Heeding the Words of the Watchmen on the Tower

    Heeding the Words of the Watchmen on the Tower

    In Section 101 of the Doctrine & Covenants, there is a parable that the Lord declares as His “will concerning the redemption of Zion.” As we consider the 2015 Philippines Area Goal to “feast upon the words of Christ,” the imagery in the parable takes on added meaning, particularly in light of the need for us to prepare to receive the teachings and testimonies of prophets, seers, and revelators during the upcoming October 2015 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

    In the parable a nobleman directs his servants to plant twelve olive trees and build a tower. After completing the tower they were instructed to set a watchman on the tower, who symbolically represents the prophet, to “overlook the land round about . . . that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard” (D&C 101:45) 

    The servants neglected their responsibilities and questioned the importance of building the tower and setting a watchman on the tower. As foretold by the nobleman, “the enemy came by night, and . . . destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.”  The nobleman mourned the loss of his olive trees and told his servants that they should have done as he commanded them because “the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready . . . and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer” (D&C 101: 51, 54).

    According to the parable, the only way the vineyard could have been saved was if the servants had responded to the warnings of the watchman in the tower. Perhaps more than at any other time in the history of the world, we need prophets and we need to listen to them. That is why in addition to “feasting upon the words of Christ” as contained within the scriptures, we also need to “feast upon the words of Christ” as declared by His modern day prophets, seers, and revelators, our watchmen on the tower.  

    The Lord strongly endorsed the words of His prophets when he declared “whether by my voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same (D&C 1:38).   Too often we enjoy the added sight that results from prophetic counsel and then as blessings are poured out upon us, we begin to think we are wise and neglect that which we relied on previously to find our way. We may enjoy a modest success for a season, but the day will come when the adversary will take advantage of our self-imposed blindness and lead us “away into broad roads” where we “perish and are lost” (1 Nephi 12:17). 

    Unlike many people in the world, we do not need to chase after this or that to navigate through the troubled times in which we live. The doctrines we need to follow to survive spiritually and physically are found in the words of living prophets. President Spencer W. Kimball once observed that “in the Church many are prone to garnish the sepulchers of yesterday’s prophets and mentally stone the living ones.” Unlike certain beverages and antiques, prophetic utterances do not become more valuable with age.

    As the October 2015 General Conference approaches, let us ponder, fast, and pray to prepare our hearts and minds to “feast upon the words of Christ” as taught by His living prophets. We should listen to and then diligently study their words and with the help of the Holy Ghost determine the things we should change in our lives. If we do, we can then confidently claim the blessing promised by the Old Testament religious reformer Jehoshaphat when he testified, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. (2 Chronicles 20:20).

    In Section 101 of the Doctrine & Covenants, there is a parable that the Lord declares as His “will concerning the redemption of Zion.” As we consider the 2015 Philippines Area Goal to “feast upon the words of Christ,” the imagery in the parable takes on added meaning, particularly in light of the need for us to prepare to receive the teachings and testimonies of prophets, seers, and revelators during the upcoming October 2015 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

    In the parable a nobleman directs his servants to plant twelve olive trees and build a tower. After completing the tower they were instructed to set a watchman on the tower, who symbolically represents the prophet, to “overlook the land round about . . . that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard” (D&C 101:45) 

    The servants neglected their responsibilities and questioned the importance of building the tower and setting a watchman on the tower. As foretold by the nobleman, “the enemy came by night, and . . . destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.”  The nobleman mourned the loss of his olive trees and told his servants that they should have done as he commanded them because “the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready . . . and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer” (D&C 101: 51, 54).

    According to the parable, the only way the vineyard could have been saved was if the servants had responded to the warnings of the watchman in the tower. Perhaps more than at any other time in the history of the world, we need prophets and we need to listen to them. That is why in addition to “feasting upon the words of Christ” as contained within the scriptures, we also need to “feast upon the words of Christ” as declared by His modern day prophets, seers, and revelators, our watchmen on the tower.  

    The Lord strongly endorsed the words of His prophets when he declared “whether by my voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same (D&C 1:38).   Too often we enjoy the added sight that results from prophetic counsel and then as blessings are poured out upon us, we begin to think we are wise and neglect that which we relied on previously to find our way. We may enjoy a modest success for a season, but the day will come when the adversary will take advantage of our self-imposed blindness and lead us “away into broad roads” where we “perish and are lost” (1 Nephi 12:17). 

    Unlike many people in the world, we do not need to chase after this or that to navigate through the troubled times in which we live. The doctrines we need to follow to survive spiritually and physically are found in the words of living prophets. President Spencer W. Kimball once observed that “in the Church many are prone to garnish the sepulchers of yesterday’s prophets and mentally stone the living ones.” Unlike certain beverages and antiques, prophetic utterances do not become more valuable with age.

    As the October 2015 General Conference approaches, let us ponder, fast, and pray to prepare our hearts and minds to “feast upon the words of Christ” as taught by His living prophets. We should listen to and then diligently study their words and with the help of the Holy Ghost determine the things we should change in our lives. If we do, we can then confidently claim the blessing promised by the Old Testament religious reformer Jehoshaphat when he testified, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. (2 Chronicles 20:20).