"Perfection does not come in this life, but we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keep our covenants. President Monson has promised, “Your testimony, when constantly nourished, will keep you safe.” We push our spiritual roots deep, feasting daily on the words of Christ in the scriptures. We trust in the words of living prophets, placed before us to show us the way. We pray and pray and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost that leads us along and speaks peace to our soul. Whatever challenges arise, we never, never leave Him."
Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.
"Christ and his angels and his prophets forever labor to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, and send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope. They wish all to know that 'if God be with us, who can be against us?' "
The meetings of the school of the prophets became the setting for many powerful spiritual experiences... Joseph reported on the first two months of schooling:
Great joy and satisfaction continually beamed in the countenances of the School of the Prophets and the saints, on account of the things revealed, and the progress in the knowledge of God. (History of the Church, Vol.1, Ch.24, p.333)
Several accounts of spiritual manifestations in the school are available. Zebedee Coltrin, is the author of the most dramatic. The following is from Coltrin's account:
About the time the school was first organized some wished to see an angel, and a number joined in a circle, and prayed when the vision came, two of the brethren shrank and called for the vision to close or they would perish, they were Bros. Hancock and Humphries.
At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, on the 23rd January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from East to west, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and suppose the others did, and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother. Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; He was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He (Bro. C[oltrin]) experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him. This appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in His presence, and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones. The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren now you are prepared to be Apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son. (Zebedee Coltrin Journal, 23 January 1833, Church Archives)
John Murdock, who attended the school and boarded with Joseph reported a vision of the Savior.
During the winter that I boarded with Bro. Joseph, as just mentioned, we had a number of prayer meetings, in the prophet's chamber, in which we obtained great blessings. In one of these meetings the prophet told us if we could humble ourselves before God, and exercise strong faith, we should see the face of the Lord. And about midday the visions of my mind were opened, and the eyes of my understanding were enlightened, and I saw the form of a man, most lovely, the visage of his face was sound and fair as the sun. His hair a bright silver grey, curled in most majestic form, His eyes a keen penetrating blue, and the skin of his neck a most beautiful white and he was covered from the neck to the feet with a loose garment, pure white, whiter than any garment I have ever before seen. His countenance was most penetrating, and yet most lovely. And while I was endeavoring to comprehend the whole personage from head to feet it slipped from me, and the vision was closed up. But it left on my mind the impression of love, for months, that I never felt before to that degree.(John Murdock Journal, typescript, BYU-A, p.13)
We do “thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days,” because many of those days will be windblown and tempest-tossed. We give thanks for that morning in the spring of 1820 when the Father and the Son appeared in glory to a 14-year-old boy. We give thanks for that morning when Peter, James, and John came to restore the keys of the holy priesthood and all the offices in it. And in our generation we give thanks for the morning of September 30, 1961, 43 years ago this weekend, when (then) Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was called to the apostleship, the 75th man in this dispensation to be so named. And so it goes down to a day such as this, and so it will go continually until the Savior comes.
In a world of unrest and fear, political turmoil and moral drift, I testify that Jesus is the Christ—that He is the living Bread and living Water—still, yet, and always the great Shield of safety in our lives, the mighty Stone of Israel, the Anchor of this His living Church. I testify of His prophets, seers, and revelators, who constitute the ongoing foundation of that Church and bear witness that such offices and such oracles are at work now, under the guidance of the Savior of us all, in and for our very needful day. Of these truths and of the divinity of this work I bear witness. Of them I am a witness, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
... The desire to receive wise correction is a hallmark of a learner and of a community of learners. That is why you can appreciate getting back one of your papers when it is covered with jottings in red ink. The wise learner cares more for the jottings than for the grade at the top of the page. In the same way the wise student of a new language seeks not the tutor who praises whatever they say but one who won't let a mispronounced word or an error in conjugating a verb pass uncorrected.
That desire for correction, a mark of great learners, comes naturally to a Latter-day Saint who knows and values what it means to be a child of God. For him or her it begins with seeking frequent correction directly from our Heavenly Father. One of the most valuable forms of personal revelation can come before private prayer. It can come in the quiet contemplation of how we might have offended, disappointed, or displeased our Heavenly Father. The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost will help us feel rebuke and at the same time the encouragement to repent. Then prayers asking for forgiveness become less general and the chance to have the Atonement work in our life becomes greater.
We have another advantage as Latter-day Saints. We know that a loving Father has allowed us to live in a time when Jesus Christ has called prophets and others to serve as judges in Israel. Because of that we listen to a prophet's voice or sit in counsel with a bishop with the hope that we will hear correction.
It is well that our people understand this principle, so they will not be misled by those apostates within the Church who have not yet repented or been cut off. But there is a cleansing coming. The Lord says that his vengeance shall be poured out "upon the inhabitants of the earth.... And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me...." (D&C 112:24-26.) I look forward to that cleansing; its need within the Church is becoming increasingly apparent.
“When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, ‘Brother Brigham I want you to go to the podium and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.’ Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,’ said he, ‘when compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.’ That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation; ‘Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.’