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Lesson 48 - The Necessity of a Latter-day Prophet

TitleLesson 48 - The Necessity of a Latter-day Prophet
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1898
Corporate AuthorsDeseret Sunday School Union
Manual TitleDeseret Sunday School Union Leaflets
PublisherGeorge Q. Cannon & Sons Company
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsProphet; Scripture Study

Many persons who do not believe in the divinity of Joseph Smith’s mission endeavor to prove that there was no necessity of any prophet being raised up to perform the work which he accomplished. They claim that the work done by Jesus Christ and His apostles rendered the coming of a prophet in this day entirely unnecessary. But there were some particulars in which the dispensation introduced by the Savior, and continued by His apostles, was wanting to make it a complete and final one. In the first place, it was not a gathering dispensation. No attempt was made in those days to gather all who accepted the Gospel to one place, where they could be instructed in the ways of God, build temples to His name, and prepare for the second coming of the Redeemer. Secondly, some of the chief apostles after the time of Christ plainly foretold the falling away, or apostasy of the church, and the restoration of the Gospel in its fullness at a later day. Paul, in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, ii:3, says, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day (the day of Christ’s second coming) shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” He speaks of evidences of this falling away, Titus i:10-11, "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, * * * whose mouths must be stopped; who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” A graphic picture, not only of that day, but also of this day of hireling priests.

No doubt the final step of the falling away of the people from the plain truths of the Gospel took place when Constantine, one of the Roman emperors, accepted the Christian faith, and established it as the state religion of Rome. In order that the principles of that faith might be rendered more acceptable to the pagan Romans, many of its most precious truths were changed, and heathen rites introduced. From this union of Christian and pagan belief the Roman Catholic Church originated, the- head of which, the Pope of Rome, professes to have received his authority direct from Peter, the chief apostle after Christ.

There are many objections to this claim, chief of which is the fact that none of the popes have ever claimed or exercised the gifts and blessings pertaining to the Priesthood which Peter held. Again, so many changes have been introduced into the Catholic faith, that neither it nor the religions which have sprung from it can well be the everlasting, unchangeable Gospel.

If, then, the Priesthood of God was taken from the earth with the death of the apostles, a restoration of that power would be necessary to prepare the people for the second advent of the Savior. This would mean that some person formerly holding that power should restore it to some one upon the earth. It would necessarily be the visit of an angel to a prophet.

John, the Revelator (Rev. xiv, 6), says: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” If this angel was to come to the earth, as John declares, there must of necessity have been an individual prepared to receive him and his message. Hence the necessity of a latter- day prophet. Joseph Smith was verily raised up most opportunely for this work. As we shall see in continuing the history of the Prophet, he received the message of that angel (Moroni), and afterward received the Priesthood from other angels (John the Baptist, and Peter, James and John), thus literally fulfilling many prophecies concerning these events.

Scripture Reference

2 Thessalonians 2:23