The importance of following the guidance of the living prophets was emphasized in an address by Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, in the October 1972 general conference.
"While Saul was on the road to Damascus, he was stopped by a heavenly vision and the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ," Elder Benson said. "And Saul responded with these momentous words: `Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' (Acts 9:6.) To this the Lord responded by sending Saul to see one of His authorized servants to receive direction and a blessing. . . ."It has always been so - that whenever God has had His prophets upon the earth, men could go to them to learn of Christ and His commandments.
"The inspired words of these prophets, when written down, became scripture, and whenever God has His representatives on the earth, there is always new revelation and new scripture. Only when men became so corrupt that the prophets were taken out of their midst did scriptures cease. And God stated that only through His authorized representatives could men receive the ordinances essential for salvation and the commandments necessary for the perfecting of His children.
"Speaking to His prophets, the Lord said: `He that receiveth you receiveth me.' (Matt. 10:40.) Always the words of the living prophet took precedence, for it was God's message to the people at that particular time. Had any man accepted the ancient scripture in the days of Noah but refused to follow the revelation that Noah received and failed to board the ark, he would have been drowned. Always the words of the living prophets are of the most vital concern to the people; and always, if a man would know of Christ and learn His commandments so that he can obey them, he must seek to find His authorized representatives."
"Let me ask, do we need a true prophet of the Lord on the earth today? Did the people in Noah's day need a prophet to warn them spiritually and temporally? Had a man refused to follow Noah, would he have been saved from the flood? Yet the Bible tells us that in the last days in which we live, the wickedness of the people will become comparable to the wickedness of the people in Noah's day when God cleansed the earth by flood. Do you think we need a prophet today to warn us and prepare us for the cleansing that God promised will come, this time by fire?"