Monday, April 21, 2014

I know of no revelation

I found the following explanation of Revelation from the Church News Room. It's titled Divine Revelation in Modern Times

"Here are some snapshots of what revelation looks like among Latter-day Saints. At home, a mother and father kneel in prayer and receive inspiration on how to raise their children, where to lay down their roots, which employment to seek or ways they can help their neighbors. In a congregation, a local bishop prays to know which parishioners to select as leaders and teachers, how to put food on the table of a family who is out of work or how to help youth navigate a confusing world.

The same process works for senior Church leadership. Mormons consider themselves fortunate to have experienced and inspired leaders, including the First Presidency — consisting of a president with two counselors — and a Quorum of Twelve Apostles. These senior leaders receive revelation for the Church as a whole on matters that range widely. This inspiration helps them govern the Church’s affairs and discern the current needs of its members. In preparation for their addresses to the Church during worldwide general conferences, speakers (both men and women) prayerfully seek insight to know the matters they should address. By fervently searching to know the will of God, they open themselves to the understanding that He provides. Church leaders are blessed with revelation in their capacity as Church leaders, just as individuals are enlightened in the context of their own lives. Revelation permeates the entire Church — bottom, top and in between."

There was nothing in this that was really all that noticeable or attention grabbing.  But at the same time I got to thinking nothing about that description is much different from any other religious organization who believes in answers to prayer.  The Restored Gospel, as I understand it from studying Joseph Smith's words was headed towards accomplishing so much more.  The Church News Room passage reminds me of a passage from the Book of Mormon that is eerily relevant: Omni 1:11 "And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations; and I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy; wherefore, that which is sufficient is written. And I make an end."

And from President Hinckley:

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

A: [Gordon B. Hinckley] Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind
-Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday Interview, April 13, 1997, by Don Lattin

Visions, Angels, Visits from the Lord...such things in a certain sense are denied now days.  (Or are believed to be exclusively the right of the 12 or First Presidency)  They are not mentioned or spoken about, or claimed by any leaders anymore. This wasn't always the case.  We're not taught much to expect, or even seek for such blessings. We are taught that such things are too hush hush to mention. The Church in some ways has needed to be politically correct and such teachings could conflict with the PR agenda. Even though we preach belief in a book of scripture that claims all of these in the FIRST chapter, we ourselves neglect to mention them when defining "Modern Revelation".

Compare the kind of revelation claimed by the Modern Church above, with these statements:

Joseph Smith: "It is my meditation all the day & more than my meat & drink to know how I shall make the saints of God to comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge, before my mind" (WJS, p. 196).

1 Nephi1:8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

Joel 2: 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Helaman 11:23 And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year.

And these:

Jacob 7: 5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.

Alma 9:21 Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation;

Ether 4:7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son 
of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

There are some notable degrees of difference between what scriptures speak of, and what this dispensation began with, compared to what we are currently taught about revelation.

The voice of inspiration the News Room speaks of is a wonderful thing. I'm not discounting that. The point is our experiences are increasingly different from those at the start of the Restoration, and from those in the scriptures we claim to believe in. We can still reject the fullness, and not receive revelations from God all the while claiming to be permeated by them. D&C, and Revelations in scripture are so different from the description of the revelation our leaders proclaim that I can hardly call the two by the same word.

It's good individuals and their access to God are not limited by what others do or do not experience. It puts the responsibility on the individual to develop faith and be accountable for what they receive.

Moroni 7:37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

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