Daily Answers: On the Right Side of the Prophet

I was discussing with my young adult son some of the current issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation. He said he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history. In the history of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there was a time when black men of African descent were not ordained to the priesthood. In light of current racial equity awareness, it might seem that our church was on the wrong side of history. We need to be careful about presentism, judging the past with our current perceptions, and remember that the culture of racism has changed, not just by our church, but within many social constructs. For a greater understanding of Race and the Priesthood, read the essay published by the church.

We might ask, if the church was founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the teachings of Jesus Christ are true, aren’t they true at all times in history? When Jesus Christ lived on the earth, he taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). This is the highest law we can live. In ancient Israel the people were not ready to live the higher law so they were given the law of Moses by revelation to the prophet Moses through the god of the Old Testament who is Jesus Christ.

This week I read the account of the prophet Nephi in 3 Nephi from The Book of Mormon. This was shortly before Christ was born, and the people who believed in the prophesied signs of Christ’s birth were going to be put to death by the unbelievers if the signs didn’t happen by a designated day. Nephi sorrowed for the wickedness and was worried about the believers. “And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people” (3 Nephi 1:11). We have a prophet in our day, Russell M. Nelson. As I read about Nephi, I imagined President Nelson bowed down crying to God on our behalf. I know that President Nelson speaks to God, and I want to be a believer, one who looks to Christ and follows the prophet. I choose to be on the right side of the prophet.