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.