Revelation and Prophets
God communicates to man through revelation. According to his will
and purpose, he communicates directly to individuals, or through
the scriptures, or through prophets and others he has chosen.
Revelations edify a person or group of people (1 Corinthians
14:26), can come to any individual at any time (1 Corinthians
14:30), and are usually preceded by faith and a strong desire to
understand the deep mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10,
Prophets are inspired men who reveal God’s will. Prophets warn,
teach, testify of Christ, and denounce sin. Sometimes they reveal
coming events, particularly events that flow from rebelling
against God’s will. When prophets speak, they do so with clarity
The Lord speaks to his prophets, his prophets speak to the people,
and the people who choose to follow God follow the teachings of
the prophets (Haggai 1:12). The Lord does not withhold his
guidance from mankind (Amos 3:7). Prophets such as Judas and Silas
continued to reveal the will of the Lord after Christ ascended
into heaven (Acts 15:32). Paul wrote often of prophets in the
present tense, acknowledging prophetic callings in his own time
and in times to come (Ephesians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 14:29 and 1
Corinthians 12:28). John made it clear that prophets would be on
the earth as the servants of God during the second coming
(Revelation 10:7). God will not leave men in darkness; he will
always send his prophets (plural) because he desires clarity over
confusion and peace over strife among his people (1 Corinthians
The Gift of Prophesy
Prophecy is a gift of the spirit which can edify many people, thus
surpassing in importance all other spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians
14:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 12:10). Prophecy benefits the believer (1
Corinthians14:22-24) and is a gift that is to be desired—even
coveted (1 Corinthians 14:39). The gift of prophecy is not only
given to men, but to women also (1 Corinthians 11:5).
Ambiguity and Interpretation
God gives revelations to man, often through his prophets; however,
for these revelations to be useful, they must be heard clearly and
The interpretation of revelations, and the application of them,
are the works of the men and women who receive them. Sometimes
these interpretations are not inspired by the Holy Ghost.
Sometimes they are inspired, but it is the Lord’s will that the
meaning and application be thoughtfully worked out through prayer
Under these conditions, disputes over meaning and application do
For example, Psalm 69 is a Messianic prophecy that includes images
of the crucifixion. Jesus prayed that the Father would forgive
those who crucified him; however, Psalm 69:28 says that those
responsible would be “blotted out of the book of the living.”
Which is it? “Blotted out of the book of the living” or forgiven?
And what does it mean to be “blotted out” of the book of the
There are many ways to explain this discrepancy—or live with
it—not the least of which might be to argue that Psalm 69 was not
about Jesus at all or that the request of Jesus to the Father may
not, in the end, be granted.
Another example is Deuteronomy 28:58-61, which speaks of plagues,
sickness, and diseases that will come upon those (and their
children) who “wilt not observe to do all the words of this law
that are written in this book.” This prophecy could apply to a
specific law, the book of Deuteronomy, the Old Testament, or the
entire Bible. The terrible things spoken of could apply to the
Israelites only, or to all people on the earth, then and now.
Revelations can be distorted by compelling aspects of culture, and
they can apply in one age but not in another. For example, Paul
wrote that women should be silent in church. He said clearly that
they should not be permitted to speak (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).
Was this written only for women of Paul’s day? Does it have any
application today? Was it merely a local administrative ruling
based on a local problem? Or was Paul merely incorrect and not
speaking as a prophet in this case?
The Problem of Fulfillment
Some prophesies are not fulfilled, at least according to any
standard interpretation of the words used to describe them. Others
are “fulfilled” only by a tortured interpretation of the words of
the prophesy. For example Ezekiel predicted that king
Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyrus beyond reconstruction and would
gain riches from the siege (Ezekiel 26:3-14). While some claim the
prophecy was fulfilled, historical evidence suggests that while
the king did indeed attack the city, he probably failed in his
attempt to destroy it and he did not gain riches in the victory.
Available evidence is seldom subject to only one interpretation,
and new evidence can appear, seemingly turning a cherished belief
on its head. The point is this: The judgment that a prophesy has
or has not been fulfilled is frequently based on faith in the
first case or skepticism in the second.
For example, Jesus told his disciples of his second coming in
considerable detail (Matthew 24:29-35, Mark 13:24-31 and Luke
21:25-33). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report that Jesus said
“this generation” would not pass away until “these things be
Jesus did not come again in his generation, and he has still not
come, more than 2,000 years later. Does this mean his prophesy was
not fulfilled? Does it mean he made a mistake? Does it mean the
Bible authors or their translators made a mistake? Does it mean
that Jesus used the word generation to mean all human life on this
planet? The atheist will answer one way. The biblical literalist
will answer another. The poet another. The archeologist will
search for lost texts. A few will agonize, even fall away, but the
faithful will move on, unperturbed.
Prophets Not Infallible
The Lord recognizes human limitations in his children, even in his
prophets. Prophets are not infallible. They suffer from the same
mortal infirmities as all humans, despite their divine calling.
The prophet Elisha in response to the children who mocked him and
made fun of his baldness “cursed them in the name of the Lord” and
caused two bears to come from the woods and tear the children
apart (2 Kings 2:23-24). Seems a bit harsh. Are these the actions
of a prophet acting as a prophet, or a prophet acting as a
petulant old man?
On the one hand, the Lord promised that a prophet “shall die” if
he speaks falsely or with blasphemy (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). On the
other hand, the Lord told the people “not to be afraid” of (not to
be concerned about) such a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
Mormon Doctrinal Clarification
Profile of a Prophet
A prophet is not a prophet because he says he is, but because he
has been called of God by priesthood authority. A prophet is also
not a perfect human being, and his utterances and writings are
prophetic only when he is speaking and acting authoritatively in
his assigned role.
A prophet is an inspired teacher, a servant of the Lord chosen by
the Lord to declare to the people the knowledge and will of the
Lord. “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints…are blessed to be led by living prophets—inspired men
called to speak for the Lord, just as Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul,
Nephi, Mormon, and other prophets of the scriptures (True to
the Faith: A Gospel Reference, [Salt Lake City: Intellectual
Reserve, 2004], 129). A prophet is an accredited witness, one who
is given by God to know and to testify of the truth with
authority. A prophet is also a special witness for Christ,
testifying of his divinity and teaching his gospel. A prophet
teaches truth and interprets the word of God. He calls the
unrighteous to repentance. He receives revelations and direction
from the Lord for the benefit of the people.
From time to time, a prophet may foretell coming events so that
the world may be warned (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City:
Intellectual Reserve, 2009], 39). Several Old Testament prophets
predicted the coming of Christ, in some cases many hundreds of
years before his birth, and modern prophets have made important
predictions. Indeed, it could be said that prophetic warnings
frequently contain implicit predictions of the consequences of
ignoring those warnings. Nevertheless, teaching and leading rather
than predicting are the primary duties of a prophet.
Prophets have been on the earth from the earliest of days. The
profile of a prophet, then and now, varies dramatically in terms
of age, level of education, vocation, family upbringing, and other
characteristics. Prophets come from all walks of life.
Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are
called and sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators. NOTE: The
terms seer and revelator are used to explain or give
emphasis to the term prophet. These terms do not denote
special powers in addition to those denoted by the term prophet.
The president of the Church and the prophets, seers, and
revelators under him give vital contemporary guidance and
instruction from the Lord. Their presence and their devoted
service are a constant reminder that God lives, and he speaks to
his people through his prophets.
While Latter-day Saints greatly revere the prophets of the Old and
New Testaments and of the early days of the Restoration, it is the
living prophets, particularly the prophet of the Church, who are
listened to most carefully and followed most assiduously.
Prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
address the world during semi-annual conferences, regular
firesides, weekly appearances across the world, and in a wide
variety of official Church publications. All of God’s children,
those who are members of the Church and those who are not, are
counseled to follow the inspired teachings of these prophets in
order to avoid the snares of the world and enjoy the blessings of
the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Prophet of the Church
Although all three members of the First Presidency of the Church
and all members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets,
seers, and revelators, the terms prophet of the Church and
the prophet refer specifically to the one man who is
president of the Church.
The president of the Church is the presiding high priest: Only he
can receive revelations for the Church as a whole, provide binding
interpretations of scripture, or change existing doctrines of the
Church. Only he holds the “keys to the kingdom” with the power to
loose or bind in all temporal and spiritual matters of the Church
The Lord has established a pattern that the most senior member of
the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the prophet of the
Church upon the death of the current prophet. This pattern ensures
there is continuity in leadership without political maneuvering or
elections of any kind. The new prophet, like his predecessor,
serves for life.
Some well-known prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints include Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Ezra Taft
Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson. Thomas S. Monson
was the prophet at the time of this writing.
Limitations of Stewardship
Authoritative revelation comes to the seeking individual according
to his or her stewardship. A stake president can receive
revelation for his stake. A bishop can receive revelation for his
ward. Parents can receive revelation for the families they lead.
Individuals can receive revelation for themselves.
The Gift of Prophesy
The Lord’s house is a house of order: He does not leave his people
to stumble blindly through empty and darkened hallways. He sends
prophets to guide and teach. He grants the gift of prophesy and
understanding to those who seek him diligently, and he reveals
himself to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
See chapter 11 in The Biblical Roots of Mormonism for a more
comprehensive explanation, scriptural references and commentary on
Revelation and Prophets
See the following Sword
SeriesTM papers for summaries:
Records Should Be Kept
The holy scriptures are the work of inspired authors who have
“written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of
the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Men have been
commanded by the Lord (Revelation 1:11) to keep records so that
the children of men will have a remembrance (Malachi 3:16) written
for the generations to come (Psalm 102:16-18).
The Lord directed Moses to keep records (Exodus 24:4, Exodus.
34:27, Deuteronomy 31:9). Samuel, Isaiah, John, and the apostles
and elders all kept scriptural records (1 Samuel 10:25, Isaiah
8:1-2 and 30:8, John 21:24, and Acts 15:23, respectively).
Jeremiah directed Baruch quite specifically in the keeping of
records (Jeremiah 36:4).
The Stick of Judah
The Lord told Ezekiel to write upon “one stick” the record of the
tribe of Judah (the Jews in the Middle East). The “Stick of Judah”
is a figurative reference to the Bible (Ezekiel 37:15-16).
The Bible is fundamentally a record of the twelve tribes of
Israel, but most specifically the tribe of Judah. Jesus was from
the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14).
The Stick of Ephraim
Ezekiel also prophesied of the coming forth of the “Stick of
Ephraim”, believed by Latter-day Saints to be the Book of Mormon
Ephraim was a son of Joseph of the tribe of Israel. Ephraim and
Joseph were promised great blessings by Jacob, Joseph’s father,
who was also called Israel (Genesis 48:17-19, Genesis 49:22-16).
Jeremiah also wrote of blessings that would come to Joseph and his
entire family (Jeremiah 31:9, 20).
Like the Bible (Judges 20:21, 25, and 46 and many others), the
Book of Mormon gives an account of many wars. However, the wars
chronicled in the Book of Mormon took place on the American
continent Isaiah prophesied that a voice would speak from the dust
and would have “a familiar spirit” (Isaiah 29:4) and that the Lord
would proceed to do a “marvelous work and a wonder” among the
people that would confound the wise and prudent and help the deaf
hear and the blind see (Isaiah 29:14, 18). David wrote that “truth
shall spring out of the earth” (Psalm 85:11). Isaiah wrote of the
words of a sealed book (Isaiah 29:11).
Many believe these prophecies refer to the Book of Mormon and the
manner in which it came forth.
Bible Linked to the Book of Mormon
Ezekiel foretells of the Stick of Judah (the Bible) and the Stick
of Ephraim (the Book of Mormon) coming together to become “one
stick” or “one in thine hand” (Ezekiel 37:15-20). The joining of
these two records to validate one another accomplishes the Lord’s
law of two witnesses (Matthew 18:16 and 2 Corinthians 13:1)—the
Bible witnessing for the Book of Mormon and the Book of Mormon
witnessing for the Bible. Many Latter-day Saint scholars and
prophets believe that the combination of the Bible and the Book of
Mormon constitutes fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophesy.
Many non-Mormon scholars argue that the Book of Revelation forbids
the addition of any scripture to the Bible (Revelation 22:18).
This argument is weakened by the likelihood, supported by most
biblical scholars, that John wrote the Book of Revelation
before he wrote his gospel, thus violating his own rule if he
intended this rule to apply to the Bible as a whole. It is also
weakened, if not eliminated, by the fact the Bible of today did
not exist during the lifetime of John.
It is noteworthy also that the Book of Deuteronomy contains
multiple prohibitions against adding to the words and commandments
therein (Deuteronomy 4:2 and Deuteronomy 12:32). All of this
strongly suggests that these prohibitions apply to the particular
book or chapter in which the prohibitions appear, not to the
The Lord revealed to Daniel that “knowledge shall be increased” in
the last days (Daniel 12:4). Paul testified of an open canon by
referring to “all scripture” at a time when the only scriptures in
existence were those contained in the Old Testament. He referred
to scripture as that which is “given by inspiration of God” (2
The Lord commanded Israel to keep his words in their heart and to
teach them to their children day and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Joshua told Israel to meditate on the commandments of God with the
same frequency (Joshua 1:8), and Isaiah told the children of God
to seek and read (Isaiah 34:16). Jesus admonished the disciples to
“search the scriptures” (John 5:39). Paul wrote that the people of
Berea were “noble” and “searched the scriptures daily” (Acts
Mormon Doctrinal Clarification
Eighth Article of Faith
The eighth article of faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints states: “We believe the Bible to be the word of
God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book
of Mormon to be the word of God.”
From earliest times, the Lord has commanded his prophets to keep
records, both historical and spiritual. Often, but not always,
these records have become scripture. The Bible is an example of
such scripture. The Bible records the lives of people living in
the Middle East. It is a collection of separate writings authored
by separate individuals, and precise authorship in some cases is
debated to this day.
The Bible is not a single book with multiple co-authors. In
some cases there is evidence of collaboration; in many cases there
is no such evidence. Furthermore, the collection of writings that
came to be called the Bible was not compiled by the authors or by
contemporary editors. Rather, it was compiled by various
ecclesiastical authorities over a period of hundreds of years
after the writings were made.
Inspired prophets and apostles wrote most of the works that were
eventually selected to form the Bible. Their writings went through
an unknown—and perhaps unknowable—number of cycles of translation,
transcription, and compilation before being bound into what is
known today as the Bible. Numerous scholars and organizations
participated in this translating, transcribing, and compiling.
They worked from the “original” Greek and Hebrew in documents that
may themselves have been through many cycles of transcription, if
not revision. Finally, the Bible was split off into many versions,
each translated into many languages. The work of revision and
clarification goes on unceasingly to this day.
In the process of compiling the Bible, scholars and clerics
rejected many books, including the book of Jubilees, the epistle
of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, Paul's Epistle to the
Laodiceans, writings attributed to Clement (believed to be a
co-worker with Peter), and some writings of Peter.
There have been many reasons offered for these and other
rejections. Prominent among these was the suspicion of forgery or
findings by clerics of the time that the writings were
inconsistent with other more cherished writings or with well
accepted church doctrines or widely held beliefs.
For example, the Roman Catholic version of the Bible includes the
Apocrypha, seven books in the Catholic version of the Old
Testament that are not found in non-Catholic versions, including
the King James Version. These seven books were adopted at the
Council of Trent in 1546 and remain part of the Catholic version
of the Old Testament to this day. Thus, if you are a Catholic
holding a non-Catholic Bible, something has been taken away. On
the other hand, if you are a non-Catholic holding a Catholic
Bible, something has been added.
The Bible Story
The Bible as we know it today begins with the creation and ends
shortly after the ascension of Christ. The 39 books of the Old
Testament foretell of the coming of the Savior, while the 27 books
of the New Testament provide a record of the life of the Savior,
with an emphasis on his public ministry.
Compilation and Canonization
The integrated Bible as we know it today was compiled by committee
at the (Catholic) Council of Carthage in AD 397; however, it was
not until the Council of Trent in 1546 that the Roman Catholic
Church formally acknowledged the doctrinal authority of the Bible
and canonized it as sacred scripture.
King James Version—Latter-day
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses the King
James Version of the Bible—without content editing or revision of
On October 15, 1982, the Layman’s National Bible Committee
presented an award to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints for outstanding service to the Bible cause through the
publication of a new edition of the King James Version. This
edition featured interpretive chapter headings, a simplified
footnote system, and the linking of references to all other
Latter-day Saint scriptures—thereby greatly enhancing Bible study.
President Gordon B. Hinckley accepted the award and explained that
the extraordinary efforts of the Church on the Bible project were
to “help the people become better Bible scholars” leading to “a
personal witness that Jesus is the Christ” (Robert J. Matthews, “I
Have a Question,” Ensign, July 1985, 17-19).
Mormons revere the Bible as they do the Book of Mormon. Both are
essential parts of the Christian canon.
Book of Mormon
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was the fulfillment of the
blessings promised Joseph and Ephraim. The Book of Mormon
compliments the Bible in providing a record of a people living in
the Americas between 2,200 B.C. and A.D. 400. The Book of Mormon
testifies of the Bible and the Bible testifies of the Book of
Mormon. The subtitle of the Book of Mormon states that it is
“Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” providing in particular a
record of the visit of Jesus to the inhabitants of the Americas
shortly after his Resurrection. Like the Bible, The Book of Mormon
is a compilation of separate writings by separate inspired
individuals. These writings were abridged and etched onto gold
plates to insure their preservation. The prophet Joseph Smith
translated the Book of Mormon into English from the original
reformed Egyptian text on these gold plates. Following the
successful translation of the Book of Mormon the plates were taken
in the same way they were delivered—through the angel Moroni. The
Book of Mormon was later translated from English into many
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) is a collection of revelations
given to modern day prophets, including Joseph Smith. It was
compiled from 1823 to 1978. The purpose of the Doctrine and
Covenants is to prepare the inhabitants of the earth for the
second coming of Jesus Christ by providing direction and guidance.
The Doctrine and Covenants includes details for the organization
and operation of the Church and the offices of the priesthood and
associated ecclesiastical and spiritual functions.
Pearl of Great Price
The Pearl of Great Price contains three different works: the Book
of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and a collection of inspired
writings by the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Moses is a work
revealed to Joseph Smith pertaining to visions and writings of
Moses. It focuses on the creation of the earth. The Book of
Abraham is a translation from a papyrus scroll originating from
the Egyptian catacombs and translated by Joseph Smith. It contains
insights and information on the creation, the priesthood, the
gospel, and the nature of God. The writings of Joseph Smith
include a portion of Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the
Bible, a brief history of the Church, and the Articles of Faith.
Continuing Revelation: The Open
The words of the living prophets, when spoken or written within
the purview of their prophetic calling, are considered scripture.
Such words can come to Latter-day Saints (and all mankind) through
Church publications, conferences, and other forms of inspired
instruction. While the inspired words of prophets, ancient and
modern, are considered scripture, they are not part of the canon
unless and until they are ratified by the First Presidency and the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Latter-day Saints believe that God
can choose to speak to his prophets today just as he did in
biblical times and that there can be additions to canonical
scripture. Thus, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
is said to have an open canon.
Carefully Examining the Scriptures
To the casual eye or the error-seeking mind, there are plenty of
troublesome issues raised in the scriptures. Variations in
account, teaching, and translation can be confusing. Diligence and
a holistic approach are necessary when examining the scriptures.
Variations in Account
For example, 1 Kings Chapter 1 describes how Adonijah attempts to
usurp the throne from Solomon and how Solomon works with Nathan to
secure the throne. This is interesting in light of the fact that 1
Chronicles Chapter 29 details the same events without saying
anything about the struggle with Adonijah. Similarly, 1 Kings
Chapter 11 details how Solomon turned to the worshipping of Idols,
while 2 Chronicles Chapter 9 provides a record of the same time
period without any mention of Solomon worshipping idols. In
Matthew 5:3, Jesus tells his disciples, “Blessed are the poor in
spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” while in Luke 6:20
he says, “…Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.”
Close, but literally different.
Variations in Teaching
Two different scriptures can provide different teachings on the
same doctrine when examined in isolation. For example, John 1:7
states: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we
have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ
his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (emphasis added).
Matthew 12:32 states: “And whosoever speaketh a word against the
Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh
against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him,
neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (emphasis
added). John wrote that all sin can be forgiven through Christ,
while Matthew wrote that there is at least one sin that cannot be
Deuteronomy 24:1 states: “When a man hath taken a wife, and
married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his
eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him
write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send
her out of his house.” On the same subject, Matthew 5:31-32
states: “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let
him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That
whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of
fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall
marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Quite different.
Variations in Translation
Dozens of English translations of the Bible have been created over
the last several centuries. An estimated 16 English translations
are still in widespread circulation. These include the English
Standard Version, Good News Bible, Holman Christian Standard
Bible, J B Phillips New Testament, King James Version, The Living
Bible, The Message, New American Bible, New American Standard
Bible, New International Version, (New) Jerusalem Bible, New King
James Bible, New Living Translation, (New) Revised Standard
Version, Today’s English Version, and Today’s New International
Version. Other translations are in progress.
This proliferation of translations both helps and hurts human
understanding of God’s message to mankind. The various
translations can be seen as useful commentary and in that way add
to understanding, or they can be seen as rooms in a biblical Tower
of Babel, creating confusion if not profound misunderstanding.
The multiple translations of John 3:16 are interesting, for
example: The King James Version (KJV) records this: “For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life.” The New International Version (NIV) records this: “For God
so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The
difference between “begotten” and “one and only” is significant,
and it is easy to suspect revisionism at work in the later
Another example is 2 Chronicles 26:5: The KJV records this: “And
he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in
the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made
him to prosper.” The NIV records this: “He sought God during the
days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long
as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” Was the “he” in
these passages “instructed” by Zechariah or did he merely live in
the “days” of Zechariah? If he was instructed, did Zechariah teach
him to “fear” God or to understand the visions of God?
In addition to transcription and translation issues, there are
issues of interpretation. Sincere scholars and clerics study
painstakingly and write prolifically on matters of interpretation.
They often reach far different conclusions from the same evidence.
This also occurs in science, history, philosophy, and other
disciplines as well. Scholarship in any discipline proceeds by
fits and starts.
Personal and Family Scripture
Church members are exhorted to study the scriptures every day, as
individuals and as families. In doing so Church members are told
they can avoid evil and grow closer to God—especially when they
read the scriptures in conjunction with pondering, praying, and
asking God for further understanding through the Holy Ghost.
See chapter 9 in The Biblical Roots of Mormonism for a more
comprehensive explanation, scriptural references and commentary on the
See the Sword SeriesTM paper The Scriptures for a summary
The Bible says to pray always, in all places and times, but
particularly when alone (Matthew 6:5-6). Direct prayer to God the
Father, praising him, petitioning him, and asking that his will be
done (Matthew 6:9-13). Pray spontaneously, without vain repetition
(Matthew 6:7). Pray with faith and confidence, knowing that God
will grant to his children all that they need (James 1:5-6).
Mormon Doctrinal Clarification
Prayer is “ . . . sincere, heartfelt talk with our Heavenly
Father” (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City: Intellectual
Reserve, 2009], 35), and it is one of the greatest blessings human
beings enjoy during mortality. Prayer has been taught and
practiced since the beginning of time, affects all manner of
thoughts and actions, and will bring men and women close to God.
Latter-day Saints accept the commandment to “pray always.”
Latter-day Saints are instructed to pray “with a sincere heart,
with real intent.” Formal prayers are directed to God the Father
in the name of Jesus Christ and always contain expressions of
gratitude. Latter-day Saints are counseled to pray at least
morning and night and before meals and to have a prayer in their
hearts at all times. Families pray together. All Church meetings
and events begin and end with prayers.
See chapter15 in The Biblical Roots of
Mormonism for a more comprehensive explanation, scriptural
references and commentary on Prayer
See the following Sword SeriesTM papers for summaries: