Monday, April 14, 2014

Prophetic Expiration

In case you don't visit, here's a little cut and paste snapshot of the website.

Did You Miss Conference? 

Good news—there's no expiration date for prophetic messages. Watch, read, or listen.

Have you ever heard one of the 15 people we sustain as "prophets" call themselves one?  In all my life I've never heard any of the 15 refer to themselves as one.  It's often said about or for the current President of the Church, or about other of the 15 but they themselves never do when referring to themselves. Even when asked directly on live TV, they can't seem to be able to state so directly.  It's always indirect, or implied, or something other than direct.  

Anyway, back to the picture and heading above.  Intrigued by the potential for prophetic messages which don't expire I watched, read, and listened.  What seemed to be more prevalent were policy and procedure changes or clarifications.  Those definitely don't seem to expire, in fact I'm sick of them already.  Policies change all the time, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with prophecy.  If we define "prophetic" to mean a message from a person who we sustain as a prophet by raising our hands, then yes, such would occur by default each LDS conference. However if we define prophetic messages as a message containing prophecy from The Lord then we have to look for content, rather than title or office of the speaker. There wasn't much identifiable as prophetic in those links from the LDS church's main website. There was lots of good advice. Great talks about good principles.  Elder Uchtdorf seems to always give a great talk.  But no prophecy.  

I also looked for revelation in the talks but didn't find much of that either. I can't remember at time in my lifetime when I heard a revelation given by any of the 15.  Doesn't mean I didn't agree with and enjoy what some speakers have to say.  Elder Holland talked about people wanting a God who doesn't ask anything of them, and has them run along to pick marigolds.  haha, that was funny.  However what differentiates us from other Churches is not our ability to talk about the Gospel with platitudes, or make good points and timeless principles.  Every church does that. Very average Christian pastors do that.  Some better than others.  Our claim is that the LDS church has ongoing revelation, prophecy, and that we sustain the 12 and first presidency as "seers" as well.   But yet we don't display any of that.  Something has expired and no one has noticed. 

This is from Elder Oaks during Priesthood session. 

The divine nature of the limitations put upon the exercise of priesthood keys explains an essential contrast between decisions on matters of Church administration and decisions affecting the priesthood. The First Presidency and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the Church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting Church policies and procedures—matters such as the location of Church buildings and the ages for missionary service.

There's a fairly widespread view that the missionary age change was an example of revelation in the Church.  However the actual words of our leaders do not support that assumption.  Some speakers used the word revelation when it first happened, or in advance of the announcement but those who announced and explained the change to the world did not. Even though that is squarely within their responsibility to do so. When there is a revelation, we should expect to be told, and if not, we should not read revelation into something that they did not say was one.  Read President Oaks comments.  He called it a policy and a procedure change.  This former Utah Supreme Court Justice is capable of using the correct terminology, and I accept his terminology he gave in Priesthood Session.  Which makes me need to question the members assumptions that the missionary age change was revelation.

This takes me back to President Monson's words when the Missionary age change was announced. I happened to be there in person.  President Monson's words describing the change agrees with Elder Oaks.  See for yourself.

Brothers and sisters, I now turn to another matter—namely, missionary service.

For some time the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have allowed young men from certain countries to serve at the age of 18 when they are worthy, able, have graduated from high school, and have expressed a sincere desire to serve. This has been a country-specific policy and has allowed thousands of young men to serve honorable missions and also fulfill required military obligations and educational opportunities.

Our experience with these 18-year-old missionaries has been positive. Their mission presidents report that they are obedient, faithful, mature, and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions. Their faithfulness, obedience, and maturity have caused us to desire the same option of earlier missionary service for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come.

As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.

No revelation was mentioned, or claimed.  Even though President Monson's role and office is to declare such things.  The only thing claimed was that they prayed about it. After that, we hear nothing further from or about God having any involvement.  It was referred to as a matter of policy or procedure that was tested on target groups, and it worked. Testing ideas and thereby finding one that works to me is not revelation.  It's what you do when you sell a new tech gadget, or try to market something.  So why do the members insist this was revelation when the leaders say it was a policy change?  Are the members perhaps so hungry for messages and direction from God that they are willing to go as far as to call things revelation when they are not?       

Would you agree there has been an expiration of the prophetic voice in general conference talks?  It's just not there, even though I hoped it would be.  All members seem to hope there would be.  They want it so bad they are willing to ignore the actual words of the leaders and project revelation onto it themselves. 

Conference is now statistics, market research, opinion polls, common good principles, and good morals, and corporate utilization of public feedback.  Revelation is absent.  Something vital has gone missing and it's easily detectable if you pay attention and are familiar with scripture.  

In response to a recent ordain women petition the Church said this: "The recent changes you have seen, most notably the lowering of the missionary age for sisters," it says, "serve as examples and were facilitated by the input of many extraordinary LDS women around the world."   Another example of policy changes based on feedback from the public?  Revelation is supposed to be alive and well within the Church but yet, our leaders don't even claim it.

Things have changed a great deal since Joseph's day.  Especially in terms of revelation and prophecy.  A lot of things expired when Joseph died.  And I think we should notice the changes. Not to be expert critics, or withhold support of those who are called to lead, but to awaken to our situation.  Once awake, then we are to arise.  Prophecy is unfolding in many ways but not in the way the website seems to want us to believe.

Most of us will be sleeping tonight when the Lunar Eclipse occurs.  A Blood Moon.  Let us not spiritually be asleep and miss the signs continually upon us simply because LDS leaders do not mention or notice them. 

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent post. I had a long exhausting online conversatiom today trying to make this point. I wish I could have just posted a link to this. The point isnt to be negative or criticize everything. The point is to seek further light and knowledge. That can only be done after becoming aware of whats going on, exactly as you said.
    -Rebecca C.