Sunday, August 30, 2015

How We Know Thomas Monson Is A Prophet, Seer, And Revelator

Previously: Appealing My Excommunication
Of all the issues currently dividing members of the church today, none is so divisive as the question of whether or not Thomas Monson is a true prophet, seer, and revelator.  To many, the answer is obvious:  Of course he is.  He's president of the Church, isn't he? That makes him a prophet.  Joseph Smith, the first president of the Church, was a prophet; therefore everyone who followed him in that office holds all the keys along with all the gifts Joseph possessed.  The president of the Church is a prophet, plain and simple. End of discussion.

But a growing number of faithful latter-day Saints are asking what I think is a very pertinent question: if the president of the Church is a prophet, a seer, and a revelator the same as Joseph Smith was, shouldn't he at least exhibit some of the gifts our founding prophet exhibited?  Shouldn't we see the current prophet deliver a bona fide prophecy now and then?  If he is a seer, shouldn't he exhibit the ability to translate ancient records?  And if he is a revelator, why in heaven's name does he never seem to receive and convey revelations in the voice of the Lord, the way Joseph Smith did almost on a weekly basis?

I've been studying this controversy for some time now, and I believe I've found the answer to this dilemma. As it turns out, it is entirely possible that the current president of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, can in fact be the prophet, seer, and revelator for the Church even without displaying the requisite spiritual gifts you'd think we should expect from one holding the keys to that office.  And if you'll stick with me I'll show you why that is.

But first, a little background. It might seem I'm contradicting myself as we go along, but bear with me.

What Exactly Is A Prophet, Seer, and Revelator?
In order to come to an accurate understanding of what we're dealing with here, the first thing we need to do is consult the scriptures.  When we're talking about the elements that describe a prophet, a seer, and a revelator, it is not enough to depend upon tradition. Nor are we permitted to speculate.  We have to go to the source, and that source is the revealed word of God.  Harold B. Lee, himself a former president of the church (and therefore de facto Prophet, Seer, and Revelator) put it like this:
"I say we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures.  If only each of us would be wise enough to say that we aren't able to answer any question unless we can find a doctrinal answer in the scriptures!  And if we hear someone teaching something that is contrary to what is in the scriptures, each of us may know whether the things spoken are false -it is as simple as that.  But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves.  I think therein is one of our biggest dangers of today." 
"The Lord has given us in the standard works the means by which we should measure truth and untruth.  May we all heed His word: 'Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church.' " D&C 42:59 (First Presidency Message, Ensign, December 1972.)
A while ago Mike Ellis provided a complete rundown of what the scriptures tell us we should look for in anyone claiming the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator.  It's a very thorough analysis.  For our purposes here, let's take a look at just the qualifications required for a revelator:
– He will lead through the spirit of revelation which comes by the Holy Ghost, the spirit by which Moses led the children of Israel. (D&C 8:2,3)

– Revelation for the church can only come by one who has been appointed by the person who held this power to reveal. (D&C 43:1-4)
– Revelations are distinct from general teachings. (D&C 43:5)
– Revelations must be published. (D&C 1:6; 72:21; 104:58; 118:2; 124:89)
That last qualification is one that I feel cannot be stressed enough, because I hear some members who are convinced the president receives revelations from God all the time, but he keeps those revelations to himself.  I wonder what these people think the role of a prophet is?  Is it not his job is to receive the message God wants his people to hear, and then to convey that message to the people?  What else is a prophet good for, if not to repeat God's message to the people word-for-word? 

Joseph Said "if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles [Communications] of God, and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God."

Joseph was given lots of knowledge from God that the people were unable to accept.  But not once did Joseph Smith ever receive an oracle from the mouth of God that he was told to convey, and then decide not to share it with the church. Not once did he show up at conference and summarize the Lord's intended message in his own words.  Not once. He repeated every revelation he was given to convey just as he received it. This idea I hear now and then that the prophet is giving us God's messages in conference, but he's just putting it in his own words, is foolishness.  That is not the way God reveals his oracles.
Brother Ellis reminds us of the way revelations were given through the first revelator of this dispensation:
– 82% of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants are given as if the Lord was speaking in the first person. From this we can assume that most revelations will be given in the first person, i.e. “I the Lord speak unto you…”

– Joseph Smith wrote his revelations down, or had them written down.

– Joseph Smith received revelations sometimes with and sometimes without an external aid such as an angel or seer stone.

– Joseph Smith taught that a newer revelation will not contradict a previous revelation.
So, to recap. A revelation:
– is communication from God.
– reveals previously unknown information.
– comes from the Spirit.
– is given directly to the mind or through an external source.
– comes through one appointed.
– is given in the first person as the Lord spoke it.
– is written down and published.
– will not contradict a previous revelation.

So, When Did Everything Change?
Actually, everything changed upon the death of Joseph Smith. We have never had a true prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth in the model of Joseph Smith since that June day in 1844 when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were taken up to the Lord.  If we would read our scriptures we would know exactly why that is, because the Lord told us why. It's in his revelations.

Interestingly, most members of the church in those days were well aware that the last true prophet of this dispensation would not be replaced by another.  This idea we have that an unbroken line of prophets, seers, and revelators continued through Brigham Young, and on up to our own time, is a relatively new doctrine, invented in the 20th century to convince the Saints there has been an unbroken line of authority through which the leaders were given claim over the church.

The narrative I was taught growing up in the church was that following the death of Joseph Smith, the Lord chose Brigham Young to lead the Church.  Not so. That is revisionist history, with no grounding in fact.

It was actually widely believed at the time by everyone (including Brigham Young) that Joseph Smith's oldest son was destined to take the reins. Only thing was, Joseph the Third was only eleven years old when his father was killed, so the debate between Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon centered largely on who should be the caretaker of the Church until the boy came of age. 

Rigdon argued that the duty fell upon him as the surviving member of the First Presidency. Brigham counter-argued that with the death of Joseph and Hyrum, the First Presidency was effectively dissolved. And besides, Sidney Rigdon, ailing and possibly addlepated from concussions to the head, was a poor choice to preside over the Church during this time of great crisis.  Brigham proposed that rather than the government be in the hands of just one man, the members would be better served if the Church were governed by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who would make governing decisions as a body.

What Brigham did not do was suggest that he should be the one to lead the church as prophet, seer, and revelator -or even as the president of the Church.  It is very doubtful the people would have voted for his plan if he had.

But three years later, at Winter Quarters, Brigham got to thinking maybe a presidency was just the thing that was needed after all, and so he campaigned for the position and was elected president of the Church, with his cousin and his best friend as his councilors.  Neither Brigham nor his councilors was ever called of God, and never ordained to their positions. It was an election by the voice of the people. That's all it was.

If Brigham Young had pretensions to the throne, he never tipped his hand at Nauvoo. Andrew Ehat, author of Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon succession Question had this to say about Brigham Young's intentions:
"He had never considered himself as Joseph Smith's sole successor, and second, he had long hoped for the spirit of God to move either Joseph or David to fill the station Brigham believed their father had appointed to them."
"What of Joseph Smith's family?" asked Brigham Young in 1860. "What of his boys? I have prayed from the beginning for Sister Emma and for the whole family...Joseph said to me, 'God will take care of my children when I am taken.' They are in the hands of God, and when they make their appearance before this people, full of his power, there are none but will say, 'Amen! we are ready to receive you.' "
During the debate with Sidney Rigdon on August 8th, Brigham's view was that that, since the death of Joseph, there was no prophet among the Saints anymore, and there wasn't going to be another.  We were going to have to learn to make do without a prophet at the head:
"Heretofore you have had a prophet as the mouth of the Lord to speak to you...and now, for the first time, you are called to walk by faith, not by sight." (Documentary History of the Church Volume VII, pg 232.)
Some years later, rumors began to circulate that Brigham had been next in line to succeed Joseph Smith all along. Brigham set them straight:
"The brethren testify that brother Brigham is brother Joseph's legal successor. You never heard me say so. I say that I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock... I do not think anything about being Joseph's successor." (Journal of Discourses 8:69).
Unlike most of us today, the early Saints understood why God was leaving them on their own without proper guidance.  Why? Because unlike most of us, they read the oracles God had revealed through Joseph Smith telling them the score.  Here is an excerpt from the preface to The Prophet Puzzle: Transforming a Crisis of Faith Into a Spiritual Awakening, a book that will be published later this year, written by the proprietor of the popular LDS blog 'Because I Am Watching.'  The author describes his awakening to certain truths that had been right in front of him all along:

"Somehow, in over 30 years of church membership, I had never noticed the following proclamations covered in section 124:
The fulness of the priesthood had been lost. (verse 28)
The Church would be rejected, with their dead, if the Lord's House in Nauvoo was not completed during the sufficient time allotted. (Verses 31-32.  The Nauvoo Temple was never completed and accepted of God before the saints fled.)
The Saints would be moved out of Nauvoo if they were not obedient. (Verses 45-46. The Saints were forced to flee from Nauvoo.)
Hyrum Smith was made co-president of the church with Joseph Smith preliminary to becoming sole president of the Church in fulfillment of the succession prophecy in section 43. (Verses 94-95)
The Saints in Nauvoo were practicing abominations before the Lord. (Verse 48)
Any doctrines and commandments contrary to those contained in the Book of Mormon and the revelations given through Joseph Smith up to that time, "cometh of evil and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings." (Verses 119-120.)
The author continues:
"An in-depth study of the Nauvoo era convinced me that the church had been condemned and put on probation by God before they got to Nauvoo.  No less than three revelations had been given to the saints and specified priesthood quorums notifying them that they were under condemnation.  In September of 1832 the Lord declared that "...vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation."  On December 5, 1834 the Lord informed Joseph and his brethren that 'verily condemnation resteth upon you who are appointed to lead my church and to be saviors of men; and also upon the church.  And there must needs be repentance and a reformation among you in all things...' 
"Finally, on November 5th, 1835, the Lord gave a revelation concerning the Twelve Apostles, 'Thus came the word of the Lord unto the Twelve, saying, behold they are under condemnation, because they have not been sufficiently humble in my sight.'

"Those three revelations of condemnation were just a few of many chastisements that the saints had received prior to migrating to Nauvoo. In Nauvoo, they were given the opportunity to repent and reform, but rejected the opportunity. Their failure to repent, have the fulness of the priesthood restored to them, and complete the Lord's House resulted in being rejected by God, as a church, with their dead.  Ultimately, they had to flee from Nauvoo just as they had fled from Jackson, Kirtland, and Far West."
We Thank Thee O God For An Administrative Placeholder
Many of the Utah pioneers understood they had been cursed, and willingly took their lumps. Others remained oblivious, and felt they were still God's chosen people.  Time passed, people died, new converts arrived from Scandinavia and the British Isles who knew nothing about God's former judgments, and eventually the true history got glossed over and forgotten. The Saint's cursings at the hands of the Lord came to be celebrated every July 24th as though they were tests of adversity their ancestors had overcome which eventually morphed into blessings for their descendants.

Near the end of his life Brigham Young had turned into quite the tyrant at times, becoming more and more convinced of his own self-importance. Although earlier he had said, "if Hyrum had lived he would have acted for Joseph," 22 years later he recalled things differently. He said Joseph "never appointed Hyrum to be his successor and never thought of such a thing." Well, I get a different reading from D&C 124: 96. (In the same revelation, the Lord appointed Brigham Young to be president of the traveling elders, which is quite removed from a position of government at Church headquarters. His job was to oversee the missionary program and nothing more. One wonders how different things would have been had Brigham stayed in his place.)

Three months before his death, Brigham Young's self-aggrandizing behavior had gotten so out of control, he was becoming more dictator than leader. He claimed Joseph once told him that if he, Joseph, "was out of the way, you are the only man living on this earth that can counsel and direct the affairs of the kingdom of God on the earth."

Apparently this later Brigham Young is the one that inspires Church leadership today, rather than the younger, more cautious version. At the time of Brigham's death, many in the Quorum of the Twelve were relieved his long reign had ended. According to Leo Lyman's fascinating history on succession in the Quorum, the Twelve got together at their next meeting and decided you know, maybe the church shouldn't have any more presidents. Brigham Young's "strong hand" had proven all that power in one person hadn't really done the church a lot of good overall. So the Church went back to being governed by the Quorum of the Twelve. (Succession by Seniority: The Development of Procedural Precedents in the LDS Church, Journal of Mormon History Vol 40 No. 2)

That lasted three years until John Taylor, president of the quorum, decided he'd just as soon be president of the whole Church himself like Brigham had. So it was back in the frying pan. There were quite a few years there where the quorum couldn't decide exactly how they would select the next president of the Church. I always thought God had decided that issue through revelation, but I thought wrong. There has never been any revelation from God on the matter. All the members of the quorum really knew was they didn't want George Q. Cannon to be president, so eventually they settled on the method we have today. The guy who's been waiting the longest gets to be the chief.

One thing we do know: in modern times you don't have to commune with the Lord in order to be called a prophet. "I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith," President Heber J. Grant wrote in a letter in 1926. He doesn't say why that was, but one assumes the Lord never appeared to Heber either.

During the administration of David O. McKay, things started to form into the pattern we have now, with the president of the Church elevated to super-celebrity status. I don't know how the practice got started, but at some point whenever President McKay would enter the tabernacle at the start of conference, the congregation would spontaneously burst into singing "We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet."

That hymn had been written in honor of Joseph Smith, an actual prophet, after his martyrdom, and until the mid 1950's was never sung in reference to any other man. But six decades later it has become the official anthem to honor the president of the Church whenever he is spotted in public -our own special version of "Hail To The Chief." And so today whenever a president of the church makes a personal appearance anywhere, it is all but required for the crowd to stand and burst into song and wave white handkerchiefs in tribute and celebration of him.

(In the Book of Mormon, the villain Nehor was severely rebuked by a real prophet for promoting the idea that Church leaders should be popular with the people.  He was labeled an Anti-Christ for promoting such views.  Yet today Nehor's vision is the accepted protocol throughout the Church.)

We should ask ourselves this question: if no one sang a rousing, cheering anthem when Joseph Smith walked into a room, why in hell are we doing that for anyone else?

By the mid-twentieth century, our missionary lessons started off with a recitation of Joseph Smith's first vision, and the point the missionaries brought home to the investigator was this: ever since that day in 1820, the Lord has had a prophet on the earth to guide us and teach us his will.

Well. I realized much later that wasn't really the big takeaway from the first vision at all. If Joseph learned anything from that glorious encounter, it was 1). If you have a question for God, you can take it straight to Him; you don't have to go through any ecclesiastical middlemen; and 2). Churches tend to get full of themselves. They draw close to Christ with their lips, but work to convince their members to look to the Church for answers instead of to the Lord.

But never mind. On my own mission I faithfully taught what I was told, which was actually counter to the real lessons of Joseph's experience. It's the same lesson missionaries teach today: Once you get a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that proves Thomas Monson is a prophet, too.  Don't worry about the lack of logic in that assumption.  Just have faith.

The Key To Being A Prophet, Seer, and Revelator
I promised at the beginning of this piece I would prove how it is that Thomas Monson can be rightfully called a prophet, seer, and revelator, even though he never prophecies, never translates, and never receives revelations. And the way we find this out is by examining certain things that were said by Monson's predecessor, Gordon B. Hinckley. You've heard of The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church? Well, Gordon Hinckley had some things to teach those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. And oddly enough, when he taught these things, he was not talking to us members, but to the world at large.

Let's look at Exhibit One: Hinckley's appearance on The Larry King Show back in 1998. Here is how president Hinckley reported on it in that November's issue of the Ensign magazine:
In the course of the show Mr. King asked me point-blank, "What is your role? You're the leader of a major religion. What's your role?"
I replied, "My role is to declare doctrine. My role is to stand as an example before the people. My role is to be a voice in defense of truth. My role is to stand as a conservator of those values which are important in our civilization and society. My role is to lead." (What Are People Asking About Us? Ensign November 1998, pg 70)
As I went down that list, it occurred to me that every single one of the roles President Hinckley claimed made him special could have applied to me as a missionary.  Heck, they could have applied to me as a faithful representative of the church from my high school days forward.

Declare doctrine? Check.
Stand as an example? Check.
Be a voice in defense of truth? Check
Stand as a conservator of values that are important to society? Check
Lead?  Well okay, I've never really been much of a leader. So I'll give that one to Hinckley.

But you get my drift. Now granted, it's possible Larry King might have caught our president off guard, and so Hinckley may have had to come up with some general statements off the top of his head.  That could explain why they sound so platitudinous and uninspired.  But remember, Hinckley is retelling this account after the fact.  In reviewing his answers for the members, he had a chance to add, improve, and expound on them for the Ensign article, but he didn't.  He let the words lie there as-is, almost boasting about how well he responded to Larry King's questions.

By the way, did you notice anything missing from that list? I sure did. The three things Gordon Hinckley somehow forgot to mention when asked "what is your role?" are the following:
1. I am God's Living Prophet to the whole world.
2. I am God's special Seer.
3. I receive revelations directly from God and I convey those messages to the world.
Let's look at this another way. Suppose you, just some average LDS guy or gal, found yourself as a guest on the Larry King show in 1998, and Larry had asked you "You're a Mormon. Tell me, what is the role of the president of your church?"

Wouldn't you instantly answer "He is a prophet, seer, and revelator"?

Well, wouldn't you?

So why do you suppose the freakin' president of the church himself forgot to mention those important details?!

Aren't we constantly being told that being a prophet, seer, and revelator is the president's primary function? And isn't Hinckley's failure to mention that function as one of his "roles" the biggest, baddest, most glaringly obvious omission in the history of broadcast television?

Consider this: could it be that Gordon Hinckley somehow knew he really didn't have those abilities? Is it possible he was missing that particular skill set, and he knew it?

Before you answer, please take a look at Exhibit B. This is the last one, I promise.

Exhibit B is from Gordon Hinckley's press interview with Don Lattin, Religion Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, conducted the year before the botched TV interview with Larry King.

Now, you may well ask, "Hey Rock!" (Whuuut?) "If this is all about proving Thomas Monson has a legitimate claim to be called Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, why are you showing examples involving Gordon B. Hinckley?"

The answer is simple. Hinckley is the guy who gave all the media interviews. Like me, he couldn't bring himself to walk away from an open mike. And unlike me, he was very, very good at giving interviews.

And when I say he botched the interview with Larry King, I only mean he didn't give the answer any of us Mormons expected to hear. From a public relations standpoint, the interview was a flawless success. Gordon B. Hinckley was a master at PR. His friendly, avuncular personality completely disarmed everyone who might try to corner him with a hard question or embarrassing accusation. I recall sitting in front of the television during Hinckley's 60 Minutes interview and cheering at the way he owned Mike Wallace. There was not an awkward question anyone could possibly lob at him that he couldn't masterfully deflect.

If the question was something potentially embarrassing about our past or current practices, Hinckley simply smiled and dismissed the matter as not really relevant to the church today, deftly changing the subject to something he would prefer to focus on, such as the phenomenal growth the church was now experiencing. Interrogated about some deeper doctrine he didn't want to get into, he would say, "I've heard of that, but I don't really know much about it. I don't know that we teach it" and then steer the questioner in another direction.

Hinckley came off as likable, affable, and completely lacking in guile. He may have had only a Seminary level grasp of LDS doctrine, but he sure knew how to gussy up the Church's standing with the media.  He was the right guy, with the right face, and the right demeanor to represent us to the world.  Gordon Hinckley probably did more good for the image of the church than any president since David O. Mckay.

As you'll soon see, the reason I discovered how Gordon Hinckley was able to lay claim to the title of Prophet, Seer, and revelator is the same reason Thomas Monson can make the claim today, and the reason Monson's successor (likely Russell Nelson) will be able to own that title tomorrow.

The key to it all is contained in Hinckley's interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Pay attention and see if you can detect the clue:
Q: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church?
A: I am so sustained, yes. (Laughter)
Q: Now, how would that compare to the Catholic Church? Do you see yourself as Catholics would see the pope?
A: Oh, I think in that we're both seen as the head officer of the church, yes.

They've pretty much exhausted that topic in four lines. Before they move on to other things, Hinckley is asked how the revelation process actually works. And since he doesn't care to mention he has never received one, he minimizes the need for further revelation because, like, you know, we've already got plenty of those left over from Joseph Smith. Here comes the deflection: "We don't need much revelation," Hinckley says, "We need to pay more attention to the revelation we've already received."

True enough. We do need to pay more attention to what we've already received.  But what about you, Gordon Hinckley? If you are a prophet, seer, and revelator sent by God to call the whole world to repentance, shouldn't you be shouting that fact from the rooftops?  Shouldn't you boldly "declare the doctrine" you were called and ordained and anointed by God to declare?

Well, no.  There's no need for that. Because you're really not qualified.

Because just like Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and all the so-called "prophets" that came before him, Gordon Hinckley was never ordained to that calling by the Lord.  In that short little answer "I am so sustained," Hinckley has admitted he holds the title of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator not because God called him to fulfill that sacred role, but because he was elected to it by the membership of the church.  He is a prophet, seer, and revelator only because the members of the church who elected him president say he is also a prophet, seer, and revelator as well. The voters affirmed it. That makes it official.

The key to everything is right there in that four word answer to Don Lattin's question that asked "are you a prophet, seer, and revelator"?
"I am so sustained."
And here's something I find very curious: why does the text of the interview show Hinckley laughing as he drops that bombshell?
Question: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church? 
Uh-yup. That's what they tell me! (Nyuk nyuk nyuk)
Appointed, Anointed, Ordained, Sustained, Or Set Apart?
Think back to the last conference session when Dieter Uchtdorf called for a sustaining vote on President Monson. Did he tell the congregation that God had called and ordained Thomas S. Monson to be the prophet, seer, and revelator and then ask the members to sustain that ordination?  Or did he simply call for a vote from the members to sustain a proposal?

It was a proposal. The same proposal that is put before the congregation every conference session:
"It is proposed we sustain Thomas S. Monson as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." 
The members raised their right hands, and the proposal was sustained. Good. We have again given our common consent to have Thomas Monson remain in office as president of the Church.

After that sustaining, Uchtdorf says, "It is further proposed we sustain President Thomas S. Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator." Everyone (well, nearly everyone) raises their right hand and endorses the previous vote they made when they first elected Monson to that office back in 2008.

This process is repeated in stake conferences all around the world, so that legally the Church can say that the voting members overwhelmingly have declared that the man they elected to be president of their church can also lay claim to the title of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. That's how we know he is one.  Because we voted to give him that title.

But how can this be? Doesn't God have to have some say in any of this? 

No He doesn't. As Joseph Smith declared in frustration back in 1842 as he read aloud from Ezekial 14, if the people wish to deceive themselves, God will let them deceive themselves.  If the people want idols, God will go ahead and let them have their idols. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 238.)

Not only will God allow the people to deceive themselves, he'll allow the prophets to deceive themselves too, and allow the prophets to deceive the people, if that's what the people want. Joseph Smith told the latter-day Saints they were already darkened in their minds for depending too much on the prophet.  How much more darkened do you suppose our minds have become, after a hundred and seventy additional years of convincing ourselves that men who never once in their lives ever spoke one prophecy or translated one record, or delivered so much as one tiny revelation are in fact, and in deed, and in word, actual, living Prophets, Seers, and Revelators?

I'd say that tells us our minds are not just darkened; they're pretty far gone.

We have allowed ourselves to assume, absent any evidence whatsoever, that God called and ordained the presidents of the Church to not only preside over the church, but to also have received the gifts of prophecy, of seeing, and of revealing the will of God.  Yet when Brigham Young decided he would like to take Joseph Smith's place as president of the Church, he wasn't even set apart or ordained by his fellow apostles to that office, let alone to some office of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.  Brigham maintained that the apostolic church president and counselors needed no setting apart or ordination.  All that was necessary was a sustaining vote of the people.  After all, it is the church of the latter-day Saints. What they say goes. (At least that's the pretense.)

Starting with Lorenzo Snow, presidents began to be set apart as president of the church, but they were deliberately not ordained to that office, and certainly never appointed prophets, seers, and revelators. In an 1899 meeting of the First Presidency and apostles, Joseph F. Smith explained that it was proper for the First Presidency to be set apart, but "not ordained."  In 1916 Joseph F. Smith, the Quorum of Twelve's president, emphatically instructed the senior president of the Seventy that "the president was set apart and not ordained." (See Quinn, the Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg 252-253.)
"On 12 April 1951 David O. McKay became the first LDS church president to be "ordained" since the founding prophet. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith "ordained and set apart" President McKay. At seventy-four Apostle Smith may have forgotten his own father's restriction against ordaining presidents of the LDS church." (Quinn, ibid.)
Here's something to think about. The current crop of usurpers in the Church hierarchy will tell you their line of authority goes all the way back to Joseph Smith, because every one of the presidents was ordained of God same as Joseph Smith was.  Okay, fine. We can actually trace the ordination of Joseph Smith, because he was personally called and ordained by God to the work in D&C 5:6.  But after Joseph, the historical record shows us that line of ordinations abruptly stopped, and does not resume until 1951, at which time George Albert Smith did not pass on his authority to the next president, because he was already dead. Instead a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, who did not have the keys of a prophet, seer, and revelator, performed the ordination of David McKay.

Even if said apostle did somehow hold the keys and pass them on, wouldn't it be a stretch for the current leaders to claim they have a continuous, unbroken line of authority going back to Joseph Smith?  If Brigham Young had no authority to act as prophet, seer, and revelator, where did Thomas Monson get his?

Most members of the church are under the impression that our modern prophets are ordained directly and in person by God as Joseph Smith was.  Certainly Church leadership does nothing to dissuade us in that belief.  Every Conference session we watch as a parade of sycophantic general authorities goes up to the podium and heaps praise upon the current president, encouraging the people to follow his wise counsel if they wish to be saved in the eternities beyond.  And Monson just sits there behind them soaking it all in.

Here's what I want to know: why doesn't Monson himself put a stop to all this obsequious fawning?  He's sitting right there!  Why doesn't he ever say anything?

Just once I would like to see Monson stand up in the middle of one of Russell Nelson's endless brown-nosing love fests, take the microphone away, and shout "Enough!  Let's take our focus off ourselves for once and get back to remembering that our salvation lies in Jesus Christ, and not in the leaders of any church."

But that isn't likely to happen.  There is too much at stake. Because the truth is, whoever is the president of the LDS Church has more power and wealth at his command than you can possibly imagine. Ever since the Church was reorganized in 1923 under corporate charter putting physical ownership of everything in the hands of the president of the corporation, the president of the Church is the Church.

And that's no exaggeration.  It is a legally recognized reality.  It's called the Corporation of the President because it all belongs to him. Every temple, every chapel, every university campus, every shopping center, every condo, and every high-rise office building; they are all his personal property.  If the president was inclined to, he could lock us all out of our own chapels, sell them off, and keep all the money for himself. It would be his legal right.

That's a lot of power to be entrusted in only one man.

He doesn't need your sustaining vote, because he owns it all anyway.  There are currently 15 million members of the Church worldwide, but only an estimated 4.5 million of those members ever show up to stake conference for the vote to sustain or oppose the president.  The other two thirds church members whose names are on the roles are long gone.  They've already voted to oppose giving one man all that power. They voted with their feet.

Our president doesn't have anything near a majority vote, but why should he care? The inactives aren't posing a challenge, and the remaining active members think he's the bloody Pope.

The grand title of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator is an empty label with absolutely no power and authority from heaven to back it up.  But that doesn't matter. The corporate charter, that document that was drafted without any authorization or input from the members or from God, effectively cuts the members out of the deal. Ultimately their vote doesn't matter anyway.

It should be self evident to anyone with eyes to see that Jesus Christ no longer directs the operations of a global conglomerate where religion is only one subsidiary among many.  Our God has made it clear over and over again why He has abandoned the institution: it's because we as a church refuse to repent. We remain stuck in our pride, boasting of how incredibly lucky we are to have a prophet, seer, and revelator at our head to guide our every action.

There is some good news in all of this. God may have abandoned the structrual Church for the time being, but he hasn't abandoned the individual members. He hasn't abandoned you. You can break out of the darkness that is clouding your ability to think clearly, and choose to follow Him instead of a feckless band of corporate suits who constantly demand your obedience.  All you have to do is make the choice to stop doing those things that are keeping your mind darkened, and start doing those things that will bring the light back in. 

In Mosiah 18:20 we learn that those who hold positions in the church of Christ are commanded to "preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord."

You may have noticed that the modern Church leaders seem to spend an awful lot of time trying to convince you that you should put your faith in them.  Feel free to back away from that teaching.  Repent of your idolatry and put your faith in Christ alone.  Act with an eye single to the glory of God and no other, and you'll be on your way in no time.

And you'll be in good company.  There are currently untold thousands of faithful, believing latter-day Saints who have been noticing the Church has stopped working the way it should.  They are choosing to turn away from the Magisterium and placing their focus back on Christ and His gospel.  Most important of all, a growing number of faithful members are learning they can plant the seeds of Zion in their own communities. They don't have to wait for instructions from Church headquarters as to where and when they should act. Last month I spoke at the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake about this growing phenomenon, which I refer to as "Uncorrelated Mormonism."  I've provided a link to the audio of that talk below.

Some of these people have decided to leave the corporate Church behind. Others, like me, have been forcibly expelled for asserting, as the apostle Peter put it in Acts 5, that "we ought to obey God rather than men."  But the greater number are finding there is no reason they can't remain members of their local LDS congregations and still worship Christ. If you are truly His, there should be no need to separate yourself from others who believe as you do. If you are His sheep, you'll know His voice.

The leaders in Salt Lake City have placed themselves on a separate trajectory. They will continue to go their own way, and there is not much you can do other than resolve to remain a good Mormon without their input. For a little while they might throw fits and tantrums and threaten you with loss of privilege as they work to convince you that you still need them.  Ignore them and follow Christ. I promise, you'll be fine.

The Lord wants you in His church. Read again D&C 10:67-68, and do what needs to be done to remain a member of His church in good standing. All you have to do is let go of those false beliefs you grew up with, and turn instead toward the truth.

It isn't hard at all. That's what it means to repent.



(Here is the link to my Sunstone presentation.  It may be a bit confusing if you get what looks like error messages.  Ignore them. Click the link, then in the new window, click the 'play' icon, then 'Download,' then 'Download Anyway').

Leaving the Church But Remaining a Mormon: The Rise of Uncorrelated Mormonism

Following that presentation, I was invited to sit in on a panel with other recently excommunicated Mormons to express our thoughts on the current purging of members who for one reason or another don't quite fit in.  Although I continue to embrace the gospel of the Restoration, others on that panel run the spectrum from sincere questioners to agnostic unbelievers. It was a a fun, interesting discussion and I'm glad I was part of it. Here's that link:

Meet the Ex-Mormons

Some clever wag summarized the insanity by creating this meme:

While I was participating on this panel, the real news was being made in another room, as attorneys Denver Snuffer, Daymon Smith, David Read, and Bryndis Roberts exposed the seamy underbelly of the LDS Super-corporation on the panel they chaired, "The Mormon Legal Mind."

I would recommend you not miss this one. I have no link to post to, but that presentation is available for sale at the Sunstone site.  Proceeds go to support the Sunstone Foundation. You can purchase audio recordings of that one, and every other presentation by clicking here.

The Mormon Legal Mind is audio number 371. Order it by that number.  Daymon Smith just posted a link to the transcript of his portion on his blog, Uncorrelated Mormonism.

I attended several presentations that I thought would be of particular interest to readers of this blog, but for the sake of brevity I may give a rundown on them in a future post.

All The News That Fits -Plus All The Stuff That doesn't Fit:
I wanted to also mention a wonderful new website,, that has recently come on the scene.  This internet portal has rapidly become the starting place on the web for all things related to Mormonism, in whatever iteration you choose.  You can link to the Church's website from here; you can find links to news and websites covering orthodox Mormons, unorthodox Mormons, splinter group Mormons, former Mormons, all the apologetics websites, every Mormon themed blog in the bloggernacle -you name it. If there's a place on the web that has anything to do with anything in the wide spectrum of Mormonism, you'll find it by starting here.  Best of all, there are lists of communities forming all over the world, so you can find others in your area who fall into whatever niche category of "Mormon" you feel fits you. It's always nice to find like-minded people, and this is the place to start building those kinds of communities.


jstcommentary said...

Great job Rock!

Anonymous said...

Rock, very nice presentation. That's all that I can say that is good. You have presented truth, and it makes me sick to my stomach. The web of deceipt that defines the church today - woven of false doctrine, culture, tradition, the philosophies of men, and unrighteous dominion - is so masterfully and insidiously constructed that it is worthy only of the master of lies himself. Yet, paradoxically, I would not know the Savior, even to the level that I do, were it not for the LDS Church. I believed the narrative at one time, and it did me much good. Now, I can believe it no longer. Onward and upward. There is no plan B when it comes to the Savior.

grindael said...

There were many "revelations" that Joseph did not publish. Also, when did he present the polygamy "revelation" to the church? It was presented to the High Council, but not to the Church in his lifetime. He also dictated that revelation in July and then three months later proclaimed that no one should teach or practice the doctrine of plurality of wives in the church and that a man could only have one wife. This seems rather erratic on his part.

Unknown said...

I have come to many of these same conclusions. I recently started attending the Community of Christ (RLDS, the Church reorganized by Joseph Smith III, referenced earlier in this post), and I keep attending because I was searching for some of these things.

The Community of Christ is led by a Prophet that acts as President of the Church. No President either LDS or Community of Christ has matched the revelation that the Prophet Joseph Smith did obviously. The Community of Christ very strongly believe in continuing revelation, their D&C has 164 Sections, that last being added within the last 10 years. They are added with a vote of common consent.

I also like how the CoC President of the Church is ordained before the body of the Church and not behind closed doors of secret chambers, just like the days of Joseph Smith.

I appreciate your thoughts and how they help confirm for me the decision I have made for me and my personal spiritual journey.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

As you may know, I am not inclined to accept the view that Joseph Smith received revelations on plural marriage. I don't accept any doctrine that Joseph did not teach when he was alive, or that cannot be verified by the historical record, or "revelations" that appeared after his death in someone else's handwriting. The historical record is tainted.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm especially disinclined to accept as fact a practice Joseph Smith repeatedly and vigorously denounced while he as alive, no matter what others may have said about it.

Unknown said...

Since resigning from TSCC ...clergy abuse...women treated like chattel ... (a lot more...) I, an ignoramous discovered "the truth" ... and I am still trying to "wrap my head around" how the Mormon Church can operate claiming to be "a church" when TSCC is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Public Charity" according to the IRS, created and run by "The Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", a Corporation Sole whose corporate executives, i.e. Monson ... get to his postion of President by longevity in the line of corporate executive successors lined up, nothing to do with alleged "Christiantiy" of TSCC (I now contend TSCC is counterfeit Christiantiy).

I still want/need to understand how TSCC can omit informing the public "marks" that its $$money$$ path under the law is NOT as a church, but as a "Public Charity", a corporation, created by men, allowing only men in the corporate leadership not "faith based" that leads to, automatically, crossing over to being "Prophet...";

Joseph Smith's "creation" literally does not exist as "a Church" today; just the "Corporation of the President of ..." now lays claims to Joseph Smith's version of Christianity. I don't understand this; yet?

Also, TSCC has property held in yet another corporation named "The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

I am open for input, refer me to websites.

Milo Jury said...

I have been of late thinking about conference talks. The vast majority seem to take as topic a topic based in research or common sense. The speaker then applies a sprinkling of scriptures as a seal of approval. I must conclude that much of our modern-day scripture is really man-made philosophies mingled with slivers of the Word of God.

Milo Jury said...

And when these talks are turned into books by Deseret and Swagull, or turned into a multitude of memes in social media, are we then practicing priestcraft, to set ourselves up as lights to the world?

Anonymous said...

Very thought-provoking, Rock. (It was nice to shake your hand at the talk at the end of Sunstone, too!) I have long said that if I could believe in the whole Joseph Smith story anymore, I would definitely be a Rock Waterman-style Mormon, but, I find Joseph and the early church's own history almost as problematic as the church history since then. But it's clear that the church has never been remotely the same since Joseph died. "Prophets" that don't prophesy, "seers" that don't see, and "revelators" that reveal only their business acumen.

Someone said recently that the early church was basically the FLDS today. I think that's a bit harsh, but, the evidence seems pretty convincing to me that Joseph practiced polygamy (I admit to not reading any primary sources myself; I rely on podcasts and blogposts for my Mormon History lessons). I also have problems with the multiple versions of the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, etc. etc. You represent the version of Mormonism that I grew up believing in and would still believe in probably if that version of Mormonism actually coincided with the reality of the LDS Church.

Regardless of my lack of belief, I always enjoy your posts and appreciate all the care and thought and study you put into them.

SmithFamily said...

The spirit speaks common sense, and this post reeks of common sense to the soul - an answer to heartfelt prayers, the Lord knew he could trust Rock to spill out for another of his children's sake, ours. Thank you for speaking with the tongue of angels (mixed with your own personal touch).

You know when the spirit speaks to you, besides the burning of the spirit in the bosom, when it is as simple for a child to understand, and coming from a man with child like understanding, this was spoken simply by the spirit to be right.

Now, to make sure we pray for and maintain the charity and love to help even the brethren to awaken, so we can have fun airplane pilots and ricks college presidents as bff.

Tina said...

"Corporation of the presiding bishopric" not "Corporation of the president". I would love to see more references. Other than that I liked reading this. Thank you!

Randy and Julie said...


There are actually three corporations. One is the Corporation of the President which is a Corporate Sole. All assets of the Church are owned by the President of the Church. It's board of directors consists of the President of the Church, his counselors in the First Presidency, and the 12 Apostles.

From Wikipedia, they state the following about the organizational structure: "Tax-exempt corporations of the LDS Church include the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was organized in 1916 under the laws of the state of Utah to acquire, hold, and dispose of real property; the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was established in 1923 in Utah to receive and manage money and church donations; and Intellectual Reserve, Inc., which was incorporated in 1997 to hold the church's copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. Non-tax-exempt corporations of the church include Bonneville International and the Deseret News."

Here is a Wikipedia page for The Corporation of the Presiding Bishopric.

If you are daring enough to explore what others believe and have published about the Church, you can check out this site.

I hope this satisfies what you were asking about above. Have a good weekend.


Anonymous said...

I always thought "president" was not a priesthood office but an assingment to direct an organization or quorum operations and therefore ordination was not required. When one considers priesthood terminology such as the offices names: a bishop (or guardian) is a shepperd (one who is to protect God's fold on a local level), a priest is a servant who admnisters the ordinances, an apostle is one who is sent to testify of the Resurrection of the Savior (having learnt of it through a theofanny); it comes to mind that priesthood is more about to serve than to govern or to lead. "President" is indeed a word that implies goverment. Concerning the titles "prophet", "seer" and "revelator" these words apply to those who receive the gifts of the Spirit and DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH PRIESTHOOD. Elder Bruce R. McConkie declared in Nauvoo at the dedication of the Monument to Women: “Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord. He is no respecter of persons nor of sexes, and he blesses those men and those women who seek him and serve him and keep his commandments.” (Ensign, Jan. 1979, p. 61.) I know McConkie is not the most brilliant mormon but I think he is right in this saying. I would add that one wouldn't even need to be a mormon at all in order to make prophecies, translate records or receive revelations (Joseph Smith first prophecies were made when he was baptized (see Joseph Smith-History 1:73), translated the BoM before he was baptized and receive the visit of Moroni (received revelations) before he was baptized also)

Anonymous said...

My parents used to have this little green quote book that sat on the back of the toilet. Everyday you were supposed to read a quote that would make you feel good. The way members of the Church today use the scriptures remind me of this quote book. They just pick a few verses out of context and apply them to whatever they want. It's sad. the scriptures are beautiful and rich yet we use them like a little green quote book that sits on the back of a toilet.

Unknown said...

I am reluctant to leave a comment, since so many times I've had them deleted, by those who would surprise you, but I'm going to take the chance again to share my thoughts and opinion on this Mormon dilemma here, for the first time. I join with others noting the clarity of your writing, Rock, but there is an element missing from the development of your premise:

Lebanon has become a fruitful field and the fruitful field is now esteemed as a forest. The deaf around the world have heard the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind have seen out of darkness and out of obscurity. The meek also have increased their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men have rejoiced in the Holy One of Israel, by the millions.

Surely, Jacob's face will soon no longer turn pale, when he sees his children, the work of the Lord's hands, in the midst of him, sanctifying his name and sanctifying the Holy One of Israel, truly fearing the God of Israel. Those that erred in spirit have now come to understanding, while those who murmured have learned doctrine, is it not so, surely?

Where would we be if this work, this strange work, this act, this strange act, to build the kingdom of God on earth and establish Zion, had not gone forward, as it has, borne upon the backs and the shoulders of so many dedicated servants of the Lord, who have rounded their shoulders to bear off the responsibility given them?

I'll tell you where we would be, if you will bear with me. We would be facing the terrible one, who has now broken down the hedge, protecting the Lord's vineyard, and is poised to spring upon the Twelve, to break them down and to destroy the works of the Lord's servants, and cause the sleeping servants to flee away, with no hope of salvation.

Nevertheless, the terrible one shall be brought to naught, and the foundation of the wicked destroyed, who bent the bow and placed the arrow upon the string that they might shoot at the upright in heart. And this because the life of the Lord's servant is in his hands, and though he shall be marred because of those who will not believe, though the BoM has been declared unto them, yet the Lord shall heal him and show unto them that his wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

The breaker shall be sent to break out the multitudes of Jacob from Bozrah, the warriors of the Lord, his young men, millions of them, and his middle age men, who make a great noise for the multitude of them, shall march to the Lord's vineyard, the Lord of hosts going before them, to redeem his vineyard, for it his, he bought it with money. And if the enemy gathers against them, they will avenge the Lord of them, breaking down their hedge, throwing down their tower and scattering their watchmen.

The army of the Lord has become very great, clear as the moon now shinning over my head and will be as terrible as an army with banners, when the time comes. But first comes the scourge. Wait for it.

Robert Horning said...

There is at least one of the office holders of the LDS Church Presidency post-Brigham Young that claims to have received a revelation, and that would be Joseph F. Smith (son of Hyrum I might add here too). More than one revelation perhaps could be suggested, but this one is currently cannonized in LDS scripture as Section 138.

It is unfortunate that section wasn't added to the LDS cannon while President Smith was still alive, but that is another story. Then again, the make up of the Pearl of Great Price as one of the standard works is a really interesting story all to itself, particularly the changes to that body of scripture in the 1970's that is a story to be told all to itself. I don't have a copy of it, but the "Book of David" is something that was created and put into the Pearl of Great Price... and rejected by the full Quorum of the Twelve and something that needs to be told.

As for Gordon B. Hinckley, the closest I ever heard him getting to something like a revelation is the hopefully famous prophecy of 7 years of feasting followed by 7 years of famine that he gave in a priesthood session of General Conference. I think it was April 2001, but I might be mistaken. The talks in that session (and especially his) were mainly about financial responsibility and encouraging the members to get their financial houses in order by paying off debts as quickly as possible and not get into burdensome debts in general. Most of that session was generally sound financial counseling advise. The seven years of plenty would have ended in 2008, which also hopefully is something meaningful to the lives of folks living in America in terms of economic problems.

The one thing I do remember from that session of conference though that really struck me is that here was the Prophet speaking before the church as a whole, and even making a prediction of the future that foretold of dangerous consequences if members did not heed his advise. If there was ever a time that perhaps there should have been "thus sayeth the Lord" and to turn it into a real revelation that would actually be published, this was it. It really was prudent and timely advise that would have even helped members who heeded his advise at the time and in many ways would have cemented his reputation as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

Unfortunately, President Hinkley did none of those things. He even went out of his way in that session of General Conference hedging his bets on if this was a real revelation and then even went into length basically saying this was his own opinion and not anything from God. That didn't stop members talking afterward saying "can you believe that revelation?"

Unknown said...

Hi Rock,

As usual your post was great.

Do you know of anyone that has done a piece on the temple recommend interview, its history and changes to the questions? (if it has had any)

Could you direct me to any you know of.

I'm interested to see when the question about sustaining the president and quorum of the 12 became prerequisite to entering the temple.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I think that oath of allegiance to the Brethren was added in 1996, per this piece in Sunstone:

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robert Horning,
My reference to a lack of revelations since Joseph Smith is to oracles presented through a prophet in the voice of God. Section 138 is a vision, and would not qualify as a revelation. Just as the Articles of Faith are technically "scripture" because they have been included in the canon, JFS' dream may be part of our scriptures, but it is not a revelation.

I think If the committees who decided these things wanted to include a pertinent dream or vision, they should have included Joseph Smith's dream of his visit to his old farm. That one would have had some meaning to us today.

Kurtan said...

This video was posted on Rocks Facebook awile back, but i think it's relevant to this post.

TheGrey said...

Wow. Interesting stuff. Thanks again, Rock, for providing more mind (and spirit!) bending material. I appreciate your ability to succinctly illustrate these problems in a very readable, yet sound and logical manner.

Take care. :-)

Mike said...

You must have missed the post where Rock explains Joseph was not a polygamist.

Lester said...

Llewllyn, you might find the short history of the temple interview over at Exploring Mormonism interesting.

Questions used during the Mormon Reformation of 1856-1857 are noteworthy:

"Some of the early questions were: Have you Murdered anyone in Cold-Blood? Have you knowingly branded another persons cattle or livestock? Have you plowed or harvested grain from a field that was not your own? Do you, and your family, wash or bathe as regularly as you are able?"

Brigham was really putting the squeeze on folks. The gall of asking if one were a murderer who hadn't bathed as often as one was able!

Brother Wayne said...

Rock Waterman is a good man. He has a testimony of the Restored Gospel I am not sad for Rock. I am sad for the bureaucrats who ex'd Rock. They will one day rue the day that the cut off Rock. But this has been going on such the turn of the Century (1900) when the Church set up a whole class of people who received Testimonies of Plural Marriage and set about to keep Faith and Covenant with that Principle. The Church also employed civil authorities in 1954 to persecuted these people, break up their families and put their fathers in jail. What happened to Rock Waterman is nothing new. This Corporate Church has BETRAYED the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. If Brother Joseph came among them today, they'd throw him out of this Corporate Church today. They might even kill him.. certainly marginalize him.

I agree. When I was excommunicated, I felt FREE. I was FREE of the ridiculous orthodoxy, FREE to write whatever I want, FREE to study and learn from whatever source I want.. FREE to speak my mind. I LOVE THE FREEDOM and like Rock, no, none of us reject or turn our backs on what we believe so strongly to be TRUE. I LOVE the Restored Gospel. ALL OF IT!!! Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God. The BOM is true. I love it. and to me it is as the Nectar of the Gods.

Okay. Rock buddy, let's go forward.


Jared Livesey said...


In Hinckley's defense, he was most likely laughing as a stress relief mechanism, not because he was a clown or making a joke. He had been asked a question point-blank (that would not likely ever be asked in a Church setting) which went to one of the Church's core claims. Not being a liar (rock), yet having to give an affirmative or else cede the Church's claims (hard place), that was (probably) the only answer that could leave the Church's claims intact while being honest. As you say, it was likely the case that he knew he was no prophet after the mold of Joseph Smith.

Under similar circumstances, people do laugh and smile - to relieve stress.

On a different topic, does this sound familiar?

Hollywood loves blacklists. We have a world full of people that just love a reason to punish somebody and shut somebody out. It’s the same old witch-hunt. ‘That’s a witch! Burn that witch! We can’t have witches in our midst!’ The irony is, the people doing it now consider themselves great warriors for tolerance.

This ‘let’s punish people’ mindset is what’s wrong with American politics right now. It’s impossible to have a civil conversation because you can’t just disagree. The climate is such that if you don’t believe as I do, I’m going to punish you for your views. I’m not going to change your mind. I’m just going to do anything possible to keep anyone else from listening to you.

Though I doubt Card would agree, if one substituted "Mormonism" for "American politics," it would still be true. Signs of the times, folks.

Anonymous said...

Way to sock it them Rock!!!! It's a great article. You're back on your game.


Unknown said...


Great piece! Question. I had the beginning of a crisis of faith during one of hinckley's interviews and I can't find what I very distinctly remember him saying. The interviewer asked him essentially how you receive revelation for the whole church. On my mission, I taught 100% that the prophet was like moses, he talked with God face to face in the temple, the Lord literally runs this church, you need to be a part, yet in the interview, I realized I had a much stronger testimony of a prophet than the prophet did. His answer was something like this; I pray just like every other member of the church and if I get a feeling one way or another, then that is my answer, except my feelings and impressions are for the whole church. I know to many, that might be what you believed all along, but for me, I was shocked, floored, and felt like a huge liar on my whole mission. Do you know where this interview was, do you remember the question and answer?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sounds like part of the Lattin interview, Kalley. Notice the "we." Decisions in the church today are made after a discussion around the corporate board table. It' not a communication between the prophet and the Lord:

"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. I liken it to Elijah's experience. When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. But in a still, small voice. Now that's the way it works."

Kinda like the regular ol' inspiration any of us receives in answer to prayer, don't it? Quite different from a spoken revelation face to face of the kind both you and I taught in our mission days.

Seems like the prophet has the same access to God as the rest of us. And we thought he was someone special.

Unknown said...


Wasn't Rigdon ordained as a Prophet, Seer and Revalator in Navoo 1841. Can't remeber the citation. Also, hirum and Willam Law (who was excommunicated).

I think the essay may need to include the above since it makes the transition to BY even more weirded in light of the current geritocracy where one wouldn't be seen as unfit as the leader due to their age. In fact, age contributetes to own current leaders President transition.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

There was an announcement in the Times and Seasons by the First Presidency acknowledging Rigdon as a prophet, seer, and revelator, but I couldn't find it in time and didn't want to hold up the post. It would have added a level of weirdness, alright.

And I hadn't even thought of the irony that today they'll put a man in office no matter how infirm he is (and continue to ask the members to vote to sustain a man as president whose dementia would indicate he is not fit to preside. All because they've painted themselves into a corner with the infallibility of the Prophet mantra.) High Weirdness indeed.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Someone on Reddit's ex Mormon forum noticed something about the Boise Rescue that reveals the Magisterium's strategy in dealing with those who question authority:

"I think the Boise Rescue was never intended to confront the more common issues with people leaving the church, much of the phrasing seemed to speak very much to Denver Snuffer and to a lesser extent, Rock Waterman. Oaks' and Turley's talks were basically an appeal to authority wankfest by a couple of lawyers. However...

"The Boise Rescue did reveal a very important thing that will likely be standard fare in future events like it, the plan of attack.

"TSCC has to know that they cannot address the issues straight up, Google can destroy their pathetic arguments in a matter of minutes. Talking specifics also invites those ignorant to the issues to open a browser. This is why the tactic as of late has been to demonize doubts and questions, or more to the point... doubters and questioners. They are using a Pavlov's Doubts™ tactic by attaching a strong negative stimulus to the doubter in the form of fear, scary words like "apostasy", and threats on salvation. They are now building an electric fence around the concept of doubt, not just the doubts themselves. They have poisoned the well of reasonable thought, making even the suggestion of critical thinking a direct attack on the "authority" of church leadership. Unquestioning loyalty is the word of the day, and TSCC is trotting Turley, Holland, and Oaks around so that they may drop dogmatic cyanide into the pools of LDS members' thought.

"Prepare for more appeals to authority and challenging the individual members' loyalty to God The Church."

Unknown said...

I just listened to the sunstone presentation on Uncorrelated (promiscuous) Mormons. I enjoyed it very much. What was the name of the group where you go online and post a need, or fill a need? Something Zion?

Kurtan said...

It´s a login screen.. don´t ask me how it works, maybe someone else can explain that.

Fabio said...

It makes sense but if we don't have true Prophets and Apostles then what? The church of Christ was founded upon Apostles, Prophets; teachers etc... Do you personally believe that God will eventually call a Prophet again like he did with Joseph Smith? Or the faithful followers of Christ everywhere will just naturally turn to him and receive the power from heaven as stated in the book of Revelation, where it says that the church of God was also established on earth and its number was small but the power of God was with them? I think the scripture says something like this. Thank you for the article.

Unknown said...

If this is indeed a dilemma for any of you then you ought get yourselves out of the church. We believe that all the keys for governing the Lords church have been restored through Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery; and that those keys have been subsequently passed down the priesthood chain from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson. If you question this, then I ask, where was the chain broken? At Joseph Smith? At Brigham Young? Were the keys somehow passed to James Strang or Rulon Aldred? If this church is true, then we are lead by a true prophet. If you don't think that Thomas S. Monson or anyone else in the presiding 2 quorums are manifesting the same gifts associated with the calling and title of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator; then you are spiritually blind, a servant of sin, and are merely seeking an excuse to leave the church.

Jared Livesey said...

"We have invisible, weightless, odorless, tasteless keys that, like cooties, are transmitted by the laying of hands! We've been playing this game of Tag since Joseph! If you don't believe we have these keys and a strain of cooties from Joseph, you're ignorant, wicked, or insane!"

Rock, you know, it might be worth some time to do a workup on everything Joseph ever said about keys, particularly centering in the temple rites.

JLC said...


Just a few things I thought about reading your post and listening to your Sunstone presentation.

As far as President Hinckley claims to being a prophet, seer and revelator, he states himself that he is not a seer or a prophet in his talk in October 2001 right after 911. The Book of Mormon teaches a seer is a revelator and a prophet and can know of things which are past and also of things which are to come. (Mosiah 8)
Also, it is taught in 3 Nephi 3:19 that “it was the custom among the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains…someone that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy.” That was so they would know where and what that enemy was up to.
Here are 3 quotes from President Hinckley in his talk.
“We do not know how long this conflict will last. We do not know what it will cost in lives and treasure. We do not know the manner in which it will be carried out.”
“No one knows how long it will last. No one knows precisely where it will be fought. No one knows what it may entail before it is over. We have launched an undertaking the size and nature of which we cannot see at this time.”
“I do not know what the future holds.”

The man is testifying that he is not a seer. We don’t have to speculate about it, he comes out and tells us.

If President Monson owns everything then he would be in the top 10 richest men in the world. I’m just pulling this off of Goggle searches. The Church is estimated at $40 billion according to Businessweek and depending on what list you want to believe there are less than a dozen men in the world worth more than $40 billion.

You mentioned at Sunstone that 70,000 people asked for their name to be taken of the records of the Institution. There were 296,803 convert baptisms. One third of those will stay active. (maybe) If people in the church are dying at the same rate as Americans (8.1/1000) then we can do some math.

If none of the 296,803 requested their name to be taken off the rolls then if we took off that number the of the 70,000 people that asked to be taken off the rolls and the 129,000 members who would have died in 2014 we would have 97,000 actual growth in numbers. We do need to realize that only 33% of those will stay active after a year. Yet, if you look at the numbers on membership that the institution puts out it will show that we increased by 290,309 people from the end of 2013 to the end of 2014. It cracks me up how they fudge the numbers. I may not be completely correct on my math but my point is that growth is not what they want you to think it is and there is no way in hell they are going to tell us how many people are asking to be taken off or are excommunicated.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Leslie North,
The link to the site where you can tithe directly to those with immediate needs is

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Actually, I just saw Kurtan's comment above where he says it's Turns out either URL seems to work.

There's a place to click to register in the upper right corner. After that you can either post a need or make a pledge, or donate to an individual or family directly, depending on how the Lord prompts you to act.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Blaine Heggie,
There is no dilemma for those who read their scriptures. In D&C 10, the Lord defines his church. All who qualify under that definition may consider themselves members. That's verse 67.

In verse 68, He tells us those people who require something in addition to what he just stated is necessary "are not of me, and are NOT of my church."

You appear to believe that one must embrace something other than what the Lord tells us is necessary. It would appear you may be the one facing a dilemma. Do you wish to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ? Then repent and come unto him. If you wish to not be of him and not of his church, follow your idols instead.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I recall looking forward to conference that Sunday after our nation had, for the first time ever, attacked another country that had done us no harm. I couldn't wait to hear our prophet lay into those in government for violating God's law.

What I heard instead absolutely floored me. As you say, he as good as admitted he had no prophetic ability. In vacillated all over the place as to whether the action might be appropriate or not. And in the end, he expressed what he said was "my own opinion" that the conflict would be resolved very quickly.

You would have thought there would be a huge outcry from the members. But sadly few members today are even aware of God's strict prohibition about taking the battle into the lands of another people. So they continued to cheer their prophet for being wise and even-handed.

Niklas said...


I would like to hear what is your opinion about the revelations that John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff received that were never published? Do you ignore them as evidence of JT's or WW's prophetic capabilities since they were not published?

And why is a vision (i.e. JSF, D&C 138) so much different than revelation? In Bible or BoM visions are a big part of prophets' working.

have you read Edward Kimball's "The History of LDS Temple Admission Standards" in JMH 1998, ?

Robin Hood said...

I find it very interesting that any of this comes as a surprise to anyone.
D&C 136:41-42 (dated January 1847) makes it very clear that things had changed for the time being. It's right there in the scriptures but no one, it seems to me, notices it. If they do, they don't appear to understand it.
Just read the very last lines in the very last recorded "thus saith the Lord" first person revelation.
In verse 41 (and the context is of having lost Joseph) the Lord says "Now, therefore, hearken, O ye people of my church; and ye elders listen together, you have received my Kingdom". This is very significant. He asks us to pay attention to what he is about to say and then tells us the Kingdom has fallen into our hands. In other words, "listen everyone. Joseph's gone, now get on with it!" And then in the very next verse, after He tells us to keep all of His commandments, He says "So no more at present. Amen and Amen." That double "amen" is emphatic.
So the Lord has made it clear that He has finished speaking to us in the way the saints had become accustomed to. He didn't say he will never speak to us that way again, just that He's done with it for the time being. We now need to put it all into practice (ie. keep my commandments).

I think of it like a rocket to the Moon. Initially there is an almighty explosion of power, light and energy in order to lift the rocket off the launch pad and into the air. This level of energy is maintained for some time until the vehicle is placed beyond the power of the earth's gravitational pull. At this point the rocket settles down and uses very little energy as it approaches the Moon because it has enough momentum and is heading in the right direction. Although the direction is broadly correct, every so often small retro rockets fire to correct the position and trajectory of the spacecraft to ensure that it arrives at it's destination. The small low energy retro rockets are only used when necessary.

We are currently in the retro rocket period.

Anonymous said...

Robin Hood, that is an interesting perspective. The problem is that we are not following the revelation we have received.

Why is tithing 10% of income rather than an initial consecration of all surplus followed by 10% of surplus annually?

Why are we not building the stakes of Zion?

Why are we not establishing United Orders?

Why is the priesthood not organized according to Section 107?

Why do church officers not fulfill their duties as given in section 20?

We have strayed off course. To continue your rocket analogy we are plummeting back into the atmosphere. Unless we make a major course correction mission control will have no choice but to launch another rocket.

Jared Livesey said...

Robin Hood,

I wonder if D&C 136 is a revelation.

I wonder why your explanation mirrors that of the Catholics when forced to confront the fact that they lacked prophecy, revelation, miracles, and everything else which should characterize the true church of God. (See The World and the Prophets by Nibley.)

I wonder if it was God's nature, or instead the Church's nature, that changed such that God no longer talks to the Church.

I wonder if it is significant that "ye are not yet pure; ye can not yet bear my glory [which ends all pretense to possessing the fulness of the Priesthood - see D&C 124:27-28]; but ye shall behold it if ye are faithful in keeping all my words that I have given you, from the days of Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus and his apostles, and from Jesus and his apostles to Joseph Smith, whom I did call upon by mine angels, my ministering servants, and by mine own voice out of the heavens, to bring forth my work."

I wonder why the Church has not therefore beheld his glory.

I wonder if it is because she is not faithful in keeping all the words of the Lord as before mentioned - after all, her lawlessness is on display in her recent excommunications for "apostasy."

I wonder why it is that the Lord has repeatedly declared that the Church shall be destroyed at his coming (D&C 84, JST Matt 21).

I wonder if instead of a rocket the relationship between God and the Church is more like divorce.

Jared Livesey said...

I wonder - assuming D&C 136 is an actual revelation, and it might be, since read properly it is a statement against the Church's interest (see v. 37 - "You suck, and here's how you can fix that!") - if "amen and amen" was an announcement of the relegation of the Church to the presence of the Spirit only.

A single amen may signify the end of the Church's opportunity to come into the presence of the Father, while a double amen may signify the severance of the Church from both the Father and Christ.

Like woes pronounced at judgement, perhaps, where three woes indicates one who shall be cast into hell.

2 Nephi 28:15
15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

Just a thought.

Speaking of triple woes following the preaching of false doctrines and perverting the right way of the Lord, I wonder if it is a false doctrine or a true doctrine that the consumption of alcohol is contrary to God's law, as THE COUNCIL OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER‐DAY SAINTS has recently declared - since anything this council declares means it is revelation from God. In looking at D&C 89, it seems consuming alcohol is occasionally enjoined in the law of God, and permitted in other circumstances. And I recall Jesus came eating and drinking (Luke 7:34).

Silly me. Of course the good Rocket Zion cannot be off-course [nevermind asking why God would want to launch his bride into orbit - or the sun, maybe]. Any doctrinal contradictions are only apparent, no matter how precise those contradictions are; they're not signs of lying, but of rather "continual revelation" [course corrections not signed by NASA or the ESA].

Come to think of it, D&C 136 didn't bear the proper signature either, did it? No "Thus Saith the Lord." In a game of Simon Says, aren't you supposed to NOT do what Simon doesn't say?

Robin Hood said...

Interesting questions.
So, do you YOU pay tithing that way?
What are YOU doing to build up the stakes of Zion?
What are YOU doing to establish the United Order (though you need to make your mind up; tithing or the united order)?..........

It's so easy to find fault.

But, you have kind of proved my point. All this - tithing, united order, establishing Zion, priesthood duties etc has already been revealed. We've had revelations on all of these things (which is why you know about them) so get on with it, or to put in scriptural language "you have received the Kingdom".

All you need to do is fire your retro rockets and go for it.
It's not rocket science!

Jared Livesey said...

That's good, because we are certainly not being led by rocket scientists.

Jared Livesey said...

And, yes, I am speaking with regards to the analogy.

Jared Livesey said...

In fact, rocks blog post seems to indicate that we have been accepting orders from Ham radio operators instead of Mission command.

Anonymous said...

Robin Hood,

I cannot pay tithing at this time. Firstly, i have not gathered to the land of Zion yet as is required in Section 119:5. Additionally there is no bishop to receive my tithes.

What am I doing to build up the stakes of Zion? I am putting money away here and there to buy land. I'm also considering starting a crowdfunding project to raise funds to buy land in Zarahemla. I think it would be amazing if we could get the temple built in Zarahemla.

Since I am not currently gathered to a stake of Zion I cannot participate in the United Order. However, I do teach and prepare my family so that we may live it.

Actually it's not tithing OR united Order. It is tithing AND the United Order. Tithing is simply a directive that sets aside a small portion of consecrated property for the operation of the church, building of Zion, and temples. Every year all surplus is consecrated. What Section 119 states is that the first yearly consecration and ten percent of all following yearly consecrations are to go toward the purposes in verse 2. It is a false tradition that tithing replaced consecration because the members weren't ready for it. They actually are created to work in harmony.

Unknown said...

Do you mean to infer that the "invisible, weightless, odorless, tasteless keys" are not had? If so, just say it. If you do not believe Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, then you shouldn't be in the church; and if you're on your way out, please don't get your foot stuck in the door.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You appear to belong to a different Church than the one the Lord founded through Joseph Smith. Since when did the Lord require anyone to have a testimony that the president is a prophet, or they have no place in HIS church? It isn't the Church of Thomas Monson. (Well actually, according to the corporate charter that displaced the church as organized on April 6, 1830, it is.)

Can you imagine Joseph Smith telling anyone what you just proposed?
"Accept ME as your prophet, seer, and revelator, or you shouldn't be in the church!"

If it was not a requirement to have a testimony of Joseph Smith when he was on the earth, why do you insist it's necessary to have a testimony of Thomas Monso?

Of course I could be mistaken. The Lord might have told us in revelation that we must believe any future president is also his prophet, or get out of His church. Perhaps you would be willing to show us that scripture.

Michael said...


The church of Jesus Christ isn't about Tom Monson, Boyd Packer, or any other leader currently (or previously) stationed at 47 East South Temple. Period.

As Rock already pointed out, the church is defined in D&C 10:67. It's pretty apparent that you are the one having difficulty with that. The worship of men is, as I recall, forbidden by the Lord.

Like Rock said, I'd love to see the scripture that requires church members to believe any church president is the Lord's prophet.

Jared Livesey said...


I would contrast your words with those of the Savior:

3 Nephi 18:25
25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation. (Wow, read that closer - he's telling the people to command the world that they, too, should come unto Christ, that the world, too, might feel and see! Contrast this with the current position of the Church on the subject of the Second Comforter! What a difference! See D&C 84.)

But instead I will simply point out that you are the future of the Church. And you will get what you want in the end - a church devoid of people like me. And I'm not sure you're going to like it much.

Jared Livesey said...

Indeed, Blaine, had I been seeking additional examples of the truth of this post, I could not have done better than what you offered.

Robin Hood said...

Rock, You quoted Joseph in the article but didn't reference the quote.
Joseph said "if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God, and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God."

Please cite the reference and, while you're at it, could you explain who "we" and "they" are? It appears Joseph is talking about two sets of people.
Many thanks.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood,
Right you are I had forgotten to include the citation. I used that quote in my piece "Where Did The Oracles Go" and included the citation there. Should have linked back to that piece.

It's from the DHC Volume 5, pg 257. It's actually from a lengthy discourse, prefaced by quite a bit of helpful information, such as this:

"Where there is a prophet, a priest, and a righteous man UNTO WHOM GOD GIVES HIS ORACLES, there is the kingdom" (emphasis mine.)"...If we (the context of the preceding paragraph, which is too lengthy to quote here, shows us the "we" he is referring to are the latter-day saints who have experienced persecutions at the hands of the Missourians) do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God, and if they (Latter-day Saints or anyone else claiming to be God's people)have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God."

In my piece on oracles, I showed how it is necessary, if a people consider themselves subjects of a king, they must hear the kings's decrees in order to know his will. Therefore the necessity of oracles, or "divine communication" from their king.

Robin Hood said...

Thanks for that Rock.
I'll have to look it up and read it in context.
The way I read it the "we" or "they" refers to the members of the church; meaning you or I. I don't see where it says it is exclusively within the gift of the president of the church to receive revelation. If there is something the Lord wants to reveal to the whole church then, according to scripture, it should come through the president. But if there is no further revelation for the whole church ("Therefore no more at present. Amen and Amen." D&C 136) that does not preclude church members from receiving revelation for themselves. This does occur. Therefore if you or I receive a revelation, then surely the oracles are with us.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

How many "Thus Saith The Lord"s have you been the recipient of, Robin Hood? Because "oracles" is not the same as "revelation."

I understand that without the oracles - the Lord identifying himself and speaking in his own voice to the Church ("Thus Saith The Lord..."), the Church must be false according to Joseph (probably the reason he made all these explicit and unequivocal statements on the subject). Of course the Church cannot fail to be true, hence the impulse to define downward "oracles" to "revelation," a slippery subjective beast which might plausibly include fortuitous coincidences or epiphanies, possibly even fever dreams or insights into how to do your job better. Who knows. The point is we gotta have them or be liars. We don't have them, so we pretend something specific, public, and defined - oracles - is instead something general, private, and undefined - revelation. Now our claim to "oracles" is unfalsifiable, despite the nearly 170 year famine of the actual words of the Lord, the real oracles! Yay!

Hell, we've even defined "revelation" downward to include "whenever a specific body of 15 men of similar social, economic, educational, and religious backgrounds agree on something." Thus, per Robin Hood, there's your oracles today: whenever the 15 agree.

Defining terms downward happens because people want or need to both claim more than they have, in truth, and they don't have the balls to lie outright (pesky consciences!). That's why "love" has so many definitions. "I love you, eternal companion!" "I love chocolate!" etc. Not many have experienced real love, it would seem, but gosh darn it, girlfriends and insecure boyfriends just keep pressing to hear those three words, and ya gotta say something, don'cha?

That's actually to Robin Hood's credit that he is trying to avoid lying. Those without consciences are kinda scary.

Robin Hood said...

It was Rock who defined "oracles" to mean "revelation", not me. I was using his definition so you can take that up with him.
I don't agree with his definition and never have. "In classical antiquity, an oracle was a PERSON..... considered to provide wise counsel....." (oracle - Wikipedia). Apparently the word means "to speak" and properly refers to the priest who utters the prediction etc. Not to the prediction itself.

To answer your question, every personal revelation I have had is a "thus saith the Lord" moment for me, because he has communicated with me personally.

I didn't really understand the rest of your post.

Anonymous said...


Language. That is one of the biggest problems with our society today. And the word love is one o f my biggest annoyances. What does "love" mean. It has come to mean so many things that it has become meaningless. At least the greeks had difference words to specifically state which "love" they were referring to.

Just like when it is said that people should marry for "love." What they really mean is that people should marry because you have that positive, twitterpated, hormonal response to someone. Well I'm here to tell you that that is the worst basis for a marriage possible. Hormonal responses change with familiarity and eventually that basis for marriage is gone.

Wouldn't agape be a better basis for marriage? Shouldn't the basis for marriage be something that is under our control rather than a passing hormonal response? But we can't express that in a few words because we only have one word for "love."

Ok, sorry, I rambled off topic but this is one of those things that really irks me. I think it was Daymon Smith who was talking about how the church was changed over time, not by changing the vocabulary, but by redefining the words.

Jared Livesey said...

Robin Hood,

You need not agree with the definition of "oracles" - "the divine utterances," ie, "Thus saith the Lord...." You are free to apply as broad a definition as you care to; it simply makes it harder and harder to communicate with you, since fewer possible meanings are excluded when you use words. When you use the word "revelation," for example, I haven't a clue what you could possibly mean, whereas for Rock, I do have a clue as to what he could mean.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

I will, however, point out that in your response to me, you do exactly what I said you do, which is what the Church has done throughout her history - broadening the definitions of critical terms to avoid the charge of outright lying when using them. I asked, "How many 'Thus Saith The Lord's have you been the recipient of?"

To which you have responded, in effect, "I consider every personal revelation I have ever received to be a 'Thus Saith The Lord' moment." After your answer, we have exactly as much information about the number of "Thus Saith The Lord"s you've been a recipient of as before we asked the question, which is to say, no information at all. The number could still quite plausibly be zero, even given your answer. All we know is that you are willing to say you will call anything you believe you have received from heaven to be ... something. I guess.

Yours is the language of prevarication, the tongue of lawyers and politicians. As Lincoln is reputed to have said: "Calling a tail a leg doesn't mean a dog has five legs." Considering any alleged personal revelation to be a "Thus Saith The Lord" moment doesn't make it one.

Jared Livesey said...


Languages get corrupted when words lose their meaning.

Words lose their meaning when the reality the words are intended to describe is not experienced by those using the words.

Rock and I can converse and be enlightened in our mutual conversation because we mean the same things when we use words. We hear and respond appropriately to critical terms because we have a common experiential basis which grounds our vocabulary.

Robin Hood and I can appear to converse but there is no enlightenment because Robin Hood and I do not mean the same things when we use words. We don't share a common experiential basis that would serve as a fixed point of reference for our vocabulary. Indeed, Robin Hood has, like the Church, demonstrated a willingness to empty words of their semantic content because of his one fixed point, the stake he has set up: the infallibility of the hierarchy of the Church, but only so long as they refuse to countenance gay marriage. If the Church lacks oracles as originally defined - divine utterances from the Lord in his own voice - but must have oracles to be the infallible Church, it is a simple matter to redefine terms - to make words mean what we choose them to mean, no more and no less.

Kinda like the words "prophet, seer, and revelator."

Thus the language gets corrupted - words lose their meaning - because men don't have what they must have in order to maintain their claims, their stakes, their immoveable pegs, their fixed points which cannot be questioned, and cannot be touched - yet their consciences smite them when they would fain claim to have what they must have but know they do not, but to admit their deficiency would lead to negative consequences. So they simply redefine the words to allay their consciences.

Tails are legs, don'cha kno?

Jared Livesey said...

We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. - Joseph Smith, TPJS p. 51

A functional way to understand this is that the nearer we get to God, as individuals, everything gets clearer and more precise - think straight and narrow - whereas the farther we get from God, the more unsure and unsound things get - think wider and broader.

This is most readily apparent in the use of words, and their relationship to experiential reality.

Nibley once said that trying to translate Hebrew or Latin forces a man to be honest. Once the translator has fixed his stakes in an incorrect reading, he must contort and wrest the rest of the text to conform, which becomes increasingly untenable as the process of translation continues until, eventually, he is forced to abandon his now wildly implausible bad reading in order to resolve the resulting morass of inconsistencies.

The correction takes place because there are other competent translators against whose work the incompetent translator can be checked.

This same process is observed when someone takes as their fixed point not God and his law, but instead the truth of the Church, or the infallibility of her leadership. Words are redefined to support her claims, thus losing precision and meaning - they have to be redefined and have additional meanings attached, else she would be a liar to continue to use the original, unadulterated words when reality is different.

So, let's take a fundamental concept: keys. Keys, to Joseph, consistently meant "items of information which unlock the hidden meaning of things." Keys are, at their core, patterns. If a phenomenon matches a pattern, or key, then the significance of the phenomenon can be understood. Thus the endowments were intended to confer the keys of the kingdom upon all the initiates, said Joseph.

The leadership, lacking the key of knowledge - they didn't know what they were handling - has corrupted the presentation and has removed keys therefrom. Take the preacher, for example, who, with Lucifer, once made religion out of "newspapers, novels, notions of men and women sugared over with scripture."

It takes a tin ear, indeed, to fail to recognize the pattern to which most General Conference talks and Church magazine articles conform. And the meaning of their conformity to this pattern is clear: these are they who are the preachers, the hirelings of Lucifer, teaching us the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

With the preacher having been excised, so that there are none who dare to molest or make afraid, well, where do you suppose the initiate, represented by Adam (or Eve, in the case of females) is getting his religious instruction, consisting as it does modernly of "the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture"? Mormons don't, generally, engage others in religious conversations, and I don't know of many, at all, who ever attend institutions of any other religions, nor read their works. Why, the only place they could be getting fed this pablum is... wait for it... wait for it... wait for it...

At Church.

And the Church has insulated itself from correction from within. She acknowledges NONE as being competent save her leadership alone. You disagree with the leadership's readings and you explain why? As Snuffer, Rock, Will, and others have found out... Yeeerrrrr out!

Jared Livesey said...

So, to Joseph, the keys of the priesthood were simply items of knowledge that priests, qua priests, had, which gave them understanding of the significance of what they were looking at in both matters spiritual and temporal. The keys are given by revelation - that is to say, by experience and knowledge from heaven.

That's why Abinadi said this:

Mosiah 12:25 And now Abinadi said unto them: Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?

The interpretation of the endowments is given to men predicated upon their diligence. The keys of the kingdom, presented in the endowments, were intended to give us the knowledge necessary to distinguish between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil.

Without the keys, we are pretenders, just as Noah's priests were.

Mosiah 11:11 And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, [Noah] did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.

Oh, how can it be missed? And the Zoramites in Alma 13, do you not see it?

Anonymous said...

Rock, I appreciate the effort reflected in this post. I sense that you are genuinely seeking to understand what it might mean for the president of the church, or any of the first presidency or apostles, to be a prophet, seer, or revelator. And, Log, I agree with you that we should not escape from uncomfortable observations by changing our claims through redefining words. Words must mean something that is mutually agreed upon in order to convey meaning.

In the post is the assertion that the qualifications for a revelator are:

– He will lead through the spirit of revelation which comes by the Holy Ghost, the spirit by which Moses led the children of Israel. (D&C 8:2,3)
– Revelation for the church can only come by one who has been appointed by the person who held this power to reveal. (D&C 43:1-4)
– Revelations are distinct from general teachings. (D&C 43:5)
– Revelations must be published. (D&C 1:6; 72:21; 104:58; 118:2; 124:89)

I understand the gist of the post to be that nothing has met this standard since Joseph Smith and that this is a problem because, "if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles [Communications] of God, and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God."

I was in a meeting not too many years ago when President Monson stated, "As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise you that if [A], [B], and [C], then [D} will result at the time the Lord sees fit." The details of A, B, C and D are not important here. Rather, what is important to this conversation is that the witness I received through the Holy Ghost made this promise into scripture for me. (See D&C 68:4, "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.") I wrote down the promise, followed the direction, received a confirmation from the Lord and the promised result followed not long after that meeting.

This experience was:

1. Through the Holy Ghost
2. From a person with the power to reveal
3. Distinct from general teaching, it was very specific
4. Published in a regional conference talk (though it was published in the sense of broadcast, rather than written, but meets the D&C:4 definition of scripture)

For me, this is a specific counter example to the claim that such things do not happen in the church after Joseph Smith. It is also just one of many examples that might be given. I do not offer this with any desire to argue or contend. It is my experience and is merely offered in order to suggest that it is, in fact, be possible for me to sustain Thomas Monson as a revelator.

With kindest regards,


Jared Livesey said...

So, the anonymous angels come to the initiate.

Angel: "Good morning."

Lucifer interjects - "Good morning, gentlemen."

Angel: "What are you doing here?"

Lucifer: "Observing [supervising] the teaching of these people."

Angel: "What is being taught?"

Lucifer: "The philosophies of men, mingled with scripture."

Angel: "How is this teaching received?"

Lucifer: "Very well, except this man [the initiate] does not seem to believe what he is being taught."

Angel [to initiate]: "What do you think of this teaching?"

Initiate: "I am looking for messengers from my Father to teach me."

Angel: "That is good. Have you any signs or tokens [meaning the signs and tokens of discipleship and priesthood]?"

Lucifer: "Do you have any money?"

Angel: "We have sufficient for our needs."

Lucifer [to initiate]: "You can buy anything in this world with money!"

Angel [to initiate]: "Do you sell your tokens or signs for money [ie, do you break the commandments of God for the sake of money - see the Sermon on the Mount for details? Do you commit priestcraft - take money for acting in the role of priest?]? You have them, I presume?"

Initiate: "I have them, but I do not sell them for money. I hold them sacred. I am looking for the further light and knowledge Father promised to send me."

Angel: "That is right. We commend you for your integrity. Good day. ... We shall probably visit you again."

Jared Livesey said...

Speaking of priestcraft... oh, the ironies.

Spot the contradiction.

If our teachers are free of priestcraft, the students will love them, but they won’t be dependent on them. They will love you, and they will be grateful for what you taught them, but they will be turned to the Lord. They will be turned to their parents and their priesthood leaders. There will be miracles in the lives of the students, and we will be able to witness them. We can do it.

Hint: there is text following "they will be turned to the Lord."

You know, if everyone feels like they're committing priestcraft when they take money to act in the roles of priests and teachers, maybe they are committing priestcraft.

C - I will let Rock defend his thesis. I will, however, point out that syllogistic arguments of the form


are invalid. As an example:

If I'm not a mammal, then I'm not a dog.

If I'm not a dog, then I'm not a Labrador.

I am a mammal.

Therefore I am a Labrador.

I bring this up because you seem to be deploying an argument of this structure.

Jared Livesey said...

I suppose the ultimate irony is that talk is intended to help persuade CES employees that they're not really committing priestcraft.

Anonymous said...


I do appreciate the precision of your observations. I think, though, that you have not quite captured my comment. Rock seems to suggest:

NOT A then NOT B;
NOT B then NOT C;

I agree with that line of reasoning.

I was suggesting that "A" holds, thus concluding that "NOT C" does not reasonably follow. I agree with you that I have not established "C" in what I wrote. We are merely left with the possibility of "C".

Thanks again for the careful articulation,


Jared Livesey said...


You will not get an argument out of me along those lines. The purpose of redefining, adding definitions, qualifications, etc., to words is to render claims unfalsifiable - thus, possibly true, and also possibly false. Joseph, I think, used the word "revelation" to mean something definite; the word today seems to exclude nothing and thus is essentially meaningless.

It is always going to be a matter of judgement, left up to the individual, as to whether the Church's claims are true in their totality, or if they are false to whatever degree, and whether that is changing or has changed from one moment to another. To me, first-order contradictions are a sign of lying, where to someone else, they are signs instead of "continuing revelation." What divides me from this other hypothetical person?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The Wikipedia definition of "Oracles" reflects the meaning the word had assumed in modern times. When we read the Lord's use of it in revelation, we can see that he knows and understands that "oracles" are the divine utterances or divine communications, not the person through whom those communications are delivered. When we read Joseph Smith's words in his speeches, we can also tell he understands the word the way the Lord used it.

When referring to oracles as pertain to our religion, I prefer to follow the Lord's usage rather than the popular, modern understanding of the word.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I hope you didn't take my post to mean that Hinckley et al are incapable of speaking inspired words. Of course they can do so. Although I don't know what particular counsel Hinckley gave that you found true and beneficial, I'm guessing it was scripturally based, and solid.

My argument is that although they are more than willing to pretend the words they speak are revelations every bit as valid as the ones Joseph Smith frequently provided, what Hinckley taught does not qualify in that department. Was Hinckley capable of teaching truth? Of course he was. So is Monson. But so is most any evangelical preacher you can name. In this church we claim something beyond: we claim we have continuous revelation from God, new information that is disseminated from above. Unfortunately, that claim is never put to the test.

I do not disparage Church leader's ability to teach things that are true and valid. Of course they can.

What I'm looking for is further revelation of the sort this church was accustomed to receiving at Kirtland, Missouri, and Nauvoo. Since the current leaders claim that ability, I think I'm entitled to ask it be produced for inspection, so that I may take that revelation to the Lord for a witness of the Holy Ghost.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I have never received a revelation.
I have received inspiration, answers, and instruction, but I can't say I ever received a message that was unmistakably presented in words God directly conveyed to me.

My wife Connie has received actual revelations on at least two occasions. On the first, we were sitting in a parked car when she asked me to hand her something to write on, quick, as the Lord was giving her direct answers. Luckily I happened to have a spiral notebook, and she began writing as fast as the words came to her. The words came for quite some time, and filled several pages.

This revelation concerned answers she had been seeking concerning her health, and it came in words directed to her, as though the Lord was directly speaking to her in full sentences. It was very helpful to her.

Now, was it an oracle? I don't know, because it would seem to me that an oracle is the words of God given to one person that are meant to be conveyed to others. This message was for her alone, so I would label it a personal revelation. Of course, she read it to me, but since it did not contain instructions for anyone else (and shouldn't have) we have not shared that revelation with others.

Connie has also received visions, where I have not. Often her dreams have meaning, while my dreams are usually ridiculous and not worth relating (even if I could remember them).

Connie also receives inspiration from the Lord, and instruction in answers to her prayers, just like I do. But I've never had what I would call an actual revelation. But I saw what it was like when she received one, and there is no doubt in my mind that what was happening was real, and it was special.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the response. It seems to me that, when it comes right down to it, faith involves believing and acting on something that cannot be falsified but is not proved, either. For every truth that must be accepted on faith, there will be possible explanations, each equally plausible, that both support and contradict the claim.

I see the CofJCofLDS as a gathering place for people of many types. Some are good people and others may be less so. Within the organization are those who seem to me to be described by D&C 10:

67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

Thus, even with the corporate structure of temporal asset ownership, I still find great meaning in the scriptures, ordinances, and fellowship within the CofJCofLDS. I also find individuals who disappoint. But, that is no surprise in any organization. I just wish we could live the 11th article of faith within the church and allow each other to, "worship how, where, or what they may." Ultimately, I hope to continue to try to approach Jesus Christ and be saved by Him. Thank you to you and Rock for sharing your insights.


Unknown said...

Log, Rock, and Michael,
I believe firstly in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Secondly, that Joseph Smith was a prophet through which the governing priesthood keys (amongst other things) were restored. Those priesthood keys were subsequently passed from Joseph Smith down an unbroken chain to Thomas S. Monson. The church is a vehicle in posession of true ordinances, covenants, etc... and those in posession of the priesthood keys govern the church. They are the governing heads of the church on earth and I sustain them as they lead the church. If any of you believe that I am wrong, then please show me where the priesthood chain was broken, or to whom else were the keys passed to.
Also, Rock and Michael both cited to me D&C 10:67,68. How liberally do you interpret "repenteth and cometh unto me" ? and how do you qualify or quantify "more or less than this" ?

KJC said...

Thanks so much. This is the "way it is" in a nutshell! I'm sad to have my bubble burst but I'd rather have the truth and nothing but the truth, no matter the cost. That's all I want, truth--without it, life is a farce! Great presentation.

Jared Livesey said...


My relationship with the Church is different.

There are still saints in the Church, sure - those who have repented of all their sins and been baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost, thus being spiritually reborn, children of Christ, having taken upon themselves his name. But they are few and far in between. There may not be two to a city.

And this is their state.

2 Nephi 28:14 [T]hey are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

The path to salvation is the path Christ set out in the Sermon on the Mount, and the Sermon on the Plain, and the Sermon at Bountiful. If the Church is indeed sustaining and supporting you as you give to every man that asketh, and lending to all comers without hoping to receive again, and turning the other cheek when smitten, and allowing yourself to lose when sued at law, and so on and so forth - the end of these things is, indeed, predictable - then the Church is helping you to be a disciple of Christ.

Is she?

Jared Livesey said...

I believe... that Joseph Smith was a prophet through which the governing priesthood keys (amongst other things) were restored.

This is simply to declare you believe the Church's historical narrative justifying her power structure and claims to authority over the hearts and minds of men. You believe her definition of priesthood, and you believe her definition of keys.

The only alternative to her claims, if you believe her definitions, are those of her older sister, the Catholic church. She uses the same definitions. It runs in the family.

But what if the Church's definitions of priesthood and keys are not God's definitions?

What if priesthood, to God, is "an association with angels and Gods?"

What if keys, to God, are "items of knowledge which serve to unlock the hidden meaning of things?"

Can you give place in your mind for the possibility that these propositions might actually be true?

And, assume for the sake of argument they ARE true. What implications do they have for the Church's historical narrative and current claims? Can you, by the imposition of hands, give anyone knowledge? And how does knowledge give you the right to command the hearts and minds of men? Does it, in fact? Can you, by the imposition of hands, compel angels and Gods to literally associate with someone?

These questions probably seem like nonsense to you. It all depends on what you can, and cannot, tolerate considering - where your fixed points are, the ideas or facts you can't bear to examine.

It's all a matter of values - meaning we believe what we believe because of what we value. Everything we do is conflict resolution. The conflicts we feel are more important to be resolved, and the outcomes we want to have, determine what we do.

Anonymous said...


I tend to agree with you about the relative scarcity of those who have been truly baptized with water and with fire and the Holy Ghost. I also find that I regularly stumble across my own unbelief where I have accepted a precept of men and have had to unlearn that precept.

Earlier this year you wrote several posts in another forum about the golden rule. Those were thought provoking and of great worth. As for living the teachings of Jesus Christ, we are not saved in isolation. Whether in the CofJCofLDS, or elsewhere, we must learn to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially the golden rule, in some kind of community. And, for now, that means here in mortality. And, I have not found a better collection of scripture, ordinance, and belief in the teachings we received through Joseph Smith than in the CofJCofLDS. Until I find a better place to live with a few who are truly born again as well as with others who are yet to be born, I hang in there.



Jared Livesey said...


Yes, we are saved in relative isolation - just between us as individuals and God - hence "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling before [God]." Examples of this include Jacob (turned Israel) and Enos, as well as the Lamanite kings. Once we are saved, we can then help others to be saved, for, said Joseph, nobody can teach a doctrine save he has received the keys of it. Hence "first cast the beam out of thine own eye," etc.

So, the question arises again - is the Church helping you to work out your own salvation in fear and trembling before God - giving you the keys to do so - or is she neutral to this effort, or is she hindering you - teaching you bad principles?

I'm not speaking of leaving the Church. I'm speaking of determining where one's attention is best placed if the discipleship of Christ is one's goal.

And the most challenging environment to practicing the Golden Rule is in Babylon. Fear and trembling aplenty. But this is how we learn what it is to be Gods.

mtman318 said...

I don't think the word "revelation" can only be confined to published words written in the voice of the Lord--or to written personal revelations either. As a basis for this view, here is one of Joseph Smith's teachings:

"No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator." (TPJS p. 328; taken from either a sermon or editorial [I'm guessing a sermon, or a summary of one] on October 15, 1843--recorded in HC 6: 56-59.)

Assuming this was recorded accurately, if we use the strict definition of revelation, this means that we have never received the Holy Ghost until we receive a written personal revelation.

I won't speak for everyone, but by my own experience, the Holy Ghost usually doesn't give such specific revelation. I've received only one such revelation in my life so far, but I have received the Holy Ghost on quite a few occasions--receiving what Rock calls inspiration. But Joseph calls it revelation also.

This isn't to say that the Church leadership is excused in never receiving or giving specific revelations as in Joseph's day--yet claiming they are. I think Rock's definition of "oracle" is accurate when it comes to its use in the scriptures and Joseph Smith's teachings.

Jared Livesey said...

Are you sure you have received what Joseph was talking about?

Robin Hood said...

It seems to me the issue with many on this forum is that they appear to like to play with words and apply pharisaical definitions in order to set up a straw man argument. When responders do the same they cry foul. This thread is a good example. Apparently, pointing out what is written in plain sight at the conclusion of the very last first person revelation in the D&C and taking it at face value, is "catholic".
"This is the way that Joseph meant it so (though we don't believe he was infallible of course.... wink, wink) he was right and any alternative interpretation by anyone else is wrong. I'll therefore trot out his words in order to excuse my contrary position and show everyone how clever I am". And this despite the fact that Joseph himself told us that we learn line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and even our very own articles of faith, penned by Joseph himself, informs us that we believe the Lord will yet reveal more.

However, Rock seems to insist on a 19th century interpretation of everything, while Twiggy worries about the fact that the English language is an evolving organism. Context is everything.
Ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth is the phrase which comes to mind.

My issue with Rock is well documented and as a result I see him very, very differently now. As we say in Yorkshire, "he talks a good job". Certainly, as far as I'm concerned he's been rumbled.

Anyway, life goes on. Lot's to do. Full-time job, busy church calling, serious illness in the family, children getting married, and in the middle of a Masters degree. No rest for the wicked and no time to post on Sycophants R Us anymore.

Best wishes to all.
Bye bye from across the pond.

Jared Livesey said...

We can see that when people use modern definitions for words that meant something different in the past - the context - it leads directly to corruption of law and literature.

Just not, apparently, scripture or the teachings of Joseph Smith (the convergence of both law and literature - go figure). I find this ironic because Robin Hood sez "context is everything" while simultaneously deriding both Rock and myself for prioritizing the original meanings of the words - which IS the context. So on the one hand context is everything, but on the other, context doesn't matter.

Either the context matters, in which case we need to translate older English (or Hebrew, or Greek) into modern English to properly understand the most likely intended meanings of the older authors, or the context doesn't matter, in which case why bother even translating the older texts, much less appealing to Wikipedia? Just assert your own meanings for the scratches and doodles you don't understand and call it "linguistic evolution." Or "correlation." Or whatever.

I wonder how that kind of position, rendered explicit, would fly with a Master's thesis committee?

Of course Robin's actual, "consistent" position is that context only matters when it supports his views, and doesn't matter when it undermines them. Or, in other words, "Robin Hood = Right, Rock + Log = Wrong!"

This seems very similar to the Church's position on scripture. Basically, where scripture agrees with the Church's teachings, it's irrelevant, and where it appears to contradict the Church's teachings, it's harmful. That's why we have manuals - to avoid confusing people as to what the Church's actual teachings are.

And Robin Hood is the product.

Jared Livesey said...

Oh, sorry. There was a stone left unturnt.

Of every last LDS "leader," only Joseph and Sidney claimed to have had the heavens open unto them and to have stood in the presence of God. Joseph brought Sidney with him and together they took a tour through heaven and hell, which was recorded in D&C 76.

I wonder, was D&C 76, or the First Vision a "line upon line" kinda thing? Seems decidedly not. I wonder, therefore, if Joseph said we learn "line upon line," did he mean what Robin Hood means? I wonder if "line upon line" is an excuse those who are truly "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" use to justify their eternal and interminable ignorance?

Ha. Context is for suckers. Perish the thought.

I begin to wonder if those like Robin Hood actually believe in God, or if they merely hope he's there but don't concern themselves too much about him - the real world of business and credentialing beckons them away. I begin to wonder if all their prattle about religion is only to salve their consciences, which fills them with a vague guilt and feelings that they ought to be doing something more, something different, taking things more seriously. I begin to wonder if, for them, "defending the Church" is a substitute for good works - because they really do despise the poor, having no love for their fellow man, neither a love of the truth. I begin to wonder if their prayers are from the soul, or merely from the mouth to fulfill formal requirements. I begin to wonder if they're at all interested in what God is offering, or if the doctrine of Christ is foolishness to them even when explained plainly.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mtnmn318 is right, of course. "Revelation" cannot be defined as narrowly as I did in my comment above. That's what I get for trying to write in a hurry; I had somewhere I had to be, so I wrapped it up quickly without being as clear as I should have.

As mtnmn suggests, anytime the Holy Ghost reveals something to us, that is, indeed, a revelation. What I was concerned with when I wrote the above was the kind of revelation Joseph Smith, as prophet to the whole world (not just the church) was known for and which is therefore the type of revelation we should expect when we are told the modern prophets are revelators every bit as much as Joseph was: something distinctly put into words that can be read and reviewed again and again.

Sometimes I will get a revelation through the Holy Ghost, but I am probably too thick to get the kind of exact, specific revelation I have seen come through Connie. That was pretty cool, mainly because it could be read again and again for the deeper meaning.

Which is not to minimize the "ordinary" kind of revelation; I was just pointing out that sometimes a revelation can be much more concrete than at other times. Would that every answer I got through the Holy Ghost was written down in distinct language that I could not misinterpret, because I admit to sometimes having second thoughts as to what I thought I heard. "Did God mean to give me this counsel, or am I just reading into it what I want to?" Yeah, I can get real unsure of the answers I get. I'm not the best student.

So to clarify: anytime something is revealed to an individual through the Holy Ghost, that person is receiving revelation. Whether that revelation is the same as an "oracle" is something I'm not certain of, but it seems to me there is a difference. Still, that's neither here nor there when it comes to revelation on a personal revelation. That's why they call it personal revelation: it concerns only the person who is receiving it.

So here's what it MAY come down to concerning "oracles"(and I say "may" because of course I'm speculating.I am allowed to speculate.): The early Saints could perhaps consider themselves the Lord's "people" because as a people they heard his decrees. It is probable that today AS A PEOPLE we cannot make that claim. Why? Because we do not have the oracles as they did in Joseph's day. As individuals we receive the word of God, but there are no "master messages" handed down that give us all identical instructions to follow "as a people." To paraphrase Joseph, without royal decrees from the king, the people don't hear the voice of their king, so they don't really have a kingdom.

At the same time, you and me, as individuals CAN claim to belong to Him if we pray to Him, receive answers from Him, and follow HIM.

But I'm not sure we belong to him as "a people" i.e. the institutional, structural Church which lumps us all together as cogs under a hierarchy that operates from the top down. In that society our orders are coming from somewhere other than from the King directly.

Jared Livesey said...


Revelation might be defined even more narrowly.

The Second Comforter

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses:

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

"16. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

"17. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

"18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.* *

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

"21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

"23. DIf a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

Section Three 1838-39, p.150

Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions--Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.

The Spirit of Revelation

Section Three 1838-39, p.151

The Spirit of Revelation is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.,) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.

Jared Livesey said...

So, you see, it again becomes a functional question - what, precisely, did Joseph mean by the word? It seems that Joseph is here using the word to mean what we would today call "prophecy," or the foretelling of future events - what C said President Monson conditionally did.

Here, the word "intelligence" apparently follows definition 2 of Webster's 1828 Dictionary.

2. Notice; information communicated; an account of things distant or before unknown. Intelligence may be transmitted by messengers, by letters, by signals or by telegraphs.

I feel that caution and precision ought be applied to these things. As I pointed out, the word "revelation" has been broadened and so emptied of content, just as the word "love."

Anonymous said...

Log, your equation is incorrect. You cannot add a log. It should read:

log(Rock) = Wrong!


Unknown said...

if you're going to redefine what priesthood or what priesthood keys mean, please do so with the scriptures. I would gladly put your proposals to the test of prayer, but you've got to give me more reason than a "what if?" Similarly, I could retort "What if you're wrong?"

Jared Livesey said...


I have merely asked you to consider the propositions and see where they lead. I'm not trying to argue you into believing them. Plug them into the scriptures and see if they work.

I can only proffer the relevant dictionary definitions, from Webster's 1828 Dictionary.


6. An index, or that which serves to explain a cypher. Hence,
7. That which serves to explain any thing difficult to be understood.
8. In the Romish church, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, or the power of the pope, or the power of excommunicating or absolving.


The office or character of a priest.

1. The order of men set apart for sacred offices; the order composed of priests.

The rest is really up to you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

It seems to me that your question would be better directed at the official LDS website: "If you're going to redefine what priesthood or what priesthood keys mean, please do so with the scriptures."

The definition on that website states that "Priesthood keys are the authority Heavenly Father has given to priesthood leaders to direct the use of His priesthood on earth." Hmmm. Well, maybe. It might have helped if the committee that gave us that definition had backed it up with scripture, don't you think?

I suppose one or two scriptures MIGHT be construed to support that meaning. It sure is a handy definition to tout if what you're trying to do is convince the members you have the ability to control God. But is such a wildly arrogant meaning upheld by scripture?

That question is one that deserves a thorough examination, and one of these days I may address "keys" here on this blog. The topic has been dealt with by others (look around), and I did react with a horselaugh myself to the Church's training videos on "the keys" which they sent around on DVD a couple of years ago to instruct local leaders about what groovy administrative skills they have had magically bestowed upon them when they were set apart for their various callings. Here's that piece, which provides links to the videos:

In the meantime, if you wish to track down the truth of what "keys" are, you might crack open your concordance and see what the scriptures actually say. After that, look for every instance when Joseph Smith used the word in his speeches and writings. You may be surprised to learn that "keys" seems to mean something akin to "hidden knowledge" rather than magic powers passed from one man to another.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Here's a couple of hints from the scriptures:
When John the baptist conferred the priesthood of Aaron on Joseph and Oliver, he told them that priesthood HELD the keys of the ministering of angels, not that the priesthood itself WAS the keys.

In section 124:94 (have you noticed yet that section 124 is chock full of hidden knowledge?) the Lord tells Joseph he is appointing Hyrum to be a sort of co-president with the gifts of prophet, seer, and revelator, then in the next verse he says Joseph is to show unto hyrum the keys.

Well wait a minute! If Hyrum is now a Prophet, seer, and revelator appointed by God, doesn't he now HAVE those keys? Maybe by the modern way of thinking. But the Lord says Hyrum must be SHOWN the keys. A key unlocks something. Almost always what it unlocks is further understanding. Joseph is to show Hyrum the keys so that Hyrum can get more knowledge. About what? I don't really know. Is it the knowledge of how to prophecy? How to be a seer? How revelation works? Is it not necessary to receive a key (a certain bit of knowledge or information) in order to unlock one's understanding of the Greater Things?

When Joseph and Oliver received the keys of the Aaronic priesthood, what do you think John meant when he said that priesthood held (contained within it) the keys to the ministering of angels? I have held that priesthood, and I wasn't able to call down angels to minister to me just because I had been "given" the priesthood. Could it be those keys John spoke of contained heretofore hidden information regarding what one must say or do in order to call down angels? Or was that supposed to happen automatically for anyone having the priesthood conferred on them?

The latter assumption seems to be what most members think of today when they talk of keys. A member of the hierarchy with "Keys" can command God, even to the point of forcing God to acknowledge that whatever those men might say from the pulpit is the same as though God himself had spoken it. I wrote about this blasphemy in my piece "Not Quite The Same." It smacks of the kind of Popery not seen since the age of the Medieval Catholic Church. Whatever the modern interpretation, it seems to me a long way from being scriptural.

We make too many assumptions in this church. We want to believe the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. I say we ought to look to the scriptures, and leave the philosophies of men out of it entirely.

Jared Livesey said...


You asked: "Could it be those keys John spoke of contained heretofore hidden information regarding what one must say or do in order to call down angels?"

Or could it be that those keys unlock the hidden meaning of the ministration of angels - that is, those possessing the keys could recognize and understand the ministration of angels?

You can see where this idea takes us back to the presentation of the endowments, intended again to give us "the keys of the kingdom."


I wish to clarify something.

As I said, I'm not trying to argue you into believing those definitions. What I am instead asking is if you can consider, for the sake of argument, that those definitions are correct - or, in other words, can you grant that it is possible that they are correct?

Because if you cannot grant that they are possibly correct, then you have already made up your mind, OR you know better. I cannot tell you what you know, because I do not know what you know. But if you don't actually know better, can you grant it is possible that these things could be true and correct?

I will admit that there is some tension in some parts of the scriptures with "keys" as I have asked you to consider them - items of knowledge which serve to unlock the hidden meaning of things. One specific instance is D&C 132:7. I will admit I have some questions about the provenance of the received text of D&C 132, and those questions cannot be resolved by reference to the historical record. But so long as something CAN possibly be true, then we have to admit we don't know that it is false (just as I do not know D&C 132 to be false).

And if we don't know it is false, then it does become us to seek further light and knowledge IF IT IS IMPORTANT TO US. What I have found is that when someone tells me to pray about something that I couldn't give two craps about, I simply dismiss them. Who are you, I say to them, to tell me what I should value or be concerned with? When someone imposes a matter upon me, well, I typically don't get answered in my prayers about that subject. Because, honestly, I don't care enough to ask with singleness of mind, being open to all possibilities (as is the case with D&C 132 - it's not a pressing matter to me).

So if these things - priesthood and keys - aren't things you care about, what do you really care about?

Unknown said...

Rock & Log,
Thank you for your lengthy responses to my questions. I appreciate your consideration in your attempts to explain your views to me. Though I as yet disagree with your conclusions, I will ponder the things the things you've mentioned.
I'm not sure if all of you share a common consensus about the authority of the church (or any other relating topic), but let's hypothetically say you're conclusions are right. What then? Where are the faithfull, believing Latter-day Saints to turn for leadership / guidance / or whatever?

Jared Livesey said...


This would be my counsel if it were sought.

Cry mightily unto the Lord.

I wish I could persuade men to call upon God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, until they were filled by fire, light, and love from heaven and hear the voice of God from on high.

But the desire has to arise from within, not be imposed from without.

Do you wish to be made innocent and pure as a child again? Do you wish to perceive the hand of God in all things? Do you wish to be one with him, receiving all things whatsoever you ask of him? Do you wish for him to be to you a Father, and to be to him a son? Do you desire his gifts - prophecy, seership, revelation, translation, and all other things given to them of old? Do you desire to know the mysteries of heaven, to see the things Joseph saw? Do you wish to know the meaning of all things?

If you want these things more than anything else in this world, then cry mightily, asking for them, until you receive them.

What else matters?

Craig said...

..."The church of Christ was founded upon Apostles, Prophets; teachers etc"...

There is a 1st or 2nd century document called the Didache or Teachings that explains how the early church viewed apostles, prophets and teachers. These were three gifts of the spirit and apostles, prophets and teachers were often itinerant. They would show up at a congregation (apostle = one who is sent = missionary) and be fed and housed and would teach and prophesy. They were supported but never given money. They were only to stay a few days or else they would be put to work.

I believe the way Paul described the foundation of the church is not the way we commonly understand it. The scripture in Ephesians doesn't mean that the foundation of the church is the 1st Presidency and Quorum of the 12. The foundation of the church is members with a testimony of Jesus, missionaries with the spirit and teachers who teach by the spirit. This makes more sense to me since a foundation should be broad and fundamental, not the top of the hierarchy.

Anonymous said...

Not to toot my own horn, but for those seeking additional information here is a place to start. I make no claims it is 100% correct.

Craig and everyone else:

I recently read the Didache and it is my understanding that while it wasn't canonized it was deemed important. I wish today we would canonize the text.

It is sort of like a how to guide for members. It expounds on commandments and sins. It teaches how to perform ordinances. It also teaches how to handle leaders and messengers. It is also a useful tool/key for determining if the messenger is a true one or not. For example if the messenger is delivering a message in the spirit and he calls for food. If he eats the food you know he is a false messenger, but if he doesn't eat the food you know he is a true one. if he stays there three days or more without working he is a false prophet. If he asks for money he is false, etc. It's really awesome and I wish more people would use it today.

The only things I found that some would consider to be objectionable were mode of baptism and prayer for the sacrament(Eucharist).

Concerning the mode of baptism in Chapter 7 is states: "But if you have neither[(living water, nor a font)], pour out water three times upon the head..." Considering the commandment to baptize by immersion many will find this objectionable. This seems like it would be something to consider. If you are in the desert and there is no river or font how would you baptize people? This seems to be the answer to this question. But was this a revelation from God, or a tradition of men that developed? I haven't taken it to the Lord.

Next the prayer for the bread and wine many may find objectionable because they contradict what is taught in other scriptures.

For the Wine: We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever..

For the Bread: We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever..

Anonymous said...

Here's the text of the Didache concerning the reception of leaders and messengers:

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Chapter 12. Reception of Christians. But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

Chapter 13. Support of Prophets. But every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.

Chapter 15. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof. Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers. And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel. But to anyone that acts amiss against another, let no one speak, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the Gospel of our Lord.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

Alma seems to be condemned as a false prophet by the Didache (Alma 10).

The Didache seems, to me, to be of a kind with the Church Handbook of Instructions - which, of course, is what it is (didache = teachings = instructions).

Jared Livesey said...

Of course, that's just my opinion from what Zomorah posted.

Jared Livesey said...

And it remains my opinion after reviewing the whole thing.

Brett said...

Re: Blain, "Where are the faithfull, believing Latter-day Saints to turn for leadership / guidance / or whatever?"

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

2 Nephi 32:2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

R. Metz said...

As one of the commenters – Niklas – said, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff did get revelations from God after the death of Joseph Smith. That is true; they can be dated to 1880, 1882 and 1886 (John Taylor), and 1889 (Wilford Woodruff). These were written “Thus sayth the Lord . .” revelations, but were not widely published (yet available on the internet; just click on: the four hidden revelations), although one of these was in the D&C for some time. If I am not mistaken this question by Niklas was not properly answered so far. But this is a crucial point concerning the topic at hand, and some more attention would be appropriate.
Lorin C. Woolley declared how the Lord appeared to John Taylor in the year 1886 in Centerville, Utah. The documentation of this event and the witnesses who were present at the time make this story acceptable enough. Lorenzo Snow is said to have seen the Lord in the Salt Lake Temple. Some may say it is a myth that was made up after he had died, but some details (for instance the Lord appearing in the foyer and not in the Holy of Holies because of the unworthiness of the people) make the story acceptable to me as being authentic. In both cases the Lord appeared to communicate serious matters with these brethren. And of course the vision given to Joseph F. Smith in 1918. If these events are not revelation I don't know what is.
The point I want to make is that the Lord may no longer accept the LDS church as HIS church – as the “Church of Jesus Christ” or even the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” – but that He not totally rejects it as an institution, accepting it still as the “Church of the Latter-Day Saints”, many of whom are His humble followers and who are from the tribe of Ephraim, who have the birthright of the priesthood.
Maybe the keys of the priesthood have gone into the wilderness and maybe the leadership of the church can no longer claim these, since this church has gone off the track, but in my opinion – and in accordance with this post – I believe and history suggests that the Lord still does recognise and honour the priesthood of righteous individuals among this people.
I think it is of no relevance to consider any line of ordination, or line of authority; the people have departed from the Lord, as Joseph Smith on several occasions has suggested would happen; they just love to have it so. The Lord has said “This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is THE TRANSGRESSION OF MY PEOPLE” as Mosiah 27 vers 13 reads.
This would create a dilemma of course, that every serious investigator will have to solve individually. As someone wrote lately on one of the sites I use to read: “we have to open the books ourselves”. There it is. There is a lot of research to do (too much truth hidden, too much information lost or corrupted, too much change in doctrine and ordinances). Somehow we have to assemble true Mormon theology for ourselves, it turns out. Things may be more complicated than we first thought, but once involved in the proces we have to move on, with the help from others and carefully using the internet as a wonderful tool. And with revelation from God!
Clearly there is an awakening going on among many of the Latter-day Saints, stimulated by the knowledge that has become available and by the priestcraft that is going on at all the levels in the church, and this is of course an ongoing proces. I am sure the Lord is behind all this. We have to rely on Him, and Him only. But about this redemption of Zion, when is it going to be? Should we not all be praying for it, now with these tribulations in the Islamic world and all the desperate people who are on the move and coming northward right now?
I was edified by the comments; some very fundamental issues were raised. Best regards to all.

R. Metz said...

Something more about revelation after the murder of the prophet. I only mentioned John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff receiving them. Later today I came across something more concerning President Brigham Young, who is so much frowned upon in these circles.
It is from the Journal of Wilford Woodruff:
October 7, 1870: We held a Priesthood meeting in the old tabernacle in the evening. Bishop
Hunter spoke about 30 minutes. D. H. Wells, G. A. Smith (5 minutes), and President Young gave the following revelations:
It is the mind and will of God that the Elders of Israel should take the Utah Central Railroad Bonds and own the road and pay for it . . . It is the will of God that C. C. Rich and Lorenzo Snow should call for 50 men to strengthen the settlements in Bear Lake Valley. It is the will of God that Erastus Snow should call upon the people to strengthen the southern settlements. Many other remarks were made.
June 1, 1873: At prayer circle, President said: I have asked the Lord what kind of a temple we should build and the answer of the Lord was that He did not make two things alike, and we need not make two temples alike, so we need not look for two temples alike.
So is that revelation or is it revelation? One answer possible.

Anonymous said...

FIn reference to Blain's original question about apostles and keys...I believe one of Brigham Young's favorite thing to do was to ordain people as apostle. I believe he even ordained his 8 year old son. Several of the founders of the polygamous groups were ordained apostles I believe. Are all apostles prophets, seers, and revelators? Do they all hold keys. If so, many groups can lay claim to having priesthood keys.


Steak Presedent said...


Thank you for your answers on the last comment section. Although God condemns those who teach others to sin, I haven't found anywhere that says that person shall be excommunicated if they haven't done the sin themselves, but are just preaching it.

You did a recap of what a revelation is and one of the things wasn't something you wrote about earlier. This was that a revelation reveals something previously unknown. Now, it may seem obvious, for how is one revealing something if it was already known to those he was revealing it to? Maybe I just have a different understanding of the word in my mind because I think of a revelation as communication between God to us. There were many things spoken by prophets in the scriptures, including by Joseph Smith, which were a reminder or an expounding of other things. For example God reiterated certain commandments to Joseph Smith like Thou shalt not kill, or steal or commit adultery. Were those revelations? We already knew those things, but they were still the words of the Lord given to Joseph Smith, the prophet. So do you call them revelations? Or oracles, but not revelations?

Jason Wharton said...

I do not agree with this statement:
"The narrative I was taught growing up in the church was that following the death of Joseph Smith, the Lord chose Brigham Young to lead the Church. Not so. That is revisionist history, with no grounding in fact."

The basis upon which I do not agree is how I understand D&C 90:3-5 that says where the gift to receive the oracles would go upon the passing of Joseph Smith Jr. The Lord said the gift to receive the oracles (written communications from God) would pass from Joseph Smith Jr. to another, even to the church. As I understand it, this means that whoever presides over the church is now also in the position to preside over this gift and to thereby exercise it.

There is also a warning in these verses that all to whom the gift to receive oracles comes to that they beware not to take things lightly because it can turn to their condemnation and they can stumble.

I'm more of the belief that showing how the gift to receive oracles has been lost with condemnation in its place is a closer representation of our current situation.

Anonymous said...

Rock, I dare you to write a positive piece on the church. Can you even think of one anymore?

Jared Livesey said...

If you really want fluff-pieces about the Church, why not go visit, or read the Deseret News? Our tithings go to pay the PR people, after all.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sure, Anonymous.
I write positive things about the church all the time. Do a search and you'll notice how many times I have cited D&C 10:67. You'll note that every time I mention the church I have done so approvingly.

I also approve of what Jesus has to say in verse 68 regarding counterfeits to His church. If you hold to the the opinion I have written nothing positive about the church, you might want to become more familiar with this blog.

Anonymous said...

Not positive 'things' here and there. I'm talking about an article with a positive theme. Not just another repackaging of the same old 'church is run by a bunch of counterfeits' or some such negative spin/status update on the church. Show you can do it. I even have a title for you: What's right with the church?

BenB said...

which matters more, "positivity" or "truth?"

I'd rather have truth than someone blowing sunshine...

"Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!"

Jared Livesey said...

That's actually the same class of reproach the priests of Noah appear to have levelled at Abinadi.

20 And it came to pass that one of them said unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying:

21 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;

22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;

23 Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem;

24 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God?

Why, oh why, Abinadi, don't you tell us what is right with the Church? they seem to be saying. Why are you so negative towards us? Aren't prophets supposed to give us good news? Aren't they supposed to bolster our sense of chosenness, confirming our righteousness?

Jared Livesey said...

A more interesting question: is there anything uniquely "good" about the Church that cannot be said of any other existing earthly organization?

I cannot think of a thing.

BenB said...

I've been pondering the same things. Last week I taught Sunday school, and while talking about spiritual gifts, mentioned that those gifts need to be things that don't exist without the spirit. We can talk about inspiration, or god-given talents, but spiritual gifts are on a different level, and require the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The same thing goes for priesthood, "keys," truth etc. Shouldn't a claim of unique trueness give rise to some kind of identifiable unique fruits?

Jared Livesey said...

I think not necessarily. Do we read of miracles performed by Adam, Abraham, Lehi, and a whole slew of others?

What do we read of?

It is my opinion that there is a stage towards the end where I think miracles will come, and publicly. I believe the initial stage is just speaking the truth by the power of the Spirit and seeing who believes and responds without hardness of heart.

16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Jared Livesey said...

I recognize we're talking about slightly different things.

But, as Joseph said, the most useful gifts cannot be known from the outside.

Unknown said...

Thanks for that. I will have a read of your suggested material.

Unknown said...

Thanks Rock. I will have a read.

N. W. Clayton said...

Hi, Rock. You make a compelling argument. However, you seem to imply that Heber J. Grant was succeeded by David O. McKay when, in fact, he was succeeded by George Albert Smith, who was then succeeded by Pres. McKay. I remember when I was a kid during the last years of the McKay presidency that grownups spoke fondly of David O. McKay, Heber J. Grant, and Joseph F. Smith. But they seemed oddly silent about George Albert Smith, except for a Sunday-school teacher who mentioned that Pres. Smith had a goatee.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Right you are, N.W. Clayton. I often get the chronology of Grant and George Albert confused. Thanks for the correction.

Anonymous said...

Concerning the revelations of Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. There were also revelations received by James Strang, and Joseph Smith III, and many others.

In Ezekiel 14 is states:

3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?

4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

What this says to me is that if we have idols or even false traditions God will a speak to us according to those idols and false traditions. For example if I believe with all my heart that the Brighamite branch is correct; then God will answer me according to that belief. He will confirm my beliefs about tithing and bless me when I do temple work for the dead. But as i learn more about the true nature of those things and I start casting aside those idols then i will be able to receive more pure truth as I will no longer have those stumbling blocks in my way.

Revelations given to Brigham Young, John Taylor, and wilford Woodruff were given to them according to their divided tradition. Revelations to James Strang and Joseph Smith III were given to them according to their tradition.

Yes some of these may contain universal truths, but most probably pertain only to their divided tradition.

They key, I believe, it to gather up all truth. If a revelation contains some false traditions, then take up the truth and leave the rest.

Fabio said...

I wonder if the leaders of the church ever go to these blogs and read what's written about them? If I were a leader of any organization and there were criticisms about me, I would certainly want to know what they are and if they are correct. Everything said in this article is accurate according to the revealed doctrine.

Liberty Ghost said...

there's an interesting subculture in the Church currently, besides uncorrelated mormonism, that believes that the end of the world is actually quite imminent. Many in this subculture accept the experiences of Julie Rowe, Hector Sosa and others to be prophetic. Hector speaks of a specific timetable with earthquakes along the wasatch front and although no specific timetable is given, they appear to be talking of something happening in the next year or two.

The funny thing, is that none of them claim to be prophets; they go out of their way to defer to Pres. Monson, etc. as the only real, actual prophets, even though those gentlemen haven't said squat about any of these future events.

Since the Lord won't do anything without revealing His will to his servants the prophets, it seems that we may have an opportunity coming to see just who is a prophet and who isn't. So, if it turns out that Rowe and Sosa's experiences are prophetic, but that those with the titles remain silent on the subject, will Church members begin to understand prophecy differently than they currently do?

Today, faithful members read through conference talks and pull out any oblique reference and spin it so that they give a prophetic voice to those who have the titles. When on the other hand, those with titles do declare something which fails to come to pass, those same members are quick to become deft apologists, invoking the "unless he states that it comes from the Lord, it's just his opinion" apology. My mother vividly recalls an apostle who declared that the end of the world would be before such and such a time (which has come and gone). Possibly why they discourage tape recorders today. They don't often make such glaring mistakes today, but those were simpler times.

The problem, of course, is that we are sheep. Sheep will follow the leader, any leader, including other sheep which lead them over the cliff to their death. The Lord understands this, but I believe he will hold those who claim leadership to account. There are a number of scriptures which indicate that when the Lord returns he will dismiss the wicked shepherds who have not fed his flock (Ezk 34), but I have yet to find one which indicates that upon his return he will be acknowledging the good shepherds who did his will. I believe it is part of his plan to face the members of the Church with the same dilemma that the members had to deal with at Christ's mortal ministry; either go with the accepted leadership or recognize one who comes with the authority and power of God.

Dale B.

Jared Livesey said...

This blog post fits the theme of Rock's blog.

Steak Presedent said...


I don't think that's what that passage in Ezekiel means. God won't conifrm something as true if it isn't. But if we don't want to know the truth, He will not force us to accept it. I think "I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols" means that God will answer him with some kind of judgement, not answer with a "yes, the idols are true."

Unknown said...

There is evidence that those whom were alive in Christ's time, the end of the world would happen in their lives; there are records that the end of the world would happen in JS's Generation by LDS records.

Zomarah, need to think about your post about Gid and man's messages... I dunno, but thanks for a fresh angle to me.

Until we figure this out can we just not judge and accept?

Would the LDS faithful take refugees from Syria for example... Almost afraid to bring this up in my house... My wife is likely to say make it so. And I would be humbled to thinking... OK we are in for a financial decline and a possible spiritual uplift. Honestly, a wimp on this but my conscience is tugging ....

Steak Presedent said...

What's going on today, went on in Book of Mormon times. Secret combinations, refugees being accepted by the Nephites and given the land of Jershon to dwell in, some members of the church being puffed up in pride, etc. We, the church, are supposed to be giving this book out to people, so they can learn its messages and be converted to Christ, but also I believe it gives a lot of guidance on practical issues. Afterall, history is repeating itself. Oh, and the whole world is really sucking at following its teachings at this time.

Josh said...

Hi Rock,
As I was scanning through the comments and noticed some things being discussed about "keys," I thought it might be useful to point out the difference between the wording many mistakenly use, saying "keys TO the ministering of angels," when the scripture says "keys OF the ministering of angels. The way I read that is that the actual Aaronic Priesthood is a brotherhood of those who have been ministered unto by angels, not some hierarchical authority holding vague "keys" TO the ministering of angels.
Great post, as always.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks Josh. That's an important distinction. I'm sure I've made that mistake myself.

Steak Presedent said...

The word "keys" seems to mean anything that unlocks something from the kingdom of God. It has been used by the Lord to refer to unlocking knowledge or authority (maybe wisdom and blessings as well.)


D&C 28:7 "For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead."


D&C 68:17 (referring to the bishop presiding over the Aaronic Priesthood) "For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same."

Rock, could you please answer my question that I wrote earlier about revelations?

Ryan Nickel said...

What about this scripture?

D&C 20:67

Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high councilor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.

Ryan Nickel said...

I'd like to see a post on that inspiration.

I'm willing to bet that the same way we talk about missionary experiences and being led by the spirit to say something or do something or go somewhere and we find someone looking for the gospel happens in other churches just as well.

We are all God's children looking for a better way and there are Christians all over this globe willing to help people come to Christ and share what they know.

We just say that we have the one true gospel to offer them. Yet, they're all the same to God. Meaning that God is willing offer a better life to all his children.

One day the church will return from the wilderness. It's just not here today.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The High Council could not ordain Brigham because by then there was no high council. Brigham had abolished this important office because it was clearly an impediment to his ambitions.

Had the high council of the church still been in existence, I'm positive they would not have approved nor ordained Brigham as president. The Lord had previously appointed Brigham to preside over the Traveling Elders. He had no authority to run the church at home, and neither did the Twelve. In the absence of a First Presidency, the Church High Council was the governing body. Brigham usurped the authority and took it for himself.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log, that post you linked to by Corbin Vellum is spot on. I hope everyone reads it.

(I kinda wished I had written it.)

Jared Livesey said...

here it is again:

Lester said...

Somewhat tangentially related to the conversation here is an excellent white paper on the intricacies of the legal status of the Church™ written by Kipley and Michael Farr. This father and son team are behind the Questions for the Brethren Facebook group. Readers of Rock's blog will probably find the paper interesting for its thoughtful, probing quest for understanding.

A tidbit:

"In the eyes of the law, or at least, in the eyes of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is considered an “unincorporated religious association.”13 This designation or simply, “unincorporated association” is used throughout U.S. and state case law.14

In a response to a motion filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division at Lexington, the attorney representing the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (COP) made the following
statements about the legal status of the Church:

• “The Church does not exist as a legal entity. At times, it has been characterized as an unincorporated voluntary association, but even then there is no entity with formal, legal existence and no assets to satisfy the judgment.”15
• “The LDS Church is a religious entity that conducts no business and has no assets from
which to satisfy the judgment.”16
• “Here, COP (Corporation of the President) is the legal entity that holds property and conducts the temporal affairs of the Church.”17

Ryan Nickel said...

Don't forget this one from the JST.

Luke 11:53

Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge, the fullness of the scriptures; ye enter not in yourselves into the kingdom; and those who were entering in, ye hindered.

Ryan Nickel said...

Hi Rock,

I'm not sure if this was in response to my comment to Jared Mata or not.

He wrote that he wasn't sure if a president of any quorum had to be ordained and I was showing him where it was so.

Sam said...

I can now fully understand your position regarding Prophets, thank you. I do agree that since Joseph Smith, revelation has been sparse, which does support your position further. I do also believe that Lorenzo Snow qualifies as he testified of seeing the Savior, and called someone back from the dead.
I also believe that Gordon B. Hinckley was a prophet, but many of the "revelations" that you are looking for signs of are hidden because of iniquity. Gordon B. Hinckley was inspired, he did receive transcendent revelation. You, I and the world aren't party to it.
I follow your logic, but like most things there is another side. My opinion only. Best to you.

Steak Presedent said...

Why aren't we party to the revelations?

Jared Livesey said...

Why aren't we party to the revelations?

"He's not a tame lion." - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle. Read the whole thing.

It is because there have been no revelations. Merely occasional, and increasingly infrequent if not ceased altogether, inspirations. And, as a substitute for genuine revelation, or even mere inspiration, we are now to take the united 15 as the voice of God.

We have no record of Snow testifying of seeing the Savior that I know of; what we have is a late claim by a granddaughter that he told her something about such an event.

Jared Livesey said...

Indeed, just thinking out loud here, might Brigham not have fulfilled the role of Shift, the Ape, who started the pretense of speaking for Aslan (the role played by the ignorant and innocent donkey Puzzle upon whom Shift put the garb of the Holy Priesthood - a lion's skin) whilst enjoying vast personal privileges in both women, property, and status, while those who came after are playing the role of the Calormenes, making merchandise of the land and creatures of Narnia?

Unknown said...


Thanks for the rational faith link... Interesting!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sorry for not responding to your question; I thought it was rhetorical.

It seems to me most of the revelations received through Joseph Smith did reveal new information, even though the Lord also repeated himself on some things, like reiterating commandments. If there are examples of communications from God that don't say anything new, but rather stand as reminders of previous information, or serve to rebuke, I'd say those were oracles. All the communications we refer to as
"revelations" which come through a prophet are oracles, but I suppose not all oracles MUST reveal something heretofore unknown. Or so I would speculate. I could be wrong.

Juan said...

Rock, as a hispanic "lamanite", once of devout following of the Church, who finds the presentation in the Book of Mormon of the murderous Christopher Columbus as an inspired man as mere 19th century rhetoric for expansionist frontiersmen that has maliciously reduced my interaction with my own culture ; I say this:

Thank you. Thank you for reminding me about the sweet and beautiful things that one can believe in Mormonism. About the surreal and deeply personal aspects of what Joseph Smith taught, and that not all of this is a bunch of executive officers living in Salt Lake City telling people how it all "really" is, with an intense focus on tithes (money), priesthood (authority), and leadership (power).

Those deeply personal things between one and God, coming on to Christ, and real change, not societal conformity or submission to what was simply a bunch of guys saying they have authority. It would have done me good, and I would have avoided some very serious problems and heartache, to follow those basic tenets more closely when I was an active Latter-Day Saint.

I'm an agnostic-atheist now, but if I ever did go back to that kind of belief, I figure it would be very close to what you proclaim.

I'm from Cali too, OG: LA. My perception is that where you stay at now is not some big city like here.
So, to me, you come across as a voice from the wilderness.


Unknown said...

Gee, I wonder why you got excommunicated

Steak Presedent said...

Thanks Rock. Sorry, I should have made it more clear that it wasn't rhetorical. I can understand as there is a fair bit of rhetoric on this blog (including from me, like when I asked "why aren't we party to the revelations.") Anyway, I appreciate your speculative answer; however, I would like an oracle from God to clarify these things. I believe the Lord uses whatever terms we use, like when he called the non-biblical scriptures the Apocrypha, which is what Joseph Smith called it, instead of the Deuterocanon as named by the Catholics and others. I don't just mean, terminology, but a message from the Lord stating whether we will be getting continual revelations or continual oracles and the occasional revelation as needed. Is there much to yet be revealed? Or do we have most of it already?

The above paragraph is just my thoughts and rhetorical questions :)


I don't think you should worry about what it says about Christopher Columbus in the Book of Mormon. He may have been inspired by God to go to the Americas, but he certainly didn't receive his inspirations for his less noble and downright rotten deeds from God. Likewise, I believe people like Brigham Young were inspired, either at times throughout his life or only earlier, before his polygamy craze (and blood atonement and beheadings, etc.) I don't like when we say that someone is "inspired" and it's like a blanket statement that presumes that all their words and decisions are inspired by God. No, God will inspire someone as much as they are able or willing to receive His guidance, but they may ignore him and go out sinning.

Also, the Bible Dictionary definition for election provides some possible insights. It mentions the kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus who were chosen by the Lord to accomplish things for Him, but it doesn't mean they will automatically receive salvation. So I suppose unrighteous individuals can be chosen by God to fulfil His purposes but that doesn't mean they are holy men or saints just because of that.

Juan, I hope you do go and believe in God and His son Jesus Christ. They are still true even if other things have turned out not to be. I know it's a confusing journey, but God loves you and will help you as you turn to Him.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for the kind words. But I have to ask: where does the Book of Mormon mention Christopher Columbus?

The Columbus myth is just another example of how we make assumptions about the Book of Mormon that fit what we think we know. From what we know of Columbus, trying to make him fit the description Nephi provides is quite a stretch. On the other hand, Captain John Smith fits the description to a 'T' right down to his efforts at leading other gentiles out of their captivity. I don't think Nephi's vision had anything to do with Christopher Columbus; I think he was shown John Smith.

Juan said...

Hahaha! Absolutely great point Rock. It's too bad the correlated magesterium has adopted this view readily:

That's the saddest thing about the Church's propaganda machine, it deals mostly in half-truths and rhetoric. Tragic, really. Convincing a group of people that they should celebrate a big cause of their own descent into chaos and crisis, and use that to convince them to believe in your corporate religion. I'm with ya Rock. I'll look more into John Smith

Steak Presedent said...

I'm not a historian, so I couldn't think of anyone else Nephi could be talking about. I know that people before Columbus figured there was land to the west of the Atlantic (due to spotting seagulls, for instance.) Still, Columbus is the one credited with discovering the New World, so I went with him. I always wondered about the captivity part though. Who exactly were the captives and what was the nature of their captivity? I'll look into John Smith too. Funny, this harks back to how I came into the LDS church. I wanted to know who was "John Smith" - getting Joseph's name wrong - after hearing all this doctrine that made a lot of sense to me. I liked how he restored original Christianity. It's still the original that I'm interested in following.

Michael said...


Any word on your appeal?

Ryan Nickel said...

Have you blogged about this? It would be a fascinating read.

Maybe a whole series about other LDS interpolations to fit the current world view.

Like 2 Ne. 27:17-18 and Martin Harris' encounter with Charles Anthon in JS-H 1:65.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Nothing yet, Michael. I'll post something about it when I learn something.

Ryan, did you forget to include a link?

Jared Livesey said...

He's talking about your John Smith vs. Columbus thing.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AKRefugee said...

Rock. I happened to stumble onto your blog when I was researching something else. I am a fairly new convert and to be honest with you I have silently questioned the claim that anyone other than Joseph Smith is a prophet. I have done what I was asked to do and have read the BoM, pondered it with my mind, prayed about it and then listened quietly for the answer to the question "is this true?". I have zero doubt that the BofM is an inspired document and that the prophecy was delivered to Joseph Smith to deliver to us. Other than him I have noted that there has been nothing new added by any "Prophet" since then. As I read the teachings of each President I have been given a deeper understanding of how I can better conduct my life. But prophecy? I think not. I will continue to follow the teachings of Joseph Smith through the BoM. I will continue to read, ponder, pray and listen. I will continue to read the writings of the Presidents for examples and inspiration. But to place the words of any man just because someone tells me I should, and to do so over my personal communion with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ? I think not. I am thankful for this Church for exposing me to the teachings of Joseph Smith, my only concern is how long I will be able to bite my tongue and start doing what we are suppose to do. Encourage each other, and when necessary, rebuke each other of the teaching of false doctrines. Man I hope I can find that balance and not let it affect my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Martin @ said...

Was Brigham Young a prophet too? Even when he taught Adam-God doctrine which Kimball in 1976 denounced as a false doctrine and now the church pretends it has never been a doctrine?

As is written in Deuteronomy 13:2 if a prophet teaches to follow other gods (you may not know yet) then such prophet is a false prophet. Thus Young was a false prophet as he taught the "other god = Adam-God the Father. End of discussion.

And if the church once followed a false prophet and didn't recognize it, then I refuse to follow any of them as they are all false.

Unknown said...

I support the Church! Not blindly, with faith having an unshakable testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. The real comfort comes from knowing that one day I will stand before my Father in Heaven knowing that that knowledge has been a true blessing in my life. Pride is a dangerous human trait that keeps us from the truth. I have seen many good men and women fail because of it. I can't help but wonder what the Lord thinks of this behavior, making a very private and personal event that has been made so very public and circus like. ..? Something to think about. After your done with your public display of . ..whatever you're trying to accomplish here, that you will be left alone with all your thoughts and God. May he help you through your delusions. .. Good luck. ..

ChristianZ said...

"But to place the words of any man just because someone tells me I should, and to do so over my personal communion with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ?"

Just stumbled into this post and there's a ton that could be commented on. Here's a couple quick thoughts:

* D&C says that this generation shall have the Lord's word through Joseph Smith; I take this in part to mean that Joseph Smith's teachings will stand preeminent over that of any subsequent President of the Church; nobody need be surprised by this
* There's a lot of anti-Hinckley rhetoric going on that I think would totally dissipate (unless people just like engaging in anti-Hinckley rhetoric) if people paid more attention to other things he'd said, such as things he said in followup interviews with Larry King and other comments of his made elsewhere
* Presidents of the Church subsequent to Joseph Smith have made prophecies but they tend to be to individuals or smaller groups; some may quibble about that and think it doesn't count but that doesn't mean they don't occur; at the moment I'm thinking of specific ones by David O. McKay (given to a small group), Harold B. Lee (given to a small group but directed more particularly at an individual within that group), Gordon B. Hinckly (given to a small group), Henry B. Eyring (given to a newly called mission president and his wife), etc.; I'm also thinking of a pretty profound revelation related by Boyd K. Packer to a group of missionaries in the mission I served in
* The world operates differently now than it did in Joseph Smith's time as far as how immediately and pervasively media functions and that may very well affect the wording prophets choose to use when teaching certain things; this is why we are also entitled to our own personal revelation so that we are NOT solely dependent on what someone else says; anyone who claims that the LDS Church asks its followers to practice blind obedience is being extremely disingenuous, especially in the face of all the teachings to the contrary, all the teachings about personal revelation and being able to receive our own confirmation of what the prophet is teaching
* In one of the Hinckley interviews (it may have been one of the ones with Mike Wallace) he was asked what the place of Salt Lake would be in the growing church and he responded that it would decrease administratively and increase symbolically; this is a decentralization of power and an attempt to have members operating more on their own and being less dependent on "Salt Lake"; a sacrament meeting I was in that a member of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke at said there is going to be an increased need (though the need has ALWAYS existed) for the program of the Church to be administered by EVERY member relying more on personal revelation from the Holy Spirit; this doesn't sound like talk from someone who is saying we need to practice blind obedience and never question what the prophet says; this is NOT "top-down" language; this is not the language of a hierarchical administrator doing everything they can to cling capriciously to the "reigns of power"
* In my experience those who do receive their own personal revelation are far less likely to accuse the President of the Church of not receiving revelation

Unknown said...

Everyone thinks they are a prophet seer or psychic until the day comes they finnaly meet one. Ask yourselves this what would you do if you actually got to meet a real prophet or seer or what ever you Mormons call it what would you do. What if you got to meet a time traveler but not like you think one that traveled through time in their minds? What if you knew someone that could go back and allow you to talk to Joseph Smith what you you say? Let's say you knew this could happen and you destroyed the time travelers whole life and the only way you would stop torturing him is if he allowed you to speak to Smith? What if he offered this and you wouldn't take it lets say Smith told you not to hurt that time traveler said love him as if you would love me and allow him to lead you do not hurt him anymore allow him to go in peace and be free. Would you listen to him or would you kill him for the fun of killing him? Travelers as you walk through the garden his children he wanted to call them nope just a guy that would tell him about people walking on the moon or new crazy things would you kill that person or listen to them? Revenge is an interesting thing faith is an interesting thing what if someone could prove actual mental time travel communication through time verified as well as many worlds and much more what would that do to you or for you? Many questions I already know the answer to also little tip Thomas monson is not a good man at all in any way his secrets run deep and they are not good at all. One day you people are going to learn something a truth your really not going to like about him and leaders before him.

Unknown said...

This blog is horrible! The only up side to it is that if you're being unkind and slandering the people that are members of Tha Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is that y'all don't have time to go after and slander anyone else. We'll take the hit, we are strong enough to survive it. Good luck to all you Haters! You're going to need it! I will pray for all of you. Negativity begets Negativity. .. There is nothing positive here. Nothing uplifting and certainly nothing of value. ..

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ericnsabrina Gaskins,
If you would be kind enough to point out any specific examples of slander in this piece, I will happily go back and make corrections.

Unknown said...

I will not get into anything that is going to feed your vendetta against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I leave that in the Lord's hands. This is not my fight or anger issues against His Church. My job is to declare the truth not to prove it. However, if you can release your anger for little while, long enough to pray and ask your Heavenly Father what is true. I know that if you're sincere, He will answer you. I will not argue these points, ask of God. I stand by my previous comment.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

No one is asking you to "prove" slander, EricnSabrina; merely to point it out so it can be corrected. Jesus instructs us in Matthew 18 that if a brother sins, go and point out his sin, and if he hears you, you have gained a brother.

Slander is defined as speaking falsehoods or untruths that result in harm or defamation. As a devout believer in the gospel as restored through Joseph Smith, I certainly don't wish to publish untruths. If I am in the wrong, I want to have it pointed out to me so I can immediately correct that wrong.

You have accused me of sin, and I'm willing to have you point that sin out to me. Yet when I ask for correction, you are content not to answer, but only to "stand by" your accusation. You wrote, "my job is to declare the truth" and "I stand by my previous comment." Yet in throwing out a wild accusation and then letting it just hang there, you are refusing to either declare the truth OR to stand by your comment.

That, my friend, is slander. And if you are unwilling to back up your accusation, you are guilty of engaging in the very act you accuse me of.

I would refer you to Jesus' warning about such accusations in Matthew 7:5, and why he calls it hypocrisy.

If you are unwilling to point out even one example where you have found evidence of slander on this blog, I can only conclude you are motivated by a spirit of contention.

If you can release your anger for a little while, long enough to pray and ask your heavenly father what is true, I know that if you are sincere, He will answer you, and you can break free of the spirit of meanness that is motivating you to quarrel needlessly with your brother.

Unknown said...

Just found this while preparing my Sunday school lesson on continuing revelation haha. Just curious, how do you explain Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream? The Church teaches that this dream, or more precisely its interpretation, reveals that the Kingdom of God (the LDS Church) would not be taken from the earth even until the Savior's Second Coming. How would you counter this?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The kingdom of God will not be taken from the earth. But the kingdom of God is NOT the LDS Church. Joseph taught that the church and the kingdom were two perceptually distinct entities. The church was a religious society; its members are latter-day Saints. The kingdom of God (alternatively "kingdom of Heaven") was to be a society Joseph began that included both Mormons and non-Mormons. The kingdom was Joseph's true passion late in his life, because it was intended to secure the blessings of liberty to ALL men regardless of what church they belonged to -or if they belonged to no church at all.

'Joseph Smith stated that the 'literal kingdom of God [that is, the Council of Fifty], and the church of God are two distinct things' as 'the laws of the kingdom are not designed to affect our salvation hereafter.' (Joseph Smith Papers Administrative Records, p. xxiii.)

I discuss these issues here:

And Here:

Both posts contain important links to other places where these distinctions are discussed.

It's also worth noting that baptism was never intended as an ordinance for entrance into the LDS Church. The early Saints understood Baptism to be an important step for entrance into the future kingdom of God, which, again was understood to be perceptually distinct from membership in a particular denomination. This concept is also discussed at length with sources here:

Hope this helps.