The emails I receive these days give me ample opportunity to teach the gospel. Below is my response to a fundamentalist.
I will explain why you do not understand the doctrine of continual revelation, and why it is leading you away from the truth.
First, a scripture:
And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. (2 Ne. 29:9–10)
Revelation can be a nebulous thing. It is not always so clear cut that it builds on top of prior revelations and is in harmony with them. Every prophet that has ever lived on the earth was rejected by his own generation because they thought he did not conform to the “old revelations,” that they changed them, and gave them something new. Joseph gave us the script. And I repeat.
Along came Noah. But he preached something different than the people thought they had heard before, and would not follow him.
Noah was a perfect man, and his knowledge or revelation of what was to take place upon the earth gave him power to prepare and save himself and family from the destruction of the flood. This knowledge, or revelation, … was not believed by the inhabitants of the earth. They knew Adam was the first man, made in the image of God; that he was a good man; that Enoch walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years, and was translated to heaven without tasting death. But they could not endure the new revelation: the old we believe because our fathers did, but away with new revelations. And the flood swept them away. …1
The example of Christ is so obvious that it almost requires no description. Everyone, save His disciples, rejected Christ because He came preaching something “new.” Do you not think the Pharisees were wise, and knew the “old revelations” by memory? No, it was because Christ came teaching new revelations they thought they had not heard before, and he was rejected and crucified:
The same principle … was signally manifest among the Jews when the Savior came in the flesh. [They] boasted of the old revelations, garnished the sepulchres of the dead, gave tithes of mint and anise, made long prayers for a pretense, and crossed sea and land to make proselytes, but yet when the new revelation came fresh from the mouth of the great I Am himself, they could not endure it—it was too much. It showed the corruptions of that generation, as others before, and they cried, away with him; crucify him! …2
Joseph Smith experienced the exact same persecution, and for the same reason. Many did not believe what Joseph taught because it smacked in the face of the “old revelations” and what they thought they knew about the gospel of Christ:
Once more, the same course and language were used when the Book of Mormon came to this generation. The old revelation, the old patriarchs, pilgrims and apostles, were blessed. We believe in them, but the new ones we cannot abide.”3
President Wilford Woodruff once reported:
I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made … with regard to the living oracles and with regard to the written word of God. … A leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said: “You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them.”
When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, “Brother Brigham, I want you to take the stand and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.” Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: “There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,” said he, “when compared with the [living] oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.” That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation: “Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.”4
Christ himself said:
And it continues to this day. People the world over reject President Monson as the Lord’s prophet on earth because they think he preaches a different gospel, including many fundamentalists. This is unfortunate, but it is not surprising. It is how people have treated the prophets since Adam.
Yea, wo unto this people, because of this time which has arrived, that ye do cast out the prophets, and do mock them, and cast stones at them, and do slay them, and do all manner of iniquity unto them, even as they did of old time.
And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out. (Helaman 13:24–25)
Our ninth Article of Faith reads:
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. (Articles of Faith 9)
You honor the prophets and apostles at the beginning of the restoration, and garnish their sepulchers, but you cast out their modern-day successors, saying they preach a different gospel. I testify to you that they do not! It is the Restored Gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and some day all will come to realize that, for every knee shall bow (Rom. 14:11; cf. Mosiah 27:31, D&C 76:110).
Christ spoke to you:
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34 ¶ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (Matt. 23:29–38)
Will you follow Christ? Will you follow those who Christ has sent and called to lead His Church today?Notes:
- “Knowledge Is Power,” an editorial published in Times and Seasons, Aug. 15, 1842, pp. 889–90; spelling, punctuation, and grammar modernized; italics deleted; Joseph Smith was the editor of the periodical. [↩]
- ibid. [↩]
- ibid. [↩]
- Wilford Woodruff, in Conference Report, Oct. 1897, pp. 22–23; punctuation modernized; paragraph divisions altered. [↩]