As I read Deuteronomy 1 I find it interesting to ask myself whether I have sufficient faith in the living prophet. If he were to ask me, not to do the usual things we expect of the prophet today, but to do things prophets have asked in other times, would I murmer or simply follow the prophet? I ask this to make sure my heart is right, and that I am determined to follow the living prophet.
Moses received a revelation for the Israelites to go conquer the land of Canaan. In this dispensation, as well as in the dispensation described in the new testament, no commandment came from the Lord that was even close to that. In Moses’ day, the Israelites were afraid and disobeyed and would not go up to conquer the land.
Then the Lord gave a revelation to Moses that he was wroth and that, because of their disobedience, only Joshua and Caleb, who did not rebel, would enter the promised land.
And Israel decided they felt bad and weren’t afraid and would go conquer the land. But the word of the Lord came through Moses that they must not do so. And they rebelled again, and went to conquer the land and were driven away.
We have had fairly few surprises from the living prophet for many years. That is, it itself, no real surprise. We live in a day when many of our membership is sorely tempted to turn to the world, and we find our living prophet constantly pulling the membership back to safe ground in doctrine and practice. What more could we ask?
But it is still interesting to ask oneself, what would I do if we received a surprising command from the Lord through the prophet? What if, like ancient Israel, we were sent to conquer a land? What if the law of Moses was reinstated with its sacrifices?
My point in asking such questions isn’t that, as the next general conference approaches, I am expecting such things to be the topic. I expect it will continue to be pulling us back to safe ground. It is simply interesting to ask myself whether I have, to borrow Joseph Smith’s phrase, put up stakes for the almighty. It is interesting to ask whether I have said in my heart “Here thou shalt go and no further” to God and his living oracles so I can set my heart right if I find any hesitation.
I grew up in a generation that taught us to ask hypothetical questions: what if someone tried to get me to smoke, to drink, to do drugs? What if I was faced with pornography, etc…?
And I find it interesting to ask myself, and make sure I am settled in my heart, that I will do whatever the Lord reveals through the living prophet.