“Blessed for Following the Prophet,” Friend, May 2003, 25
Prophets are sent to protect and guide the children of Heavenly Father. There has always been safety in following the prophet. In the days of Joseph Smith, many learned this important truth.
On April 6, 1830, the day The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized, at least 30 people were in attendance. One of them was an 11-year-old boy named David Lewis. As the events of that day unfolded, David became convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel.
He approached the Prophet Joseph Smith and asked to be baptized. Joseph was happy for him but felt that it was important for him to get permission from his parents first.
Following the Prophet’s counsel, David went home to discuss his feelings with his parents. They gave him permission, and he was baptized 29 days later, on his 12th birthday.
Soon after his baptism, clouds outside darkened. Thunder and lightning cracked through the sky. Joseph suggested that David might want to stay overnight and wait out the storm. David replied that he had promised his mother that he would return that night. Joseph told David that it was important to keep the promise to his mother and that if he left right away, the Lord would protect him.
David followed the counsel of the Prophet and hurried off into the downpour. He hadn’t gone far before he became confused, and he realized that he was lost. Remembering the Prophet’s words that he would return home in safety, David knelt under a tree and prayed for the promised protection and guidance.
After the prayer, he started on his way again. He saw a faint light through the trees. It looked like a person with a lantern in the distance. Something in his heart told him to follow it.
It led him down a path through the trees.
After he followed the light for some time, it suddenly disappeared. What had happened to it? He looked around and saw that he was now in front of his own house!1
On another occasion, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and a man named Brother Barnard were traveling to Far West, Missouri. The journey was difficult. The ground was frozen. After crossing a small stream, they found that the axle on their carriage had become bent.
Brother Barnard, a blacksmith, felt that they could not continue traveling with the axle bent so badly. He said that if they tried to straighten it, it would break.
Joseph inspected the axle and suggested that they try to spring it back into shape, anyway.
Again, Brother Barnard warned that it would break.
Joseph told him that he could straighten it, and it would be fine. He found a pry and, with the help of the brethren, bent the axle back into place. It gave them no further trouble, and the brethren arrived safely in Far West. Brother Barnard turned to Brigham Young and said that he would never say again that a thing could not be done when a prophet said that it could.2
One day in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith was in the yard, playing with his children Joseph and Frederick. A gentlemen in a carriage drove up to the gate, looking for him. Greeting the Prophet, the man drove his horse and carriage up to a tie post, but did not tie the horse up. Leaving the lines lying loose, he got out of his carriage and came up the steps of the house.
“Mister,” Joseph said, “I think you would do well to tie your horse; he might get a scare and run away and break your carriage.”
The gentleman, thinking he knew best, responded, “I have driven that horse for some years and never tie him. I am a doctor and cannot afford to tie him up at every place I call.”
Joseph persisted. “You had better tie him all the same. Your horse might get a scare and run away.”
The doctor told Joseph not to worry, that there would be no problems with his horse.
Entering the house, the men sat down to talk.
Within moments, the horse became startled. It bolted down the street, towing behind it the carriage. A wheel struck against a post, and pieces of the carriage were scattered for a block or more.
The doctor rushed to the street and saw the trail left by the frightened horse. He turned to Joseph and said, “I’ll be … if you aren’t a prophet.”3
Our prophet today may not give us advice on bending carriage axles or tying up horses, but the instruction he gives us is important for our own situations. We should seek to follow his counsel in all things. By following the prophet, we will be prepared against the dangers that we face today.