Sunday, February 3, 2013

Receiving Revelation and "Receiving" Revelation

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that we are each entitled to receive revelation. That doesn't mean we are all prophets - it just means that we are all capable of getting communication from our Father in Heaven.

As I've mentioned previously, revelation is specific to the sphere of influence of the receiver. For example, each person is entitled to receive revelation that applies to his or her self, a parent may receive revelation that applies to the family, a bishop receives revelation for the ward, a stake president for the stake, and the president (prophet) of the Church is the only one entitled to receive revelation that applies to the whole Church.

So, while we all may receive revelation, we are each entitled only to a specific "level" or "type" of revelation commensurate with our position.

But what I want to talk about here is somewhat different: when our leaders receive revelation, how do we "receive" it? Do we accept it with obedience and commitment and a sincere desire to follow the leaders God has appointed to watch over His flock, or do we we receive it with a skeptical heart, a reluctant mind, and a begrudging spirit? Do we pick and choose which revelations we will willingly "receive"?

This principle applies in  many ways. Do you "receive" the revelation from your bishop by taking seriously the idea that your calling (or someone else's calling) was inspired? Or do you doubt? Do you "receive" the revelation from the prophet that the Saints should not watch rated R movies? Or do you choose to believe that doesn't apply to you?

The Lord has made it clear in the scriptures - in revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith - that we are to "receive" the revelations of our leaders:

"Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." (D&C 21:4-5)

And again, most poignantly:

"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38)

That's right - when you ignore the prophet or dismiss your bishop, it is the same as disregarding the Lord Himself.

Yes, we can all receive revelation when God communicates with us through the Holy Ghost. But I think we often may neglect to actually "receive" revelation when it comes through another human being.

So what's the problem? An aversion to (or misunderstanding of) obedience? Perhaps it's pride, or a lack of faith - or something else.

What do you think?

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