Article of Faith 1:5 in the Mormon Church states that: "We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof."1
The definition of a prophet is a man called by God to be his representative while upon earth. 'He is a prophet, seer and revelator and is the only person on earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church. He speaks for God and is a special witness for Christ; meaning that he testifies of Jesus Christís divinity. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God, calls the unrighteous to repentance, receives revelations and directions from the Lord for man's benefit, and he may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned.'2
There have been prophets on the earth since the beginning; Old Testament prophets, such as Moses, Book of Mormon prophets, such as Nephi, and latter-day prophets, such as Joseph Smith. Through each of these prophets, the Lord has revealed His truth and His will for His children. The Prophet Joseph Smith was chosen to restore the gospel to the earth and was chosen to translate the Book of Mormon. Today , the living prophet is Gordon B. Hinckley. He holds the "keys of the kingdom" through his priesthood authority. In other words, he has the right to control the administration of the ordinances.3 He is the only one ordained by God to do so!
Members of the Mormon Church have a responsibility to follow all that the Prophet asks because he is speaking for the Lord. "Surely, the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."4 We sustain the prophet by praying for him, studying his words, listening to the talks he delivers at General Conference, and reading them in the Church magazines. Obedience to his inspired teachings needs to be complete, even when it may be difficult to listen to or follow. In Doctrine and Covenants the Lord commands his children to do the following: "Thou shalt give heed unto all his [the prophet's] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith."5
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