#159: The Indispensability of Personal Revelation

“This is my beloved Son, hear Him.
(The History of The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Vol.1: 9)

The event of the opening of the heavens in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, is the bringing together the work of God from all the previous dispensations throughout the history of the world. The curtain was parted with that First Vision. God chose to answer the young farm boy in articulate, discernible, and unmistakably human words, “I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects were right … and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them” (The History of The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Vol.1: 9) .

This theophany to Joseph was preparatory for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. That book, like Joseph’s vision announced a living God, one who can engage in dialog with his people. Revelation in the fully personal sense characteristic of an intimate God, had long since been abandoned by the clergy of the nineteenth century, was again speaking from on high. The early chapters of this book speak of visions, various angelic visitations, as well as several occasions where Nephi is visited by the Lord, constrained by the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and commanded by the Lord.

The Lord spoke to Lehi directing him to obtain wives for his sons. The voice of the Lord came unto Nephi regarding the building of a ship, directing him where to find the necessary ore, and showed him how to construct it, and when the time came for them to depart, Nephi records that “the voice of the Lord came unto my father that we should arise and go down into the ship” ( 1Nephi 5:175 [1Nephi 18:5]).

Several hundred years later Alma testified to his sons, “Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation, which is in me” (Alma 3:79-­‐80 [Alma 5:46]).

There is the account of the Brother of Jared who lamented the fact that the vessels in which they were to cross the ocean had no interior light. Hearing the Brother of Jared’s plea, the Lord replies provocatively, “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” ( Ether 1:55 [Ether 2:23] ).

As each of you are aware he asked if God could touch those sixteen molten stones and illumine them. The Brother of Jared is then rewarded with the most spectacular revelation recorded  in  the  Book  of  Mormon,  seeing  first  the  finger  of  the  Lord,  then  beholding  the  pre-­‐ mortal Christ, and is then told,” … Ye are brought back into my presence, therefore I show my-­‐ self unto you.( Ether 1:76 [Ether 3:13])

Moroni, when concluding the account his father inaugurated, proclaims his intentions regarding the writing of this record with relevance to futurity, “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” ( Mormon 4:46-­‐47 [Mormon 8:35]).

Then writing, with particular poignancy following the destruction of his people, Moroni warns future generations, “And again I speak unto you, who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ” ( Mormon 4:66-­‐67 [Mormon 9:7-­‐8]).

The prophet Moroni links for us this principle of divine revelation as witnessed in the Book of Mormon to the promise of its personal acting out in the lives of those, to whom this record should come to, “Ask God, the Eternal father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; (meaning the Book of Mormon) and if ye ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the pow-­‐ er of the Holy Ghost, and by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” ( Moroni 4:5-­6).

Throughout the entire book with its unrelenting affirmations on the part of its various writers the moral of this epic is the indispensability of personal revelation as the key to spiritual survival of both the individual as well as the church. As the scattered of the Restoration, we should anticipate that God would continue to speak comfortably to His saints, to lead, guide and direct, culminating in a united people who will assist in the birthing of Zion and the restoration of the house of Israel.

“And we also had many revelations, and the spirit of much prophecy…”
( Jacob 1:6 )