10 July 2021

When the prophet speaks, the dabate is over

I am a scientist. I have heard several people say the very same thing recently. They have said it in order to convince you and me that we can believe what they are saying about very serious things, the most notable at present being COVID-19 and our approach to it as people, governments, families and communities.

You know, I never thought about the fact that I am a scientist until I heard a colleague say to someone on the phone 'Ek is 'n wetenskaplike by Kirstenbosch'. That was in 1985. Both he and I were working on our Master of Science degrees. That meant that each of us had a Bachelor of science degree - that we were scientists. That was not the destination of our journey, but we were on the journey. I still am on the journey. I am now retired after working in scientific research at Kirstenbosch for more than a third of a century. 

I am a scientist. I love being able to say that, but, as such, one of the most important things that I know is how much I do not know about the great and grand scope of science!  There is so very much to know in science, medicine, chemistry, physics, ecology, genetics, biochemistry, botany, zoology, microbiology, evolution, statistics, data analysis, simulations, engineering, astronomy, geography, population studies, and so many other disciplines in science, that I do not pretend to be an expert in very much. But this admission does not negate my statement that I am a scientist.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I hope that you can also say this of yourself. I have come to know Him through many small and great experiences and observations over my years of studying His words and His ways. Far more important than how much I know is how much my being a disciple of Jesus Christ has changed me on the inside, my desires, my motives, my devotion, my testimony, and so much more. Far more important than knowing about or believing in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, I have come to know God. And so can you as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I know that He is at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that He has a living prophet in 2021. I cannot emphasise adequately how happy I am to know that the Lord made sure that Russell M Nelson was called in 1984, and was the senior apostle when Thomas S Monson passed away, just months before we would be blessed to be guided by this world renowned heart surgeon. It is not by accident that this 94 year old had not died due to old age, some accident, not even a snow skiing accident! He was and is the Lord's anointed at this time in the history of the world. I thank thee, O god, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days.

I recently wrote an article in my blog about the many kinds of voices that sound around us. I am amazed at how many voices there are telling us so many confusing and conflicting things about racism, politics, theology, crime, corruption, secret combinations, signs of the times, economics, COVID, vaccines, lockdown, and so many disciplines. How can you and I ever hope to navigate these troubled and troubling waters in this world of strong debate? How can the street sweeper, the domestic servant, the goat herd, the carpenter, the architect, the medical doctor, the lawyer, the politician, the scientist, know what is truth? How can we possibly know everything that we need in order to successfully reach our eternal destination that Heavenly Father wants us to reach? 

Being familiar with the Word of God to all of His children as contained in the holy scriptures is really important. Being familiar with His word to us individually in our patriarchal blessings is important. But as important as it might be knowing about Him and having information about Him, it is far better to know Him, His grace and mercy, and to strive to become like Him. 

My personal experience is that He does speak to me as I prayerfully and humbly study His word. I am confident that He is not likely to come and deliver some personal message to me about the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel to Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist or Joseph Smith if I neglect to read about their testimonies in the scriptures that are available to me. The same applies to any question that I may have if I neglect to study what He 'has already revealed', before expecting that 'He will yet reveal many great and important things' to me that I have neglected to read about in what He has already revealed to prophets and apostles in the past. 

I have thought a lot about the statement that I heard years ago. In 1978, Elaine Cannon said "When the prophet speaks, sisters, the debate is over." (Elaine Cannon, “If We Want to Go Up, We Have to Get On,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 108). 

I know that Heavenly Father loves me enough, and He loves that goatherd on the hills of Transkei, Israel or Chile, or the carpenter in Nazareth, Canada or Australia that He will not expect each of us to figure out which of the conflicting voices to follow when He has called and anointed a living prophet to lead us in 2021. Let us examine the fruits of the prophet of our day and follow his example and give our devoted effort to knowing the truths that He has revealed rather than spending countless hours studying the many conflicting voices that contradict what His prophet says and does. The prophet has spoken, so I have full faith that the debate is over.

We are all equal in the sight of God. Yes, you and I are unique, we are individuals, we are not all the same. There may be one or two things in which our needs are different to the 'average population' in a statistical trial. But I would be very surprised if I am the exception in a lot of things that make my path to Heavenly blessings the 'exception to the rule'. I may need to use a different herb to you to heal myself, or I may need a different food that does not have an allergen, but if I follow the Lord's standards then I am confident that I can safely cross the Red Sea that He has parted despite the voices that say, truthfully, that it is not safe to walk across the bottom of the Red Sea as this deluded man thinks just because he managed to survive being in a basket in the Nile. Many might also have said that Moses was irrational when saying that they simply needed to look upon a brazen serpent if bitten by the deadly serpents in the wilderness in order to be healed. What about those who were sure that the manna in the wilderness had not been tested by sufficient double blind trials and been proven safe for human consumption? 

Following the prophet does not necessarily mean that what the politician, doctor, scientist or lawyer is saying is wrong, false, or misleading. It is simply saying that it is less important to our eternal destiny the following the Lord's prophet.  

The Lord has said through His anointed prophet that social distancing, masks, sanitizing, avoiding gatherings are good for us now, and I follow the example of the prophet. I shared with my family after viewing yet another person speaking against the way that their government is handling the COVID pandemic.

I find it interesting that an apparently prominent 'scientist', medical doctor and attorney, says that COVID is just a flu. She remarks that there is much less flu being reported since COVID hit.

I am a scientist. One of the greatest things that I know as a scientist is how little I know!

I look at the flu and consider how much less flu I have had since retiring more than two years ago. Less exposure, less flu. So - does less flu because COVID is here mean that COVID is just flu? Are the flu and COVID mutually exclusive? Or - has the lockdown reduced the transmission of flu because of social distancing, masks, isolation, sanitizing and avoiding gatherings? I suggest that the reduction of flu might give an indication of how much more COVID there might have been without the lockdown. If flu is half with lockdown, then it might follow that COVID might have been about double without the lockdown.

Just some random ramblings from this old bloke 😉

I am grateful for the restored Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days, for the restored priesthood, for the restored prophetic leadership in these days, and for the restored fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a scientist and I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. I do not know everything, but I know enough about God, and I have come to know God. I pray that each of you will hear Him and know Him, and know that He lives and loves you enough to lead you through His anointed prophet in 2021.