How to be a Prophet

The world is filled with prophets, mystics, yogi and gurus. Some of them are more successful than others. Prophets aren’t conjured out of nothing, they are born, they grow up, and then go forth and prophet. You have to put in some significant time into personally developing in order to become a prophet; it’s not an overnight thing. Here are a few easy tips on how to become an awesome prophet of these times.

You need to look the part.

If you want to be taken seriously then you can’t look like you’re just home from a day at the office. That’s the sort of look that only gets you taken seriously in an office. If you wore robes or funny hats in the office people would think you were a little bit silly. The same applies to prophets. You wouldn’t wear prophet clothes to the office, you can’t wear office clothes as a prophet.

Me looking like a prophet

A prophet with a beard.

Long hair and a beard are popular choices for appearance, except with women. I have been unable to find any bearded-lady prophets. In fact, female prophets are still a minority; being a prophet generally seems to be a male-dominated career path. Perhaps this is down to the beard often appearing to be mandatory. I maintain that it is optional. Beards are very much part of the judeo-christian-islamic school of thought. Siddhārtha Gautama didn’t have a beard.

Personally, I went down the shaved head route. Partly because I think prophets with long hair are a little cliché and partly because I’m going bald. Have you ever noticed that people with shaved heads look either tough or gay? I’m just glad that people say I look a little scary. Actually, it’s only men that have been saying that… shit. Anyway, back to the point, a shaved head is very guru like if you’re going for the whole minimalist / zen monk look. Who needs hair anyway? It’s overrated and I can afford a hat.

You don’t have to go all out on your appearance. I maintain that the weirdest people I know are the most normal looking. Therefore, it may hold true that the most normal looking prophets are also the most prophetic. Still, it’s best to look a little prophety so that people recognise you as the prophet that you quite clearly are.

You need to talk the talk

You need to say all sorts of really profound statements. I’m not talking the generic “Love thy neighbour” stuff, but the truly profound. “Yeah, fuck it, why not?” is probably the most universally positive and profound statement ever. You can also say things like “Now is the only moment that exists” or something similarly trite. Bold, definitive and slightly controversial statements work best: “I have wind and it smells good” will provoke a response in the way “oops, sorry” does not.

If you voice universal questions for others to ponder you’re also on the way to appearing far wiser.

  • Why do I only ever cut myself shaving before something important?
  • Why do we need to be just friends?
  • Is it safe to eat the green crisps?
  • Who really did leave the dogs out?

Piercing questions that test your followers also increases your wisdomliness

  • If you were to eat someone else, who would it be?
  • How many potatoes am I thinking of?
  • Does anyone know where I left my hat?
  • Where is the rum?

Questioning and declaring things are the two most important parts of being a prophet. All that regular conversation gets in the way. Besides, you are far too busy for regular conversation.

You need to act the part

It’s crucial to act like a prophet. Walking on water, becoming invisible, healing the sick and juggling are all valid prophet type acts. Drinking a latte in Starbucks is not really a prophet thing to do. Holding your hands in the air and shouting is prophetly. Holding your hands in the air and shouting whilst playing football isn’t. Most sports aren’t suitable for being a prophet. Martial arts are quite suitable, but that’s because of the uniform. Also as a prophet you’re going to need to take care of yourself. Prophets don’t play tennis.

As a prophet, you have to come across as being all-knowing. This is not just from what you say but how you act. It is crucial to develop a stare that weighs heavy on those who ask stupid questions (which is any question you don’t know the answer to) or argue with you (because there is no way that you are wrong). Silently staring at people with either a hint of contempt or disappointment is a great way to get out of situations. Stroking your beard/chin is also useful… and perhaps the answer to why so many prophets have beards, stroking your chin is a significantly less satisfying experience.

Some people are keen to test prophets. This should be discouraged. As a true prophet it is your loyal minions underlings lapdogs slaves disciples that should be tested. Faith doesn’t require proof. Require them to have faith in you, but require proof from them that they have faith in you. Money, cake and sexual favours all seem to be popular forms of faith in church; these are the sort of gifts you should expect from your followers on a regular basis.

You need groupies followers.

You want some followers who will spread your message when you die or get bored. The tricky thing here is that there’s some sort of perverse inverse square law going on here. The more followers the further from the truth the prophet is. Don’t ask me why, fate is a bitch.

You can baptise your followers, which gives you a chance to practise asking questions, making declarative statements and generally acting like a prophet. Followers are really handy like that. Baptism is also a good excuse for cake.

There are issues with followers though. They get everywhere, some of them betray you and the rest just turn up and expect you to feed them all. Some of them will doubt you, and you have to reassure them, you’re going to end up turning into a therapist and nobody wants to be one of those.

Balancing your number of followers requires careful consideration. The prime consideration should be this: how much money will my followers give me and how much money do I need to live comfortably.

You need an elaborate way to encourage people to give you money.

The only reason to become a prophet is to avoid getting a real job. Somewhere hidden in the bible it says: And Joseph said to Jesus “Thou shalt become a master carpenter” and Jesus replied “Fuck that shit” and dropped out to become a hippy-guru. I forget which page it’s on. It’s after the incest and cute magic stories but before the crazy fire-and-brimstone end-of-days shit starts going on. So yeah, in one of the boring parts.

Writing books, requiring payment for services such as performing marriages and funerals, selling your own T-shirts, these are all great ways to market your product… which is you. Some people will give you money purely for believing in you. This is wonderful because you don’t even have to do anything. People should give me money because they believe in me. I exist, give me money!

You need to have self-preservation skills.

Prophets have a habit of dying horribly. Apparently, prophets have to suffer for their prophecies, which is a bit of a bitch and not at all what I signed up for. It seems that self-preservation skills may be of some use if you want to go in for propheteering on a long-term basis. Either that or blindly believe that the fates will keep you safe while you pass your message out to the rest of the universe. The fates usually favour such believers with epic travails so it’s not worth the effort. Just keep an eye out for the angry mobs, try not to kill yourself or your followers and you should be fine.

And finally…

You need a message. It needs to be bold and clear and make sense.

Now go forth and be the best prophet you can be!