Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lorenzo Snow on knowledge and happiness in following the prophet

Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901) was an early convert to the Church along with his sister Eliza R. Snow. He was called as an apostle by Brigham Young in 1849. He served as the 5th president of the Church from 1898 until his death in 1901.
"The design of the Lord in regard to ourselves, in regard to His people generally, is to bring them to that state and fulness of knowledge, and to that perfection which their spiritual organizations are susceptible of receiving or arriving at. There are certain laws established from all eternity for the purpose of effecting this object.
"The question is asked, 'Why are we under obligations to follow counsel?' Because that counsel possesses those qualities necessary to make us better here, and to exalt us to honor and glory hereafter. If it were not so, there would be no obligation on our part to follow counsel....
"No man can be more happy than by obeying [the living prophet's] counsel. You may go from east to west, from north to south, and tread this footstool of the Lord all over, and you cannot find a man that can make himself happy in this Church, only by applying the counsel of [the prophet] in this life; it is a matter of impossibility for a man to receive a fulness who is not susceptible of receiving and carrying out [the prophet's] counsel. An individual that applies the counsel of this Church is bound to increase in all that is good, for there is a fountain of counsel which the Lord has established. He has made it, has deposited that counsel, that wisdom and those riches, and it will circumscribe all that pertains unto good, unto salvation; all that pertains unto peace and unto happiness; all things that pertain to glory and to the exaltation of the Saints in this world and in the world to come."
- Lorenzo Snow, discourse in the Tabernacle, January 18, 1857; see JD 4:184
Click here to read the full discourse

President Snow spoke 159 years ago, admonishing the Saints of his day to heed the counsel of Brigham Young. I've taken the liberty of applying the principle to the currently living prophet.

It's interesting to consider the idea of a living prophet. Why would that be important to God, and important to us? President Snow proposes that God's purpose includes helping us attain a "fulness of knowledge" and to improve our current lives, as well as prepare us for eternal blessings. So following prophetic counsel in that spirit becomes a powerful blessing to us, as well as a vital need.

Ultimately, the assurance from President Snow is that our best chance at happiness in this life comes from carefully heeding the counsel of the living prophet. That's a great message to ponder, especially as we approach Conference weekend!

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