Our Privilege to Revelation: Need We Wait for the Prophet to Get a New Revelation, or for Any Particular One to be Canonized – Or Are We Living Below Our Own Privilege to It?
By Ken K. Gourdin
Note – A version of this essay was posted in response to a query at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion today.
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I think the real question is not whether the Brethren still receive revelation in the “thus-saith-the-Lord” sense, or whether, if they do, this revelation or that revelation should be canonized (or why no revelation has been canonized since OD-2, or whether OD-2 is a revelation in itself or whether it’s simply an announcement that a revelation was received). The real question is why we live so far beneath our own privilege to receive revelation.
Joseph Smith once said, “If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.” While I’m not suggesting that, therefore, we would all receive regular revelation via face-to-face heavenly visitation, nonetheless, it is worth asking the question, if angels could be our associates if we lived worthy of that privilege, why wouldn’t we be entitled regularly to less dramatic interactions with the Divine through the Holy Spirit if we lived so as to be able to receive more of those?
While I’m not saying that you’re suggesting that we should rely solely on prophets to receive revelation, remember Moses’s lament in Numbers: “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets” (Numbers ). Each of us is entitled to revelation to guide us within our stewardships within the Church of Jesus Christ, fathers and mothers are entitled to revelation to guide their families, and we’re all entitled to revelation to guide us personally. The scriptures also tell us that, eventually, the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and that the Earth itself will become a urim and thummim (Doctrine & Covenants 130:6-9). That sounds like more revelation to [I]me[/I] than a single mouthpiece (or even a large group of them, if we’re speaking only of general Church leadership) can hold.