"The Prophet of God" by Elder Neil L. Andersen and "The Heart of a Prophet" by Elder Gary E. Stevenson Discussion Ideas

Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Neil L. Andersen both spoke about the importance of prophets. In "The Prophet of God" by Elder Andersen, he discusses why we follow the prophet, how to gain a personal witness of the prophet, and how he is our watchman on the tower. In "The Heart of a Prophet," Elder Stevenson explains the process of calling a new prophet as well as his testimony of our living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson today. 



  • How did you feel in the Solemn Assembly sustaining President Russell M. Nelson and leaders of the church? Do you remember other Solemn Assemblies?
  • What do you think is the most important role of the Lord's prophet?
  • Is there anything new you learned about President Nelson from Elder Andersen's talk?
  • How would you defend our prophet to someone who might claim we follow him with blind faith?
  • Why are you willing to listen to a prophet?
  • What is a prophet's greatest gift to us?
  • Why do you follow the prophet? 
  • How does our faith suffer if we do not study the words of the prophets?
  • How do we "anchor our souls to the Lord Jesus Christ"?
  • How have you seen the prophet in the role of a watchman?
  • What are some things that keep us from following the living prophet? What can we do to avoid such things?
  • How is your life different because you follow a living prophet?
  • What experiences have strengthened your testimony of a prophet?
  • How is the process by which a new prophet is called an act of love from our Heavenly Father?
  • What is the fundamental responsibility of a prophet?
  • What does it mean to you to sustain a prophet?
  • The Solemn Assembly was a very clear example that we sustain the prophet. Why then, can it be difficult to do so?
  • How is your life different because you follow a living prophet?
  • Can you remember other solemn assemblies and how did you feel?
  • Why do we sustain 15 men as prophets? Why is this important to the Lord's way of governance?

Discussion Thoughts

These two talks cover a very similar topic so I've combined them here to make it easier to find more ideas. 

From the Church for Elder Gary E. Stevenson "To help members 'comprehend the magnitude' of the calling of a new prophet, you could invite members to search Elder Stevenson’s message, looking for truths and insights that help them understand the significance and sacredness of this divine process. Consider inviting members to share what they felt during the solemn assembly in which President Nelson was sustained as President of the Church. You could also draw a heart on the board and ask members to write in it words or phrases that describe the heart and character of President Nelson. What has he taught that has blessed us?"

From the Church for Elder Neil L. Andersen, "Discussing Elder Andersen’s message could strengthen members’ faith in living prophets. You could invite them to search his message for something that helps them understand why God has prophets on the earth and why we follow them. How have we been blessed because we have a prophet? Members could share how they have gained a testimony that President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

These are my ideas. My hope is that reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class. Remember you are leading a discussion, not teaching a lesson so you may only need one of these ideas.

Elder Stevenson

  • Elder Stevenson talks about the first prophet he can remember, President David O. McKay. Who is the first prophet you can remember? What do you remember about what he taught?
  • Divide your discussion in four parts to discuss the process by which a new prophet is called. Elder Stevenson outlines the process in four parts: the passing of a prophet, the apostolic interregnum, calling of a new prophet, and a solemn assembly. You could divide your class into four groups with each group presenting one part of the process.
  • Discuss President Nelson's teaching style when he was teaching at a medical school and how this differed from other teachers at the time. 
  • Use some of President Nelson's previous talks to discuss how President Nelson teaches us about Jesus Christ.
  • President Nelson gave a wonderful talk in the October 2014 General Conference, "Sustaining the Prophets." It is a little long, but you could find a section you could show your class as you discuss the importance of how we sustain a new prophet. 
  • Do you follow the prophet? You can follow them throughout social media and be reminded of their teachings during the week (it's one of my favorite things). Here's the church's official list for accounts on Facebook or check out all their social media sites.
  • Discuss some of the latest teachings from President Nelson using quote cards and comments from your class. There is one sheet of blank quote card for you to add in your own. 

Elder Andersen

  • Elder Andersen's wife has known President Nelson for close to 30 years, and yet she prayed to gain a testimony of "President Nelson's great prophetic role." Ask your class if anyone has done this and what was their experience as they prayed to know about the calling of our prophet, bishop or other leaders.
  • There is a video on LDS.org called "Watchman on the Tower" you could use and discuss.
  • Elder Andersen used the example of "Thou shalt not commit adultery" as proof that the Lord gives us commandments and council many years before research proves it is a good idea. Discuss the commandments the Lord has revealed to us through His prophets- commandments that were years ahead of their time to protect us.
  • How does the prophet point the way to the Savior? Ask your class for examples of how President Nelson has pointed the way to the Savior thus far as well as how past prophets have done so. You can do this on the board with the word prophet pointing the way to the word Savior. Put ways he does so in the arrows pointing the way. 
  • Does your family study the words of the living prophets along with the scriptures? Have class members share how they study the words of the prophets as well as ways they apply them into their lives.
  • Show the gospel library art pictures of Noah building the ark and Samuel the Lamanite. How are people today choosing to mock and shoot at our prophet? How can we help sustain him? What can we say to others who may not understand?