What is a prophet?
Most of the Christian world today believes in prophets of the Bible but do not believe that there have been any prophets since the days of the New Testament.
LDS Mormons believe that they are led by a prophet today.
What is a prophet, do they exist today and why do we need them?
The scriptures were given by revelation from God and were, in large part, written by men who knew God. According to scripture the definition of a prophet is a man who has entered into the presence of God and has direct communication with Him, it is a man who has repented, called upon God in the name of the Son, received mercy, been redeemed from the Fall of Adam and entered into the Rest of the Lord.
Redeemed: brought back into the presence of the Lord.
Rest of the Lord: to enter the fullness of His glory, to see His Face and to Know that He lives!
The Bible for Christians and the Book of Mormon for LDS Mormons are full of examples of men who have had this experience: Adam down through the patriarchs; Jesus Christ down through the apostles; Lehi down through Moroni. These men were called by God, not by men; they were ordained by God and not by men.
Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. (Genesis 14:26-29 Inspired version of the Bible)
Once a man has entered into the presence of the Lord he then labors to cry repentance to the people, teaching them that they also can receive mercy, be redeemed and enter into the Rest of the Lord. These men do not point to themselves. They do not fair sumptuously while poor Lazarus starves. They do not set themselves up as a light to the World. They point to Christ! For there is none other whereby man can be saved but by and through the Savior, Jesus Christ!
Do prophets exist today and if so why do we need them?
The bible gives us a litmus test for prophets: by their fruits ye shall know them. If the bible gives us a litmus test, then it must necessarily follow that there will be both false and true prophets that we will need to discern between in our lifetime.
Therefore, it is up to each of us to study the words and teachings of men and choose for ourselves if he is a prophet. How can we know? By their fruits we shall know them. What are the fruits of a prophet? The man will have words of eternal life. His words will be delicious to the taste. They will point us to Christ and by following their words we will receive mercy and be able to stand in Christ’s presence while still in mortality. Prophets cannot give us salvation. Prophets cannot forgive us of sin. The only thing a prophet can do is show us the way back into the presence of Christ where we will then receive salvation and forgiveness of sin.
I believe in the prophets of the Bible. I believe in the prophets of the Book of Mormon. I have studied the words of Joseph Smith, Jr and have found him to be a prophet. Joseph Smith taught that it is the first principle of the Gospel to know that we can speak to God face to face and that this is not a blessing reserved for the elite but is offered to all mankind, even as many as will. (TPJS pg. 345)
I have studied the words of the men which the Mormons claim to be prophets since the time of Joseph Smith, Jr and have found for myself that they are pretenders. From Brigham Young down to Thomas Monson today, none of these men have entered into the presence of the Lord, none of them have words of eternal life. They are the blind leading the blind and all will end up in the ditch.
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, we can trust God that there are prophets among us today. If we are seeking this Jesus of whom the prophets testify then we must seek for true messengers from the Father to teach us. They are out there. God follows patterns. God calls the humble, the fishers, the carpenters, the farm boys. It is generally said of a prophet, “a wild man has come among us.”
The Lord has promised that:
It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am (Doctrine and Covenants 93:1)
And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen. (Ether 12:41)
I am seeking this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written. I am seeking for words of eternal life. I am seeking for true messengers from the Father to teach me. I have found some and their fruits are delicious to the taste. I hope to continue to find more. Their words serve to turn me to face Christ, to repent and to be baptized. Their words give me an increase in faith. Their words give me a more correct understanding of the character, perfections and attributes of God. I am indebted to the revelations which God has given to us for a correct understanding of His character, perfections, and attributes. Because without the revelations which He has given to us, no man by searching could find out God (see Job 11;7–9). “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:9–1 1).