Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—believe in following their prophet. President Thomas S. Monson, the prophet on the earth today, is the mouthpiece of the Lord. And when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ—make a solemn declaration to the world, this is a powerful directive from God. The Family: A Proclamation to the World is one of those messages. It leaves no room for interpretation or question on the position of the Church and its leaders regarding the family and marriage. While the philosophies of the world are fickle and subject to change at a moment’s notice, the Lord and His prophets have remained steadfast and immovable throughout the ages. Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy (Seventies, as in biblical times, are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church), said:
Surely one of the crowning blessings of membership in this Church is the blessing of being led by living prophets of God. The Lord declared, “There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:7). The prophet and President of the Church today, Thomas S. Monson, receives God’s word for the entire membership of the Church and for the world. In addition, we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators the counselors in the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. …
This world is full of so many self-help books, so many self-proclaimed experts, so many theorists, educators, and philosophers who have advice and counsel to give on any and all subjects. With technology today, information on a myriad of subjects is available with the click of a keystroke. It is easy to get caught in the trap of looking to the “arm of flesh” for advice on everything from how to raise children to how to find happiness. While some information has merit, as members of the Church we have access to the source of pure truth, even God Himself. We would do well to search out answers to our problems and questions by investigating what the Lord has revealed through His prophets. 
Prophets Are The Lord’s Early Warning System
Prophets are the early warning system of the Lord. Just as scientists look for early signs of earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters to warn others of impending danger, prophets and apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ seek guidance and inspiration from the Lord to warn people of impending spiritual and temporal storms that are heading our way. The late Elder Neal A. Maxwell, then an Apostle of the Jesus Christ, said:
… Prophets are alerted to tiny trends that bode ill for mankind. Prophets therefore are the Lord’s early warning system: they both detect and decry at His direction. What may seem to be a premature expression of prophetic concern is actually the early discovery of a difficulty that will later plague the people… prophets are, literally and figuratively, set apart from society so that they can better gauge impending problems, helping those who will either cease and desist from that which is wrong or prepare for that which is about to be (Things as They Really Are, 1980, P. 77-7).
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is one powerful example of the Lord’s early warning system. Twenty years ago, when the proclamation was presented, few people took the threat of same-sex marriage seriously. But the Lord and His prophets and apostles knew what was to come, and set up defenses to protect the sanctity and stability of traditional marriage. Traditional marriage wasn’t even a concept—it was simply marriage. And marriage was between a man and a woman. Two decades later, opponents of same-sex marriage are fighting to protect the family—and the prophet and apostles told us why it was essential in The Family Proclamation. The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ have been urging members to study the teachings in this proclamation. Those who heeded the counsel have the tools to defend the importance of traditional marriage. The arguments proponents make for same-sex marriage are very sly and persuasive. “Why would you deny something as wonderful as marriage to anyone? How fair is that?” “We love each other and want to make it official.” But the Family Proclamation is clear, and those who choose to ignore the warnings of the prophets and apostles do so at their own spiritual peril.
We are in danger if we feel that our situation is the exception to following the counsel of the prophets, even “just this once.” My husband and I learned this painful lesson. For years, the Lord’s prophets and leaders have counseled people to avoid excessive debt, to not borrow more than absolutely necessary, and to not take equity out of your house—especially for investments. We thought that “just this once” we could not heed the warning of the prophet, because of what we were trying to accomplish. The real estate markets were booming, especially in the resort town where we lived. But it was a financially disastrous decision. We were caught off guard and swept up in the financial storms that the prophets had warned were coming. We came away with a greater appreciation for the counsel and warnings of the Lord’s anointed servants, and vowed to always follow the prophet no matter what.
Follow the Prophet—He Knows the Way
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ follow their prophet because He is led by God. But this is not blind obedience. We don’t follow the counsel of the prophet because we are told to; we follow him because we know it is the safest path in our journey through life. And each person must gain his or her own testimony of this principle. President Monson said:
Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. … It may appear to you at times that those out in the world are having much more fun than you are. Some of you may feel restricted by the code of conduct to which we in the Church adhere. My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments. That Spirit cannot be present at the kinds of activities in which so much of the world participates….
We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God. The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our existence in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them, to learn from them, and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts. 
There is much confusion and chaos in the world. We live in a day and age in which the world calls that which is good evil and that which is evil good. How do we know which path is right? We know by following the prophet and apostles of the Lord, Jesus Christ. In The Church of Jesus Christ, children sing a song called “Follow the Prophet.” The last verse has always been one of my favorites:
Now we have a world where people are confused.
If you don’t believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets—follow what they say.
…Follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
…Follow the prophet he knows the way.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.