This is written for those who just want to "get stuff done."
So often, when we are warned about our awful situation, or the coming calamity, or the judgments long foretold staring us in the face, we wonder, "Okay. But what can I do?!"
This question is not new. As the Lord told John Whitmer in 1829:
Many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.
Isn't that true of all of us? Wouldn't it be nice to have some direction on how to spend our time, talents and treasure before the world goes up in smoke?
So this post is going to offer some down-to-earth, practical suggestions for anyone who wishes to build the kingdom.
If you're tired of being benched, sitting on the sidelines, waiting for coach to put you on the field, jump up!
God is literally blowing his whistle:
Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God YOU (!) are called to the work.
Our time has come.
Tim's Short List for Prophetic Engagement
This list is not going to talk about how to become a prophet (we've covered that in the first nine posts ― but for those of you just joining us, the short version is God calls prophets by his own voice).
Instead this post will address the question:
What are prophets supposed to do?
Well, the simple answer is: anything the Lord asks them to do.
But there are some general things that will help us see more clearly their role, and I hope these will spark some ideas and inspiration for the rest of us to become more anxiously engaged.
So here we go. Here are some of the great tell-tale signs (i.e., "fruits") of prophets.
1. Prophets Make Intercession.
Intercession tops my list.
Christ is the great Intercessor (John 17) and is the ultimate example of a prophet for that reason.
Prophets "call upon God" not just for themselves but for others.
We find prophets facing the Lord and pleading the cause of sinful people. Which is odd, right?
Why would prophets care so much about wicked and depraved and fallen people?
It's because they have charity. As Mormon said:
Notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them.
Since making intercession is an essential part of a prophet's job description, let's look at a few other examples.
Brother of Jared
We just saw how Mormon loved wicked Nephites. Now we're going to see the Brother of Jared loving wicked Jaredites:
O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness.
There are too many examples to fit in this post, but I must include one more.
We can't forget Moses, who made intercession for 40 years on behalf of wicked Israelites. It was not easy. I mean, how many times did Moses plead for the Lord to kill and take him?
Talk about a tough job: you've got your brother making golden calves and the people (whom you just delivered) slipping back into idolatry with the attention span of a toddler.
And the Lord sees the Israelites' stiff-neckedness and says to Moses (let me paraphrase), "Well, we tried. Time to start over with another people. I guess I'll wipe out all these Israelites now" (Exodus 32:10).
And Moses stood up and pled with the Lord to spare the people. And he succeeded (!) in changing the Lord's mind:
Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
So if we've got a free evening alone at home, here's an idea:
Let's call upon God on behalf of those who don't pray; plead for mercy for all those terrible, conniving sinners; meekly make intercession for the hardened terrorists, the lying politicians, the Nehors and Korihors and local school boards and Jerry down the street; that we offer ourselves a living sacrifice on their behalf.
Because we can't be prophets to a people we don't love enough to cry for, bleed for, and die for!
For I pray continually for my people by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people.
(2 Nephi 33:3-4)
Jesus wept for Jerusalem. When was the last time we wept for Los Angeles?
2. Declare Repentance
Okay, we've seen how prophets face God to cry intercession.
Now we're going to do the hoky-poky and turn ourselves around and observe how prophets face the people to cry repentance.
I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.
How do we "declare repentance" in 2022?
Well, the Lord kindly tells us right there in the verse ― anything that "brings souls unto [him]" is worthy of our time.
If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
I want to make something clear: prophets are not just missionaries; a prophet has a public ministry.
They are called by the Lord to deliver a message to a specific, or to all, people, warning them of God's judgment to come.
Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets.
But don't buy airplane tickets just yet, eager to globe trot with your megaphone (I mean, trumpet).
Therefore, go ye into all the world; [so be willing to travel at least] and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go [whether due to health concerns, a tyrannical political regime, or your passport was cancelled] ye shall send, that the testimony may go from YOU (!) into all the world unto every creature.
Isn't it convenient that the "world wide web" is an instrument that allows us "send" our testimonies "into all the world?"
Except China. (I haven't been able to beat their firewall just yet.)
But we saw the Iron Curtain come down. We saw the Berlin Wall crumble.
It is just a matter of time.
3. Take Care of the Poor. For Real.
If you're a prophet, chances are you're looking out for the little guy.
Remember who Jesus identified as the greatest of all prophets born of woman?
That's right: his cousin John.
So I think we'd be wise to check what John was up to.
And the people asked John, saying, What shall we do then?
John answereth and said unto them: He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
The reason the early Saints failed to establish Zion was because they ignored this advice (and, by the way, we still are).
The Lord lamented:
My people are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them.
That's an interesting way of viewing "evil," isn't it?
It seems that prophets today would rather forego the coarse cloth of the Baptist for wool suits and silk ties.
Jesus continued in the same vein as John, preaching a gospel of, by, and for the poor (Luke 14:13).
4. Prophets Perform the Works of Christ.
When you think about a modern-day prophet, does an image of a well-trimmed old man who gives sermons and oversees Church administration pop into your mind?
Because when I think of a prophet, I usually imagine some young men being eaten by she-bears and fire raining down from heaven and the Red Sea crashing down on Pharaoh's army and a-day-and-a-night-and-a-day with no darkness.
Jesus was very clear about the signs that would follow his prophets and apostles:
And Jesus ordained twelve . . . that he might send them forth (1) to preach, (2) and to have power to heal sicknesses, and (3) to cast out devils.
Jesus was foremost a Healer.
He taught us everything we really need to know about God by the way he cared for the leper, the blind, the sick and possessed.
He held their brokenness in his bare hands and made them whole.
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Isn't it remarkable that Christ invites us to do the works He did? Rather than being jealous of his power, He's driving around in an Ice Cream Truck giving away popsicles to anyone who will come at the sound of the music.
For the works which ye have seen me do, that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye.
(3 Nephi 27:21-22)
As I said in Part 3, "When authority comes from God (as opposed to from an institution) it is always accompanied by power."
The Lord promised, "Signs follow those that believe. Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God. Yea, signs come by faith, unto mighty works" (D&C 63:9-11).
So where are the signs? What would it be like to drive on the Freeway if there were no signs?
Mighty works are needed for the signs of the times.