“Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets”

Lesson 42 – D&C 1:38; 68:1-4; 84:109-10; 107:25,34, 93-98; 132:8;

Official Declaration 2 (pgs. 293-94 in the D&C); Our Heritage, 117-19, 125-27.

 

President Harold B. Lee shared the following story: “Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve once told of a discussion he had with a group of stake officers. In the course of the discussion someone said to him, ‘Brother Widtsoe, how long has it been since the Church received a revelation?’ Brother Widtsoe rubbed his chin thoughtfully and said in reply ‘Oh, probably since last Thursday’ ” (Stand Ye in Holy Places [1974], 132-33).

 

Declaring that the Church continues to receive regular revelation and guidance, President Kimball said: “We testify to the world that revelation continues and that the vaults and files of the Church contain these revelations which come month to month and day to day.  We testify that there is, since 1830 when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, and will continue to be, so long as time shall last, a prophet, recognized of God and his people, who will continue to interpret the mind and will of the Lord…  Expecting the spectacular, one may not be fully alerted to the constant flow of revealed communication. I say, in the deepest of humility, but also by the power and force of a burning testimony in my soul, that from the prophet of the Restoration to the prophet of our own year, the communication line is unbroken, the authority is continuous, a light, brilliant and penetrating, continues to shine.  The sound of the voice of the Lord is a continuous melody and a thunderous appeal. For nearly a century and a half there has been no interruption” (Ensign, May 1977, 78).  

 

D&C 1:38 and 68:1-4. The members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators.  They continue to receive revelations which guide the Church.  Their direction is “the will of the Lord, …the mind of the Lord, …the word of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).

 

Church Correlation  (see Our Heritage, pages 117-18)

Church correlation was initiated and continues today by revelation from the Lord and his prophets.  Church correlation preserves “the right way of God” (Jacob 7:7). It helps accomplish the Church’s mission to invite all people to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).

 

Correlation includes:

§        Maintaining purity of doctrine

§        Emphasizing the importance of the family and the home

§        Placing all of the work of the Church under priesthood direction

§        Establishing proper relationships among the organizations of the Church

§        Achieving and maintaining unity and order in the Church

§        Ensuring simplicity of Church programs and materials

 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that correlation is a process “ in which we take all the programs of the Church, bring them to one focal point, wrap them in one package, operate them as one program, involve all members of the Church in the operation—and do it under priesthood direction” (Let Every Man Learn His Duty [pamphlet 1976], 2).

 

Importance of the family: Correlation emphasizes the importance of the family in many ways—establishment of Family Home Evening is one.  Monday evenings are reserved for FHE so that we can strengthen and teach our families. In addition, the correlation effort has emphasized that “The most important place for gospel teaching and leadership is in the family and the home... Quorums, auxiliaries, programs, and activities in the Church should strengthen and support the family.  They should enhance gospel-centered family activities, not compete with them” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders [1998], 299).  The correlation effort also emphasizes that Church programs and activities should not make unnecessary demands on the effort, time, or other resources of Church members.

 

Operation of Church auxiliaries: One important role of correlation is to unify and coordinate the auxiliaries—relief Society, Primary, Sunday School.  While once independent with their own magazines and conferences, these organizations grew to become increasingly complex and often duplicative in some functions. Correlation has reduced complexity and duplication and priesthood direction has helped these auxiliaries function in a complementary manner.

 

Preparation of Church publications: Lesson manuals and magazines are produced to assist members in living Christ-like lives and learning gospel principles.  Correlation helps assure that the publications are scripture-based, doctrinally accurate, and appropriate for the intended audience.  The Church’s publications are planned, prepared, reviewed, approved, and implemented under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.  As a result, both adult and youth Gospel Doctrine classes and most Primary classes study the same book of scripture during the year, so family discussions of that scripture are facilitated and encouraged by the bond of common, concurrent study by family members.  If planned by the parents, lessons taught at home are reinforced by lessons taught in Church classes.

 

Home Teaching:  D&C 20:53-55. Visits to members’ homes have been part of the inspired Church program since the beginning of this dispensation.  In the 1960’s these visits were reemphasized and began to be called “home teaching”—a vital responsibility and opportunity for priesthood holders.  Priesthood leaders have long taught their quorum members the purposes and importance of fulfilling home teaching assignments faithfully and diligently.

 

D&C 84:109-10;  D&C 132:8.  These scriptures teach our mutual dependence on each other and the divine wisdom and order of the Church’s correlated approach to church programs and activities. 

 

Revelation extending the blessings of the priesthood to every worthy male member

Official Declaration 2 was announced by President Kimball in June 1978. This revelation has been a great blessing to the Church and all worthy male members.  Our Heritage, pages 125-127 reveal details about the reception of this important revelation.

 

Publication of new Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures

Under the direction of the First Presidency, a new edition of Bible was published in 1979 after years of careful work. The Bible has the same text as the King James Version, but it is supplemented with study aids such as the Topical Guide, the Bible Dictionary, and LDS footnotes that reference other Standard Works and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Then, in 1981, a new edition of the triple combination (Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price in a single volume) was published with expanded footnotes and index entries.  Read Ezekiel 37:15-19 and you will see that the new editions of the LDS scriptures help the sticks of Joseph and Judah become one.  Elder Boyd K. Packer observed: “The stick or record of Judah—the Old Testament and the New Testament—and the stick or record of Ephriam—the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ—are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).

 

Elder Boyd K. Packer prophesied: “With the passing of years, these scriptures will produce successive generations of faithful Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ and are disposed to obey His will...The revelations will be opened to them as to no other [generation] in the history of the world. Into their hands now are placed the sticks of Joseph and Judah. They will develop a gospel scholarship beyond that which their forebears could achieve. They will have the testimony that Jesus is the Christ and be competent to proclaim Him and to defend Him” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53). 

 

Additional Quorums of the Seventy

As the Church has grown to 11 million members, the Lord revealed how Church administration should change to meet the needs of the members across the face of the earth. Especially visible has been the addition of Quorums of the Seventy. 

 

Responsibilities of the Seventy are found in D&C 107:25, 34. For many years, there were only seven General Authorities who served as Seventies.  They made up the First Council of the Seventy. In 1975 as others were called, they served in the First Quorum of the Seventy. Expanded again in 1989, the Second Quorum of Seventy was formed.  In April 1995, President Hinckley announced the calling of Area Authorities. In 1997, it was announced that the Area Authorities would be ordained Seventies and form the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy.  Area Authority Seventies serve in the area in which they live and continue in their present employment.  These expansions of the Quorums of the Seventy are fulfillment of instruction in D&C 107:93-97.  President Hinckley said: “With these respective quorums in place, we have established a pattern under which the Church may grow to any size with an organization of Area Presidencies and Area Authority Seventies, chosen and working across the world according to need. Now, the Lord is watching over His kingdom. He is inspiring its leadership to care for its ever growing membership” (Ensign, May 1997, 6).