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Re: Revelation

Post by nibbler » 17 May 2018, 04:47

DarkJedi wrote:
16 May 2018, 13:53
There is no scriptural basis for the pseudo doctrine that companionship of the Holy Ghost or revelation (or whatever other related thing) is based on worthiness.
I'd argue that there's a scriptural basis in the opposite direction. How worthy was Paul on the road to Damascus? How worthy was Alma the younger?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god. How could anyone receive revelation if you had to be worthy to receive it?

With my background I strongly dislike our culture's obsession with "worthiness." As an orthodox believer scrupulosity hit me hard. I understand that our culture and teachings won't affect everyone the same way but I believe that our fixation with worthiness helped me establish what was a very unhealthy relationship with deity.

We talk about people that struggle to feel as though they have received revelation, people that have prayed their entire lives but have never felt a witness of what is held up as the standard of what witnesses a person in the community "should" have. As pointed out in other comments, and putting it in sheepese, maybe some people have that spiritual gift and some people are blessed with other spiritual gifts, just not the gift of feeling/receiving revelation. If we tie revelation to the concept of worthiness, what is the natural byproduct for a person that does not have the spiritual gift of revelation? They may feel unworthy, unloved, and struggle with self esteem. Meanwhile they are just as "worthy," maybe even more so than the people they admire for having received revelation.

We can be our own worst critics. In that environment we may see revelation as something that only happens to people that are better than us... and we struggle to receive revelation because we feel that everyone is better than us.

Not to be a jerk but look at Joseph Smith. If that guy was worthy enough to receive revelation then most people on this planet are worthy enough to receive revelation; morning, noon, and night. He was a deeply flawed individual, we all are. What if we trusted in our own ability to receive revelation half as much as we trusted his ability to receive revelation?

To this I will add:

Revelation is in the eye of the beholder. Some people might look at developing an effective vaccine for polio as an entirely human effort. Other people may look at that exact same thing and recognize the hand of god guiding researchers to the final product. The event looks the same on the outside, building on the collective knowledge that came before, trial and error, mishaps, a breakthrough, and finally success. Revelation, human effort, some mixture of both, you decide.

Putting it in the Mormon context; some may see revelations, others may call the exact same thing using your imagination. Some may see confirmation by the holy ghost, others may call the exact same feelings and process confirmation bias, bandwagon effect, etc. In other words, if the person struggling to feel worthy enough to receive revelation found the right words to describe to others what they do feel I think they'd find many people that would listen to their explanation and say, "Well yeah, that's revelation!"

Are we looking for a voice, a vision, a divine manifestation... or could we do with a little more self confidence in the decisions we take?

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Re: Revelation

Post by Roy » 17 May 2018, 10:02

nibbler wrote:
17 May 2018, 04:47
What if we trusted in our own ability to receive revelation half as much as we trusted his ability to receive revelation?
Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home."
After the stillbirth of our third child DW withdrew into depression. We went to the temple not long afterwards and did sealings. My knees locked and I felt faint - nearly passing out. I felt a message about our daughter, that God was her Father and had known her and cared for her for much longer than we had. It was a message to be still and trust in Him.

That experience was impactful for me. For DW it seamed to barely register. Some weeks later the RS president came by to visit. She said that she felt inspired that DW might be blaming herself for losing the baby and that DW was not to blame. Those words by the RS president are what is referenced by DW as what finally reached her.

I am not complaining, we were drowning as a couple and I would have gladly taken any life preserver we could find. I do speculate on why my temple experience or priesthood blessings to DW were not as impactful as a what the RS president had said. I believe that the RS president had position and distance. I believe that we as humans but especially as LDS give more weight to the revelations of those that are in a position above us. I also believe that distance helps. It can be harder to accept a revelation through someone that you know well enough to know their foibles, quirks, predilections, and imperfections.

Perhaps we can know no one as intimately as we know ourselves. Therefore it is easiest to doubt revelation that we feel in our own heart and mind.

Somewhat as a tangent in regards to JS.

1) I can imagine sympathetically how Emma received the revelation on polygamy from JS. She knew Joseph better than nearly anyone. She had been a firsthand observer and even participant in the revelation process in regards to the BoM. Even as a faithful woman I assume that she could pick up on how messy the revelatory process was - how some elements from her husbands mind and experiences bled through onto the page. It was to Emma that JS confessed his doubts regarding Zion's camp when the revelation received through him was bold and triumphant in rhetoric. Emma also knew of and was deeply hurt by the episode with Fanny Alger. She knew her husband as a sexual being (not trying to imply deviance, just normal male interest) who was attracted to members of the opposite sex. Try as she might, she could not fully accept a revelation (through her husband) commanding her husband to take additional wives. I believe it was slightly easier for the wives of other priesthood leaders to accept that JS the Prophet (with position of authority and a degree of distance) had received a revelation commanding their husbands to also practice polygamy.

2) JS seems to have recognized the pliability of the revelations that he had received. He felt authorized to modify, add to, and splice those revelations as his understanding evolved. This and other evidences make me wonder if JS say the revelations as something different that the more rigid view assigned to the "word of God" as though every jot and tittle is inerrant and God breathed. It also makes me wonder if the current prophet could revise and update section 132 for example. Cut all the stuff about polygamy and expand upon the promises made to monogamous sealed couples.

I suppose having a leadership that feels authorized to say "Thus saith the Lord" is a double edged sword. on one hand it could be great to clean up some of these historical dead-end appendages. On the other hand, it was "thus saith the Lord" that got us into some of those dead end binds in the first place. I suppose in some ways it is better to live with the devil (and messy historical church) that we know rather than give each new administration carte blanche authority to create new doctrine and/or overturn old doctrine.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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