Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which be Cæsar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. Luke 25
In the governing of this country (America) the Constitution makes it clear that it, the Constitution, is the “supreme law of the land.” (Article VI) This is a type of what the Lord did in establishing the scriptures as His supreme law, comparing all of holy writ to the iron rod, and pronouncing that, “whoso would hearken unto the word of God (iron rod), and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 15)
In Alma 37, the prophet replaces this iron rod with the Liahona, or the “words of Christ,” saying that, “just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise… [for] [t]he way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.”
Thus, the doctrine of Christ tells us that we are to look to the scriptures, NOT to the precepts of men, for this very doctrine. The Lord has tried to warn us of receiving His word as filtered through man’s mouth, saying, “this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men…” and “they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Nephi 27 & 28 respectively)
So what says the scriptures in how the Lord calls prophets? Has the mainstream Christian gone astray?
The prophet Paul began his adulthood as Saul of Tarsus. He was not formally affiliated with Peter and the rest of the apostles. And yet he was called to the work of the Lord beginning on the road to Damascus. The scriptures say, “and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 22)
Thereafter, Paul rose to the occasion! Miracles and astonishments attended him, and he preached the gospel to thousands of Jews and Gentiles—writing 13 books of the New Testament. But he wasn’t affiliated (officially) with the twelve whom Jesus called. His calling didn’t come from serving for a long duration in a church, and gradually ascending the “ranks” to prophet.
In fact, the scriptures are replete with prophets of God who are not affiliated with each other, but by the Holy Ghost only. 1 Kings 18 tells the story of how Obadiah hid one-hundred prophets of the Lord in two caves. And Moses remarked to Joshua, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11)
Moreover, in holy writ how mainstream people distinguished a prophet of the Lord was by that person’s works. Elijah was a lone prophet in his day, but challenged 450 of the prophets of Baal. When fire consumed the sacrifice at the request of Elijah, but not at the request of the 450 prophets, all knew who the true and living prophet was. (1 Kings 18)
Likewise for Elisha, who came after, and who had requested of Elijah, and subsequently received, a double portion of his (Elijah’s) spirit. Elisha went on to perform additional miracles, which caused a Shunammite woman to say to her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.” (2 Kings 4)
Elisha was so powerful, with his “double-portion” of Elijah’s spirit, that after he passed away in death the scriptures record that the corpse of another man touched Elisha’s bones, whereupon the man immediately came back to life, and stood on his feet! (2 Kings 13:21).
Such is the nature of the elect of God, and such is the nature of the rest of God’s children in perceiving holy men—who’s discernment by the power of the Holy Ghost witnesses to them, and not the voices of other men, despite any leadership position they may have. This is the pattern the scriptures points to as to the calling and discernment of holy prophets, which is a pattern that the Lord has continued to this day—for he is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Mormon 9, D&C 20)
By perception the woman at the well in John 4 perceived Christ was a great prophet, saying, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” Likewise, by perception Ammaron knew he could trust in the future prophet, Mormon, to retrieve the records which he had hid up in the land Antum, at the hill Shim, even though Mormon was only ten years old at the time.
Finally, it is true that a prophet is not respected “in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (Mark 6) Such evidently is the case with Frank Talker, the Navajo prophet residing in Fort Defiance, AZ. That a great Native American prophet would come was spoken of freely at the time of Joseph Smith, even leading into the time of Spencer W. Kimball, who remarked, “The Lamanites must rise in majesty and power… And in the day when their prophet shall come, one shall rise. . . mighty among them . . . being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders. (2 Nephi 3:24),” (Conference Reports, Oct. 1947)
This is my perception. I have seen the miracles, and have heard the voice bearing record. I rejoice and am grateful to God for his mercy upon the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord. The intent for these words are only an echo of Moroni’s intent, as he put together the last few leaflets of the Book of Mormon:
“…I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.” (Moroni 1)
For, “the Lord shall prolong their days, until the time shall come which hath been spoken of by our fathers, and also by the prophet Zenos, and many other prophets, concerning the restoration of our brethren, the Lamanites, again to the knowledge of the truth—” (Helaman 15)
“And the Lord said unto me (Enos): Thy fathers have also required of me this thing (the restoration of the Lamanites); and it shall be done unto them according to their faith.” (Enos).
This great restoration is taking place, for the Lord is able to do his own work. The house of Israel is being put back into place; the custodial rights of the Gentiles have come to an end; and the great prayers of the Bible and Book of Mormon prophets are soon to be realized among their children, to the glory of our great Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.