Week in Faith – Oct 24, 2010 – Follow Up


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:

Mosiah 8:16

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.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Week in Faith – Oct 24, 2010 – Follow Up

  1. John Ellis says:

    Feel blessed that your mother is concerned about you. My family, for the most part, just wanted me to be quiet and leave them alone when I went on my “spiritual journey”. Your mother was the last member of my family that would actually correspond with me, even though I was a frustration and a challenge to all of them. She eventually grew tired of my diatribes, but she lasted longer than I would have.

    I do not suggest that you hide your convictions in order to pacify your family; that would compromise your integrity. However, I do suggest that you honor your mother and listen to her counsel. She has had more life experiences than you have had and possesses a great deal of wisdom. Don’t be afraid to talk to your father as well. They both may see things that you don’t and you can certainly benefit from their perspectives.

    Hopefully your family will see that your intentions are genuine and honest and maybe even get a little excited themselves about your spiritual adventure!

  2. Well, if it is any comfort, I haven’t read anything remotely apostate in your writings.

    “When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.” James Whitcomb Riley.

    But how is it that latter-day saints can see a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that doesn’t walk like a prophet (where’s the staff?), doesn’t act like a prophet (“And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us”), doesn’t dress like a prophet (where’s the robe and sandals?), doesn’t look like a prophet (where’s the long hair and beard?) and doesn’t prophesy like a prophet (where’s the word of the Lord?, where’s the “thus saith the Lord”?, where’s the “and it shall come to pass”?, where’s the prophecy?), and yet still call that man a prophet?

    It is “by their fruits ye shall know them,” not “by their priesthood office ye shall know them.”

  3. Bless your Mother’s heart. That is awesome that you would get a double “love you”. Mine would/has said “go to hell!” Thank you for sharing your personal journey, we can all relate and it endears us to one another. I think this post even has the effect of endearing me to your sweet Mom.
    In situations where you feel like you are being obligated to make an official declaration of apostasy in order to receive blessing at the hand of some mortal….might I suggest a phrase along these lines…”Oh no…Yes I do know that God has living prophets and apostles on the earth today!” If there is any look of confusion you can always follow up with “I don’t just believe that, I know it.” This will usually have the effect of edifying both parties. This method of answering the questions the interviewer should have asked is endorsed by one of those same “fools” you rightly called capable of saying there are “hard times” ahead.

    http://truthmarche.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/church-finance-part-iii/

  4. zo-ma-rah says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I told my mother to read this, but she might have read it before your comments so I’ll suggest she read them. My mother and father are wonderful influences in my life. I think they often lament not having done enough(such as family home everning). But they have provided me with a solid foundaion of love, discipline, and encouragement. So to you mom and dad I want to say, “I love you!”

    John is my uncle by the way. I hope you don’t mind me telling. Yes, I remember my dad telling about your spiritual journey(and some other stories). He had a lot of negative feelings for a long time. But he was finally able to over come them. Just thinking about it now I wonder if that struggle didn’t prepare him spiritually for my own journey. But then again I wasn’t there so I don’t pretend to know what went on. The past is something we should learn from and walk forward, dedicated to improve ourselves and our relationships with our fellow man.

  5. Tom says:

    Well, if that’s apostate drivel, then count me in. 😉

    Those verses in D&C 107 remind me of something. We seem to use those as the verses describing what our leadership is (i.e. once you become a member of the First Presidency or Qof12, these gifts follow suit, as you noted), but perhaps that verse was meant to describe what you wrote out: the President of the church and the members of the Qof12 were to have been prophets, seers and revelators prior to their calling. Only once those gifts were manifest would they qualify for such a lofty position. But then, that’s what you wrote up and in a much better way than I did.

    My parents don’t really know about my spiritual journey, if that’s what you want to call it. But, if they did, their response would immediately call into question my supposed apostasy, and that’s largely because we have such a messed up understanding of apostasy. Perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

  6. Even if D&C 107: 91-92 is referring to the gifts one has in the office and not to the gifts one has prior to holding the office, it only says that “the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is…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.” Just because you have a duty doesn’t mean you fulfill your duty.

    But I also agree with you (and Tom) that these verses indicate that the one chosen to fill this office is supposed to be someone who already has all the spiritual gifts before being set apart. It is the gifts that qualify him for the office, so that he can fulfill the duties that pertain to it.

  7. Benjamin says:

    Maybe I misunderstand, but I always thought that the LDS had P,S and R for when they were needed. At this time the people need no additional info so heaven is quiet. I wonder how often you feel these gifts should be manifested for them to be legitimized. No snark intended. You are making me think about things in.an all new way and looking for further perspective.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s