The Watchman on the Tower
The Lord speaking to the ancient Israelites gave them a warning to head the words of his servants, the prophets:
Son of man, I have made thee a unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them from me.
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely ; and thou givest him not , nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked shall in his ; but his blood will I at thine hand.
Yet if thou the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 3:17-19)
The watchman is the prophet and apostles at the head of the Lord’s church today. Earl C. Tingey speaking to the students at Brigham Young University said this about who the watchman is today:
“I believe the watchmen today are the prophets and apostles. The Lord has designated President Gordon B. Hinckley as our chief watchman on the tower today. We will be guided and protected from the enemy if we follow his counsel. President Boyd K. Packer is also a watchman on the tower. His biography, written several years ago, is entitled Boyd K. Packer: A Watchman on the Tower.2 Trusted local priesthood leaders, including stake presidents and bishops, are watchmen on the tower to their members and congregations. Certainly a father is a watchman on the tower to his family. Each of you should be a watchman to yourself.” (“The Watchman on the Tower”, Earl C. Tingey, BYU Devotional, June 5, 2007)
The Lord speaking to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio gave the parable of the watchman on the tower:
A certain had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my , even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive trees;
And set round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
And while they were at variance one with another they became very , and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
And the enemy came by night, and broke down the ; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive trees.
Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the , called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer. (Doctrine and Covenants 101:44-54)
Elder Tingey explained the meaning of the tower and the impact it can have for us:
“In the Holy Land (and I have personally seen them) are remnants or remains of ancient towers—round structures built of rock, like lighthouses near the sea. The purpose of these towers was to provide a structure or facility where the watchman might look out upon the land and see the enemy before he came and destroyed the olive trees.
“Then what might be analogous to the tower today? The tower is a symbolic point of elevation where we may see the enemy before others do. I think today’s towers might be revelation, prophets, inspired scriptures, and, certainly, the temple. Revelation from living prophets permits us to see more clearly in a clouded world. Our modern scriptures—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—help us understand the Bible more fully. As compared to the world, all of these are opportunities to receive elevated instructions in a troubled world.” (“The Watchman on the Tower”, Earl C. Tingey, BYU Devotional, June 5, 2007)
Today we have fifteen prophets, seers and revelators that can see the troubles that are coming and they warn us of the dangers and help us know what we can do to be ready and battle the enemy. If we listen and heed the words of the prophets and apostles, we will be blessed and our families will be protected. If we do not take the time to listen and then follow their teachings the sin will be on our heads. On the day the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized the Lord explained the importance of giving heed to the prophets words:
Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give unto all his words and which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all before me;
For by doing these things the of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers o from before you, and cause the heavens to for your , and his name’s . (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-6)
Every six months we have the opportunity to listen to the teachings and warnings of the prophet of the church today, President Thomas S. Monson, the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities of the church. That opportunity will be here again next week. Sessions of general conference will be available on KBYU-TV and on the Internet at LDS.org.
I invite you to tune into as many sessions of general conference as you can and see for yourself if they are watchman on the tower and are warning us of things to come and telling us what we need to do to protect our families from the evils of the world today.
I testify that those who speak are prophets and apostles and they have been sent by the Lord to be a watchman on the tower and listening and heeding their warnings will bring us blessings and protect us from evil.
Your comments and questions are welcome