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REVELATION

  The enclosed notes are from a talk by Randall C. Bird at Education Week at BYU. They reminded us of many of our faithful home teaching brethren in the quorum.. We appreciate your seeking the Spirit of Revelation in your priesthood callings that those you serve may feel the influence of the Lord through your efforts.

Sincerely your brethren,
Cottonwood First Ward High Priests Group Leadership

Notes from talk by Randall C. Bird,
Education Week 1997

What is Revelation?

  1. Process God uses to communicate intelligence or light and truth to Man

      Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

      The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. (D&C 93, 29,36)

      The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes; (D&C 36:2)

  2. Communicated in Spirit to Spirit process (revealed as if we had no bodies)

      All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six, 1843-1844, p 355)

      

  3. Foundation upon which church is founded upon

      The restored church of Jesus Christ is founded upon the rock of revelation. Continuous revelation is indeed the very lifeblood of the gospel of the living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1977, p 113)

  4. Only way to now God and His ways

      For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (1 Cor 2:11)

      We never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven, but by revelation (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six, 1843-44, p292)

      

  5. There are counterfeit revelations. Emotions are not necessarily sign of the spirit

      And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him. (D&C 28:11)

      Be ever on guard lest you be deceived by inspiration from an unworthy source. You can be given false spiritual messages. There are counterfeit spirits just as there are counterfeit angels...The spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that it is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual. We occasionally find people who receive what they assume to be spiritual promptings from God, when those promptings are either centered in emotions or are from the adversary. (Boyd K Packer, The Candle of the Lord, Ensign, Jan 1988, pp 55-56)

What principles govern revelation?

  1. It is the Lord who determines who receives revelation, how it is given, and what is revealed.

      And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou (will). (Matt 26:39)

      And it came to pass that after he had said all these things, and expounded them to the king, that the king believed all his words.
      And he began to cry unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, have mercy; according to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people.
      And now, when he had said this, he fell unto the earth, as if he were dead.
      And it came to pass that his servants took him and carried him in unto his wife, and laid him upon a bed; and he lay as if he were dead for the space of two days and two nights; and his wife, and his sons, and his daughters mourned over him, after the manner of the Lamanites, greatly lamenting his loss. (Alma 18:10-13)

      For my thoughts (are) not your thoughts, neither (are) your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
      For (as) the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

  2. Most revelation comes through quiet whisperings of the Spirit. The dramatic manifestations are real but rare.

      The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all...Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening. (Boyd K. Packer, The Candle of the Lord, Ensign, Jan 1983, pp 53)

      Even in our day, many people...expect if there be revelation it will come with awe-inspiring, earth-shaking display...The burning bushes, the smoking mountains, the sheets of four-footed beasts, the Cumorahs, and the Kirtlands were realities; but they were the exceptions. The great volume of revelation came to Moses and to Joseph and come to today's prophet in the less spectacular way-that of deep impressions, without spectacle or glamour or dramatic events. Always expecting the spectacular, many will miss entirely the constant flow of revealed communication. (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Munich Germany Area Conference, 1973, pp 76-77)

      We must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. (Ezra Taft Benson, A Mighty Change of Heart., Ensign, Oct 1989, p 5)

  3. Prepare ourselves to receive revelation through personal worthiness, submitting to the will of the Father, studying scriptures and the words of living prophets, striving to be meek and lowly of heart.

      Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. (D&C 9:7-8)

      It should not be necessary today for us to expect new written revelation on every point when we have these men thus possessed of that same spirit of revelation. A brief review of the past instruction of our leaders should only serve to warn the disobedient and to encourage the obedient to continue faithful. (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1941, p 114)

      We can further invite revelation by importuning through prayer, fasting, repentance. Humility and submissiveness.

      And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. (Mosiah 27:14)

  4. When we try to force revelation we can be easily deceived

      For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many might works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him. (D&C 3:4)

      It is not wise to wrestle with the revelations with such insistence as to demand immediate answers or blessings to your liking. You cannot force spiritual things. Such words as compel, coerce, constrain, pressure, demand, do not describe our privileges with the Spirit. You can no more force the Spirit to respond than you can force a bean to sprout or an egg to hatch before its time. You can create a climate to foster growth, nourish and protect; but you cannot force or compel; you must await the growth. Do not be impatient to gain great spiritual knowledge. Let it grow, help it grow, but do not force it or you will open the way to be misled. (Boyd K. Packer, The Candle of the Lord, Ensign, Jan 1983, p53)

  5. The Lord expects us to develop spiritual self-reliance (Revelation is not required for every aspect of our daily lives)

  6. Revelation is often given in increments (line upon line)

      For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more, and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

  7. Spirit does not ask us to act in ways which are bizarre or out of tune with the Spirit of God (Should be peace and calm)

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also had its false spirits; and as it is made up of all those different sects professing every variety of opinion, and having been under the influence of so many kinds of spirits, it is not to be wondered at if there should be found among us false spirits.

      Soon after the Gospel was established in Kirtland, and during the absence of the authorities of the Church, many false spirits were introduced, many strange visions were seen, and wild, enthusiastic notions were entertained, men ran out of doors under the influence of the spirit, and some of them got upon the stumps of trees and shouted, and all kinds of extravagances were entered into by them; one man pursued a ball that he said he saw flying in the air, until he came to a precipice, when he jumped into the top of a tree, which saved his life; and many ridiculous things were entered into, calculated to bring disgrace upon the Church of God, to cause the Spirit of God to be withdrawn, and to uproot and destroy those glorious principles which had been developed for the salvation of the human family. (Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P Burton, p 92)

  8. Revelation that directs others comes only through proper priesthood lines of authority

      First, we should understand what can be called the principle of 'stewardship in revelation.' Our Heavenly Father's house is a house of order, where his servants are commanded to 'act in the office in which (they are) appointed' (D&C 107:99) This principle applies to revelation. Only the president of the Church receives revelation to guide the entire Church. Only the stake president receives revelation for the special guidance of the stake. The person who receives revelation for the ward is the bishop. For a family, it is the priesthood leadership of the family. Leaders receive revelation for their own stewardships. Individuals can receive revelation to guide their own lives. But when one person purports to receive revelations for another person outside his or her own stewardship-such as a Church member who claims to have revelation to guide the entire Church or a person who claims to have a revelation to guide another person over whom he or she has no presiding authority according to the order of the Church...you can be sure that such revelations are not from the Lord...."If a revelation is outside the limits of stewardship, you know it is not from the Lord, and you are not bound by it. I have heard of cases where a young man told a young woman she should marry him because he had received a revelation that she was to be his eternal companion. If this is a true revelation, it will be confirmed directly to the woman if she seeks to know. In the meantime, she is under no obligation to heed it. She should seek her own guidance and make up her own mind. The man can receive revelation to guide his own actions, but he cannot properly receive revelation to direct hers. She is outside his stewardship. (Dallan H. Oaks, Revelations, BYU 1981-1982 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, 1982, p25)

      I have learned that strong, impressive spiritual experiences do not come to us very frequently. And when they do, they are generally for our own edification, instruction, or correction. Unless we are called by proper authority to do so, they do not position us to counsel or to correct others. (Boyd K. Packer, The Candle of the Lord, Ensign, Jan 1983, p53)

  9. Personal revelation does not contradict or overturn established church doctrine or procedures.

      Anything at discord with that which comes from God through the head of the Church is not to be received as authoritative or reliable. In secular as well as spiritual affairs, Saints may receive Divine guidance and revelations affecting themselves, but this does not convey authority to direct others, and is not to be accepted when contrary to Church covenants, doctrine or discipline, or to known facts, demonstrated truths, or good common sense. (James R. Clark, Conference Report, Apr 1970, p 55)

  10. We should not talk about sacred spiritual experiences too frequently-only when moved by the Spirit

      I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others. (Boyd K. Packer, The Candle of the Lord, Ensign, Jan 1983, p 53)

  11. We must heed promptings of the spirit when they are given if we expect to continue to receive them.
Don Reynolds, High Priest Group Leader
Cottonwood First Ward, Cottonwood Heights Utah Stake, USA

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