Continuous Revelation Through Living Prophets

We have the great blessing of living at a time of continuous information. It takes only seconds to find an answer to any question we might have. There is only one problem with that – we don’t always know if the information is correct. And sometimes it is very difficult to find the source of that information.  

We have the even greater blessing of living at a time where there is a prophet on the earth who receives continuous revelation. We can know for ourselves through personal revelation that what the prophet says is true and can know the Source from which that revelation comes!

In Chapter 7, Continuous Revelation Through Living Prophets, Howard W. Hunter says, “There is an unending stream of revelation flowing constantly from the headwaters of heaven to God’s anointed servants on earth.” He also reminds us that “it is continuous revelation that guides prophets and the Church in any age. Down through its history, including this very day, the Church has had a prophet, seer, and revelator. At the head of the Church is Jesus Christ, who directs his prophet. Members of the Church can believe the voice of their leaders, knowing they are guided by the Lord.” 

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Of all things, that for which we should be most grateful today is that the heavens are indeed open and that 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.” 1

James E. Faust taught: “This continuous revelation will not and cannot be forced by outside pressure from people and events. It is not the so-called ‘revelation of social progress.’ It does not originate with the prophets; it comes from God. The Church is governed by the prophet under the guidance and direction of God. We have been promised that the President of the Church will receive guidance for all of us as the revelator for the Church. Our safety lies in paying heed to that which he says and following his counsel.” 2

The expectation of some that the Church yield to social pressures has always existed. However, with social media, the voice of opposition speaks louder and more often. If we do not learn for ourselves that our safety truly lies in following the prophet, we may find ourselves being guided more by “social progress” than by the will of God. When some find themselves caught in that trap, they begin to critical of the Church and its leaders, looking for justification to stay in the mainstream. We have been warned time and again that this would be the case. It seems that criticism is also continuous. We would be wise not to get caught in that trap!


Jeffrey R. Holland reminds us that “this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith. So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work.” 3

In a recent BYU devotional, Allan F. Packer said, “The role of the Brethren is to represent God to His people, as all prophets have done in the past. These men, past and present, are the first to say they are not perfect, but, like all members, they are striving to become as the Savior commanded. Some people will hold up a yardstick of perfection to them and find them wanting. That measure is just a distraction from the real question. Christ, after all, was the only perfect person who lived on the earth. The real question is, ‘Did these men have and fill a divine mission?’ The fact that these men are not perfect does not bother me. It actually gives me hope in my quest for exaltation to know that the Lord does bless, guide, and honor them.  Following the teachings of the prophets is our test, not theirs.” 4

From Neil L. Andersen we learn, “The words of the Lord’s prophet, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve are always available to lighten our path and help show us the way. Their united voice, if followed, will help set aside the enticing voices of the world. The men who occupy these positions would claim no personal perfection, but I witness to you that as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve prayerfully approach the Lord, He shapes our thinking and direction and reveals His will for His covenant people, and indeed for all the world.” 5

Howard W. Hunter declared, “There is a prophet on the earth today who speaks the mind and will of the Lord to those who will hear and have the faith to follow. If we follow the advice, counsel, and teachings of the leaders of the Church in their instruction to us, we will not go amiss in that which is important for our own personal salvation and exaltation.”  

In a CES fireside in January, Russell M. Nelson said, “Prophets see ahead.  They see the harrowing dangers the adversary has placed or will yet place in our path. Prophets also foresee the grand possibilities and privileges awaiting those who listen with the intent to obey.” 6

Much of the advice, counsel and teachings of the leaders of the Church comes to us in general conference. That is often when we are warned of dangers and told of the possibilities and privileges awaiting the faithful and obedient. Let us never forget, as President Hunter reminded us, that “we are guided by a living prophet of God—one who communicates with, is inspired by, and receives revelation from the Lord.” The choice is our if we will hear and have the faith to follow.

Speaking of general conference, President Hunter said, “Conference time is a season of spiritual revival when knowledge and testimony are increased and solidified that God lives and blesses those who are faithful. It is a time when an understanding that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, is burned into the hearts of those who have the determination to serve him and keep his commandments. Conference is the time when our leaders give us inspired direction in the conduct of our lives—a time when souls are stirred and resolutions are made to be better.”

Recently M. Russell Ballard warned, “Some of you have become casual in listening to the Lord’s servants. Some choose to miss sessions of general conference because they see those special weekends as a time off from their Church assignments. It is hard for me to understand why anyone turns to other voices on the Internet without first turning to voices of the scriptures or the voices of the living prophets and apostles.” 7

We cannot afford to be casual in listening to the Lord’s servants! In our day of continuous information, I hope we will search more deeply the information found in the scriptures and the words of the living prophets and apostles. Continuous revelation indeed comes to living prophets.  Through the Holy Ghost, it is also available to each of us. Russell M. Nelson teaches us that “revelation from the Lord to His servants is a sacred process, and so is your privilege of receiving personal revelation.”

In the general conference Howard W. Hunter was sustained as the prophet, he said, “Like my Brethren before me, I receive with this calling the assurance that God will direct his prophet.” That assurance is one each of us can and should have.  

References:

1.  Revelation:  The Word of the Lord to His Prophets, Spencer W. Kimball

2.  Continuous Revelation, James E. Faust

3.  Lord, I Believe, Jeffrey R. Holland

4.  Finding Your Way, Allan F. Packer

5.  A Compensatory Spiritual Power for the Righteous, Neil L. Andersen

6.  Becoming True Millennials, Russell M. Nelson

7.  To the Saints in the Utah South Area, M. Russell Ballard

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