In 1842 Joseph Smith, the first prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote down 13 of the religion’s fundamental beliefs. Number 9 on the list says this:
“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
What does that mean? Let’s talk about it after we reveal the intro video.
In summary, as exemplified throughout the history of the world, we believe in continuing revelation. Prophets have revealed God’s will to mankind since the beginning of time. There have been periods of time when the people reject the prophets and that help is temporarily lost, but when the people are prepared, God always reaches out to His children again through prophets. And I’m not just talking about people with the gift of prophecy, I’m talking about fully authorized servants of God, like Abraham, Moses, and Peter.
We believe God has revealed truth to us in the past, and you can read all about it in the Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon. Additionally, we believe God is still revealing truth, guidance, and counsel to us today. You get a taste of that at least every 6 months at General Conference. We also believe that there’s plenty of stuff we don’t know yet that God may reveal in the future, which is a pretty exciting concept.
Some faiths believe revelation and prophetic guidance ceased after the death of Jesus Christ and the apostles. We agree that the martyrdom of God’s authorized servants at this time and deviation from Christ’s original teachings did eventually mark a period of apostasy for the ancient church, but once the world was prepared again, we believe God again called prophets and will continue to do so until Christ Himself returns.
Some faiths cite Hebrews 1 to show that the Bible teaches there would be no more prophets after Christ:
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”
We believe this is just Paul expressing how blessed the people of that era were to have been taught by Christ Himself. He’s essentially saying, “Man, those ancient prophets are great, but this Jesus guy is the son of GOD!” We don’t believe it’s saying, “Oh, by the way, there will never be another prophet.” In fact, the Bible even mentions prophets, some by name, who existed or would exist after Christ. But different religions can interpret scripture in different ways, we’re all just trying our best here. As for us, we believe the Bible clearly outlines God’s prophetic pattern, and we believe that pattern continues today.
But the principle of revelation is not exclusive to prophets, and it’s not exclusive to Latter-day Saints! You can receive revelation through the Holy Ghost for yourself and your own life. Mothers and Fathers can receive revelation for their families. That said, revelation is not an exact science. It comes in many forms and for a variety of reasons. In fact, you’ve probably already experienced revelation to some degree. For example, have you ever been reading the scriptures and something just clicks in your head and you’re like, “Of course, that makes so much sense.” That’s probably revelation. Or maybe one day you get this feeling that you really need to reach out to a friend and you don’t know why, but you do it and it turns out you were an answer to that friend’s prayers. That’s probably not a coincidence.
God is trying to communicate to us through His Spirit and through His prophets. If you want to know more about what Latter-day Saints believe God has revealed to prophets both ancient and modern, check out the article links in the description and keep an eye out for our next video coming out soon.
We believe that doctrine is eternal and God knows His own doctrines completely (of course) but that He delivers to His earthly children that which they can understand and live. That’s why the Law of Moses looks so different than the instructions Jesus gave us during His ministry. This is why God’s True and Living Church sticks to eternal doctrine but updates policies according to revelation. We learn line upon line and precept upon precept and continue grace to grace.
We believe that prophets are called and ordained through the authority of God. Because there was no one with authority to call and ordain Joseph Smith as the first prophet of this modern dispensation, God sent John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John to confer that authority. The prophetic authority has continued and will continue until the Second Coming of Christ.
God’s house is a house of order and His True and Living Church is organized by “stewardships.” God gives us responsibility over ourselves, our families, and our church callings. Those are our stewardships, and we are privileged to receive revelation from God to help us to do His will in the things we are stewards over. I can pray and receive inspiration as a friend, a spouse, a parent, a servant in the Church.
As David mentioned, you have certainly received promptings through the Light of Christ (which all people are born with) or the Holy Ghost. Warnings of danger, promptings to help someone, help with making decisions can all be revelation. We believe revelation can come in many ways and that one of our most important earthly tasks is to learn to recognize and follow it.
Revelation can come in many forms:
- “Hearing” the “still small voice” of the Holy Ghost, which imprints on your heart.
- Through dreams and visions
- Through the ministering of angels
- Through direct visitation by the Savior
Of course, inspiration and promptings from the Holy Ghost are much more common even for prophets of God. But even in these modern times, there are those who have seen angels and even the Savior. They are witnesses that He lives, that He loves us, and that He wants us to return home to Him after our mortal journey.
Here is a witness from a revelation by vision, experienced by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in the presence of many others:
We, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, being in the Spirit on the sixteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two—
By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God—
Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his Only Begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning;
Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision….
And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.
And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;
And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.
And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.