Religion Magazine

This Is Not The Revelation You Are Looking For Elder Nelson

By Ldsapologetics
The LDS church has doubled down on it's bigotry. Apostle Russel M. Nelson, who insists God's love is completely conditional, said today that the policy that LGBT church members are apostates and that their children are to be excluded from baptisms, ordinances, and sacred rites is in fact a revelation. But let's listen to what Elder Christofferson said when the church was questioned about this policy days after it's addition to the church handbook was inittially leaked:
Michael Otterson: So in the last couple of years there’s been a tone from the Church of understanding and acceptance of those people who experience same-sex attraction, and this policy seemed to be rather abrupt. What actually prompted this handbook change? Elder Christofferson: "To some degree it came from questions that have surfaced in different parts of the world and the United States. With the Supreme Court’s decision in the United States, there was a need for a distinction to be made between what may be legal and what may be the law of the Church and the law of the Lord and how we respond to that. So it’s a matter of being clear; it’s a matter of understanding right and wrong; it’s a matter of a firm policy that doesn’t allow for question or doubt. We think it’s possible and mandatory, incumbent upon us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to yield no ground in the matter of love and sympathy and help and brotherhood and serving in doing all we can for anybody; at the same time maintaining the standards He maintained. That was the Savior’s pattern. He always was firm in what was right and wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it. He never changed His mind. It was what it was and is what it is and that’s where we are, but His compassion, of course, was unexcelled and His desire and willingness and proactive efforts to minister, to heal, to bless, to lift and to bring people toward the path that leads to happiness never ceased. That’s where we are. We’re not going to stop that. We’re not going to yield on our efforts to help people find what brings happiness, but we know sin does not. And so we’re going to stand firm there because we don’t want to mislead people. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ." Elder Christofferson refers to this policy as policy and describes the thinking behind church leaders made this policy.  In an article by the Salt Lake Tribune I found this: "Christofferson said the church made the shift largely as areaction to the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. The faith acknowledges the law but "not as a right that exists in the church. That is the clarification." So it seems as if this policy as it has been refered to up until today was just that, a policy. Nowhere until today was it refered to as a revelation from God.  But let's discuss the procedure as laid out in scripture for how a policy is to be revealed as brought before the body or membership of the church;  (The following explination and description of revelation is taken from Zomarah.wordpress.com) "The definition of revelation in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is:
Revelation n. [L. revelatus, revelo. See Reveal.] 1. The act of disclosing or discovering to others what was before unknown to them; appropriately, the disclosure or communication of truth to men by God himself, or by his authorized agents, the prophets and apostles. How that by revelation he made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words. Eph. 3. 2Cor. 12. 2. That which is revealed; appropriately, the sacred truths which God has communicated to man for his instruction and direction. The revelations of God are contained in the Old and New Testament. 3. The Apocalypse; the last book of the sacred canon, containing the prophecies of St. John.
So already we can see that the word revelation has many different meanings. On lds.org:
Revelation is communication from God to His children.
 Spirit of Revelation comes when the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and our minds. (D&C 8:2,3) – Revelation can only come by one who has been appointed by the person who held this power to reveal, starting with Joseph Smith.(I think this includes revelations who come through others but have the approval of this person.) (D&C 43:1-4) – Revelations are distinct from general teachings. (D&C 43:5) – Revelations must be published. (D&C 1:6; 72:21; 104:58; 118:2; 124:89) This is from referencing the Doctrine and Covenants. Some additional qualifications can be known by observing how revelation was given at the time of Joseph Smith. – About 90% of the sections in Doctrine and Covenants are given as if the Lord was speaking in the first person. From this we can assume that most revelations will be given in the first person, i.e. “I the Lord speak unto you…” – Joseph Smith wrote his revelations down, or had them written down. – Joseph Smith received revelations sometimes with and sometimes without a seer stone. So from this we can deduce some rules that will almost always apply to institutional revelations. Granted there may be sometimes when some of these rules do not apply. A revelation: – is communication from God. – reveals previously unknown information. – comes from the Spirit. – is given directly to the mind or through another object such as a stone. – comes through one appointed. – is given in the first person as the Lord. – is written down and published. – will not contradict a previous revelation. We can use these criteria to examine any revelation that comes from anyone."
  1. This comes from LDS.org 
  2. https://www.lds.org/manual/scripture-study-the-power-of-the-word-teacher-manual/lesson-1?lang=eng
  3. This is how the process of canonizing scripture is supposed to work within the LDS church:
  4. 4. 

    Scripture becomes part of the standard works through the process of canonization.

  5.  

    Explain the meaning of canon, and describe the process by which scripture is canonized.

    “A word of Greek origin, originally meaning ‘a rod for testing straightness,’ now used to denote the authoritative collection of the sacred books used by the true believers in Christ” (Bible Dictionary, “canon,” 630–31).

    In the Church, canon refers to the authoritative collection of sacred books of scripture, known as the standard works, formally adopted and accepted by the Church and considered binding upon members in matters of faith and doctrine.

    The process is illustrated by the action taken in the April 1976 general conference under the direction of President N. Eldon Tanner, in which two revelations were added to the Pearl of Great Price. Conducting the business of the conference, President Tanner said:

    “President Kimball has asked me to read a very important resolution for your sustaining vote.

    “‘At a meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve held in the Salt Lake Temple on March 25, 1976, approval was given to add to the Pearl of Great Price the following two revelations:

    “‘First, a vision of the celestial kingdom given to Joseph Smith … ; and second, a vision given to President Joseph F. Smith … showing the visit of the Lord Jesus Christ in the spirit world. …’

    “It is proposed that we sustain and approve this action and adopt these revelations as part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

    “All those in favor manifest it. Those opposed, if any, by the same sign” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 29; or Ensign, May 1976, 19). In 1979 these two revelations were moved to the Doctrine and Covenants and became sections 137 and 138."

    Note that Elder Tanner said "It is proposed that we sustain and approve this action and adopt these revelations as part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

    The sustaining vote is proposed because in the LDS church all things are to be done according to common consent.

    And he then asked for a sustaining vote. And asked for opposing votes but that's a matter for another post....

    I am now a member of the Community of Christ, a restoration church which is formerly the RLDS church. We share much but not all of the Doctrine and Covenants. In the Community of Christ additions to the Doctrine and Covenants I found these relevant and poignant passages:
"3.c. There are subtle, yet powerful, influences in the world, some even claiming to represent Christ, that seek to divide people and nations to accomplish their destructive aims. That which seeks to harden one human heart against another by constructing walls of fear and prejudice is not of God. Be especially alert to these influences, lest they divide you or divert you from the mission to which you are called."
"7.b. Scripture is not to be worshiped or idolized. Only God, the Eternal One of whom scripture testifies, is worthy of worship. God’s nature, as revealed in Jesus Christ and affirmed by the Holy Spirit, provides the ultimate standard by which any portion of scripture should be interpreted and applied."I feel it's important to recognize the worth of each child of God. It's of the utmost importance that we use scripture as an instrument of further light and knowledge, peace, understanding, and love as I believe is its true purpose. I found the idea that that which seeks to harden one human heart against another to be striking and feels like an alternate way of saying that the hate you spread is actually not God's will or even worse, God's love. According to the scriptures revelations will never contradict any other revelation.  Revelations are messages to us from God, so they actually do need to be read and published as such rather than saying "Yeah, God totally told me what He wants me to do and you'll just have to take my word for it since I can never lead you astray 'n' junk."
Or worse yet, "This is a new policy and this is how we came to a decision on this matter." [2 months later.....] "Oh, wait, did I say policy? I totally like, meant it was a revelation or something..." This "revelation' does not fit the bill for a revelation.You don't get to say "This is a poicy, this is why we made it. No, wait, I totally meant it was a revelation." Russel M. Nelson may have meant this when he said "Each of us during that sacred moment felt a confirmation [bias]." The LDS church released an essay a few years ago stating that the policy of banning black people from priesthood and Temple rites was simpy the opinions of church leaders as opposed to being God's will as those leaders has said. So what if in 50 years the church turns around and says this was simply the opinions of church leaders? Well, now it's a revelation so now God is getting the blame for a "revelation" that just so happens to uplift and support the leaders confirmation bias and white male religious leadership priviallage.The section above from LDS.org wherein Elder Tanner brought a sustaining vote to canonize a revelation is how, according to LDS practices and scripture, revelations are to be brought forth and canonized. If there is a revelation from The Lord it is crucial to canonize.This policy, let us remember, was leaked to the press after being quietly inserted into a church handbook. Then it was discussed as and referred to as a policy. Now after much push back from members the church plays their only card they have left, the trump card of revelation from God. This isn't looking good to anyone who pays attention to how revelations are supposed to be handled.This policy turned revelation is not the revelation you are looking for Elder Nelson.This Is Not The Revelation You Are Looking For Elder Nelson

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