Apparently my last Week in Faith post generated quite a stir, especially among my family. My mother called me late last night with concern in her voice. She was concerned with some of my statements in my post. We talked for a little bit and she gave me the double, “I love you.” The double, “I love you,” means there is concern for the path/actions the recipient is taking. I hope she gets a laugh out of that it is not meant to be demeaning.
The main area people have voiced concern with, is my feeling for not sustaining the leaders of the Church as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. Having spent all night thinking about it. I realized how this occurred. For most of the years of my life the term, “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” meant “Leaders of the Church.” If I didn’t sustain those men then it means that I don’t think they are inspired in any fashion and that they are horrible people who shouldn’t be leading the Church.
But recently I have come to realized that there is a distinct difference between “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” and inspired leaders.
Prophecy, Seership, and Revelation are all gifts of the Spirit. They are not signs of righteousness or leadership. I person who has one or all of these gifts does not mean that they will be a leader of the church or any organization. Rather they are gifts which are manifested naturally when the Holy Spirit comes upon that person. There are many other gifts of the Spirit: healing, to be healed, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc. These Gifts come not from our callings, or positions within a corporation. These gifts come as the natural reaction of the Holy Spirit coming upon our being. Think of baking soda and vinegar. When you add baking soda and vinegar it naturally reacting and creates a large amount of gas and foam. If I put baking soda into a special container or slap the label with “vinegar” on it that doesn’t mean that, that same reaction will occur.
So it is with leadership. Just because a person, no matter how righteous, survives long enough to make it into the position of President of the Church, doesn’t mean that person automatically becomes a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. In fact in most cases if a person was not a prophet before entering that calling then most likely they will not be a prophet after. Prophecy comes as a natural reaction to the Spirit. If a person did not have that reaction(prophecy) when they received the Spirit at age eight(or what ever age they received the Baptism of Fire and the Spirit).
For example, as a young boy Joseph Smith was a treasure hunter. He used a special rock to be able to see where treasure was hidden. His ability to use a stone in this manner, even at his young age, shows that he already had an innate gift of Seership. Later he was able to use his gift with these stones to translate the Book of Mormon. And after receiving the Baptism of Fire and the Spirit, he was able to more fully express his gift of prophecy, seership, revelation, and translation.
He didn’t just suddenly become a prophet when he became the President of the Church. This same principle applies today. Did any of our church leaders have expressions of the Gifts of prophecy, seership, and revelation when they were younger? If not then they probably do not have them now. I saw probably because it is possible to be granted more Gifts. But gifts come from the Spirit not leadership callings.
So does that say conclusively that the men that lead the Church are not Prophets, Seers, and Revelators? No, and nor should it. We should not be looking at what they did in the past to determine what they are today. Rather we should be looking at what they are doing right now, or since they entered their callings.
Have our leaders given us any prophecies, visions, or revelations? Well we can’t really know unless we define what prophecy, visions, and revelations are.
Prophecy is usually a gift which events of the future are made known.
Mosiah speaks about seership:
16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.
17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.
Revelation has it’s root in the word reveal. To reveal means to uncover something. Meaning something that was previously unknown.
So now that we know what these things are we can look to identify them in the teachings of our modern leaders. Over this past conference I payed more attention than I ever have before(I know that’s not saying much considering how much I paid attention in the past). I printed off a sheets of paper so that I could take notes. Each paper had a different category. Some of these were, “prophecies,” “visions,” and “revelations.” I listened all through conference. And while my “Inspirational” paper filled up at the end of conference my, “prophecies,” “visions,” and “revelations,” papers remained blank.
So what happened? Did I just not listen enough. I did miss the last session because we were driving to Salt Lake at the time, so I may have missed some. But from what I heard there was nothing. Now don’t get me wrong. I heard a great deal of inspirational messages. But we cannot confuse inspired messages with prophecy, visions, and revelations.
Am I the only one? Did anyone else hear prophecies, which predicted the future? Now don’t confuse general warnings with prophecies. Any fool can say that hard times are ahead and we need to store food and supplies. I even predicted the economic crisis. These must prophecy future events which no other man could know.
Were there any visions? Did any of the speakers talk of angels visiting them? Or having the heavens opened and seeing things? Were secret things made manifest? Did hidden things come to light? I didn’t hear any.
Did we receive any new revelations from the God? Did we hear God speak or did we just hear the words of men? I didn’t hear any revelations.
I want to know if you got something I missed. If you know of any prophecies, visions, or revelations, during conference please post them in the comments section.
So I ask you if they have not given any prophecies, visions, or revelations, how can we sustain them as prophets, seers and revelators? If they are not bringing forth the fruits of those gifts that we claim they have, how can we claim they have those gifts?
Now remember how I said that these things are independent of inspired leadership. Well can a person who has no prophecies, visions, or revelations still be inspired? Yes they can. Can the church be lead by men who are inspired while not having the gifts, or prophecy, visions, and revelations? The answer is yes. This is a very difficult concept for some to grasp. I think many of us require the church to be lead by a prophet because if it was not then we would easily enter apostasy or something. It’s almost as if we cover up our insecurities by repeating as often as possible that our leaders are prophets, seers, and revelators, even when they do not bring forth the fruits of those gifts. It’s like we are, as they say, compensating for something.
In Doctrine and Covenants 107:91-92
91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.
Here the Lord says that it is wisdom that the person who is the President of the Church, be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet. It doesn’t say that the person who is in the office will necessarily be that. If it did then why would the Lord tell is that the statement is wisdom. It would make much more sense if the statement, “behold, here is wisdom,” was removed. But I digress.
I just wanted to more fully address the reasons why, while I sustain our leaders as inspired men who lead the church(I certainly couldn’t lead a multi-million member and billion dollar, non-profit corporation), I have seen no fruits which qualify them to be called prophets, seers, and revelators. That is why I when asked I usually say, “I sustain them as such so long as they bring forth the fruits of those gifts.”
I cannot sustain a man as a prophet who does not prophecy. I cannot sustain a man as a seer who has no visions. I cannot sustain a man as a revelation who brings forth no revelations. To do so would be to lie.
In conclusion I want to add something. I fear many of my family will be shocked and scared at my explorations into my spirituality. I’m sure I have had many prayers offered up on my behalf. And I want to thank you for them. I also want to share an experience that happened to me. For about sixteen years of my life I have been focused on completing one goal. That goal has obsessed me and nothing has been able to change my mind or turn me from seeking that goal. For those few of you who know what I am talking about please do not share it. There is a reason why I only told a handful of people. Because my goal was so outlandish and crazy. But a few month ago after a started my journey into the gospel I had a day where my mind just switched. I no longer desired this goal. Rather I desired, the Kingdom of God and Zion. Christ had begun to change my heart and now my purpose in life it to establish Zion and the Kingdom of God. If any of you are scared that I am apostatizing form the church I just want you to know that the ultimate goal now in my life is no longer to carve out a nice chunk of Babylon for myself. Rather I want to be with my family and those I love in the City of Zion and her Stakes. I want to be counted as one of the righteous Gentiles who will be numbered among Israel. I want to bring to pass God’s purposes on earth. These are the things I desire now. Most of all when I am at the Judgment, I want the Saviour to be able to say that He knows me.