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.
Ironically, no doctrine is more offensive to Christianity than that of modern revelation. Bible lovers get so offended when we claim there is more scripture. Of course, the Bible doesn't claim that revelation ceased. It doesn't claim to include all of God's word, but so goes the interpretation. Some act as if man could close the heavens, shut the mouth of God, and draw a barrier between God and man that allows neither truth nor angels nor visions. Amos said, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) If God can't reveal anything, he won't do anything. How presumptuous to believe in a doctrine that would put God in a straitjacket!
Joseph Smith quickly learned how offended men were at the suggestion of modern revelation when he related his First Vision to a Methodist preacher: "I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would be never be any more of them" (JS-Hist. 1:21).
This idea still dominates modern Christianity:
"In every case the man, group or denomination that supports accepting new revelation is in gross doctrinal error or a cult. It is a fact that every cult such as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, Seventh Day Adventists, or false religion such as Islam are based on modern supposed revelation. No true Bible believing individuals or churches are offering any new revelation, but are diligently and faithfully preaching what God has revealed in His preserved Word which is the sixty six books of the Bible. One unmistakable and recognizable trait of a false preacher or church is its acceptance of modern day revelation. In every case the new revelation leads men away from God's truth and thus into doctrinal error and away from God." (http://bible-truth.org/norevtod.htm)
"Is there NEW revelation today - which is not found in the Bible? Is there any such thing as revelation from God which is outside of what He has revealed in the Bible? The answer to all such questions is a resounding, "NO!"
"I'm not here even speaking of revelation which contradicts the Bible. Clearly, THAT would never be of God. More specifically, I'm talking about NEW revelation - which, to some, might appear to be absent from the Bible, yet not contradictory to it. Does God bring such revelation, manifestations, or events? Again, the answer is NO." (http://www.goodnewsarticles.com/Feb05-6.htm)
George Q. Cannon
In our day there is that same spirit of unbelief that there was formerly. Jesus reproached the Jews with garnishing the sepulchres of the Prophets whom their fathers had killed. They held the memory of the dead Prophets in great esteem; at least, they professed to do so. They said, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets." Yet Jesus Himself, the Son of God, walking in their midst and performing the mighty works which He did, was rejected by them, and finally crucified. In this manner they testified that they were the children of those who killed the Prophets, and that they were possessed with the same spirit... Well, as I have said, there is a good deal of the same spirit in our day. Magnificent structures are reared to the memory of the men who once talked with God... St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. Andrew; and all those sainted personages were once despised, derided, persecuted, cast out, and finally killed. What was their crime? They professed to have received revelation from God, to be His servants, and to have received authority to act in His name; and because they did this, men sought to kill them. Not many generations had passed away, however, when they became the honored among men. They were extolled and held up as examples. Sanctity was attributed them. Miraculous power was attributed to anything that had been in their possession. The places of their martyrdom were considered sacred. And anything that could be done has been done by different generations to show that if they had lived contemporary with them they would not have persecuted them or slain them. It is so in this land of America. And yet one of the greatest crimes almost that a man can commit today, and one that will arouse the fiercest hatred, and stir up the most violent persecution, is to go into the cities of this land and say that God has called him to be His servant, and that he has authority from God to preach His Gospel and to administer the ordinances thereof, according to the ancient pattern. (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 2, Dec. 13, 1891)
We believe all that God has revealed
This is the easy part. Anyone can believe that God has spoken to prophets as long as it happened anciently. Dead prophets and old revelation seem to be politically correct and socially acceptable. Theodore A. Tuttle explained, "It is an easy thing to believe in the dead prophets. Many people do. For some mysterious reason there is an aura of credibility about them. It is not so with the prophet who lives among us, who must meet life's everyday challenges." (Ensign, July 1973, 18)
"We believe all that God has revealed" means we believe the Old Testament and the New Testament. We believe that the Bible is historically accurate. We believe that Adam and Eve were created by God, that Noah built an ark, that the earth was covered with water, that Moses parted the Red Sea, and that the walls of Jericho fell down.
We believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he performed miracles, cast out devils, and taught God's word. We believed he was crucified for the sins of the world and rose from the tomb with a perfected, resurrected personage. We believe the epistles of Paul and the Revelation of John. We believe it all.
We also believe that God spoke to other prophets. We believe that God revealed himself to Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, and others in open vision that is not contained in the Bible. If we had all those revelations, we would believe them. We believe that God has spoken to many nations and peoples at sundry times, "I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them... and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it" (2 Ne. 29:11-12). If we had these writings and revelations, we would believe them.
We believe... all that He does now reveal
Joseph F. Smith
We believe also in the principle of direct revelation from God to man... The gospel cannot be administered, nor the Church of God continue to exist, without it. Christ is the head of his Church and not man, and the connection can only be maintained upon the principle of direct and continuous revelation... The moment this principle is cut off, that moment the Church is adrift, being severed from its ever-living head. In this condition it cannot continue, but must cease to be the Church of God and, like the ship at sea without captain, compass or rudder, is afloat at the mercy of the storms and the waves of ever contending human passions, and worldly interests, pride and folly, finally to be wrecked upon the strand of priestcraft and superstition. (Gospel Doctrine, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 104)
Hugh B. Brown
We declare that the line of communication between heaven and earth is open, and operating, as anciently. We believe that revelation is continuous and expedient, and is suited to the times in which it is given. (Conference Report, October 1958, Afternoon Meeting 61)
Gordon B. Hinckley
Christians generally and our Jewish and Muslim brethren and sisters revere the prophets of old who spoke words of revelation as they were moved upon by the Holy Spirit... If there was need for revelation then, is there not an even greater need for revelation in this highly complex and difficult age in which we live? If God spoke to Abraham anciently, shall He not speak to prophets in this season of the world? We believe in modern revelation, and I stand before you and can testify in humility-but with certainty-that we are blessed with it in the guidance of this Church in this day and time. God has not forsaken us, nor will He if we will live in obedience to His commandments. (Ensign, July 1998, 75)
Harold B. Lee
I sat by the senior editor of the Reader's Digest at a luncheon sometime ago, and he asked if the lack of modern revelation and a dwindling trust in the Lord was our biggest problem today. I said that it wasn't a problem with us. We know that the Lord gives revelation today. We are waiting for the Lord to reveal his mind and will. The only people who find it a problem are those who don't believe in revelation. Therein lies one of the greatest problems among those who are criticizing and finding fault and wanting exceptions. They don't trust the Lord. They are not willing to listen to the admonition of the Lord. (Ensign, Jan. 1971, 9)
We believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things
Joseph Smith prophesied that God would "reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." This statement was made in March of 1842. Since then, many revelations have been received by apostles, prophets, and members of the Church. Some of the more significant revelations include:
- Doctrine and Covenants sections 127-132, 135-136
- The doctrine of Baptism for the Dead and vicarious ordinances
- The formation of the Relief Society
- The endowment ceremony (as taught by Joseph Smith and refined by Brigham Young)
- The marriage ceremony and sealing of children to their parents
- The place of settlement for the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley
- The location and architecture of the Salt Lake Temple
- Joseph F. Smith's vision of the world of spirits, D&C 138
- The institution and repeal of plural marriage
- The Perpetual Emigration Fund and the Perpetual Education Fund
- The Young Men and Young Women's programs of the Church.
- The Church Welfare Program
- The revelation allowing all male members the priesthood
We believe that the stream of revelation will not be stopped. We believe that God has no reason to stop communicating with his people and his prophets. The flow of truth will not be interrupted, "As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints" (D&C 121:33). The scriptures tell us of some of the great truths that are yet to be revealed:
- The sealed record of the Brother of Jared (Ether 3:27; 4:4-8; 2 Ne 27:6-11)
- The record of the lost ten tribes (2 Ne. 29:13)
- The secret acts of men in each of the seven millennia of the earth's existence (D&C 88:108-109)
- The records of prophets who have been shown "all things" and recorded them (1 Ne. 14:26)
- The fullness of the record of John the Baptist (D&C 93:6,18)
- The prophecies of Adam as contained in the Book of Enoch (D&C 107:56-57)
George Q. Cannon
The Lord has not yet revealed to us all that is to be revealed. There are many great and glorious principles and truths pertaining to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God which we are not yet prepared to receive... From the day that God established this Church to the present the stream of revelation has continued to flow uninterruptedly. It flows pure for us to drink at until we are filled to repletion; and if we do not drink, it is our own fault. (Gospel Truth, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 258)
Joseph F. Smith
There are many things yet to be revealed. There are things to be revealed which God will make known in his own due time which we do not now understand. For my own part, there is as much already revealed as it seems possible for me to understand. If I could only grasp all that God has revealed, and comprehend it as I should and apply it in righteousness in my life, I think I should then be prepared for some thing more, if I was still worthy of it. (Conference Report, October 1916, 6 - 7)
Daniel H. Wells
The revelations declare that there are things yet to be revealed which have been kept hid from the foundations of the world. I, for one, expect that the volume of revelation will remain open, and that the servants of God will, in the future as they have in the past, read to us from the Book of Life. The reflection that we shall not be confined to what has already been given, but that we shall continue to grow and increase in the knowledge of God, and in every good, is one of the most highly-prized principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How true it is that, when any new principle, or any new idea concerning an old principle is promulgated, the human heart seems to rise up in rebellion against it, and the Saints are no exception in this respect, for when the Lord condescends to reveal any new principle pertaining to their welfare and the building up of His kingdom on the earth, many are ready, both in feelings and practices, to rise up and rebel against it. What is the matter? Are we pent up in a nutshell and confined in our feelings to such an extent that we cannot receive new revelations and instructions from time to time when they come from the proper source? No. I think that, for the great majority of the Latter-day Saints, I can answer it is not so. It may be so with individuals; but as a general thing the Saints are glad to receive instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, as they can receive and endure it. I heard President Young say that he told the Prophet Joseph never to reveal a new principle to him if he thought that he could not receive it, that it would be detrimental to his faith or cause him to turn from that which he had received. He said he would rather remain in ignorance than to have it prove a stumblingblock to him. I have seen a great many people anxious for revelation, and for the development of some great mystery concerning the kingdom of God. I have never felt so; I have been satisfied with what the Lord should condescend to reveal, and more than glad if, when it did come, I was able to receive and practice it. (Journal of Discourses, 13:351)