Friday, August 6, 2010

2 Nephi 28: 29

"Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!" 

This general principle is addressed first. Nephi will build on it in the following verses. But the first statement is the broadest.

An earlier "wo" was pronounced upon those who rely on the uninspired teachings of men who use their own precepts. Now he adds a second "wo" to those who also deny the need for continuing revelation. We claim we are unlike all other faiths because we believe in the concept of continuing revelation. However, that notion is greatly modified by us to the point where the continuation of revelation is so limited, so curtailed, and so distrusted that we are generally unacquainted with any new revelation.

Do we hear of visions and visitations? Not much, if at all. We think that such things are reserved for leaders. For example, if Elijah were to return with a message to someone, we would expect the person with whom he would visit would be the church President. If it were someone other than the church President, we would instantly be suspicious because Elijah wasn't following the "chain of authority" as we expect. [Interestingly, as soon as you know Elijah was involved you should consider that another line of authority may be created.] So even if we heard from Elijah, it would cause us trouble and likely be rejected as too irregular. This would be true of other heavenly messengers, as well.

What visitations could we tolerate? Pretty much we'd only think it appropriate for an ancestor to visit with a descendant to give a family message. A deceased great-grandfather coming to bring a message about one of his descendants would seem to fit within the whole "chain of authority" model we have created. Family business. Seems to be acceptable. However, even then, we would expect the person involved to "keep it to themselves" because it was inappropriate to share things like that. Too personal. Too sacred. Too much information of a deeply personal nature to warrant talking about it with others.

What if the great-grandfather were Abraham? Would that fit the model? What if his concerns ran to all who are living?  Would that family be large enough to warrant talking about it with almost anyone? Oops, we're back to the whole "chain of authority" argument again, and would expect Abraham to limit his visit to the chief Mormon-in-charge. So a visit by Abraham would be suspect as well.

What if the message were from John the Beloved? He has a continuing ministry to visit with people and bring them to salvation. In fact, his ministry includes visiting with those who will be "heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth." (D&C 7: 1-6.) Still, if a person had him minister to him, we would not want to hear about it, would question the propriety, and wonder why John would come when other perfectly authoritative men are living on the earth inside the church holding the same keys as John. So, that would be questioned and regarded as irregular as well.

So as Latter-day Saints we believe in the continuation of revelation, visitations, visions, etc. so long as they conform to our limited model, come to the right person, and don't disturb anything we have going on at the present.  Which is to say we don't believe in continuing revelation much at all.

What about Christ? Can He visit with anyone whom He deigns to visit? That's a little closer call, because He seems to have promised to come to all. He also displayed remarkably democratic tendencies both on the day of His resurrection, and when visiting the Nephites. (I've explained His disregard for the church hierarchy He established on the day of His resurrection in Come, Let Us Adore Him.) He seems much less interested in respecting established religious authority than we do. So we might allow the Lord to visit with someone, but, then we wouldn't want to hear many details because that would be wrong for some reason. Probably "casting pearls before swine" or "profaning" or "disrespecting the line of authority" or something. Not sure which one, but there's got to be a prohibition against it somewhere.

So we have tendencies that are difficult to put into a hard and fast rule, but I'm going to attempt it

Rule 1: We believe in continuing revelation; predicated upon the following:
(a) Mostly to the President of the church;
(b) But with others whenever:
--(1) It is a grandparent who lived sometime during the restoration or had some unique reason to be coming back, but never
---(i) an ancestor so long back they would be Biblical, because that puts us back into (a) above;
---(ii) if they have a message which would be of general interest, because that puts us back into (a) above;
---(iii) if the visit involves knowing something or clarifying something which might be sacred, because such things are wrong to discuss or acknowledge.
--(2)  It is the Lord, but that's because He pretty much gets to do what He wants to do; except if it's important we'd want Him to explain why He didn't follow (a), above---and it better be a pretty good reason or else we'll have to question the report.

Well, We believe all that God has revealed to authorized people in positions of authority, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal to the proper channels many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God; and that once it has been reviewed by the Correlation Department and published by Deseret Book it will become something which we can all accept as being from an authorized source and reliable.

Until that happens, we have absolutely received enough of the word of God and we don't need any more of the word of God. And, by damn, if someone comes claiming revelation or an independent apostolic witness of the Lord's resurrection we will want them to cut off an arm or some other member of the body and then restore it again, so that we may know he has come with power. I'm quite confident that ought to satisfy our need to see a sign before we will believe a proposition.

Now we know for certain Nephi's warning is to those other faiths that do not accept continuing revelation and not to us. However, as to those, Nephi has pronounced a prior "wo" for their acceptance of the precepts of men, and now a second "wo" upon them for their refusal to accept continuing revelation. These begin to mount up and ought to worry those to whom these concerns are addressed, whoever they may be. Perhaps Nephi should have written his book for those people, instead of us good folks who read the book and know for certain that we're alright.


  1. say the most outrageous things...I could hardly contain myself...this is the best yet..'by damn'

    "Well, We believe all that God has revealed to authorized people in positions of authority, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal to the proper channels many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God; and that once it has been reviewed by the Correlation Department and published by Deseret Book it will become something which we can all accept as being from an authorized source and reliable."

    "Until that happens, we have absolutely received enough of the word of God and we don't need any more of the word of God. And, by damn, if someone comes claiming revelation or an independent apostolic witness of the Lord's resurrection we will want them to cut off an arm or some other member of the body and then restore it again, so that we may know he has come with power. I'm quite confident that ought to satisfy our need to see a sign before we will believe a proposition."

  2. Alma 32: 23
    23 And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.

  3. Interestingly the catalogue from Deseret Book is pushing on the front page a new book titled: "The Silence of God." An oddly titled work of fiction which is, according to the catalogue "a powerful, extraordinary novel of devotion and loyalty." While I doubt I'll read it, I just thought the title was strangely appropriate for Deseret Book.

  4. You know I had a conversation with someone about all of this a week ago. This person had read one of your blogs, and none of your books. They were open to the idea of seeking the Second Comforter in our lives, and had looked into the idea a little. I have been thinking a lot about the conversation because they were very nervous about having a converstaion about this subject outside of the temple. And thought you may be acting inappropriately by sharing your experience.

    It was too scared, and private a subject. We should only discuss in the temple. I don't get that. I went ahead and talked about it anyway. I recommended that they read your book, then they should look at the blog. They will have a hard time accepting what Nephi is really saying.

    I love it. As you said before, I feel as though I am being told something that I have always known...just forgot for a bit. Thanks for jarring my memory.

    BTW the verse for this post is actually verse 29, not 27. I only know this because I am printing these posts off and you had me confused for a minute, so I looked it up.

  5. Not sure all of you feel the same,..but when I read these daily posts, a feel a range of emotion from sadness, to complete joy.

    SADNESS.. because what I read is true and the repeated "Wo's" in Nephi's warnings are pointed squarely at me. I have preferred my whole life to redirect these warnings on to others who aren't yet LDS.

    JOY...because I have hope. All of my false assumptions regarding the specifics/possibilities of entertaining heavenly hosts, specifically my Savior, have been challenged and hopefully corrected. Assumptions that included thinking I needed to be perfect first, and/or needing to climb the ranks of the established heirachy to the top 15.

    We all should have this HOPE...I mean of all people who has had an audience with the Lord like a divorced lawyer who rides a Harley, participates along with the seedy crowd on in the Sturgis motorcyle rally,... who uses curse words, who would attend a Rush concert, and who openly admits he is vain, foolish and full of faults and sarcastic. (No offense intended)

    This same lawyer has been given the assignment to give each of us the needed hope to literally repent and come unto Christ, that an audience with the Lord is possible (and essential)... And to be recieved by Him is not dependent on 100% hometeaching, a consistent attendance to the temple that has been recorded by the recommend scanning machine...nor an impressive, lengthy church resume...Only those with a broken heart and contrite spirit..need to apply. one who will not deny or shew Him away, but let Him in.

  6. My wife and I were just discussing this. We just look at the DB catalog and feel a certain sense of revulsion.

    It just seems so clear that so many have made a grab for the money - either by those who are marketing products that lead anywhere but salvation, to those who perpetuate the lies and promote the idea that somewhere in all that fluff we call the "Mormon culture" we can find happiness and satisfaction.

    That's not to say there aren't a few products that look like they could be uplifting. It's just that they are overshadowed by all the other stuff.

  7. Wonderful!!!!!

    Extremely Funny!!!! (Because we all know this is true!)

    And Very Sobering....leading to repentance.

  8. I've given up on DB entirely; haven't seen a good book there for a long long time.

  9. DS I'm glad to see "Mark Twain" has has such an influence on your life--between him and my dad, I acquired a cerebral sarcastic humor as well. Maybe it was the "age" we grew up in (sometimes I wonder if it isn't the age I grew up to)?

    I support your proposition of alternative (multiple) chains of authority.

    Some might repeat the mantra of "God's house is a house of order" in an attempt to defend the "organizational" view, but D&C 128:6-9 provides the foundation for an "alternative" view--that records and record keeping is the reason there is a "house of order".

    As a sidebar, one can wonder, just how "angelic" the angels must be (an interesting ancillary proposition). Many assume angels must be either pre-mortal or post-mortal and by barring an entire class, may have "offended an angel unaware". How many thrilling and potentially life altering "visitations" may have been missed?

  10. I have been bothered ever since I was a teenager by not being able to reconcile our belief in continuing revelation with what I could actually see with my own eyes coming from my church leaders. It has been an ongoing struggle. Oh how I long to have a prophet say again, “Thus saith the Lord”. Or to receive a revelation like in the times of Joseph instead of just a policy change.

    However, since having been awakened with correct doctrine, I find myself convicted of that very thing that I “mis-judged” the brethren of. Oh how I long to have Christ give his word unto me personally.


  11. Some say "believing is seeing."

    I think they are right.

    ..... and I keep working on it too.

  12. I've been struggling a bit recently trying to find the balance between the ordered organization of the church that is set up in the D&C via revelations from the Lord, and the statements in other scriptures and the thoughts here that clearly state that all should have the heavens opened to them.

    An example is D&C 43:

    2 For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.
    3 And this ye shall know assuredly—that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.
    4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.
    5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;
    6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.
    7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.

    This is another "key that we may not be deceived."

    Perhaps some of the answer is found in D&C 28:

    4 And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it.
    5 But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom;

    But it still seems we've got 2 things in play here and I can't seem to get them all lined up with each other. I wonder if you could comment a bit on this and how we have the Order the Lord speaks of while not denying our own claim on revelation.

  13. Thank you. All very much appreciated. I so look fwd to the posts everyday. Please don't stop. I feel sorry for us who still are so caught up (myself included) on how many steps we can take on the sabbath. I have spent much of my life as a pharisee, judging those who swim on Sundays, or go out to eat, those who cuss or watch rated R movies or who drink or smoke. I am feeling a little like Javerre from Les Mis who simply cannot imagine a God of such mercy bc i have always been taught he is so stern, justice overshadowing mercy. I think the picture of Jesus in the red robe most commonly used in church says it all. Maybe i am wrong but i call him the Mormon Jesus. He looks like the drill seargant or the BYU linebacker. Between that and all the formal pictures of the apostles, i am more inclined to salute than anything. Please tell me the Mormon Jesus is not the man I seek to worship. Please assure me that he is soft and meek and friendly and patient. Please don't tell me he abandons you when you curse or when you are angry or when you watch any kind of movie. Did he really suffer the garden and the cross only to run from me when i need him most? I don't comment much i guess bc i feel like i am a blind guide. One with authority in the church yet with no anointing from on high. Words cannot express my gratitude for a true messenger. I have met at least one other in my life who does not sit amongst the 12 and it is only bc of these tender mercies that i have an ounce of hope that perhaps i too will be able to someday know him. Thank you for sacrificing your time and your talents and everything with which the lord has blessed you for me, the least of these.

  14. Regarding John the Beloved, I've been reading the writings of J.J. Dewey who has been taught by John. He's (J.J.) a former member who was ex-ed for believing in reincarnation. Read his first book here:

  15. Denver: Thank you for your posts.

    Anonymous @8/6 - 11:28
    I was touched by your post. I guess it strikes close to home, except that I have "only" the calling of a home teacher and in my last ward I had no calling for a year. Perhaps I am too old or have the wrong opinions.


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