Most of the moments in our lives are spent performing mundane tasks; working, driving, sleeping, washing dishes, and on and on. For a an LD Saint your day may be working, driving, scout meeting, Sacrament meeting, Relief Society, service project, Mia maid outing, canning, cooking meals for the new family…….Sometimes life can fall into a monotonous routine. But then there are moments in your day or week (or month, or – yikes – year!) when our Heavenly Father will give YOU a private glimpse of what is real and true. He’ll throw you a gospel bone! There will be that moment of clarity and insight into the gospel truths so rich and fantastic that you will be brought to tears. You are thankful for a God that gives meaning to your life.
Perhaps this bone of knowledge isn’t in any written doctrine and it hasn’t been discussed in any Sunday school lesson that you have ever been a part of. But this new, insightful revelation seems as clear to you as your own name. It is obviously a divine revelation that if you could just share it with others, it might change the world and bring comfort to many lives. Perhaps you, yourself are being tasked with revealing this truth to the world and thereby promoting the dawning of peace! Why else would God give you, this housewife in Murfreesboro this chestnut of wisdom? Certainly that in between raising your five sons, attending pack meetings, High School Football games, leading Young Women, God would ask you to drop everything and promote this truth! Who better than you? It will surely take off and will change everything!
But I’m going to ask you to do yourself and me (and every one you know and love) a huge favor.
Just keep it to yourself.
Look, I know, we have been promised that we can receive revelation – real, honest to Goodness, personal revelation – from our Heavenly Father. This is perhaps one of the beliefs that singles Mormons out from among all other Christian denominations. It is certainly one of those truths that put early Mormons on “the list” and inspired the locals, with the encouragement of pitchforks and fiery torches, to hasten the Mormon migration west.
Oh sure, the other denominations more or less hint at it. Even more so today as other denominations add Mormon doctrine to their own while no one is looking. Right? You know, people seem to be “divinely inspired” about this or that. Joan of Arc, a favorite martyr of everyone was a divinely inspired saint who saw God, right? But wait, the English burned her as a delusional heretic. And the English, at that time, were of the same faith as the French. Hmm. But if the divine inspiration doesn’t fit the narrative, watch out for fire. Heck, you don’t even have to say “inspired.” You can try to translate the bible into English when the spiritual mood isn’t right and receive a death sentence….William Tyndale comes to mind.
Anyway, it is not surprising that many leaders of other congregations throughout the epoch of religion would find this idea of personal revelation threatening. If you are in the business of doling out biblical wisdom to your congregation in exchange for food and then they find out they don’t need you, well, it can be troubling. Hey, what’s a few burned farms when you have to make a mortgage payment? The ability to receive our own revelation and thereby avoid the middleman pastor is a magnificent truth – unless you’re the pastor. And historically, we know what happened to the LD Saints once these biblical truths became known. While we need our Prophet to lead the Church, we don’t need the Prophet to help us make day to day decisions and choices. We are each empowered to know for ourselves.
For faithful Latter Day Saints, and ALL men and women pursuing gospel truths, those who seek truth will be rewarded. For you scripture geeks, try these on for size:
D&C Section 42:61: If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
And of course:
James 1:5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Actually, read all of James chapter 1 concerning personal revelation. It’s a real gem.
So we can see and agree that we are each entitled to receive our very own personal revelation. But now comes the tricky part-you know, the part about keeping it to yourself? Because when you receive a grand revelation outside of our standard works and doctrine, you need to just keep it to yourself. It’s a gift, if it’s true. Those years of commitment and faith are being rewarded, like the scriptures said they would. But, your revelation is not for me. It is not for your neighbor or, probably, your wife, either. And, it is not for you to share with the world for money, or gain, or even titillating dinner conversations.
And, I can hear you asking, “Just why the hell not? I am the master of my own dominion, Priesthood holder of my, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah…..”
I’ll explain in my next post how revelation works, as it is has been explained in Gospel Principles for the newly converted and other slow-minded folk like me – you know, in case you missed it while you were immersed in the intricacies of Brother Nephrim’s hand-written apostolic diary of 1857.
But for now, if it’s so important that you get your revelation out there, then write a science fiction novel about it. Remember, if you want it to get published and read, it will have to have a powerfully strong female love interest, a fuzzy cute animal, a hot guy who is rough around the edges and an overweight guy with a sense of humor.