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Spirit of Prophecy
by Louise Plummer
Spirit of prophecy is equated in Revelation 19:10 with "the testimony of Jesus." For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having a testimony of Jesus Christ means receiving personal spiritual assurance through revelation by the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the literal Son of God, the creator of the world, and that through his Atonement all people will be resurrected and live forever.
According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the spirit of prophecy is vital to the principles of salvation, revelation, and the teaching and ministering of the gospel. Each person must receive a testimony of Christ in order to attain salvation and eternal life with him (TPJS, p. 160). Since the gospel is to be taught to everyone, it follows that all people of every race and gender can experience the spirit of prophecy. Moreover, in the words of Joseph Smith, "God in his superior wisdom, has always given his Saints, wherever he had any on the earth, the same spirit, and that spirit, as John says, is the true spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus" (TPJS, p. 300).
It is through the spirit of prophecy that God's continuing revelations are brought to the people of the earth, not only through his ordained prophets but also through all those who have received a testimony of Christ. The gospel cannot be taught on the earth without the spirit of prophecy or a testimony of Christ, because it is only through testimony received by revelation that Christ's teachings are validated in the heart and mind of the person taught. One who preaches the gospel and denies the spirit of prophecy is, according to Joseph Smith, an "imposter" (TPJS, p. 269).
While only one person (the president of the church) may exercise all the keys of the priesthood of God at one time on the earth and receive revelation for the whole Church, the underlying principle of the spirit of prophecy is that all saints who receive a testimony of Christ are prophets in the limited sense that they may receive revelation and inspiration for themselves (TPJS, p. 119). This same idea is implicit in Moses' response to Joshua: "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Num. 11:29).
(See Prophets; The Spirit of Prophesy by Elder L. Aldin Porter; Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Godhead home page; Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 3, Spirit of Prophecy
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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