The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon Church, has a rich history that spans nearly two centuries. Central to this history is the succession of prophets who have led the Church, guiding its members through times of triumph and challenge. In this article, we will explore the lives and significance of the prophets of the LDS church in order since the founding prophet, Joseph Smith.
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What Does A Prophet Do In The LDS Church?
A prophet is considered to be a person who is called by God to receive and convey divine revelations. The role of an LDS prophet is multifaceted and includes several key responsibilities:
- Receiving Revelation: Prophets are believed to receive guidance and direction from God through personal revelation. They are considered to be the mouthpiece of God on Earth and receive messages that are relevant to the needs and challenges of the Church and its members.
- Teaching and Testifying: Prophets are responsible for teaching the principles of the gospel, providing guidance on how to live a righteous life, and testifying of Jesus Christ. Their teachings are considered authoritative and are regarded as inspired by God.
- Leading the Church: Prophets serve as the highest-ranking leaders of the LDS Church. They preside over the entire Church and are responsible for its overall direction. This includes making decisions on matters of doctrine, policy, and administration.
- Setting Policies and Standards: Prophets, along with other leaders, have the authority to establish policies and standards for the Church. This includes guidelines on moral conduct, family life, and other aspects of daily living.
- Inspiring and Motivating Members: Prophets are seen as spiritual leaders who inspire and motivate members of the Church to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. They often provide counsel and encouragement through speeches, writings, and other means.
Prophets Of The LDS Church & 12 The Apostles
Before we discuss the prophets of the LDS church in order, it’s important to note that in the LDS Church, the prophet is not the only leader. There is a hierarchical structure with other leaders, including the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities, who also play significant roles in leading the Church.
Prophets Of The LDS Church In Order
Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the LDS Church, played a pivotal role in the Restoration of the gospel in the 19th century.
Born in 1805, Smith claimed to have received divine guidance from God and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees, an event known as the First Vision.
Under his leadership, the Book of Mormon was translated, and the Church was officially organized in 1830. Smith’s life was marked by persecution, and he was martyred in 1844.
His legacy includes foundational doctrines and teachings, such as the Plan of Salvation and the concept of eternal families.
When we discuss the prophets of the LDS church in order, Brigham Young is next. Following Joseph Smith’s death, Brigham Young assumed leadership and led the Saints westward to the Salt Lake Valley, where they established a thriving community.
Brigham Young, the second prophet of the LDS Church, served as president for over three decades. His legacy includes the expansion of the Church, the construction of the Salt Lake Temple, and the establishment of a network of settlements across the western United States.
Young’s emphasis on self-sufficiency and perseverance in the face of adversity continues to influence LDS teachings.
The third prophet, John Taylor, faced the challenges of polygamy and increasing anti-Mormon sentiment during his presidency, which lasted from 1880 until his death in 1887.
Taylor’s tenure saw the manifesto that officially discontinued the practice of polygamy, a decision crucial for the Church’s survival and acceptance.
Despite facing persecution and witnessing the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Taylor steadfastly defended the principles of the restored gospel.
Wilford Woodruff, the fourth prophet, succeeded John Taylor and served as president from 1889 until his death in 1898. Woodruff is best known for issuing the “Manifesto” in 1890, officially ending the practice of polygamy within the Church.
This declaration was a pivotal moment in the history of the LDS Church, leading to Utah’s statehood in 1896. Woodruff’s emphasis on the importance of family and temple work laid the foundation for future teachings within the Church.
Lorenzo Snow, the fifth prophet, served from 1898 until his death in 1901.
Snow faced financial challenges during his presidency, leading the Church to adopt a more fiscally responsible approach.
His teachings on tithing and the law of consecration continue to shape the financial practices of the Church today.
Snow is also known for receiving the revelation known as the “1899 Manifesto,” reaffirming the Church’s commitment to ending the practice of polygamy.
Joseph F. Smith
Joseph F. Smith, the sixth prophet, led the Church from 1901 until his death in 1918. His presidency witnessed the challenges of World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Under his leadership, the Church continued to emphasize the importance of family and genealogy work. Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the afterlife, known as the “Vision of the Redemption of the Dead,” is canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Heber J. Grant
Heber J. Grant, the seventh prophet, served from 1918 until 1945, making him one of the longest-serving presidents in Church history. Grant faced the economic challenges of the Great Depression and World War II during his presidency.
Despite these difficulties, he emphasized the principles of self-reliance and hard work. Grant also played a key role in expanding the Church’s welfare program, which has since become a hallmark of LDS humanitarian efforts.
George Albert Smith
George Albert Smith, the eighth prophet, led the Church from 1945 until 1951. His presidency was marked by post-war recovery and the Church’s global expansion.
Smith’s dedication to international relations and humanitarian efforts laid the groundwork for the Church’s later emphasis on worldwide outreach and service. He was known for his humility and kindness, leaving a lasting impact on the Church’s culture.
David O. McKay
David O. McKay, the ninth prophet, served as president from 1951 until 1970, making him one of the most influential leaders in modern LDS history.
McKay emphasized education and the importance of maintaining a strong family structure. Under his leadership, the Church’s welfare program expanded, and significant strides were made in international relations. McKay also played a key role in opening the priesthood to all worthy male members, regardless of race.
Joseph Fielding Smith
Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth prophet, served from 1970 until 1972. His brief presidency was marked by an unwavering commitment to the fundamental principles of the gospel.
As an apostle and Church historian, Smith had a deep understanding of LDS doctrine and history. He later became the tenth president of the Church, leaving a legacy of doctrinal clarity and a renewed focus on the scriptures.
Harold B. Lee
Harold B. Lee, the eleventh prophet, served as president from 1972 until his death in 1973. Lee’s short presidency was characterized by his emphasis on the importance of the family and the need for members to fulfill their responsibilities in both temporal and spiritual matters. His teachings on the family and the role of women in the Church continue to influence LDS culture.
Spencer W. Kimball
Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth prophet, served from 1973 until 1985. Kimball is best known for receiving the revelation that extended the priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members, regardless of race.
This revelation, known as Official Declaration 2, was a significant milestone in the Church’s history.
Kimball’s presidency also focused on strengthening families, and he played a key role in the construction of the Salt Lake City Temple.
Ezra Taft Benson
Ezra Taft Benson, the thirteenth prophet, served as president from 1985 until his death in 1994. Benson was a strong advocate for individual freedom and moral agency.
His presidency saw the end of the Cold War, and he emphasized the importance of the Constitution and the Book of Mormon. Benson’s teachings continue to resonate with members who appreciate his unwavering commitment to core principles.
Howard W. Hunter
Howard W. Hunter, the fourteenth prophet, served from 1994 until his death in 1995. Hunter’s presidency was short but impactful.
He emphasized the importance of love and unity within the Church and encouraged members to strengthen their personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Hunter’s teachings on compassion and service left a lasting impression on the Church.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Gordon B. Hinckley, the fifteenth prophet, served as president from 1995 until his death in 2008.
Hinckley’s presidency was marked by significant global outreach, with the dedication of numerous temples and the organization of additional stakes worldwide.
Hinckley was known for his optimism and efforts to improve the image of the Church. Under his leadership, the Church experienced unprecedented growth and visibility.
Thomas S. Monson
Thomas S. Monson, the sixteenth prophet, served from 2008 until his death in 2018. Monson’s presidency witnessed a continued focus on global humanitarian efforts, with the Church responding to natural disasters and other crises around the world.
Monson also announced the lowering of the age for missionary service, resulting in a surge in the number of young men and women serving missions. His emphasis on simple acts of kindness and service endeared him to many.
Russell M. Nelson
Russell M. Nelson, the seventeenth and current prophet, assumed leadership of the Church in 2018. A world-renowned heart surgeon before his call to the apostleship, Nelson has continued the Church’s emphasis on global outreach and humanitarian efforts.
Under his leadership, the Church has made significant strides in using technology to spread the gospel, including the use of social media and online platforms. Nelson’s teachings continue to emphasize the importance of personal revelation and a deep commitment to the principles of the restored gospel.
Read more about LDS prophets in order on the LDS website
Hopefully, this article about the prophets Of the LDS Church in order helped you in your research about the Mormon prophets. The legacy of LDS prophets is a tapestry woven with the threads of faith, perseverance, and a commitment to the principles of the restored gospel. From Joseph Smith’s humble beginnings to Russell M. Nelson’s global leadership in the 21st century, each prophet has played a crucial role in guiding the Church through its journey of growth and development.
As members of the Church continue to look to their leaders for guidance and inspiration, the legacy of these prophets serves as a beacon of light, illuminating the path forward in the ongoing story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.