Prophets see around corners.
There is one simple reason that this truth is so profound, compelling, and even life-changing. Without the guiding direction of leaders who can see around corners, it can be difficult if not impossible to find our way through this mortal probation back Home to our heavenly parents.
As a young woman growing up on a large grain farm, I learned a painful lesson about what happens when we can’t see where we are going. On the farm, we learned to drive as soon as our feet could touch the pedals and we could see over the steering wheel—which for me was the summer after fourth grade. By the time I was in the eighth grade, therefore, I was a veteran behind the wheel. Or so I thought.
One winter Saturday afternoon, my father called me from his shop around on the back side of the farm and asked me to drive his new Ford pickup to him. “Sheri,” he said, “be sure to scrape the windshield. It has a thick layer of ice on it.”
Dad had not called at a convenient time. I was doing what I always did on winter Saturday afternoons: watching the KU Jayhawks play basketball. To make matters worse, it was the middle of the second half in a very tight game. But I knew that when my father said “now,” he meant NOW! So I dashed outside in my shirtsleeves and began chipping away at a stubborn layer of ice on the windshield.
After ten minutes, I was frustrated and freezing and had been able to clear only a small area about six inches in diameter. But I figured I knew the dirt road around to the shop well enough that the small hole would let me see enough. So I hopped in the pickup and began inching around to the back of the farm.
Unfortunately, in all of my eighth-grade wisdom, I was basically driving blind. The tiny hole allowed no peripheral vision and quickly fogged over. I hadn’t driven fifty yards when I heard a sickening, scraping sound. I slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the pickup, and saw a horrible sight.
I had hit our huge mailbox, and the mirror and trim on the passenger side were dangling alongside a gash that ran the length of the pickup. It is amazing how quickly the importance of a basketball game vanished! I was in BIG trouble.
That mistake proved to be a painful one—for several reasons. But the lesson was clear: you cannot find your way if you cannot see the way. It is impossible to stay on the path if you cannot even see the path—and the dangerous obstacles on the path.
Prophets see the path—the covenant path. Our Heavenly Father has sent us these special messengers to teach us truth. Their mission is to help us find the path and then stay on that path.
Prophets can do this in ways no others can because prophets see around corners….
Seeing around corners is not a magical process that requires no effort on the part of prophets. Far from it. Prophets, seers, and revelators must work at receiving revelation, just as the rest of us have to.
“Part of the way you see around a corner is you keep moving your feet,” said Elder David A. Bednar. “It is not like you are Superman … with x-ray vision and you just burn through the wall. But as you keep your feet moving, each time you take a step your view around the corner is expanded.”
Further, there is a crucial difference between prophets, seers, and revelators and the rest of us: They have priesthood keys that allow them to see things we do not yet see and understand things we do not yet understand…. [A] seer has the capacity to see the future and reveal truth because the Lord does “nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
This is why prophets have the ability to make us smarter than any other leaders or influencers on earth can. Prophets help us see dangers we cannot yet see and opportunities we cannot yet imagine….
Prophets, seers, and revelators do all that they do for the Lord, for the Church, and for us. It is not for personal gain. I know of no leaders whose motives are more untainted by the pressures of the world…. Because of their unique ordination and the spiritual privileges that accompany the priesthood keys they hold, prophets seers, and revelators are the most dependable source of truth on earth.
This truth then raises the question, What has the Lord told the living prophet to emphasize and teach today? At the time of this writing, President Russell M. Nelson is the senior Apostle and the Lord’s prophet to the world. He has counseled us to increase our capacity to receive revelation, to spend more time in the temple, and to become engaged in the most important work in the world—gathering scattered Israel.
He has pleaded with us to find joy in repenting daily, to strengthen our spiritual foundation, and to overcome the world and find spiritual rest. He has taught us who we are as children of God, children of the covenant, and disciples of Christ—and counseled us to never allow any other identifiers to supplant those three primary designations. He has emphasized the crucial need to avoid contention and seek the gift of charity. And he has pleaded with us to let God prevail in our lives.
There is nothing we can do that will pay greater dividends—both immediately and eternally—than embracing and following the counsel of the living prophet.
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