Latter-day Prophets Speak about the Old Testament
February 2002

“Latter-day Prophets Speak about the Old Testament,” Liahona, Feb. 2002, 7

Latter-day Prophets Speak about the Old Testament

Joseph Smith (1805–44), First President of the Church

“We have sufficient grounds to go on and prove from the Bible that the gospel has always been the same; the ordinances to fulfill its requirements, the same, and the officers to officiate, the same; and the signs and fruits resulting from the promises, the same: therefore, as Noah was a preacher of righteousness he must have been baptized and ordained to the priesthood by the laying on of the hands” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 264).

Brigham Young (1801–77), Second President of the Church

“We consider the Bible … as a guide … pointing to a certain destination. This is a true doctrine, which we boldly advance. If you will follow the doctrines, and be guided by the precepts of that book, it will direct you where you may see as you are seen, where you may converse with Jesus Christ, have the visitation of angels, have dreams, visions, and revelations, and understand and know God for yourselves. Is it not a stay and a staff to you? Yes; it will prove to you that you are following in the footsteps of the ancients. You can see what they saw, understand what they enjoyed” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 120).

George Albert Smith (1870–1951), Eighth President of the Church

“The Lord, when he placed our first parents on the earth, gave them instructions and from time to time he has sent his prophets to counsel their descendants. We have in the Old and the New Testament the teachings of the Lord, not of man, but the advice of our Heavenly Father intended to direct us along the pathway that will eventually terminate in the celestial kingdom. How wonderful it is to know that there is a pathway leading to a glorious kingdom” (in Conference Report, October 1937, 49).

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972), Tenth President of the Church

“The Holy Bible has had a greater influence on the world for good than any other book ever published. … The reason for the Bible’s great influence for good is because it is inspired, containing the word of the Lord delivered to his prophets who wrote and spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost since the world began. It has drawn the fire of adverse criticism for the self-same reason. Had it not been an inspired record less attention would have been paid to it by the opposing critics, who have drawn their inspiration from the author of evil, who in the very beginning swore in his wrath that he would endeavor to destroy the work of God” (Seek Ye Earnestly, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. [1972], 363).

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), Twelfth President of the Church

“From infancy I had enjoyed the simplified and pictured Bible stories, but the original Bible seemed so interminable in length, so difficult of understanding that I had avoided it until a challenge came to me [as a teenager attending stake conference. The speaker] gave a discourse on the value of reading the Bible. In conclusion she asked for a showing of hands of all who had read it through. The hands that were raised out of the large congregation were so few and so timid! … I was shocked into an unalterable determination to read the great book.

“As soon as I reached home after the meeting I began with the first verse of Genesis and continued faithfully every day with the reading.

“What a satisfaction it was to me [a year later] to realize I had read the Bible through from beginning to end! And what exultation of spirit! …

“I commend it to you” (“What I Read as a Boy,” Children’s Friend, November 1943, 508).

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), Thirteenth President of the Church

“I love the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. It is a source of great truth. It teaches us about the life and ministry of the Master. From its pages we learn of the hand of God in directing the affairs of His people from the very beginning of the earth’s history. It would be difficult to [over]estimate the impact the Bible has had on the history of the world. Its pages have blessed the lives of generations” (“The Gift of Modern Revelation,” Ensign, November 1986, 78).

Howard W. Hunter (1907–95), Fourteenth President of the Church

“Reading and studying the scriptures make us conscious of the many conditional promises made by the Lord to encourage obedience and righteous living. Israelite history is filled with examples of covenants, which constitute one of the central themes of the Old Testament—the promises of God made in exchange for the commitments of the prophets and the people. … If we choose to react like Joshua, and Abraham, and Rebekah and Rachel, our response will be, simply, to go and do the thing that the Lord has commanded” (“Commitment to God,” Ensign, November 1982, 57–58).

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–), Fifteenth President of the Church

“The standard works are all indispensable to our understanding of the things of God. The Bible provides the foundation of our faith: The Old Testament gives the word of Jehovah through His ancient prophets; the New Testament sets forth, in beautiful language, the matchless life and sacrifice of the Savior of mankind” (“‘The Order and Will of God,’” Tambuli, August 1989, 2).

The Lord Fulfilleth All His Words, by Clark Kelley Price; Joseph Smith, by Alvin Gittins; portrait of Brigham Young by John Willard Clawson; portrait of George Albert Smith by Lee Greene Richards

Rebekah at the Well, by Michael J. Deas; portrait of Joseph Fielding Smith by Shauna Clinger; portrait of Spencer W. Kimball by Judith Mehr