"How Could You Have Forgotten Your God?"

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Ted L. Gibbons

Many years ago I wrote a story about my own experience with this principle. Here is a part of it.

SHE COULDN'T SIT STILL. The mention of a living prophet had aroused in her a great enthusiasm. As I continued the lesson, the woman was up again and again, her hands flying as she asked for clarification and elaboration. She wanted to know everything she could about David O. McKay and his calling. "He's a prophet," I repeated. "Like Jeremiah or Moses or Peter." The concept was powerful, and she wanted desperately to understand. "How does a man get to be a prophet?" she asked? I spoke then of years of preparation, and talked to her of obedience and faithfulness and study and prayer and service -- those qualities that enabled a man to fulfill such a calling.  "But the most important requirement is that he be called by God," I explained, "because he receives revelation from the Lord and delivers it to the people. He speaks to us the words and the will of God."

"How?"

"Pardon me?"

"How does he speak to you?" she asked. "I mean, how does he let you know what the Lord says and what he expects? When he has a message, how does he deliver it?"

This was a missionary's dream. In nineteen months of proselyting and teaching I had never seen anyone so excited about the restoration of the gospel and the idea of a living prophet. She seemed aflame with a need to know the present word of God.

"Every six months, the Church holds a General Conference," I said. "People attend from all over the world, and President McKay speaks, usually three or four times, during the three days of the conference."

I could see in her eyes a great desire to sit and listen to the living words of a living prophet.

"But, does everyone attend?" she asked. Then, thinking of herself, she added, "What about those who can't come to conference?"

I smiled. This woman was a joy to teach. "The Church publishes a magazine called the Improvement Era," I responded. "A month or two after conference, the entire proceedings of the conference are published in one of the issues. Everyone who wants to can get a copy and read the talks."

But there was more, and speaking of the magazine had reminded me. "That isn't all." I was nearly as excited as she was now.

"Every month President McKay writes the editorial in the Improvement Era. Every month we get a written message from the Prophet of God."

"That's wonderful!" she exclaimed, and I agreed. In my mind the faucets were running, the baptismal font already filling. She said she had one more question. I didn't mind. After nineteen months as a missionary, I could answer any question about living prophets that an investigator could ask. Any question, that is, except this one. As she spoke, I saw the plug being pulled, the water draining from the font.

Her eyes shining with delight and anticipation, she asked, "What did he say last month?" (From The Talking Cat, pp. 3,4, by Ted L. Gibbons)

I could not answer her question. I knew that President McKay had been writing the editorials for the Improvement Era during most of the years of my life. But I had never read a single one of them.

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