Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
Have you ever read the Bible and wondered how it is that God communed with
prophets of old like Moses, Abraham, Isaiah and others? Why did he do it? Was
it to provide guidance to his children? We all know they needed it. But don't
we need it today? More than ever. If God loved his children of old, and he
is really our Father in Heaven, doesn't he love us just as much today? He does.
He loves all his children and he is an unchanging God. He operates the same
yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). He called holy men of old to serve
as prophets and seers to his children to direct them through the paths of life
them to know the way to live so that they could again return and live in his
He has done the same today. There are prophets of God
on the earth today just
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
When Joseph Smith was 14
years old, he had a simple question. Which church of all the churches should
I join? His family itself was divided between sects and he didn't know which
one had the true doctrine because they all taught conflicting principles.
Nowhere in the Bible was there confusion about which church was true. It was
Israel's God and none other. But there was great confusion in Joseph's mind
as there is in anyone's when you start to think about how all the churches
differing doctrines and yet all claim to be true.
One day while reading the Bible, Joseph came across a passage in James 1:5.
In his own words this is what happened:
11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests
of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James,
first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let
him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it
shall be given him.
12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power
to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter
with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again
and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how
act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I
would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood
the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence
in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
13 At length I came to
conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or
else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to
to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them
that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might
14 So, in
accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the
woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day,
in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in
my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had
yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
15 After I had retired to the place
where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding
alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart
to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some
entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me
as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around
it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the
power of this
enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I
was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary
ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had
such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just
at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly
over my head, above
the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it
fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the
enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages,
and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.
One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This
is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was
to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to
join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able
I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which
of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my
that all were
wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none
of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed
me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those
all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the
commandments of men, having a
form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."
20 He again forbade
me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto
me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found
on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed,
I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as
I leaned up to the
fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, "Never mind,
all is well—I am well enough off." I then said to my mother, "I
have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true." It
seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period
of my life, that I was
destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else
why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition
that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
Joseph came to know God as Moses, face to face (Exodus 33:11). The heavens
had been opened after centuries of darkness. Through Joseph, the Lord restored
the true principles of his gospel and brought back the doctrines and principles
of salvation taught anciently. These teachings were restored by both revelation
(such as the prophets of old wrote under the inspiration of heaven), as well
as in translating another book of ancient scripture from the American continent's
An excerpt from the Book of Mormon describes the thought process of the Lord
in providing more than one set of scriptures to his children.
2 Nephi 29
6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no
more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I,
the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who
the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the
earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea,
all the nations of the earth?
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?
Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you
that I am God,
that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the
same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations
shall run together
the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that
I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words
mine own pleasure.
And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that
I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall
it be until the end
of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not
suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have
more to be written.
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