Follow the Prophet Daniel

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What can we learn by following the prophet Daniel? Trusting in the Lord will bring deliverance.

Years ago I was in an audience where President Hugh B. Brown Introduced the England Ambassador. He got a laugh from the Mormon audience and the Ambassador with this joke. “Our guest being a faithful member of the Church of England must feel like the Democrat who was asked to speak at a Republican rally. The speaker was nervous. The master of ceremonies whispered to him, ‘Just say a little prayer.’

“The speaker answered, ‘That’s the one thing I can’t do. I don’t want The Lord to know where I am.’”

Her majesty’s ambassador was equal to the occasion. He opened his speech saying, “On the contrary. I feel like a lion in a den of Daniels.”

Would that we all could be in a den of Daniels today. Our young people need heroes like the youthful Daniel and his friends refusing King Nebuchadnezzar’s wine and rich meats, and eating healthy food instead.

We older folks could use more examples such as the older Daniel bravely predicting the fall and rise of kingdoms including the one holding him and his people captive. He refused to stop praying to God even when he was sentenced to become lion food.

Many of Daniel’s prophecies have already come to pass. Others will. One prophecy is being fulfilled virtually every day of our lives. That prophecy declares that the kingdom of God will one day overcome all the kingdoms of the world and stand forever. (Daniel 2.)


Follow the Prophet Stories

We had a complication doing the video this week. I expect we will pick up the discussion next week with “Follow the Prophet Daniel.”

For a little change of pace, I’d like to share with you some of the stories the little song has spawned over the years.

A couple of days ago as President and Prophet Russell M. Nelson was on his world-wide ministering journey a man stopped me in church, and said, “News reporters have picked up your message. The headline of a story in the paper this morning said, ‘Press and media follow the Prophet.’”

My daughter in law Marci told me of a primary teacher in her ward. One little boy was a handful, maybe several hands full. He wasn’t naughty, just enthusiastic. The only thing that slowed him down was to sit on the teacher’s lap. One day instead of his usual wrestling match with the teacher, he sat quietly humming a tune. Then he looked up into the teacher’s eyes and said, “Adam was a prophet. Did you know that?” She nodded. He went back to humming then looked up to her and said. “Enoch was a prophet. Did you know that?” She nodded. He went through all eight prophets and the last verse with humming in between. The teacher was stunned. He had been learning in Primary after all.

Kia Heaton a little girl about five, was hiking with her mother and little sister and littler brother. She kept running ahead saying, “I am the prophet. I’m the prophet.” Her mother said, “What does that mean?”
She answered, “You are supposed to follow me.”

My sister Diane told me of a family in Kansas who sang Follow the Prophet often for their home evenings etc. One day their small son saw a picture of President Hinckley, prophet at the time. He hollered, “Look. It’s Follow, the Prophet.”
When I tell the children this story, I remind them that follow is a verb, something we do, not a name like Smokey the Bear and Kermit the Frog.

Phil Carmack’s son who just started Sunbeams in primary came home singing. Phil wrote me from Redwood City California, “I heard him singing a new Primary song. He was belting out ‘Follow the Prophet you won’t go straight.’ ” A few days later he learned the correct words.

Joseph Walker called me from Sacramento California. He had his primary class write verses to “Follow the Prophet.” One little guy wrote, “Abinidi was a prophet… and then you hum the rest.”

Our daughter Katy told me about little boy in their neighborhood who adapted the song to instruct his younger brother in character development. He sings to him, “Follow the Prophet. Don’t be a jerk.”

If you speak Spanish you will enjoy our little friend Jorjito Alverado in Puerto Rico who sang “Sigue al profeta, deja el arroz,” which translates, “Follow the prophet, don’t eat the rice.” His mother corrected him that it was “deja el error” which means “don’t go astray.” I assume she also said “Coma el arroz.” “Eat your rice.”

The song was written for Primary children, but apparently the age range starts earlier. At a Primary leadership meeting in Riverton Utah Shirley Jolley about 6 months pregnant said her baby began to kick to the rhythm when we began to sing “Follow the Prophet.”

Apparently there is an appeal for the more mature also. Al Payne, a high school music teacher by career told me his high priests quartet featured it in their programs, and they “jazzed it up a little.” Way to go brethren, turn up those heart pacers and as they used to say in the big band era, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

The late Truman Madsen told me his granddaughter Molly was shopping with her mother in a grocery store in their town near San Francisco. Molly was following her mother singing “Follow the Prophet” at the top of her voice. Her mother tried to get her daughter to tone it down a few decibels. But the store manager happened to be behind them. He said, “No, you let that little girl sing. She’s got a good business sense. You follow the profit my dear; you’ll be successful in retail.”

One of my favorite stories includes a mature gentleman, a young man and a child. The gentleman was a stake president from Logan Utah who told me the story. A young man with problems in his stake had paid for a six pack of beer at a grocery store checkout stand. He started to leave when the voice of a child floated from another part of the store, “Follow the Prophet… he knows the way.”
The young man paused a moment then started for the door. The clerk called to him, “Hey, you forgot your beer. You paid for it.”
The youth called back as he walked out. “I know I forgot the beer, but I remembered something else.”

Notwithstanding their creative interpretations I’m grateful these little and big folks are spreading the word. Follow the Prophet.


Follow the Prophet Jonah

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What can we learn from following the prophet Jonah?

Jonah is perhaps the most contradictory prophet in the Old Testament.

A man who praised the Lord as the creator of earth and sky and yet apparently thought he could run off to another country and be beyond the Lord’s jurisdiction.

Who; when the people he preached to repented, instead of being happy he went up on a hillside to watch the celestial fireworks destroy their city. When that didn’t happen, he sulked and grumbled to the Lord.

Who; is the subject of what appears to be a practical joke, and a gentle ribbing by the Lord. Kind of a “Hey get over it. We saved 120,000 people not to mention the cows.”

Who; was afraid to preach repentance to a wicked city, but convinced reluctant sailors to throw him overboard to save themselves and their ship.

Who; accomplished the impossible according to the experts. He got vomited out alive after spending three days in the belly of what the Bible calls “a great fish” (more likely a big shark than a whale incidentally. Their throats are bigger.)

Who; has an experience that is compared twice in the Bible to Jesus death and resurrection. Who makes the comparison? Jesus himself.

All these contradictories should intrigue us to go read Jonah’s story again, sing his verse in “Follow the Prophet” and believe the Lord will help us do hard things. Even if we are as reluctant as Jonah was.


Follow the Prophet Samuel

Follow the Prophet Samuel
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What can we learn by following the prophet Samuel?
Hanna and Elkanah longed to have a son. Finally Hanna promised God that if he would grant their wish, they would dedicate their child to serve in the Lord’s tabernacle.

And so it came to pass, and they named their son Samuel.

Even as a young boy Samuel was a good and faithful servant. One day while working in the tabernacle he thought he heard his supervisor Eli call his name. But Eli said, “It wasn’t me. I believe it was the Lord. If he calls again, say ‘Speak for thy servant heareth.’” Samuel did that, and his life was changed forever. The Lord later called him to be a prophet to the nation. Again he served faithfully.

It wasn’t easy.

Israel wanted to have a king. Samuel warned them not to. They ignored him and soon saw the wisdom of his words. Saul the first king regressed from being a humble servant of the people to an unstable psychopath. He hated David the national hero who with his sling had killed the giant Goliath. David had since become a greater warrior than Saul. Insane with Jealousy, Saul tried to kill David, but couldn’t catch him. Saul committed suicide. David was anointed king.

But high office also corrupted David. He committed adultery, then had the woman’s husband killed in battle to cover his sin.

As Samuel had foretold, the king thing never did work out very well for Israel.

Through all this and more, Samuel remained the conscience of Israel chastening the powerful, and ministering to the poor and needy. His heart was as pure as it had been that day when God called his name, and he answered, “Speak. Thy servant heareth.”

Samuel’s life shows us the Lord speaks to people of all ages. He will speak to you and me, and anyone who sincerely prays to him. We may not hear his voice, but we will feel his spirit. Then, like Samuel we can weather the storms of life and one day hear the Lord say to us as he undoubtedly said to Samuel, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”