . . in his heart,”20 as did the people he taught at the Waters of Mormon.21
What occasioned these spiritual changes? The people of King Benjamin explained that it was the faith they had in the words of King Benjamin, their prophet.22 Alma similarly exercised faith “in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi[.] And was he not a holy prophet?”23 Alma then “preached the word unto” those at the Waters of Mormon, who believed his words, “and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts.”24
In each circumstance, faith in the words of a prophet led to a mighty change of heart. Have you had that experience? I have felt something of what Alma, his people, and the people of King Benjamin experienced. After participating in general conference, I have felt a change of heart, a feeling of being sanctified, a desire to do better than I have done.25 This sweet feeling, the feeling of conversion, accompanies the exercise of faith in the words of the Lord’s servants.
Indeed, not only does heeding the words of the prophets contribute to conversion, but we cannot be truly converted until we have gained a testimony of the divine calling and role of the prophets. President Harold B. Lee taught:
Until the members of this church have that conviction that they are being led in the right way, and they have a conviction that these men of God are men who are inspired and have been properly appointed by the hand of God, they are not truly converted.26
Given the apparent and express blessings that come from prophets, seers, and revelators, one might expect history to reflect repeated responsiveness to these watchmen on the tower. That has not been the case, to the detriment of many. We often hear the maxim that history repeats itself or that those who fail to learn the lessons of history “are condemned to repeat it.”27
I recently experienced this firsthand. As I mentioned, as an undergraduate I studied abroad in Israel. Last month I had the opportunity to return to Israel with a group of legal scholars to study the Israeli legal system and legal challenges facing Israel. I didn’t have much in the way of business casual clothing to wear in the hot climate, so one evening before departing, I hurried to purchase some short-sleeve shirts. Two were plaid and fairly brightly colored. When I showed them to my wife, she was, shall we say, skeptical. Like a good lawyer, I tried to persuade, offering the observation that this was the sort of shirt I wore when I went to Israel the first time—twenty-five years ago, in the early nineties. She burst out laughing. Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it.
This principle has serious application when it comes to our relationship with the prophets. One of the lessons of sacred history is the difficulty that comes from rejecting the prophets. The Lord declared at the outset of this dispensation:
The day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.28
So it has been in the past.
In the Book of Mormon alone, Lehi departs Jerusalem knowing “that Jerusalem must be destroyed, because of the wickedness of the people. For behold, they [had] rejected the words of the prophets.”29 Soon after Lehi’s departure, another separation occurs. Nephi “and all those who would go with [him]” are directed to “depart from [their brethren] and flee into the wilderness.”30 Those who accompany Nephi are “those who [believe] in the warnings and the revelations of God” and who “hearken unto [Nephi’s] words.”31 Warned by the Lord, Mosiah similarly leaves the land of Nephi with “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord.”32
While those who follow the prophets are guided, those who reject the prophets have no such protection. The people of King Noah reject the teachings of Abinadi and are brought into bondage.33 The posterity of King Noah’s wicked priests are later killed and hunted, as Abinadi had prophesied.34 The leaders of Ammonihah who reject Alma and Amulek are slain when the prison walls in which they detained Alma and Amulek fall.35 Later, the people of Ammonihah are destroyed in one day by invading Lamanites.36 In the book of Helaman, the Nephites suffer great destruction and the loss of much of their land as a result of their wickedness and their denial of “the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.”37 Not long thereafter, the Nephites suffer from civil war and later famine as they reject the words of Nephi, the prophet.38
At the Savior’s Crucifixion, the pattern repeats, as had been prophesied. Long before Christ has even been born, Nephi prophesies:
Great and terrible shall [the day of Christ’s death] be unto the wicked, for they shall perish; and they perish because they cast out the prophets, and the saints, and stone them, and slay them.39
The righteous, by contrast, would be spared.40
In the wake of Christ’s Crucifixion, there is a great tempest; there are whirlwinds, thunder, and lightning; cities are burned, sunk, and covered by mountains.41 Those who remain are “the more righteous part of the people . . . who received the prophets and stoned them not.”42 These survivors lament that the people “killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out.”43 Thus are “the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.”44
Several generations after the Savior’s visit to the Americas, the people again reject “the disciples of Jesus.”45 Led by false prophets, they pursue iniquity until the disciples are taken away46 and Mormon is “forbidden to preach unto them.”47 The Nephites lose the Spirit and ultimately their civilization.48 The Lamanites plunge into war and darkness for hundreds of years.49
The experience of the Nephites and Lamanites is that of the Jaredites as well. When the Jaredites disbelieve and persecute the prophets, they face “famines and pestilences,” they are unable to retain their property, and they experience “wars and contentions”50 that become so severe that the stench of rotting flesh troubles them “by day and by night.”51 Ultimately, as the prophets had warned, the Jaredite civilization is destroyed, and the Lord brings “forth another people to possess the land.”52
We can learn from this history—and its parallels in other scriptural accounts—the personal and communal destruction that comes from rejecting the prophets. In light of this history, it is no wonder that the Beatitudes do not say blessed are those who persecute the prophets but blessed are ye when ye are persecuted, as were the prophets.53
Given the damage that comes from rejecting the prophets, what stands in the way of accepting them? Let me discuss three matters.
One difficulty is that their words are hard on the natural man. A prophet “is a preacher of righteousness.”54 As Jarom recounted, the prophets “prick [our] hearts with the word, continually stirring [us] up unto repentance.”55 In this they stand in stark contrast to false teachers—like the Book of Mormon’s Sherem—who employ flattery.56 The flatterer speaks “smooth things”57: “Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer . . . : Walk after the pride of your own hearts . . . , and do whatsoever your heart desireth.”58 If we can humble ourselves and set our sights on eternal life, we can welcome the prick to perfection rather than the smooth solicitation to sin.
In speaking of overcoming the natural man to follow the prophets, I am reminded of an experience Natalie and I had when our son Matthew was three. I had an offer to teach at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, and we were visiting the area in the process of deciding whether to accept.
As we visited a home with a realtor, Matthew was running around energetically. Natalie pulled him aside and asked if he would behave.
He responded, “I don’t want to behave. I want to be Matthew.”
It must be a three-year-old thing. This past Sunday, when I spoke to our youngest son, James, who is currently three, about behaving in sacrament meeting, he replied, “I am have.”
Fortunately for us, the choice is not between behaving and being ourselves. We are children of God. Following the prophets is consistent with our divine nature.
Remembering that the words of the prophets are the words of a loving Savior will also help us overcome the natural man to follow the prophets. The Savior is emphatic that the prophets’ words are His own. “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants,” He declared, “it is the same.”59 His words will be fulfilled; He Himself acts to fulfill them. Thus, for example, on the night before His birth, the Lord said to Nephi, “On the morrow come I into the world, to . . . fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.”60
Following the prophets may also be difficult because prophets are mortal. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the divine in the mortal. In the Savior Himself, some could only see “the carpenter’s son.”61 The fact that the Savior is able to work through mortal men, however, can be heartening. As Elder Bednar said, “Some people find the human shortcomings of the Brethren troubling and faith diminishing. For me those imperfections are encouraging and faith promoting.”62
It may also be helpful to remember that a prophet’s call does not come by aspiration. As is said generally of those who receive the priesthood, “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”63 The prophets are called not because they are perfect but by One who is perfect. They often share a profound sense of their own mortality on receiving their call. Yet they are called. And they are qualified by the Savior who calls them, as is evident from studying the ministry of someone like the apostle Peter.
One final stumbling block in following the prophets is the tendency to set ourselves up against the Lord and His prophets when we obtain distinction in learning. That distinction may come from advanced degrees, attendance at premier institutions, or accolades for academic performance. As Jacob taught, “When [men] are learned they think they are wise, . . . they . . . [suppose] they know of themselves,” and “they hearken not unto the counsel of God.”64 This “is foolishness.”65 Whatever learning one obtains through years of academic study, attendance at excellent schools, and the hard work necessary to earn high marks is ultimately meager.
I am about to start my sixteenth year of law school. Even within law I have mastered relatively little. When I look outside the law, I realize I have mastered even less. That is typical. The top legal mind likely knows little about archaeology. The top archaeologist likely knows little about accountancy. The top accountant is unlikely to contribute much in the field of astronomy.
By contrast, our Heavenly Father is omniscient. If we involve Him, our learning can ultimately be limitless. As a result, in my view true intellectuals follow the admonition to “seek learning . . . by study and also by faith.”66 I wish to explore this admonition generally as well as link it specifically to the prophets.
Study and faith together magnify learning. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
Men may search, they may study, they may learn, of course, a great many things; they may lay up a great fund of information, but they will never be able to come to the fulness of truth . . . unless they are guided by the Spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, and keep the commandments of God.67
Obedience and the Holy Ghost are critical to learning truth—that is, to obtaining “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”68 “The Holy Ghost . . . knoweth all things.”69 The Holy Ghost “speaketh the truth and lieth not.”70 As we live in obedience to the commandments that we receive from the Lord through His prophets, we qualify for instruction from the Holy Ghost. As we receive light from the Holy Ghost and continue in obedience, we receive more light.71 This virtuous cycle continues: “And that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”72 Those who are “filled with light comprehendeth all things.”73
By contrast, we lose “light and truth, through disobedience.”74 As Alma taught, “He that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word . . . until [he] know[s] nothing concerning [the] mysteries” of God.75 I observed this phenomenon while serving as a bishop. A member of my ward began to drift from the path of righteousness. Although he previously had a testimony, he reached a place in which he could not discern the truth of the gospel. The truth had not changed, but his disobedience had clouded his ability to discern it. Obedience and the Holy Ghost are critical to our pursuit of truth.
We are blessed to be at Brigham Young University, where we have the overt opportunity to combine faith and study. The Honor Code seeks to ensure that we maintain the righteousness that will qualify us to be taught by the Spirit. Do we link these two things—living the Honor Code and becoming educated? The Honor Code, which is a reflection of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is not simply a condition of coming to BYU to obtain an education. It is an important part of how we obtain that education.
I have been blessed as I have tried to combine study and faith in my own learning. After my second year of teaching law, I felt pressure to make significant progress in my scholarship. My life conditions were not ideal for contemplative thinking. Our second child had been born in May, and sleep was at a premium. I remember that one day I was driving in Kentucky, where we lived, and speaking to my mom on the phone about the research topic I was pursuing. I expressed to her that I felt that the idea for the project had come by inspiration.
Joseph Smith taught:
A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas . . . ; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.76
Consistent with this description of revelation, I had felt that the idea for my project had come to me, not been generated by me. As I worked to write, I discovered there was more to the idea than I had originally thought. As I ran into roadblocks in my thinking, I prayed and felt direction in how I could develop my analysis. I am not here to claim that the ultimate article was “true,” but the article was significant, influenced my thinking, and led to additional scholarly opportunities for me. I have had similar experiences as I have looked to combine study and faith through seeking the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
Prophets play a unique role in the effort to seek learning by study and by faith. As I mentioned earlier, those we sustain as prophets possess the gift of seership. This is a unique gift. Ammon taught that man can receive no greater gift than the gift of seership.77 By seers, “things shall be made known . . . which otherwise could not be known.”78 As a result, those who possess the gift of seership become “a great benefit to [their] fellow beings.”79 By looking to the prophets, we tap into this great gift, a gift through which we can learn truths we otherwise could not learn. Let us not let our learnedness get in the way of this learning.
Returning to the family home evening I described earlier, after I was discovered approaching the home with a bow and arrow, we repeated the experience with some modification. A different child took the post at the second-story window. This time I placed our family home evening treat in the garden, a sunken area just beyond the grass of our yard. As before, members of the family on the main floor could not see the treat. Again, however, the watchman at the second-story window could spot the treat that awaited us.
The prophets not only warn of harm but foretell of blessings that lie ahead. Alma proclaimed in his day:
There be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all—for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer . . . cometh among his people.80
That blessing also awaits us today. Christ has come and, as the prophets testify, He will come again. “No one knoweth,” save the Father only, the day or hour of the Savior’s return.81 Instead, it will be “as it was in the days of Noah”82:
For until the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.83
I have spoken of the importance of heeding the watchmen on the tower. I wish to close by speaking more directly of our own responsibility to watch. “Watch, therefore,” the Savior commanded, “for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.”84
Our responsibility to watch involves more than merely registering the signs that precede the Savior’s coming. It includes preparing ourselves for that coming. As the five foolish virgins learned, the preparation required cannot be obtained last minute or borrowed from others.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. How can one share obedience to the principle of tithing; a mind at peace from righteous living; an accumulation of knowledge? How can one share faith or testimony? . . .
. . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living. Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these . . . contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.85
We live in the difficult times preceding the Savior’s Second Coming. The world is mainstreaming the “strange roads” of Lehi’s dream86 and straining to embrace the breadth of “the way, that leadeth to destruction.”87 The rains will descend, the floods swell, and the winds blow. The only rock upon which we can build to have “sure foundation”88 is the Savior, Jesus Christ. We will not find that foundation if we are not watchful, nor can we build upon the foundation of the Savior if we reject or neglect “his servants the prophets.”89
As I work to prepare for the Second Coming, I cast my lot with the watchmen on the tower. I pray that each of us will do the same, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
1. Revelation 19:10.
2. Guide to the Scriptures, s.v. “prophet,”
3. See Luke 24:25–27; Acts 3:18–21; Acts 10:43; 1 Peter 1:10–11.
4. D&C 107:23.
5. D&C 59:23.
6. David A. Bednar, in “Face to Face with Elder and Sister Bednar,” 18 May 2015, minutes 36–40, youtube.com/watch?v=4avxCyuzlqw.
7. Amos 3:7.
8. See Alma 40.
9. See Moroni 8.
10. Mosiah 8:17.
11. 3 Nephi 12:3, 5, 8.
12. 3 Nephi 12:1.
13. Ephesians 4:11.
14. Ephesians 4:12–13.
15. Ephesians 4:14.
16. 2 Nephi 28:20.
17. Neil L. Andersen, “Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign, May 2014; quoting D&C 88:91.
18. Harold B. Lee, CR, October 1970, 152, quoting D&C 21:6. See also Lee, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), 84–85.
19. Mosiah 5:2.
20. Alma 5:12.
21. See Alma 5:13.
22. See Mosiah 5:4.
23. Alma 5:11.
24. Alma 5:13; see also Mosiah 18:4, 6.
26. Harold B. Lee, CR, April 1972, 118; see Lee, Teachings of Presidents, 83.
27. George Santayana, The Life of Reason or the Phases of Human Progress: Introduction and Reason in Common Sense (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), 284. His words were, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
28. D&C 1:14.
29. 1 Nephi 3:17–18.
30. 2 Nephi 5:5.
31. 2 Nephi 5:6.
32. Omni 1:12–13.
33. See Mosiah 11–22.
34. See Mosiah 13:10, 17:15–19; Alma 25:4–12.
35. See Alma 14:27.
36. See Alma 16:1–3.
37. Helaman 4:12; see also verse 11.
38. See Helaman 10:13–18; 11:1–6.
39. 2 Nephi 26:3.
40. See 2 Nephi 26:8.
41. See 3 Nephi 8:5–18.
42. 3 Nephi 10:12.
43. 3 Nephi 8:25.
44. 3 Nephi 10:11; see also 3 Nephi 10:14–17.
45. 4 Nephi 1:30; see also verse 31.
46. See Mormon 1:13.
47. Mormon 1:17.
48. See Mormon 2:26; 5:16; 8:2, 7.
49. See Mormon 8:8.
50. Ether 11:7; see also Ether 9:28–34; 13:15; 14:1.
51. Ether 14:23; see also verse 22.
52. Ether 11:21; see also verse 20 and Ether 13:20–21; 15:33; Omni 1:15–16, 21.
53. See 3 Nephi 12:11–12; Matthew 5:11–12.
54. Guide to the Scriptures, s.v. “prophet.”
55. Jarom 1:12.
56. See Jacob 7:2, 4.
57. Isaiah 30:10.
58. Helaman 13:27.
59. D&C 1:38.
60. 3 Nephi 1:13; see also D&C 1:18–19; 42:39.
61. Matthew 13:55.
62. David A. Bednar, “Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name,” Ensign, November 2015.
63. Hebrews 5:4.
64. 2 Nephi 9:28.
65. 2 Nephi 9:28.
66. D&C 88:118; 109:7.
67. Joseph Fielding Smith, “And the Truth Shall Make You Free,” Deseret News, 30 March 1940, Church section, 4; see Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2013), 146.
68. D&C 93:24.
69. D&C 35:19; see also D&C 42:17; Alma 7:13.
70. Jacob 4:13.
71. See D&C 50:24.
72. D&C 50:24.
73. D&C 88:67.
74. D&C 93:39; see also D&C 1:33.
75. Alma 12:10–11.
76. Joseph Smith, HC 3:381.
77. See Mosiah 8:16.
78. Mosiah 8:17.
79. Mosiah 8:18.
80. Alma 7:7.
81. Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:40.
83. Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:42–43.
84. Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:46.
85. Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 255–56.
86. 1 Nephi 8:32.
87. Matthew 7:13.
88. Jacob 4:16.
89. Amos 3:7; see also Matthew 10:40; D&C 84:36; 112:20.
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David H. Moore was an associate dean and professor in the BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School when this devotional was given on 2 August 2016.