We live in a world of fads, trends, fashions, and values that seem to change as abruptly as the weather. Everywhere you look, people try to entice you to join their group, buy their product, or look a certain way. Promises are made that if you follow this path you will find excitement, or if you stick to that diet you will lose weight. Sometimes people use ridicule or guilt to persuade—attempting to embarrass you for making choices that they consider foolish, outdated, even harmful in their eyes. It seems at times there is an endless chorus of persuasion, pounding at your ears, drowning out the voice of wisdom and truth. If we try to follow each differing voice, we are bound to fail, as illustrated in the story of the man, the boy and the donkey.

Fable of the man, the boy and the donkey

Man riding on donkey as boy watchesA man and his son were taking their donkey to market. As they walked, another man saw them and said, “Old man, you’re a fool—a donkey is for riding.” So the man put the boy on the donkey and continued onward. They came upon a group of men who called out, “Look how selfish that boy is—riding while his father walks.” The son then got off and let his father ride instead. Later, two women saw the man on top of the donkey and said, “What a lazy father, not letting his son have a turn.” Confused at what to do now, the father put his son on the donkey with him and they both rode. Soon they got to town, only to find more jeering. This confused the man further. The people said to him, “How dare you over-burden that poor donkey?” Finally, not knowing what else to do, he tied the donkey’s feet to a pole and hoisted the animal up for him and his son to carry. They got even more laughs from the crowd. As they crossed the bridge, the donkey struggled, the boy dropped his end, and the donkey went crashing down into the river and drowned.

What went wrong for the man and the boy?

The man and the boy were ridiculed in their journey for the choices they made. Rather than sticking with their original choice, which wasn’t hurting anyone, they heeded the cries of each passer-by. As they journeyed on, the ridicule persisted, no matter what choice they made. So they continued to change their actions according to the next person’s opinion—they followed the next “latest trend”. Rather than giving them peace of mind, it only confused them more and more until they lost what they had. The moral of this story is “to please all, you please no one.” What went wrong for the man and the boy? They were too desirous to please the people around them. They lost their focus on which voice they should have been listening to in the first place—the voice of sound mind and reason.

God’s prophets have spoken to us with that very voice.

I never stand alone when I stand with God’s chosen prophet.

Thomas Monson speaking at Mormon General ConferenceThe united voice of God’s holy prophets is a sure voice with a moral center. It is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. To stand with God’s prophets is to never stand alone. But God’s words do not always fit with the latest trends of society. God asks us to sacrifice, to give of ourselves, to have faith and to believe when it appears there is nothing to benefit. God does not manifest himself according to our desires. He can be seen, heard and felt in spiritual ways, not scientific or physical ways. His laws have everlasting benefits that our mortal eyes may not be able to comprehend at this time. Because his ways are not the same as the ways of the world, we may feel we stand alone when we stand with God and his prophets. But we are never alone when we stand with the master of the universe and those who are called to proclaim his eternal plan.

There are some people who profess to follow God’s chosen leaders and yet they do horrible things “in the name of God.” There are others who also claim to be followers of Christ but their actions are not consistent with Biblical truths—in fact their differences are as vast as the number of Christian denominations that dot the earth today. Trying to discern all of these voices would be tantamount to the man and the boy listening to the people along the way to market—we would be confused and ultimately lose everything. Finding the one true voice is the key to eternal happiness. But how does one do this? The Bible provides the answer.

God’s pattern since Biblical days—Listen to a prophet’s voice

Mormons follow the prophet to follow God.

Mormons follow the prophet to follow God

In the Bible, God spoke through prophets—men who were set apart with certain priesthood authority to hear the word of God directly from Him and to guide the people according to God’s will and man’s faithfulness. This pattern began from the time of Adam and Eve (Adam being the first prophet) and has been consistent throughout history. We know of many prophets of old—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Malachi, even John the Baptist. They had the authority to act in God’s name. During the time of Christ’s ministry, Jesus continued to follow this pattern by calling prophets and apostles, setting apart Peter as the next prophet to lead his church. The line of authority continued until men became so corrupt; they killed the prophets and apostles of old. It seemed as if God’s chosen way—leadership through prophets—would come to an end.

Shouldn’t there be a prophet today?

When you read about current events around the world you can’t help but see the vast turmoil that presses down on God’s children—greater even than in times of old. Isn’t the world in need of a prophet now more than ever? We’ve seen nations fall to the lies of cruel dictators and leaders who are only out for their own gain. The Bible states, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7). So where is our prophet today?

young man thinkingMany people have decided that God does not speak to his children anymore—that revelation ceased with the death of the original apostles of old. Others believe that since they cannot see the hand of God in their lives today, there must not even be a God. Many people have lost faith in God, thinking he must have loved his children of old more than those who walk the earth today—the heavens are closed to revelation. So they follow the words of whoever speaks closest to their own conscience, while the winds of change toss them about.

While there are many good religious leaders in the world today, many of them differ with each other in the doctrine of the gospel. Many have decided that their voice, not the voice of a living prophet, is the voice of authority. But why would God alter his given pattern in the modern day by having differing voices to believe? Why would he condone confusion amongst his children? If having a prophet was necessary to prepare the people for the first coming of Christ when he began his ministry, why would Heavenly Father not provide a prophet to usher in the second coming of Christ?

“My dear brothers and sisters, if the Restoration (of the original gospel of Jesus Christ) did anything, it shattered the age-old myth that God had stopped talking to His children. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prophet has stood at the head of God’s Church in all dispensations, from Adam to the present day.” (Russell M. Nelson, Sustaining the Prophets, General Conference Oct 2014).

For those who think we could never have another prophet again because it seems too hard to believe this could happen, I invite you to ponder this thought—why not?

Single out the one true voice

In the fable of the man, the boy, and the donkey, neither the man nor the boy could decide what was the best way to act. They could not distill the voice of reason from the confusing din of the crowd. We need not journey through life with the same confusion. Our Father in Heaven is a loving Father who wishes for us to know for ourselves the one true voice to follow. Not only has he indeed called a prophet to usher in the last dispensation before the coming of Christ, he has provided for us a way to know who that prophet is.

Morning Devotional

Morning Devotional
To read more of Nanette’s devotionals, click the picture.

I testify that Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet on the earth. He is guiding the Lord’s church today. I know this because I researched the churches of our day, studied the doctrine of old, and compared what I found. I did so with a sincere desire to know of the truth for myself. I prayed directly to my Heavenly Father. The answer came in quiet manifestations that can only be discerned by the spirit. I have experienced confirmations of the truths I have learned time and time again, some too sacred to share, all too vivid to deny.

Next week, I would like to share some of the things that helped me make my decision. You can then ponder the facts for yourself and receive the same testimony. God lives. He called prophets in Biblical days to guide us back home. He has called a prophet again. We need not ever be tossed about by the dictates of man or the impulses of the world.

About Nanette ONeal
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.

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