Question Marks


Excerpt from a March 2018 General Conference address by apostle Neil L. Andersen: 1

While my wife Cathy has known President Nelson for three decades and has no question about his divine mantle, upon his setting apart she began reading all his general conference talks of the past 34 years, praying for an even deeper assurance of his prophetic role.

I promise you that this greater witness will come to you as you humbly and worthily seek it. Why are we so willing to follow the voice of the prophet? For those diligently seeking eternal life, the prophets voice brings spiritual safety in very turbulent times.

We live on a planet clamoring with a million voices. The internet, our smart phones, our bloated boxes of entertainment all plead for our attention and thrust their influence upon us. Hoping we will buy their products and adopt their standards. The seemingly endless array of information and opinion remind us of the scriptural warnings of being tossed to and fro, driven by the wind, and overcome by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive. Anchoring our souls to the Lord Jesus Christ requires listening to those he sends. Following the prophet in a world of commotion is like being wrapped in a soothing warm blanket on a freezing cold day.

We live in a world of reason, debate, argument, logic and explanation. Questioning ‘why’ is so positive in many aspects of our lives, allowing the power of our intellect to guide a multitude of choices and decisions we face each day. But the Lords voice often comes without explanation. Long before academic study of the impact of infidelity among trusting spouses and children, the Lord declared, though shalt not commit adultery. Beyond the intellect alone, we treasure the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The prophets voice, while spoken kindly, will often be a voice asking us to change and repent and return to the lord. When correction is needed, lets not delay and don’t be alarmed when the prophets warning voice counters popular opinions of the day. The mocking fireballs of annoyed disbelievers are always hurled the moment the prophet begins to speak.

As you are humble in following the council of the Lords prophet I promise you an added blessing of safety and peace. And don’t be surprised if at times your personal views are not initially in harmony with the teachings of the Lords prophet. These are moments of learning of humility when we go to our knees in prayer. We walk forward in faith trusting in God. Knowing that with time we will receive more spiritual clarity from our Heavenly Father.

One prophet described the incomparable gift of the Savior as the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father. The surrender of our will to God’s will is in fact not surrender at all but the beginning of a glorious victory.

Some will try and overly dissect the prophets words, struggling to determine what is his prophetic voice and what is his personal opinion. In 1982, two years before being called as a general authority, brother Russell M. Nelson said “I never ask myself when does the prophet speak as a prophet and when does he not. My interest has been, how can I be more like him.” And he added, “my philosophy is to stop putting question marks behind the prophets statements and put exclamation points instead.”


1 Neil L. Andersen, General Conference, March 2018 –