The Poet, The Preacher, and The Prophet

bullwinkle the poetSometime around 1996-1997, before I met my precious wife, Diana; before I innocently covenanted with God to “seek to know Him”, and at least 2 years before I joined the LDS church, I wrote a song called “The Poet, The Preacher, and the Prophet”.  Here’s a live (translated as “not studio quality”) recording of Diana and me playing the song this year.  The lyrics:

The poet crafted beauty from the rollin’ day to day

Drew wisdom from the babbling of fools

Coaxed warrior’s dreams from gothic scenes of secular decay

A song sung for the living

The preacher dreams of heaven, but the devil makes him run

The gift of love must somehow be repaid

My life for yours

A heart that’s pure

Ask and it’s forgiven

A promise for the dyin’



There’s a ferry at the river

But to reach the other side

There’s a price that won’t be paid in coins of gold

But the riches of a dreamer

And the gift of sacrifice

And the guts to stand alone

Will take you home


The prophet leaves the mirror’s broken pieces on the ground

And speaks of things we’d just as soon ignore

“Empty words, the devil’s curse….We all know he will burn”

A gift for the unborn

Repeat Chorus to resolution

I guess I knew at the time that the song was at least somewhat autobiographical.  All of my songs are.  Most songs are, I guess, in one way or another.  At the time, I was clearly in the poet stage of my life, seeking desperately for the beauty and order that my soul told me must be there.  When I was baptized into the LDS Church, I acknowledged the cartoon preacher“preacher” in me.  I acknowledged that I was, at the time at least, motivated somewhat by guilt and maybe a little fear; that I sensed that a life lived selfishly was a life wasted; and that I wanted and needed to know more about the mysterious gift that is the life and atonement of Jesus Christ.

It is amazing to me how the spirit was obviously teaching me even at that time – like the Lord knew something I didn’t (Well, Duh!).  That it did so is a confirmation that the Lord knows and loves all of us, and that He will teach each of us truth, if we will only listen.  If I was just beginning to listen at that time, I’m really listening now!  It was made clear to me recently that I have transitioned into the “prophet” phase of my life and that I need to embrace it.  This frankly came as a significant revelation – one of those amazing moments of clarity that we all experience once in a while throughout our lives.  The transition from poet to preacher to prophet – a spiritual journey which I hope most of us will undertake in one way or another – has taken almost 2 decades, and will most certainly continue into the eternities.  It is a journey that I anticipate with a mixture of peace, passion and faith – and perhaps a little trepidation.

Of course, I’m not talking about usurping anyone’s authority within the church, or suggesting that I expect to begin receiving revelation pertaining to anyone other than myself and my family.  Instead, when I say I’m moving into the “prophet” phase, I mean I’m learning to no longer looking to others for my testimony or for truth, but rather to the scriptures and to the spirit itself.  It means I have submitted an urgent request to the Lord, saying, “Father, if I’m going to do this, I really need to be sure that I can hear thy word clearly, and that I can be obedient to it”.  It means that I am experiencing the condition President Boyd K. Packer described where only the next step is lighted, but I must learn to keep going in faith – one step at a time.  It means that I am more dependent upon the Lord Himself than I have ever been before.

cartoon prophetFinally, it means that there is no going back. Peter’s words in John 6:68 have become very meaningful to me.  I cannot imagine turning back.  I CAN imagine how empty my life would be if I were to do so – if I were to decide that meeting my savior in this life was not really that important, or that I don’t really need to learn to hear and obey the Lord’s voice each and every day, or that preparing myself to build and live in Zion is just a dream that can never become reality.

This has been and continues to be a marvelous journey – far exceeding anything I could have imagined when I wrote this “prophetic” song.  The chorus, I think, still says it all:

There’s a ferry at the river

But to reach the other side

There’s a price that won’t be paid in coins of gold

But the riches of a dreamer

And the gift of sacrifice

And the guts to stand alone

Will take you home

I love you all.  I hope that sharing my journey helps to encourage and enrich yours.


2 comments on “The Poet, The Preacher, and The Prophet

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