Revelation for All
by J.J. Dewey(This is the final installment of "Infallible Authority." To read the previous chapter, click here. To start this series at the beginning, click here.)
In pointing out that the Church is out of its proper order and that the Lord could call prophets outside the general authorities of the Church to call it to repentance, several objections are brought up. The main objection is the belief that God will only speak to the Church as a whole through one man - the president. This belief is based on a revelation to Joseph Smith:
“All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy BY REVELATION and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom THIS POWER and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.” (D&C 132:7)Does it say anywhere in this scripture that this “one” appointed is the only one that can call the Church to repentance through revelation?
No, it does not.
Then what does it say for sure? It says that there is only “one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred.” Now we must ask what keys and power are referred to here? It is plainly answered by the scripture itself. We are clearly told that “this power” is the power to seal “by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” And what sort of power is this?
Does it have anything to do with receiving revelation on the mysteries of the kingdom?
When this One Anointed receives this power, he then has the privilege of receiving personal consultation from the Holy Ghost as to what associations and covenants can be sealed to be made valid in the celestial world. Since the actual personage representing the Holy Ghost can only be one place at one time (even though his influence is universal), and also for the sake of order, this power is only given to one person at a time.
The scripture furthermore does not indicate who would hold this power after the death of Joseph Smith, but it does say that Joseph holds “this power in the last days” almost as if they would belong to him throughout the dispensation. It is written that there is never but one on the earth at a time who holds this power. It does not say that there always has to be one here. Even though Joseph passed the keys of the kingdom on to the twelve apostles and also the members of the Council of Fifty, and possibly others, there is no indication that these particular keys of sealing were ever passed on. In other words, the scriptures indicate that there were certain keys the Lord reserved for Joseph to hold for the entire dispensation.
The early saints were told, “Rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him until I come.” (D&C 112:15)
Also we read, “Verily I say unto you (Joseph), the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come.” (D&C 90:3)
Even in the hymn book in the song “Praise to the Man” we find the phrase, “Ever and ever the keys he will hold.”
After the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young said, “Let no man presume for a moment that his (Joseph’s) place will be filled by another; for remember he stands in his own place, and always will.” (DHC 7:250)
Since we are told in D&C 132:7 that Joseph holds this power in the last days, it is most probable that the scripture was referring to certain powers peculiar to the keys of the whole dispensation. We do not have enough revelation here for a full explanation, but may see further light in the future. One thing is certain. The Lord does not put all His eggs in one basket and limit the gift of revelation and seership to one man. Brigham Young said that the kingdom could “stand while one member is left alive on the earth.” (DHC 7:250) If this is so, then any one member could potentially have all the keys necessary to build up the kingdom of God.
Another stumbling block is the following scripture: “Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given unto anyone to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” (D&C 42:11)
The authorities claim that this limits revelation for the Church to the authorities of the Church, but is this what the scripture says? No! It tells us that to preach the gospel for the Church and to build up the Church, one must be called by a recognized authority. This is only good order and common sense. Just as one who is not employed by a company is not recognized by the company, so is the unauthorized servant not recognized as a worker for the Church organization.
But, if one is not employed by a certain company does this mean he is powerless?
What can he do then?
He can do anything he desires of his own initiative that is within the law.
And what is within the law?
Quite a few things. Here are a few:
He can contact members of the company and give any advice he desires.
He can publish any ideas beneficial to any company in any paper or publication be desires.
He can write his own thoughts on how a company is not living up to its founders ideas or its potential.
He can create his own company if he desires.
The only thing he cannot do is to work in the name of a particular company without its permission.
People forget that most of the prophets who wrote the scriptures were not called to preach the gospel for the Church or to build up the Church, but they were called to cry repentance to the Church and to try to set the Church in order; or if it would not be set in order, they often warned the people of destruction. Just as anyone who is not authorized by a company can work outside of that company, even so have many prophets worked outside the authority of the church.
Lehi, Jeremiah, Amos, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus were all rejected by the general authorities in their day, and none of them were “regularly ordained by the heads of the church” in their dispensation, and since “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, there is no reason why a prophet of their similitude cannot arise in our day. None of the above prophets mentioned tried to build up any church except Jesus.
Thus, we conclude that D&C 42:11 is an accurate scripture, but it in no way forbids the Lord from calling a prophet to cry repentance to the Church. It does not also forbid the Lord from making other arrangements if the Church is cut off. In that case the Lord has said He would seek “another people.”
One of the most powerful scriptures used to support the infallibility of the prophet is, “And this ye shall know assuredly - that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.
“And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. For verily, I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (D&C 43:3-7)
On the surface here it certainly seems as if the president of the Church or his replacement is to be the only one that God will give revelations for the Church to, but have we not shown that the doctrine of infallibility is wrong whether it applies to a person or a position? For instance, we know that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, Jesus, and Paul were certainly not the president of any church; yet they declared many commandments and revelations. If God is an unchanging God in his principles, then how could the above quoted scripture be true?
First we need to study the historical background of this scripture. Just before the revelation was received, there came a woman among the saints named Hubble who claimed to be a prophetess and said that the Lord had revealed that she was to be a teacher in the Church. Apparently, she taught a number of things contrary to the revelations through Joseph Smith. The saints knew that both Mrs. Hubble and Joseph could not be right, so the revelation was given as an explanation. First they were told that “There is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him.” (verses 3-4)
What does this tell us? Simply that as long as Joseph (or possibly his successor) abide in the Lord, then he will be the one appointed to receive revelations. Has anyone ever stopped to consider what the Lord would do if the president did not abide in the Lord? The president of the Church has no promise if he does not abide in the Lord.
We are also told that “none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him.” (The Lord’s Anointed) Mrs. Hubble was not appointed to receive revelations through the Prophet Joseph. As far as we know, she was not even a member of the Church. Who is appointed to receive revelations through the president of the Church then? The scriptures give the answer as before mentioned: “And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this Church shall teach the principles of my gospel ... And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good; for behold the comforter knoweth all things... .” (D&C 42:12 & 16-17)
Indirectly, the elders, priests and teachers are appointed through the president of the Church; thus the Lord is consistent when He commands them to prophesy to the Church. Mrs. Hubble, however, received no such appointment.
Thus, we see that anyone in the church who is a “teacher,” “priest” or Elder can prophesy to the church. At the time I wrote the first draft of this book (1978) I was an elder in the church and thus had authority to speak to the church through the Comforter as “seemeth…good.”
If one speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost and is excommunicated, can God then continue to honor his authority?
He can for the rights of the Priesthood are “inseparably connected with the powers of heaven” not the powers of the church.
David Whitmer names many elders who received revelation: “I could give you the names of many who gave great prophecies which came to pass. I will name a few: Brothers Ziba Peterson, Hiram Page, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Christian Whitmer, John Whitmer, myself, and many others had the gift of prophesy.” (An Address to ALL Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, p. 32)
Were these individuals out of order for what they did? Verily, no.
The scripture continues, “For if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.”
This is a somewhat deceiving scripture for the Church tends to believe that the president of the Church could not be astray because if he were, he would have to appoint someone else to take his place and since he has not done this, then all must be in order. But again, is this what the scripture says? No, it does not.
Then what does it say? It says that if the gift is “taken from him [evidently because of transgression], he shall not have power.” This scripture surely gives evidence that the gift has been taken from the president of the Church for he certainly does not have the “power” spoken of. It has been over 100 years since this “power” of revelation has been manifest through the president of the Church. Of course, some think there was revelation in 1978 concerning the Priesthood, but there was no revelation written that we know of, only an “Official Declaration” of the First Presidency.
Is it not evident that the gift of revelation has been taken? The only avenue of belief available to those who insist on blindly clinging to their faith is that the president is receiving all kinds of revelations in secret of which the lowly members are not aware.
We are further told that once this gift has been taken, that the only power the anointed one will have is to I “appoint another in his stead.” At this point, this rejected prophet would have only one power from God and that is to “appoint another”. But does the scripture say that this other one has to be appointed through him? What would happen if a prophet was rejected and he lost the spirit of revelation and he decided that he did not want to appoint another to take his place? Can you imagine the humility it would take to confess before the whole Church that God had rejected you and that you were to appoint another to take your place? Most men, once they are rejected of God, would not have this humility, but would try to keep their position for the glory of the world.
If this happened, would God’s hands be tied, or would He take the man’s free agency away and force him to appoint another? No! God also has power to appoint another as He did with Brigham Young. Joseph Smith had several persons in mind to appoint to succeed him and several claims were made to ordinations and letters to that effect received, but when the chips were down, God showed His approval of Brigham Young by giving him the miraculous appearance of Joseph Smith before the Saints. Brigham Young was not selected by Joseph Smith, but by God; but on the other hand, he was indirectly appointed to this gift because he was an elder in the church.
Concerning this one who is appointed, the Lord said: “He that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you, before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (D&C 43:7)
This scripture gives us three things to watch for in the one appointed to receive revelations for the church:
(1) He will come in at the gate. What does that mean? Concerning the “gate”, Nephi says: “The Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there... for he cannot be deceived.” (2 Nephi 9:41) Since the Keeper of the gate is the Christ and He employs “no servant”, then it is obvious that the president of the Church cannot be the gate. Christ, who is the Keeper of the gate, who alone cannot be deceived, decides to whom to give revelations.
(2) He will be “ordained as I have told you.” Indeed, I have been ordained as the LDS scriptures prescribe and only the keeper of the gate can undo this ordination. Millions of people in the Church fulfill this requirement.
(3) He will “teach those revelations which you [Joseph Smith] have received.” This is the third grand key to finding the one anointed. We must ask, Does this one anointed teach the revelations of Joseph Smith as well as the other scriptures, or does he ignore them and teach contrary to them – doctrines of men, not confirmed by the Holy Spirit?
Those who support the doctrine of the infallibility of the position of the president of the Church usually cease quoting at verse seven, yet an important commandment and warning is given immediately after:
“And now behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together, ye instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my Church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments ... . That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received. Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.” (D&C 43:8 & 10)What would be taken if the church does not act correctly “upon the points of my law and commandments?” The kingdom, the authority, the gifts of the spirit, the key of knowledge- all would be gone. If this was the case, then one would not even be needed to act in the stead of the president of the Church for all would be lost and the Lord would have to seek another people as He has said. In that case all the scriptures concerning authority in the Church would be as void with us as it is with the Catholic Church.
A final evidence used to put down those who do not support the infallibility of the prophet are these words of Joseph Smith. He said, “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” (DHC 3:385)
It may surprise some of you to know that I accept that statement as being true, for we are indeed told that Satan is “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10), and anyone who follows an accusing path is indeed in danger of apostasy. The first sign of the apostate given here is that he condemns others. Let me thus set the record straight. I have no desire to condemn anyone and declare myself righteous. On the other hand, there are many active Latter-Day Saints who condemn those who have been excommunicated without reason and thus they are the ones who have the spirit of apostasy.
The second clue in finding the apostate will be that he will find fault with the Church. Many will say that I am finding fault with the Church and thus we are out of the way; but if this is the case, how do we explain Abinadi, Jeremiah, Lehi, John the Baptist, Jesus and others who found fault with the churches in their day? Were they apostatizing? No, of course not. Neither were they finding fault. The word of God which was written, and also the revelations from God to them was what found the fault. In other words, it was not man that found the fault; it was the word of God.
The true saint is not an accuser by nature, but he wants to follow the revelations of God; and if something goes against those revelations, then he must eventually speak out when moved upon by the Holy Spirit. Until he is moved upon by the Holy Spirit, he will generally keep the knowledge of the error to himself.
On the other hand, the apostate finds fault with the Church, government, friends, businesses, etc not because he is moved upon by the Holy Spirit, or has studied the scriptures, but merely because they are not doing what he personally wants according to his emotional desires. He then begins to accuse his brethren and the main object of his accusations will be those who possess the greatest light.
Before Curtis and I were excommunicated, we did not find fault with the Church. Even though the scriptures did, we did not even promote this idea. We each had over a half dozen jobs and were receiving no complaints from anyone. On the other hand, many steadfast members of the Church are constantly finding unwarranted fault with their leaders and Church organization; yet when it comes time for the temple recommend, they say they support the brethren. These brethren who are the true accusers are the first ones to defame the character of the one who truly arises and speaks or writes by the Spirit of God. They will be the first to call such a man a fault-finder.
The third clue to apostasy is that he will think that he himself is righteous. Interestingly Joseph Smith confessed to many of his follies and the Lord chews him out in numerous revelations. He once told a group of Saints that he was not a righteous man. Have you heard any of the present authorities say that they were not righteous? Have you heard any of them confess their sins?
On the other hand, the Church encourages the idea that only the most righteous ever become general authorities. I have certainly never heard a talk to refute this attitude.
Isaiah discussed the fate of the true apostate that Joseph Smith had in mind: “The scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.” (Isa. 29:20-21)
If I, or anyone else “reproveth in the gate,” then they that rise up to condemn and lay a snare are the true accusers or apostates, for he that reproveth in the gate is he that reproves by the power of the Holy One of Israel. A reprover has an entirely different attitude than an “accuser of the brethren.”
No matter how many excuses we make, it does not deny the fact that almost every prophet God has called in the past was not recognized by the authorities of the day. Why would the case be any different today? The Lord’s words to the early saints apply even more so toward us: “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received - which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.” (D&C 84:54- 56)
Think for a moment - could this scripture yet apply to the Church today, but more so? You haven’t heard of a revelation lately stating the Lord’s opinion of the Church, have you? If you want the word of the Lord on the subject, you’ll have to get it by personal revelation, for you will not receive it through the present heads of the Church.
In almost every age authorities have tried to garner power and special privileges to themselves to the exclusion of the common man so such a man would have to depend upon them for light, giving the authority a greater feeling of importance. However, the more the authorities claim the gifts for themselves, the less of the gifts we see manifest, and we see that God honors the common man more than the authority. This type of blundering was the basis of the foundation of the great and abominable church, which thing we need to be very wary of today, for the scriptures teach that God wants us all to be prophets, seers and revelators.
It is the Lord’s plan that “every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.” (D&C 1:20) It is the authorities’ plan that only they can do so; yet in denying others, themselves they shut the gate, for in the New Testament church, there were numerous prophets who were not members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We are told, “And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus (not one of the apostles), and signified by the spirit that there should be a great dearth throughout all the world.” (Acts 11:27-28) Today, the church would consider it out of order for anyone outside of the First Presidency to make such a prophecy.
Also we find, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; such as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen (Acts 13:1)
These men were all called prophets, but three of them were not apostles. Where are the corresponding prophets in the Church today? Verily, they are out there unrecognized.
Joseph Smith said, “We may look for frequent revelations ... in the Church of Christ,” and then added that, “When the head is sick, the whole body is faint.” (DHC 2:146) Does this mean that if we do not see frequent revelations, then the head is sick? That certainly seems to be the implied meaning. Thus the whole body is sick and there is a famine of spiritual gifts throughout the Church.
Why can’t we be like the early Nephites - “And there were many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiff-necked.” (Jarom, verse 4)
Why cannot we follow the admonition of Peter: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” (I Peter 4:11) The scriptures tell us that the “oracles for the whole church” are the First Presidency. (D&C 124:126; also see 90:4-5) Therefore Peter, in telling us to speak as the oracles, commands us to speak with the same authority as the First Presidency. Many people have been excommunicated for trying to follow the commandment of Peter.
When Lehi was yet in the land of Jerusalem, he explained where he received his authority to prophesy: “And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.” (I Nephi 11:22)
When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, he quoted him some interesting verses from Joel and told him the fulfillment was not yet, but soon to be. Moroni quoted: “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, and your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Also upon the servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29)
Many people say that you have to receive the laying on of hands to be a prophet, but here we see that even daughters and handmaids will prophecy, and where is the ordinance to ordain them? Where are the lady prophets in the Church today? They were even around in the New Testament times. The lady Anna was such a woman. (See Luke 2: 36-38) Lady prophets are mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament, but if one were to appear today to fulfill the prophecy of Joel, she would be cut off.
That this is in perfect order is illustrated by Alma: “And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned.” (Alma 32:23)
Joseph Smith added that “many of which (revelations and mysteries) are to be poured down from heaven upon the heads of babes; yea, upon the weak, obscure and despised ones of the earth.” (DHC 3:296)
The Lord commanded to the “elders, priests and teachers of this church ... ye shall lift up your voices by the comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good.” (D&C 42:12 & 16)
It is interesting that this commandment for the teachers to prophesy comes right after D&C 42:11 which scripture is used to suppress prophesy in the Church. Think of what the reaction would be today if a mere obscure teacher rose up and prophesied as he is commanded to do in the scripture!
Speaking of those small and great who are faithful, the Lord promises:
“And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit I will enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will - yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.” (D&C 76:7-10)Furthermore, we are told that it is not only the privilege of every man to be a prophet, but also to be a seer. Brigham Young wrote the following on December 27, 1841: “I met with the twelve at Brother Joseph’s. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects, and explained to us the Urim and Thummim which he found with the plates, called in the Book of Mormon the Interpreters. He said that every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make an evil use of it, he showed us his seer stone.” (Mill. Star 26:118)
Behold, the gifts of the spirit are not controlled nor should they be suppressed by mortal men, for Nephi tells us, “The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived (as an authority can), for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches - yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, He will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:41-42)
We are clearly told that God employs “no servant” (authority) at the gate and the Holy one of Israel alone decides who to give His revelations to. He gives them to those who ask, considering themselves fools before God. Yet our authorities today consist of men who are fairly rich, and learned, and wise in the eyes of the world. Such persons must humble themselves greatly to receive revelation from the keeper of the gate for He cannot be deceived.
Yea, the time is verily coming when the prophecy of Jeremiah will be fulfilled: “After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:33-34)
Brigham Young had this in mind when he said, “Is not the time to come when I shall not say to my neighbor, know the Lord, for he will know him as well as I (the President of the Church) do.” (J. of D. 3:89)
Once people reach a certain state of spiritual progression, they do not need to be commanded in all things for the “law” is in “their inward parts.” Eventually all humanity will be full of the Holy Ghost and there will be no more priestcraft.
Indeed, the Lord does not want us to lean on the arm of flesh, for any man is capable of error. Yet in spite of all this evidence, why, O why do people trust the fate of their immortal souls, as well as their families, to the man who leads us? Why do they not question and ask God for revelation as to the leaders standing before God? The fact that a man appears righteous before men does not qualify him to be unquestionably followed.
If Balaam, an authorized prophet of the Lord, could be so far amiss that the Lord had to rebuke him through an ass (See Numbers 22), then why do members today rage at the idea that their prophet may be rebuked through a humble man or woman?
The Lord is the highest authority, and He can command His servants as it pleases Him for He is the Master of the vineyard; and who is even the president of the Church to question His doings? If an ass can speak the word of the Lord to an authorized prophet, then why not me, you, or any other person God wishes to call?
Remember Moroni 10:4-5.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
For those interested in more of the works of J.J. Dewey, he has compiled some of his mission experiences here, and there is an easy index to most of his other works here. You can get a free CD containing his book, The Immortal, in both pdf and mp3 formats by going to to www.freeread.com. Or you can read it online right now here.
If you are interested in the key doctrine of The Literal Gathering of Israel, as were the early latter-day Saints, you'll want to follow this link.
If you are interested in the key doctrine of The Literal Gathering of Israel, as were the early latter-day Saints, you'll want to follow this link.