In the beginning, God created Adam and spoke directly to him. However, God continued to choose prophets. God spoke to these prophets, and the prophets relayed the information they received to God’s children. The Lord spoke to these prophets to give them information that would specifically help the believers they served. Though based on a core of true doctrine, their messages varied. Enoch led his people to the point that they became so righteous, they were called “Zion,” the pure in heart. Jeremiah, on the other hand, was called to warn a fallen people.
Some prophets restored lost truths. Moses, the Lawgiver, led a people who had drifted for 400 years and needed to be trained up in the basics of the gospel. Jesus gave us new views of the gospel, based on the foundation laid through Moses and succeeding prophets. The apostles who served as prophets after He died also enlarged upon those first teachings, bringing new messages from God as situations changed and people had new needs.
When the apostles were dead, the Church fell into apostasy. Men began altering the gospel, and God withdrew His priesthood. Without priesthood, there can be no prophet. Without a prophet to turn to, people began to interpret and change doctrine to suit their personal beliefs or needs even more. Soon, confusion existed in the religious world. Many churches sprung up, all with differing doctrine, and all claiming to know the truth. For truth seekers, the choices were overwhelming, with no one church offering the whole truth.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it (Amos 8).
Just as the apostasy had been foretold, the restoration had also been promised.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-22).
Today, we are in the final days of the earth, and it is important that we have a prophet to guide us through them, and to prepare us for the events of the second coming, just as the Old Testament prophets prepared us for the first coming.
God restored prophets and the fullness of the gospel to the earth when Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet. Since that time, the earth has continued to be blessed with prophets to guide us through the challenges of these last days. God has promised he will never again leave us without guidance. We can be assured the truth will always be available to us through God’s chosen prophets. To learn more about prophets, visit LDS.org.