Gospel Principles 9: Prophets of God

This lesson provides a wonderful opportunity to have an open and enlightening conversation about prophets. This is one of the most basic principles of the gospel, one that gets taught from the earliest days in Primary. That being said, the topic of prophets has a rich historical and theological background and can provide for a fascinating lesson. Instead of giving a lecture about who prophets are and what they do, I would open each topic for discussion by class participants. Prayerfully consider the questions provided in the lesson manual, where they can be expanded and how they might enrich the knowledge of the sisters you teach.

Prophets Are God’s Representatives on Earth

To open the lesson I would lead a discussion of what a prophet is, why prophets are necessary and what they can provide the world. A variety of answers is likely but all will probably stay close to how the lesson manual answers those same questions :

“A prophet is called by God to be God’s representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking (see D&C 1:38). A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. A prophet calls the unrighteous to repentance. A prophet receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. A prophet may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned.

A prophet may come from various stations in life. They may be young or old, highly educated or unschooled…What, then, identifies a true prophet? A true prophet is always chosen by God.”

I love this point, the only requirement to be a prophet is to be chosen of God. Often it is the most unlikely of candidates that is chosen to fulfill God’s divine purposes. For example, Enoch was hated by the people he was called to serve because he was slow of speech. Moses also described himself as slow of tongue. And of course, at times God has called women to share God’s message and lead the people. Miriam, Deborah, Huldah and Anna have the distinct privilege of being called “prophetess”  and each fulfilled an important mission. (If you’re interested in exploring the women prophets of the Bible, this is a fascinating paper to read.)

Through the Ages God Has Called Prophets to Lead Mankind

As the lesson manual makes clear in the previous section, prophets can look very different but all are called of God. Perhaps you can ask class members to share the stories of some of their favorite prophets.

“How have these prophets guided God’s children?”

“What have you learned from the lives and teachings of prophets?”

We Have a Living Prophet on the Earth Today

This is another section that is perfect for open discussion:

“Why do we need a living prophet today?”

Sheri Dew talks about the benefit of having prophets during our mortal existence:

Indeed, this life is a test. It is a test of many things—of our convictions and priorities, our faith and our faithfulness, our patience and our resilience, and in the end, our ultimate desires. Yet there are times when the vision and hope of a Big Finish are dimmed by immediate demands, days when one might wish for a mortal exam that was a little more manageable.
Thankfully, our experience here is an open-book test. We know why we’re here, and we have from prophets ancient and modern an extensive set of instructions.
The lesson provides another interesting discussion question that you may want to ask:
“In what way has the living prophet influenced the church?”

We Should Sustain the Lord’s Prophet

As this lesson is for Relief Society sisters you might want to read this quote by President James E. Faust:

The rise of the Church from Palmyra to Kirtland, from Kirtland to Nauvoo, from Nauvoo to the West, and in over 150 countries all over the world has come about because the body of the Church, wherever it was, has been loyal to the Brethren. Millions of men and women have followed the prophets of God. I wish to pay special tribute to all of the faithful women since the time of the Restoration who have listened to the prophetic voice of the Church. Their supernal womanly gifts and talents have blessed the work of God in a most important and indispensable way.

How can we, as women, sustain the prophet? How can this contribute to the work of God in “important and indispensable ways”?

Great Blessings Follow Obedience to the Prophet

D&C 21 tells us that if we receive the words of the prophets and follow them that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”

Ask the sisters how obeying the prophet has blessed their lives?

I echo the idea of Chieko Okazaki that the close-knit community, bonded together by love and the shared desire to follow the principles of the gospel is one of the biggest blessings of following the prophet:

All over the world, as brothers and sisters in the gospel, we can learn from each other, grow closer together, and increase in love for each other. Our unity grows from what we have in common all around the world. They are the doctrines and ordinances of the gospel, our faith in the Savior, our testimonies of the scriptures, our gratitude for guidance from living prophets, and our sense of ourselves as a people striving to be Saints. These are the principles of the gospel.

As you close this lesson, consider sharing your own experience with sustaining and following the prophet. As the spirit prompts, share your testimony of the living prophet.

Note: This lesson was originally written for the Relief Society audience in 2010-2011, when the Gospel Principles manual was temporarily used as curriculum for Relief Society, Elders Quorum and High Priest classes. The lesson may require adaptation for Gospel Principles classes, which are mixed gender and primarily serve new members and investigators of the church.


Mraynes lives in downtown Denver with her husband and four children. She spends her time lobbying at the Colorado Legislature, managing all the things and preparing Gospel Doctrine lessons.

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23 Responses

  1. beth says:

    Thank you very much for this lesson outline. I love it!

  2. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for the outline. Is anyone else giving this lesson on Mother’s Day? I was looking for ties: Prophets teach the children of God as mothers teach their own children…etc.

    Any thoughts on this?

  3. Karen says:

    I too would like to thank you for the outline. I am going to incorporate it with what I have.

    I also will be giving the lesson on Mothers Day and would like to tie the lesson in with mothers; does anyone have more suggestions.

  4. Lisa says:

    Great outline… I too would like to focus on the prophets and mothers being it is Mother’s day I will be teaching.

  5. Jessica says:

    I am considering sharing the story of Hannah and Samuel the prophet from the OT to tie prophets and mothers into the lesson.

  6. Hollym says:

    I am thinking of doing something different. I wanted to play jeopardy with the sisters with Prophet trivia. I just thought it might be a nice change. Does anyone else think this is a good idea?

    • Shannon says:

      I am teaching this lesson this upcoming Sunday and was interested in your idea. Did you do jepordy? How did it turn out? If so, could you help with what type of questions you used. thanks

  7. Tammy says:

    I am preparing for lesson 10 on the Scriptures, looking for ideas. I appreciate all the wonderful lessons, the help alot.

  8. mb says:


    I would much prefer to learn and discuss prophecy and what a prophet is in God’s eyes and gain insights into the blessings therefrom than learn trivia about certain people who were called to that role. Personally, I dislike Jeopardy games in RS meetings. Edification and spiritual insight is what my soul hungers for on Sunday.

    Just my two cents.

  9. mb says:

    And I don’t think anyone needs to tie the lesson into Mothers Day. It is a painful day to some women and it is not a commandment of God that we observe it. Just the straight stuff from the scriptures can be a balm to the soul of each one of us.

  10. Heidi says:

    From the November Ensign 2009, Elder Callister’s talk Joseph Smith-Prophet of the Restoration is an enlightening addition to the lesson. It reminded me of why Joseph Smith and modern day prophets are needed in these latter days; in which many truths were restored and clarified.

    I am also going to review the conference talks given by President Monson and what he has admonished us to do.

  11. CH says:

    Love the outlines given on this site. I really appreciate all the time and effort that is put into each outline, so thank you for posting them.
    If you decide to tie this lesson in with Mothers for Mother’s day you may want to be mindful that just because you may have the great blessing of being a mother not everyone is as fortunate. I am one who has struggled with infertitliy for many years. Church on Mother’s Day was hard to handle. By the end of the 3 hours I was usually in tears. Just my 2 cents.

  12. Jessica says:

    I agree that there is no need to tie in Mother’s Day with this lesson. I also taught this day a year ago on Trials and Tribulations in the JS manual. I didn’t say a word about M day. However, fitting the lesson theme, my husband was at the dr. with our two very sick boys while I went to church and taught RS. I still didn’t feel it would be appropriate to even mention a simple/funny one-liner about my little tribulation, although it could have been perceived humorous by some, because I know and understand that there are special sensitivities to be considered on Mother’s Day.

    Regardless, the YW will be in RS this Sunday and are singing a special musical number, “Love is Spoken Here” prior to my lesson.

    My only thought to segue into the lesson is to visit Hannah and Samuel in the OT. I would do it in a way that shows Hannah seeking to do the Lord’s will, not expecting her prayer to be answered her way. I want to illuminate her faith, mention Samuel, and then contrast that with the faith we can have as we strive to follow the prophets (both ancient and modern). There is a plan for each of us and it is up to us to use the resources available to us (Holy Ghost, prayer, prophet, scriptures – the GP lessons building up 7-10) to come unto Him. As we do this, we will be able to see ourselves a little more how He sees us. We will come to love ourselves more because of His love for us and our love for Him.

  13. MT says:

    Here is a link for what I think is a great attention getter. It brings home the benefits of following our Prophet


  14. JILL says:

    I have always loved Hugh B. Brown’s devotional address at BYU “Profile of a Prophet”. To introduce my lesson, I have asked two sisters to re-enact Elder Brown’s discussion with his friend as a readers theater. Then we will lead into a discussion of the profile of a prophet.

  15. Wende says:

    I did a Jeopardy game once last year and I was surprised at the positive feedback I received (especially from the older sisters in the ward). It was fun for them and a change of pace from the “I talk-you listen” format. HollyM, I say go for it! There are a million different ways to teach Gospel principles! Maybe using the attention getter exercise from MT is all you would need to incorporate Mother’s day. We are all thinking about gifts for our Mothers or receiving gifts from our children….. Just a thought.

  16. Hollym says:

    Thanks Wende and mb. I will take both of your comments in mind to what I first posted. I appreciate your replies. I agree also that mother’s day does not need to be specifically mentioned if not through some indirect examples. My 2 cents too. Glad so many people share thoughts and ideas on this website. Love what exponent does and all the sisters who take time to outline the lesson. I look for it each time I teach and find many ideas from you all. Thanks!

  17. Nicole says:

    Love the comments and outline I always find something to add to my lesson. I’ll add my two cents too. First I think a Jeopardy game would be fun as long as the questions are easy! Second I think tying in mothers to the lesson is totally appropriate. Not all of us are mothers but we all have a mother. Even if our earthly mother was not ideal (she couldn’t have been too bad if we were able to open our hearts to the gosple!) we all have a loving heavenly mother. I think mentioning how the prophet’s must have had good mothers would be a great way to incorporate mother’s day into the lesson.

  18. Emilie says:

    Thank you for the thoughts on this lesson, and all lessons. I have been coming to the site for over a year now to help me brainstorm for my lesson.
    I really love the quote by Sherri Dew and if possible I want to get the reference for it.

  19. Joanne Vorkink says:

    Thanks for the great quotes and outline suggestions–very helpful.

    NICHOLE–excellent comment! I’m waiting for the used book I ordered, “Mothers of Prophets” to arrive, hopefully today. I think prophets’ mothers, as forementioned with Hannah, could appropriately be highlighted.

  20. Jessica says:

    The Sherri Dew quote is paraphrased from a women’s conference address in 1998. http://ce.byu.edu/cw/womensconference/archive/1998/dew_sheri.htm

  21. alli says:

    these are great ideas! thanks for sharing! i have to put two lessons together, the prophets and scriptures…does anyone have any ideas to tie them together nicely?

  22. Leigh says:

    Thank you so much for your help and insights

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