Every General Conference, Latter-day Saints gather to listen to and sustain General Authorities. Sustaining those called means that we stand behind them, pray for them, accept assignments and callings from them, hearken to their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them.
Part of harkening to our prophet’s voice also means accepting his invitations to change habits and beliefs. When a prophet gives an invitation, it is generally accompanied by a promised blessing. Latter-day Saints believe that a prophet can receive revelation for the church as a whole, so these invitations and correlating promises apply to all church members.
Trusting in prophetic invitations
In a recent BYU Devotional address, Elder Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy spoke of the importance of following invitations from God’s modern-day prophets.
He tells of his wife, Shelly, and her interaction with an apostle when she was fifteen:
“At a youth conference, she unexpectedly met an apostle. He did not know Shelley or her family, but he invited her to do something really surprising. He asked, “Will you kiss your father on the cheek every night and tell him that you love him for one full year?”
Shelley agreed, even though silently she thought, “This is going to be impossible!”
The apostle did not know that her father was a wonderful but very, very reserved man. Shelley had never seen her father kiss anyone, including her mother, and she had never heard her father say, “I love you,” to anyone. But, as impossible as it seemed, she decided to do what an apostle had invited her to do.
The first few nights as she kissed her father on the cheek and said, “I love you, Dad,” he did not react positively at all.
She persisted night after night, but her father would simply sit rigid, like a statue, while she kissed him on the cheek and said, “I love you, Dad.”
This continued for one entire year. By then it felt good expressing love to him, so she decided to continue. Eventually, one night she heard her father whisper, “I love you, too.” The next night, he kissed her on the cheek as well.
A few days later, her beloved father suddenly passed away from a heart attack.”
Recent prophetic invitations and their blessings
You don’t have to meet an apostle or prophet to receive or act on a prophetic invitation. In his same address, Elder Bennett outlines recent invitations and their corresponding promises to all Latter-day Saints from our current prophet, Russell M. Nelson:
1. Ask Heavenly Father how he feels about you and your mission here on earth
President Nelson promises: “…when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!
2. Learn all you can about Jesus Christ and follow Him
President Nelson promises, “If you proceed to learn all you can about Jesus Christ, I promise you that your love for Him, and for God’s laws, will grow beyond what you currently imagine. I promise you also that your ability to turn away from sin will increase. Your desire to keep the commandments will soar. You will find yourself better able to walk away from the entertainment and entanglements of those who mock the followers of Jesus Christ.”
3. Spend more time where the Spirit is present
President Nelson promises, “…as you consistently give the Lord a generous portion of your time, He will multiply the remainder.”
4. Learn how to hear and follow the whisperings of the Holy Ghost
President Nelson says, “I promise you—not the person sitting next to you, but you—that, wherever you are in the world, wherever you are on the covenant path—even if, at this moment, you are not centered on the path—I promise you that if you will sincerely and persistently do the spiritual work needed to develop the crucial, spiritual skill of learning how to hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, you will have all the direction you will ever need in your life. You will be given answers to your questions in the Lord’s own way and in His own time.9
5. Prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon every day
President Nelson says, “I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.”
6. Serve your ancestors and others in the temple
President Nelson says, “Our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater. I plead with you to take a prayerful look at how you spend your time. Invest time in your future and in that of your family. If you have reasonable access to a temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord—to be in His holy house—then keep that appointment with exactness and joy. I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His temples.”
Learn to trust the prophet
Elder Bennett closes by saying, “I promise you that you can trust the Lord’s apostles, love the, sustain each one as a prophet, seer and revelator. I promise you that great blessings will follow.”
So what are we waiting for? Put it to the test! Pick one of President Nelson’s promises, or a promise given by any apostle or prophet and see what blessings are in store for you.