In ancient times, the chosen mouthpiece of the Lord was called a prophet. This was men like Moses, Noah, and Abraham. They were ordinary, if good, men who tried to follow the Lord's commandments to the best of their ability.
Were prophets perfect?
We have several examples in the Old Testament where the prophets would occasionally do things that the Lord would not be pleased with. However, they kept trying and repented.
Prophets are essential to God's plan for his children.
When Christ was on the earth and he set up his church, he chose twelve apostles. After Christ died, the apostles became the head of the church. Simon Peter became the prophet. Though the twelve decided things together, but Peter was the mouthpiece for the Lord after His ascension. In Acts chapter 10, Peter has a vision where he is commanded by the Lord to teach the gospel to the gentiles. This is an example of the Lord giving a command to His prophet, and the prophet informing the rest of the church.
Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to guide us. He has a method to the way that He does things. The Lord has always spoken man through a prophet. God doesn't change, thus, many people ask, "Why doesn't the Lord speak through a prophet today?"
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that God speaks to man, just as he always has. There is a prophet on the earth today. His name is President Thomas S. Monson.
After President Hinkley died (the previous prophet), I wanted to know if President Monson was a prophet. I knew the only way that I could know that, was to ask Heavenly Father. It didn't matter if my parents or leaders told me he was a prophet. If he was truly God's chosen mouthpiece on earth, I knew that God would let me know.
This began a long process.
I began to pray very earnestly to know. I didn't get my answer right away. To be honest, this caused some doubt to rise in my heart. However, I really wanted to know, so I kept praying and living the gospel to the best of my abilities. I even fasted about it.
A few weeks (or months, I don't remember exactly how much time had passed) later, I went to a temple ground-breaking. It was broadcast to the building that I was in, and I was pretty excited to be there. As I watched President Monson put cement on the corner stone of the temple, a strong feeling suddenly hit me. A feeling of love overwhelmed me, and I KNEW with certain knowledge that President Monson was a prophet.
It took a while, but I haven't doubted the answer that I received then. When I think back on the way that I felt, the feeling still overwhelms me.
Is President Monson perfect?
No. Prophets are just normal men like the rest of us. The difference is that they devote their lives to serving the Lord, and strive to communicate His will to the world.
President Monson is simply the mouthpiece for the head of our church. The leader of our church is Jesus Christ. I know that to be true, because I received a witness from my Father in Heaven. That doesn't mean that I can't ask for confirmation from the Lord for the things that he tells us. Revelation through prayer is always an option. If President Monson were to ask the church, and more specifically me, to do something difficult, I would pray about it and make sure that it was the Lord's will for me.
Then, having received that witness, I would do as I was asked.
I know that President Monson is a prophet, so I do my best to follow his counsel, whatever it may be. I know that this has made my life more peaceful and I have been blessed because of it.
If you want to know if there is a prophet on the earth today, pray and ask God yourself. He will tell you, as long as you are willing to change yourself based upon the answer. If we are asking on a merely academic level, God has no need to fulfill your idle curiosity. If, however, you are seeking guidance and direction from the Lord because you want to DO His will, you will receive an answer.
I know this to be true, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.