November 5, 2009

I see through a glass darkly and I kinda like it

It's the old dilemma about following imperfect prophets:

Is prophetic revelation a messy, imperfect process where doctrines and practices change and evolve over time and even prophets see through a glass darkly (like the rest of us)? Or do prophets and apostles really have the kind of clear, direct pipeline to God that merits unquestioning obedience? It seems like most members and leaders of the church like having it both ways.

The slippery slope goes like this: "If leaders in the past made mistakes (potentially the priesthood ban or something like it) then what about now?" I personally see the problem as part of a direct invitation to take more personal responsibility for our relationship to God. Sort of like when Nephi took things straight to God even though his dad had visions and so forth, and later when his dad "spoke as a man" leaving it up to Nephi to get some personal revelation on where to find some grub.

But what if you take some personal responsibility and you take an issue up with God and arrive at a different conclusion than the prophets? It seems that Mormon culture encourages questioning/asking, but always with the assumption that we will, of course, arrive at "the right answer."

I think the hope is there that we arrive at the "right answer," but in my own experience it hasn't always worked out that way. There have been times when my own answer differed or I didn't feel I received an answer at all either way. Granted this is not a common occurrence and it generally makes things a lot more difficult of course. But at the same time I recognize that I received my answer, not a charge to spread it as far and wide as I can.

Sure, go ahead--ask. But then you will get the right answer and it will be in agreement with whatever the prophet has told us. So what if it doesn't? Does that mean he's not a prophet? Or does that mean we are wrong? It seems like are the only two logical conclusions.

First, I don't know how often a prophet or president of the Church would be in direct communication with God face to face. I believe revelation from God more usually comes, even to our leaders, through the Spirit and is conditioned on the circumstances and capacities of the recipient.

Second, there's an old quote from Brigham Young I've thought a lot about. The crux of Brigham's argument is that we're responsible for ourselves. I know we often hear about the importance of following the counsel of the prophets and I believe that's good advice. I can certainly understand why leaders don't constantly say "but I may be, or probably am, wrong, so take it for what it is worth." I imagine they take their position very seriously and do the best they can. But at the same time, I have to be willing to live with a certain uncertainty in these matters. For me, that's all part of our little test down here:
What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually....

Let all persons be fervent in prayer, until they know the things of God for themselves and become certain that they are walking in the path that leads to everlasting life; then will envy, the child of ignorance, vanish, and there will be no disposition in any man to place himself above another; for such a feeling meets no countenance in the order of heaven. Jesus Christ never wanted to be different from his father: they were and are one. If a people are led by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and they are cognizant of the fact through their faithfulness, there is no fear but they will be one in Christ Jesus, and see eye to eye. (Brigham Young, 12 January 1862, Journal of Discourses 9:150.)
This approach can make things more interesting. I see through a glass darkly and I kinda like it.

42 comments:

Jeremy said...

Two points:

1) "I don't know how often a prophet or president of the Church would be in direct communication with God face to face." Before leaving for the mission field, my father was privileged to sit in the SLC temple with other Elders and a few GA's to ask "any" question on their mind. One Elder asked when the then-current prophet had last received a direct revelation from the Lord. The GA thought about it, and then answered, "just yesterday."

I think our Prophet talks to the Lord on a daily basis and guides as as he sees fit. However, the Lord probably does not reveal ALL things to the Prophet as he is required to live by faith also.

2) "But what if you take some personal responsibility and you take an issue up with God and arrive at a different conclusion than the prophets?" This was the scenario with a friend of mine in Arizona with the equivalent of Prop 8 being pushed there. Elder Packer visited my friend's Stake and encouraged the membership to vote to maintain traditional marriage.

My friend, who is also an attorney, studied the legal question out in his mind and felt that what Elder Packer was encouraging the membership to do was incorrect. He was visibly torn between his faith and his conscience. Although he ended up voting as Elder Packer had encouraged, he clearly did so begrudgingly.

BHodges said...

Jeremy, Pres. Hinckley was pretty straight-forward in explaining that much of the day-to-day revelation he received for the Church came through the Holy Ghost and not through an encounter with God directly. For example, he made a large distinction between the revelation on lifting the priesthood ban versus the revelation to make a less-drastic procedural change. My .02

Stephen said...

I liked this, though and they are cognizant of the fact through their faithfulness, there is no fear seems to reflect on going forward in the trust of the Lord and in influencing our leaders.

BHodges said...

Agreed Stephen.

Aleca said...

Awesome topic. I have never receieved what I would call "revelation" typically. But i do however have moments where I can not deny what my spirit resonate with in. That is between me and the Lord, and what pertains to my particular situation, thoughts, feelings. I havent read much on Brigham Young, but I enjoyed that passage. thanks.

BHodges said...

Al, revelation comes that way for me most often as well.

Jared said...

When church leaders venture into the political arena is where members are most frequently challenged.

Prop 8, and a number of other political issues through the years have proved to be problematic for some members.

As I have observed this, I've noticed that those who are well versed in the scriptures generally find it easy to agree with our leaders positions.

For example, having a son or daughter who is gay can create a dilemma. Among those I know who are in this situation I've observed that those who are well versed in the scriptures, though torn, have lined up with church leaders on prop 8.

Of course, my observations are dearrived from a small sample, but I think the counsel to study the scriptures puts those who do in a better position to understand the mind and will of God. This is accomplished at two levels, 1) when we consistently study the scriptures with an eye of faith we intellectually become like those who wrote them, 2)scripture reading invites personal revelation.

I've experienced this many times, even as recently as last week. I'd prayed about a fear I have and while reading from the BoM felt the impression of the Spirit reconfirm something I already knew, but needed to relearn via the Spirit so that my fear could be calmed. Sometimes knowing something intellectually does not allow one to exercise sufficient faith until they learn, or relearn it via the Spirit.

DMI Dave said...

Nice discussion, Blair. Patience is a virtue, and sometimes one needs decades of it. That may be decades for the Church to come around to a different way of doing things. Or it might be decades for us to come around and see that the Church was doing it right all along.

cinepro said...

Great post, LOAP. It should find a wide readership, since people who follow false prophets (i.e. all the non-LDS) deal with those same issues as well.

BHodges said...

Poor cinepro. Needed an infallible prophet and was sorely disappointed. ;)

Dan Ripple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Ripple said...

I enjoyed this article. It reminded me of a talk I read recently by Wilford Woodruff about the revelation topic. He spoke about the challenge members of the church had in relation to the manefesto that was revealed about polygamy. I would recommend a read through some time.

One of my favorite things he states is "The Latter-day Saints should not get the idea that the Lord has forsaken his people, or that He does not reveal His mind and will; because such an idea is not true. The Lord is with us, and has been with us from the beginning. This Church has never been led a day except by revelation. And He will never leave it. It matters not who lives or who dies, or who is called to lead this Church, they have got to lead it by the inspiration of Almighty God. If they do not do it that way, they cannot do it at all. The Lord will not fail in these last days, and He will fulfill all that He has promised through His Prophets and Apostles, until Zion arises in its glory, and the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, is prepared for the coming of the great Bridegroom."

BHodges said...

thanks dan, do you know the ref for that quote?

amine lahragui said...

Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. happy new year 2016 new year 2016 bonne année 2016 happy new year 2016 images new year 2016 images imagenes de año nuevo 2016 feliz año nuevo 2016 imagenes de navidad 2016

aarohi sharma said...



WWE PPV main events were rocking in 2015, hope this year it will rocks again, like all previous years all events were perfect now hope so this year also. It begins with royal rumble, then next WWE Fastlane 2016 live stream will be available on internet.
Fastlane 2016 Results
Fastlane 2016 Live Stream
WWE Fastlane 2016 Live


Really Horror Show American Horror Story, i ever watched, here are some more interesting tv shows like the walking dead, arrow, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones Season 6 Online we can stream, After watching these tv shows one can feel interested more an excited more.
Game of Thrones Season 6
Game of Thrones Season 6 Online
Watch Game of Thrones Season 6
Watch Game of Thrones Season 6 Online
Watch Game of Thrones Season 6 Online Free
Watch Game of Thrones Online
Watch Game of Thrones Online Free
Game of Thrones Season 6 Stream
Game of Thrones Season 6 Streaming

I watched this event, really very much interesting scenes created while selecting Miss Universe 2015. But here is one more .big event going to held Academy Awards 2016 here is direct link for this event.
Academy Awards 2016 Nominations
Oscar Awards 2016 Nominations
Academy Awards 2016
Oscar Awards 2016
Academy Awards 2016 Live
Oscar Awards 2016 Live
Academy Awards 2016 Live Stream
Oscar Awards 2016 Live Stream
Academy Awards 2016 Winner
Oscar Awards 2016 Winner

All episodes of Torrent The Walking Dead Season 6 series are available here for viewers. These episodes can be watched online in HD Quality Like 1080 PX or 4K.
The Walking Dead Season 6
Walking Dead Season 6
The Walking Dead Season 6 Online
Walking Dead Season 6 Online
Watch The Walking Dead Season 6
Watch Walking Dead Season 6

BROCK LESNAR said...

Fastlane 2016
WWE Fastlane 2016
Fastlane 2016 Live Stream
WWE Fastlane 2016 Live Streaming

salman khan said...

Your Site Is Very Good and The Post is Well On Topic, Thanks for Sharing it with us.

New Songs 2016
the biggest attraction of the Samsung event
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
Zaid Ali’s wedding photos goes viral
apple iphone 7 key note
Islamabad United Pakistan Super League 2016
poetry urdu sad 2016
New Sad Songs 2016
Shayari on dosti 2016

saurabh rampal said...

propose day images
happy propose day sms 2016
propose day 2016 greetings
kiss day sms wallpaper

kiss day msgs

kiss day photos download


hug day sms in hindi for girlfriend
hug day 2016 sms in english
rose day whatsapp single line status
rose day shayari sms in hindi
7th feb rose day sms
rose day 2016 love sms

valentines day romantic sms

valentines day romantic sms in hindi

happy valentines day 2016 romantic SMS

happy valentine day romantic sms in tamil

happy valentine day romantic sms in Telugu

fastlane live streaming
who won fastlane 2016
wwe fastlane 2016 live stream
fastlane 2016 results
fastlane winner 2016
wwe fastlane live streaming
who won wwe fastlane 2016
fastlane 2016 live stream
fastlane results 2016
fastlane 2016 winner
happy holi 2016 images
happy holi 2016
bhojpuri holi songs
holi songs on radha krishna
radha krishna wallpaper on holi
Rangapanchami SMS in marathi
Hola Mohalla Holi SMS in Punjabi
Holi arti bhajan lyrics download
greeting cards for holi 2016
Download ecards for holi
Holi Gande SMS
Holi Sexy Hindi Adult jokes
Love Holi SMS Greetings
bura na mano holi hai poem

asds said...

Happy mother's day
Happy mothers day
Happy father's day
Happy fathers day

samvilale said...

Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.
geometry dash| sniper games |happy wheels demo | happy wheels 2 |agario

Mai lân said...

I just want to say : why you do not click to play
super mario | mario games
brain games | puzzle games | tetris | happy wheels | agario | abcya
happy wheels the game free | happy wheels | fnaf | fnaf 4

lân Mai said...

I just want to say : why you do not click to play
super mario | brain games | puzzle games | tetris | happy wheels | agario | abcya | happy wheels the game free | fnaf

asds said...

happy palm sunday
happy palm sunday 2016
happy good friday quotes

Shekhar Bhati said...

earth day activities for high school students

earth day activities for high school chemistry

earth day activities for toddlers

earth day activities for high school biology

earth day 2016 activities for high school


anzac day art activities for primary school

anzac day art and craft for toddlers

anzac day art activities for primary students

anzac day art and craft activities for preschoolers

anzac day art activities for toddlers


game of thrones season 6 air date hbo

game of thrones season 6 air date and time

game of thrones season 6 air date sky atlantic

game of thrones season 6 air date australia

game of thrones season 6 air date us

maqbool azam said...

HI ADMIN
Check my status and visit my blog to wish your father on father's day.


Happy fathers Day Wishes 2016 | Happy fathers Day Messages 2016 | Happy fathers Day Quotes 2016 | Happy fathers Day Sms 2016 | Happy fathers Day Images 2016

Regard:
maqbool azam

Happy Mothers day greetings 2016 said...

happy mothers day 2016 sayings

and

mothers day poems 2016
and
mothers day messages 2016 and

mothers day quotes 2016 and

happy mothers day greetings 2016 and

happy mothers day wishes 2016

Duy Kieu said...

Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.
- quotes about love
- snake game
- chinese food near me
- panama papers
- Fancam

jooo said...

Anzac day 2016 Images pic’s
Anzac day 2016 Images for Facebook and Whatsapp
Anzac Day 2016 Pictures
Anzac Day 2016 Images
Anzac day 2016 Slogans And Quotes English
Anzac Day Celebration Ideas With Family And Friends 2016
Anzac Day 2016 Quotes For Friends And Family
Anzac Day Activities For Kids And Children’s 2016

jooo said...

Anzac Day Celebration Ideas With Family And Friends 2016
Anzac Day 2016 Quotes For Friends And Family
Anzac Day Activities For Kids And Children’s 2016
Anzac Day Quiz Questions And Answers for KIDS to Print
Anzac Gallipoli Trivia Questions & Facts
Anzac Day Art Activities 2016
Anzac Coloring Pages Printables Wreath Making Kids Primary School
Anzac Day Drawings Print 2016
ANZAC Color-In Activities for Primary School Children Kids
anzac day quotes sayings soldier gallipoli
anzac day wishes lest we forget greetings

jooo said...

anzac day poems primary school students 2016
anzac day 2016 images aus nz pictures photos
anzac day wishes lest we forget greetings
gallipoli photographs today war museum pictures
anzac day quotes sayings soldier gallipoli
anzac soldier clipart poppy graphics pictures
Anzac Day Dawn Service Dress Code, March Outfit, Wearing War Medals Protocol on Anzac Day
anzac day sms messages facebook twitter 2016
Anzac Soldier Silhouette Pictures Whatsapp DP 2016
anzac day sms messages facebook twitter 2016
Anzac Day Posters Australia 2016 Templates Remembrance Day Pics
anzac day crossword puzzles answers significance

Suresh Joshi said...

happy mothers day
happy mothers day sms 2016
happy mothers day wishes 2016
happy mothers day message 2016
happy mothers day quotes 2016
happy mothers day sms message 2016
happy mothers day love message 2016
happy mothers day
mothers day wishes 2016
mothers day sms 2016
happy mothers day message 2016
mothers day quotes 2016
mothers day images 2016
mothers day gift ideas 2016
mothers day poems 2016
happy mothers day Cake Sweets 2016
happy mothers day quotes 2016
mothers day quotes 2016
happy mothers day sms 2016
happy mothers day wishes 2016
happy mothers day Gift Presents 2016
happy mothers day Greetings 2016
happy mothers day Rose Flowers 2016
happy mothers day Poems 2016
happy mothers day message 2016
happy mothers day baskets gifts 2016
happy mothers day sms from son 2016
mothers day Ecards 2016

Happy birthday Cake said...

my name pix
AWESOME IMAGES AND BIRTHDAY CAKES WITH NAME
write name on cakes and jewerly
happy birthday cake with name
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CAKE WITH NAMES WISHES
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAKE IMAGES WITH NAME EDITOR

Happy Birthday Cakes Images and Birthday Wishes Pictures
happy birthday cakes with wishes for wife
happy birthday cakes with wishes for husband
happy birthday cakes with wishes for kids
happy birthday cakes with wishes for friends
happy birthday cakes with wishes for sister
happy birthday cakes with wishes for brothers
happy birthday cakes with wishes for bosy
happy birthday cakes with wishes for girls
happy birthday cake in heart shape hd images
chocolate birthday cake with wishes
Happy Birthday Cake With Wishes for janu
happy birthday cake with wishes for boss
happy birthday cakes with wishes for chachi

Hafiz Junaid said...

Hi Admin,

Great post indeed!
ACtually I visit your blog first time through someone blog. So I bookmakred this page for further usage.
Thanks for sharing such great content with us.


Mothers Day Wishes 2016 | Mothers Day Messages 2016 | Mothers Day Quotes 2016 | Mothers Day Sms 2016 | Mothers Day Images 2016 | Happy Mothers Day Wishes



Regards:
Hafiz Junaid

suhail alam said...

happy ramadan 2016
ramadan time table 2016
ramadan message 2016

suhail alam said...

memorial day 2016
memorial day quotes 2016
memorial day images 2016

suhail alam said...

happy memorial day 2016
happy memorial day message 2016
happy memorial day wishes 2016
happy memorial day images 2016
happy memorial day sms 2016

ASIF ALI said...

happy father's day 2016
happy father's day 2016 images
happy father's day 2016 pictures
happy fathers day quotes
happy fathers day quotes 2016
happy father's day 2016 greetings
father's day 2016
happy father's day 2016 wishes
happy fathers day 2016 sms
happy father's day 2016 quotes
happy father's day 2016 message

Happy birthday Cake said...

Happy Memorial Day 2016 Images
Happy Memorial Day 2016 Quotes
Happy Memorial Day 2016
Memorial Day 2016

mehmet yamak said...

We can play with the color of the blouse and adapt it to the style and workplace of each person. We cannot say the
mirror image replica designer handbags is complete the same Avcılar Halı Temizleme
as the authentic designer handbags, the high
quality mirror image replica handbags can be
more than 98 similarity or more,since we pay great attention to the quality, sell
and manufacture only the high quality replica handbags. Beylikdüzü Demirdöküm Servisi
The trademark logo plate is prominently displayed on the
front of the Prada bags are adored and loved A-list celebrities the likes of Victoria Beckham
and Kate Beckinsale. Avcılar Halı Temizleme

Also visit my homepage: Arnavutköy Demirdöküm Servisi

robin singh said...

Parents Day 2016
Parents Day Images
Parents Day wallpapers
Parents Day Quotes
Parents Day Message
Parents Day Wishes
Parents Day SMS

Friendship Day 2016
Friendship Day Images 2016
Friendship Day Wallpapers 2016
Friendship Day Message 2016
Friendship Day Quotes 2016
Friendship Day Wishes 2016
Friendship Day SMS 2016

Raj Kumar said...

happy Rakha Bandhan 2016
Raksha Bandhan Quotes
Raksha Bandha Images
Raksha Bandhan message
Raksha Bandha Wishes
Raksha Bandha Whatsapp Status
Raksha Bandha Greetings
Raksha Bandha Cards
Raksha Bandha Wishes For Brother
Raksha Bandha SMS
Raksha Bandha Message
Raksha Bandha Whatsapp Message


happy Birthday
happy Birthday Message
happy Birthday Greetings
happy Birthday Wishes
happy Birthday SMS

Imran Mansuri said...

this is the awesome article. keep sharing like this.

happy friendship day 2016 celebration
friendship day 2016 Quotes
international friendship day 2016 Wallpapers
wish you happy friendship day cliparts and cards

Post a Comment

All views are welcome when shared respectfully. Use a name or consistent pseudonym rather than "anonymous." Deletions of inflammatory posts will be noted. Thanks for joining the conversation.