I was just wondering why there isn’t a modern prophet like Samuel the Lamanite that gives us specific signs to watch for and timelines? Thanks.
This seems to be a question that quite a few people have in the Church, today, but hear me out: I think this is a symptom of “looking beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14). The fact is we have 15 Prophets, Seers, and Revelators on the earth today. There are members of the Church who look at the account of Samuel the Lamanite, in Hellman chapters 13-15) and his preaching to the Nephites and see someone coming from outside the organization of the Church at the time, but I want you to look at what converted Nephites did in Hellman 16:1 – “…as many as believed on his word went forth and sought for Nephi; and when they had come forth and found him they confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring that they might be baptized unto the Lord.” The fact that converted Nephites went to God’s appointed and ordained leader of the Church tells me they knew where the priesthood authority lay.
Further, no matter how prophets were or were not sent in previous dispensations, the Lord has given us the pattern for how prophets are sent today. Take a look at Doctrine and Covenants 42:11 and 43:2-7
Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.
For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.
And this ye shall know assuredly—that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.
But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.
And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;
And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.
For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.
Today, those who try to enter in any other way than the gate (and there are those who, knowing they cannot get past this requirement, try to discredit or to destroy the gate) the pattern the Lord has given us for this dispensation can be counted as false prophets and impostors. Joseph F. Smith said,
It is not my business nor that of any other individual to rise up as a revelator, as a prophet, as a seer, as an inspired man, to give revelation for the guidance of the Church, or to assume to dictate to the presiding authorities of the Church…. We can accept nothing as authoritative but that which comes directly through the appointed channel, the constituted organizations of the Priesthood, which is the channel that God has appointed through which to make known His mind and will to the world….
“… the moment that individuals look to any other source, that moment they throw themselves open to the seductive influences of Satan, and render themselves liable to become servants of the devil; they lose sight of the true order through which the blessings of the Priesthood are to be enjoyed; they step outside of the pale of the kingdom of God, and are on dangerous ground. Whenever you see a man rise up claiming to have received direct revelation from the Lord to the Church, independent of the order and channel of the Priesthood, you may set him down as an impostor. (In Journal of Discourses, 24:188–90.)
Our modern-day prophet and apostles are the ones the Lord has designated to lead us. While they are only men, they are men who have been called and ordained by God, through the channels He established, to lead the Church and His people. They ar ethe watchmen in the tower, as are our local leaders.
As far as signs to watch for and timelines go, we have something the Nephites and Lamanites didn’t have: the scriptures pertaining to the specific times. While the Nephites had scripture that warned them to repent, and that they should expect the Savior to come among them, they needed some signs to look for. We, on the other hand have so much scripture pertaining to our times and the Second Coming of our Savior, that until we have delved into these sacred writings, we have no right to expect more. Harold B. Lee gave us some great resources to start.
There are among us many loose writings predicting the calamities which are about to overtake us. Some of these have been publicized as though they were necessary to wake up the world to the horrors about to overtake us. Many of these are from sources upon which there cannot be unquestioned reliance.
Are you priesthood bearers aware of the fact that we need no such publications to be forewarned, if we were only conversant with what the scriptures have already spoken to us in plainness?
Let me give you the sure word of prophecy on which you should rely for your guide instead of these strange sources which may have great political implications.
Read the 24th chapter of Matthew—particularly that inspired version as contained in the Pearl of Great Price. (JS—M 1.)
Then read the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord, not man, has documented the signs of the times. [D&C 45]
Now turn to section 101 and section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants and hear the step-by-step recounting of events leading up to the coming of the Savior. [D&C 101; D&C 133]
Finally, turn to the promises the Lord makes to those who keep the commandments when these judgments descend upon the wicked, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 38. [D&C 38]
Brethren, these are some of the writings with which you should concern yourselves, rather than commentaries that may come from those whose information may not be the most reliable and whose motives may be subject to question. And may I say, parenthetically, most of such writers are not handicapped by having any authentic information on their writings.
I strongly recommend reading the entire talk
I want to caution you to stick to the revealed word of God and to not go looking for the sensational or new and exciting theories out there. Seek, as President Nelson and others among the First Presidency and the Twelve have admonished, the gift of discernment and the guidance of the Holy Ghost in your study.