Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice
January 1996

“Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice,” New Era, Jan. 1996, 4

Special Issue:
Twenty-five Years Young

The Message:

Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

Listen to a sampling of 25 years of loving counsel from the prophets.

What have modern-day prophets been saying to the youth of the Church?

If you could receive a message from the president of the Church, what would he say to you? Since the New Era began in 1971, six presidents have spoken to the youth of the Church through the pages of the magazine. As we celebrate our 25th birthday, join us as we review some of their insights and inspiration.

Joseph Fielding Smith:

“Now, what does the Lord expect of us when he says ‘Search diligently’? I think he wants us to … turn our hearts to him … to seek the companionship of his Holy Spirit, to be born again, to cleanse and perfect our souls. He wants us to seek righteousness, to seek an inheritance in his kingdom, to desire the association of clean and upright people both now and forever” (Talk of the Month, Sept. 1971, p. 38).

Harold B. Lee:

“As a young boy I was out on a farm … playing about … when I saw over the fence in the neighbor’s yard some broken-down buildings with the sheds caving in. … I imagined … that might be a castle I should explore, so I went over to the fence and started to climb through. Then I heard a voice as distinctly as you are hearing mine: ‘Harold, don’t go over there.’ I looked in every direction to see where the speaker was. I wondered if it was my father, but he couldn’t see me; he was way up at the other end of the field. There was no one in sight. I realized that someone was warning me of an unseen danger—whether there was a nest of rattlesnakes, or whether the rotting timbers would fall on me and crush me, I don’t know. But from that time on, I accepted without question … that there are processes not known to man by which we can hear voices from the unseen world, by which we can have brought to us visions of eternity” (Stories from the General Authorities, Mar. 1973, p. 12).

Spencer W. Kimball:

“Very frequently people think they have repented and are worthy of forgiveness when all they have done is to express sorrow or regret at the unfortunate happening, but their repentance is barely started. Until they have begun to make changes in their lives, transformation in their habits, and to add new thoughts to their minds, to be sorry is only a bare beginning” (“What Is True Repentance?” May 1974, p. 6).

“Get a notebook … a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events” (“The Angels May Quote from It,” Oct. 1975, p. 5; “President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals,” Dec. 1980, p. 27).

“When you get in the teenage years, your social contacts should still be general acquaintance with both boys and girls. Any dating or pairing off in social contacts should be postponed until at least the age of 16 or older, and even then there should be much judgment used in selections and in the seriousness” (“Marriage—The Proper Way,” Feb. 1976, pp. 4–5).

“You who pray sometimes, why not pray more regularly, more often, more devoutly? Is time so precious, life so short, or faith so scant? … Do you pray occasionally when you should be praying regularly, often, constantly? … Do you just speak, or do you also listen? … Do you give thanks or merely ask for favors?” (“Prayer,” Mar. 1978, p. 17).

“That the Church’s stand on morality may be understood, we declare firmly and unalterably, it is not an outworn garment, faded, old-fashioned and threadbare. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. … When the sun grows cold and the stars no longer shine, the law of chastity will still be basic in God’s world and in the Lord’s Church” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” Nov. 1980, pp. 41–42).

“In the hospital one day I was wheeled out of the operating room by an attendant who stumbled, and there issued from his angry lips vicious cursing with a combination of the names of the Savior. Even half-conscious, I recoiled and implored: ‘Please! Please! That is my Lord whose names you revile.’ There was a deathly silence; then a subdued voice whispered, ‘I am sorry.’ … You don’t ever use any indecent language, do you, my young friends? That would be a disgrace. … We do not use foul language. We do not curse or defame. We do not use the Lord’s name in vain” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Profanity,” Jan.–Feb. 1981, pp. 4, 6).

“The Lord has given us a spiritual and economic law which, when fully obeyed, will bring blessings so great that ‘there will not be room enough to receive’ them (Mal. 3:10). I speak of the law of tithing, which can be our great blessing and safety, our great assurance of divine assistance” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Tithing,” Apr. 1981, p. 4).

“I was asked a few years ago, ‘Should every young man who is a member of the Church fill a mission?’ And I responded with the answer the Lord has given: ‘Yes, every worthy young man should fill a mission.’ The Lord expects it of him.” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Being a Missionary,” May 1981, p. 46).

“Your life is your own, to develop or to destroy. You can blame others little and yourself almost totally if that life is not a productive, worthy, full, and abundant one” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Planning Your Life,” Sept. 1981, p. 47).

Ezra Taft Benson:

“Your parents, with their maturity of years and the experience you have not had, can provide wisdom, knowledge, and blessings to help you over life’s pitfalls. You may find … that life’s sweetest experiences come when you go to Mom and Dad for help.

… Draw close to [them]. When family prayer and home evening are suggested, don’t pull away. Join in and make it real. Do your part to develop real family unity” (“‘To the ‘Rising Generation,’” June 1986, pp. 6–7).

“Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned his Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout (or equivalent). Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life” (Mormonad, Jan. 1987, p. 39).

“Give me a young woman who loves home and family, who reads and ponders the scriptures daily, who has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me a young woman who faithfully attends her Church meetings, who is a seminary graduate, who has earned her Young Womanhood Recognition award and wears it with pride! Give me a young woman who is virtuous and who has maintained her personal purity, who will not settle for less than a temple marriage, and I will give you a young woman who will perform miracles for the Lord now and throughout eternity” (Mormonad, Jan. 1987, p. 40).

“We have an increasing number who have been convinced, through the Book of Mormon, that Jesus is the Christ. Now we need an increasing number who will use the Book of Mormon to become committed to Christ” (“Come unto Christ,” Apr. 1988, p. 6).

“We need to be more grateful. It’s one of the marks of strong character, to have a feeling of thanksgiving and gratitude for blessings that are ours. We need more of that spirit in our homes, in our daily associations, in church, everywhere. It’s so easy to cultivate the spirit of appreciation” (“All This and the Gospel Too,” Nov. 1991, p. 6).

“If thoughts make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, then we must think Christlike thoughts. … I testify to you that there is no greater, more thrilling, and more soul-ennobling challenge than to try to learn of Christ and walk in His steps. … That man or woman is most truly successful whose life most closely parallels that of the Master” (“Think on Christ,” Apr. 1994, pp. 4–6).

Howard W. Hunter:

“We hope that you, as young members of the Church, will go often to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. When the time comes for you to go on a mission or be married, we pray that you will go to the temple worthily and feel the beautiful spiritual atmosphere that is present in the temple” (“Your Temple Recommend,” Apr. 1995, p. 6).

Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I love our scriptures. I love these wonderful volumes, which set forth the word of the Lord—given personally or through prophets—for the guidance of our Father’s sons and daughters. … I have read these volumes again and again. As I have pondered their words there has come, by the power of the Holy Ghost, a witness of their truth and divinity” (“Feasting on the Scriptures,” June 1995, pp. 6–8).

Photography by Jed Clark