Follow the Living Prophet

Book Notice

Follow the Living Prophet by Brent L. Top, Larry E. Dahl, and Walter D. Bowen (Bookcraft, 1993)

Whether for those who willingly listen or for those who are confused by some alternative voices, this timely and significant book builds a careful case for obedience to the living prophets. Based upon thorough research in Church government and doctrine, Follow the Living Prophet deals with such topics as the responsibilities of the presiding quorums in administering and governing the Church, succession in the Presidency, general conference, living oracles and the standard works, and the principles of counsel and common consent. Other chapters trace patterns of revelation and apostasy and emphasize the crucial need for a listening ear.

Without being ponderous, the book handles weighty matters in clear and inviting language that serves to frame, order, and situate abundant quotations from scripture and from Church leaders. Indeed, the authors intend that their own voices should recede so that those of the Brethren assume the foreground: “It is more important to us that the reader know what they teach and feel than what we think about the matter” (ix).

This book weaves together a remarkable collection of statements from the prophets, seers, and revelators of the restored Church. The consistency and unanimity of these statements is compelling. I found myself drawn especially to the discussion of unanimity. Several pages (61–63) explicate the settled and vital principle that all decisions of the presiding quorums “must be by the unanimous voice of the same” (D&C 107:27).

Using as its point of departure the story of Arabella Smith’s courage and commitment during the Hole-in-the-Rock saga, the final chapter, “Our Future Safety,” is a forceful coda. The book’s central theme is also reinforced by six landmark addresses provided in the appendixes. These addresses—by Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, J. Reuben Clark, Marion G. Romney, Boyd K. Packer, and Gordon B. Hinckley—comprise one-fifth of the volume.

Follow the Living Prophets is a valuable source book for all members of the Church. It is a handbook for survival through obedience to those whom the Lord has chosen and set in place.



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