Continuing revelation is the belief that God's revelations about himself and other truths did not cease after the death of the Apostle John. Latter-day Saints (LDS) believe that revelation continues today and is given primarily to prophets, the current one being Gordon B. Hinckley, and that lay-members may experience or receive revelation to a lesser degree. This assertion stems from the first vision account from Joseph Smith where he prayed to receive revelation concerning which church he should join. LDS understand this to be the classic example that God still speaks today and directs his church through a modern day prophet who continually receives revelation(s). Criticism has been brought against Mormonism as it has not announced any significant revelations for quite some time. Instead, it seems that Hinckley's role has been similar to that of a pastor rather than a revelator who, in a unique relation to God, communicates new revelations to the church.
Examples of the first standard
The words of Elder Richard L. Evan in 1940:
- "Besides this we have our living prophet, for whom I am grateful, and I hope to follow after him all the days of my life. I know that when I don't follow him I am wrong, and I know that when I do I am right, even if I don't agree with him. To those who only follow him when they do agree with him he is not a prophet unto them."
In April 1842 Marion Romney spoke the following at General Conference:
- "I assure you you, however, that the spirit of the Lord will never direct a person to take a position in opposition to the counsel of the Presidency of His Church"
At a General Conference J. N. Lambert said:
- "My testimony to you is that the Lord is at the helm and will guide us through trouble and storm. He is not going to desert his people. My testimony is that Joseph Smith was a prophet; that his legal successors have been prophets. Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant, have been sent by the Almighty for a purpose; the Lord has blessed them with prophetic vision, and with the power to discern and tell the people the things that they should know. He has given to this people a mouthpiece, that we may know when to go and where to go, when to do and when not to do things; that if we find we are not doing the things we should do, that we should repent, and repent sincerely; that we should get in line and remain in line, not set up our judgment against our leaders, or against the rule or direction of the Church."
One Mormon recalls the words of his bishop in sacrament meeting:
- "Sometimes I hear comments in Sunday School or Priesthood that might get misinterpreted. We say that when the prophet gives us counsel over the pulpit, we can find out whether or not what he said is true. I don't think we're asking the right question. If we know that Gordon B. Hinckley is our prophet, and if we understand what that means, then we should already know that what he's telling us is true. Instead of asking if what he says is true, we should be asking for the strength and faith to do what he asks."
President Ezra Taft Benson said:
- "Doctrinal interpretation is the province of the First Presidency. The Lord has given that stewardship to them by revelation. No teacher has the right to interpret doctrine for the members of the Church. If Church members would remember that, we could do away with a number of books which have troubled some of our people.".
Also, Benson quoting Eldon Tanner,
- “In a general conference of the Church, President N. Eldon Tanner stated: A man said to me, ‘You know, there are people in our state who believe in following the Prophet in everything they think is right, but when it is something they think isn't right, and it doesn't appeal to them, then that's different.’ He said, ‘Then they become their own prophet. They decide what the Lord wants and what the Lord doesn't want’” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 334).
Benson also stated:
- "The living prophet is more vital to us than the Standard Works... The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet... The prophet will never lead the Church astray... The prophet does not have to say 'Thus saith the Lord' to give us scripture." - Ezra Taft Benson
Current CES Institute manual, Teachings of the Living Prophets, reads:
- "Prophets have a right to personal opinions. Not every word they speak should be thought of as an official interpretation or pronouncement. However, their discourses to the Saints and their official writings should be considered products of their prophetic calling and should be heeded."
A BYU Newsnet article states:
- "Consequently, 'active Mormons' know that when the prophet speaks, the debate is over... Any active church-going 6-year-old can sing 'Follow the Prophet' and no seminary graduate or gospel doctrine teacher can recite a story in any of the standard works where contradicting the Prophet turned out to be a good idea."
- "I would not care if there was not a Bible within ten thousand miles of this place, or any other book or scrip; here are the oracles living right in our midst, and we receive them from day to day, by word of mouth from a living man, an Apostle who is alive, and through a Priesthood which is living in our midst." - Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 3:197
- “You believe Adam was made of the dust of this earth. This I do not believe, though it is supposed that it is so written in the Bible; but it is not, to my understanding. You can write that information to the States, if you please—that I have publicly declared that I do not believe that portion of the Bible as the Christian world do. I never did, and I never want to. What is the reason I do not? Because I have come to understanding, and banished from my mind all the baby stories my mother taught me when I was a child” (Brigham Young, October 23, 1853, Journal of Discourses 2:6).
In this standard, for a doctrine to no longer be doctrine it must be repudiated. Practically, for a doctrine to cease to be doctrine it merely has to be de-emphasized.
Decanonization of the Lectures on Faith
Integration and teaching of new doctrine without Conference procedures yet fulfilled
- Temple ceremony changes
- Blacks and the priesthood
Even when the procedures are fulfilled, it is now merely ceremonial.
Otherwise known as prima scriptura.
- "We have the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; but all these books, without the living oracles and a constant stream of revelation from the Lord, would not lead any people into the celestial kingdom of God. This may seem a strange declaration to make, but strange as it may sound, it is nevertheless true." 
Otherwise known as sola scriptura.
- "The place members should always look for official church doctrines is in the canonized scriptures of the church."
Relationship between continuing and past revelation
Appealing to the historic Adam-God fiasco, one Mormon writes:
- "It’s now standard practice to teach that Adam and Heavenly Father are separate beings, but there was a time when that assertion contradicted what the President of the Church was teaching. Brigham Young taught that acceptance or rejection of the Adam-God doctrine 'will either seal the damnation or salvation of [men]' (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, April 9, 1852). Men like Orson Pratt were vocal in their opposition to the doctrine, and Brigham Young responded that it would “destroy him if he does not repent & turn from his evil ways” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, March 11, 1856). Yet, in a matter of decades, the Church had abandoned the doctrine... So what are we to do if we find our conscience in opposition to what the present authorities are teaching about some issue? Force ourselves to accept something with which we disagree? I don’t think that’s the way to go. I mean, can we safely assume that, in another 25, 50, or 100 years, General Authorities will still be teaching the same thing? If Church history is any indication, then the answer is no. Today's heresies might be tomorrow's doctrines. As for myself, I’ll stick with my own intuition, spiritual experiences, and conscience."
Semantic range of meaning
What is "revelation"?
What is the "scripture"?
What is "doctrine"?
What is "speculation"?
Does "continuing" mean continuous or infrequent?
- "It was surprising to read Robinson's rather complete capitulation to what seems like scriptural "literalism" ("There isn't a single verse of the Bible that I do not personally accept and believe," 59). It was especially surprising after his accurate summary of the rather liberal Mormon understanding, through modern revelation, that God speaks to his "servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language" (D&C 1:24) and that this means that all scripture is "recorded by men who can and do make mistakes" (57). And though Robinson is very good at critiquing Evangelicals for using mainly non-authoritative Mormon sources to construct false notions of our beliefs and then attack them, he seems to want to define the resources for our theology much too narrowly. The result, I think, is to limit the power of our concept of continuing revelation, which allows modern prophets to restore crucial doctrines lost from or never fully included in the Bible (such as eternal marriage and the Atonement as power to repent) and also to correct or revise crucial doctrines that are in the Bible. For instance, Joseph Smith rejects Moses' agency-denying claim that God, not Pharoah himself, hardened Pharoah's heart (JST Exodus 4:21) and Brigham Young rejects Paul's negative teaching that a mortal by nature "receiveth not the things of God" (JD 9:305)." - Eugene England
- "Time has a way of taking care of all things, of elevating the good and bringing down the bad. If we see things going on within the kingdom that disturb us, we should first find out if the matter falls within our stewardship. We then might go to the person or people involved. If it is of such a nature that we think it should be called to the attention of higher authority, then we can, in a kindly and quiet manner, take the necessary steps at the proper level. [But] to publish differences we may think we have with the leaders of the Church, to create strife and division, is a sure road to apostasy. Our task is to stick with the kingdom." (Ensign, July 1975, p.62.)
- "When the Lord's servants speak or write under the influence of the Holy Ghost, their words become scripture (see D&C 68:4)." - Gospel Principles 
- "In all my public administration as a minister of truth, I have never yet been under the necessity of preaching, believing, or practicing doctrines that are not fully and clearly set forth in the Old and New Testaments, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and Book of Mormon." - Brigham Young 
- “JUDGMENT AWAITS CHURCH MEMBERS WHO CRITICIZE BRETHREN. But it is not of this class particularly that I desire to refer, but to those members of the Church who have entered into the waters of baptism and have made covenants before the Lord that they will observe his laws and respect his priesthood, who have been persuaded, or who are in danger of being persuaded, by such characters. What time, since the organization of the Church, have any of the brethren exercising the Spirit of the Lord, ever taught this people that which was false? When have they ever said unto you that you should do that which was not right; that which would not make you better citizens and better members of the kingdom of God? You cannot, nor can any man, in righteousness, point to the time when any of them have wilfully stated anything that was contrary to the principles of righteousness, or that did not tend to make the people better in every way, that did not build them up in their salvation, temporally as well as spiritually….” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:296-297).
- “My testimony unto you, my brethren and sisters, is that I know there has been no change in the doctrines of the Church. I have read the writings of the early elders of this Church in the days of the Prophet Joseph and those who were with him--Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, and all those mighty men. I have read many of their sermons recorded in the Journal of Discourses, and in the other histories that were kept and are now in existence. I have made it a matter of investigation for many years, and I have never found any change. The same spirit which prompted those men prompts the men and women of today, and it is the greatest testimony to the children of men, or ought to be, that there is one guiding hand which directs and governs the destinies of this Church” (Samuel O. Bennion, Conference Report, April 1927, p.95).
- "Let every man and woman know by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not." (Brigham Young, January 12, 1862, Journal of Discourses 9:150).
- "A person must embrace plural marriage as a divine and holy principle in order to receive eternal life... I am not aware of any member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who has ever said anything contradicting President Taylor's words."
- "And it becomes us to lay to heart the word spoken, and it should begin with the Apostles, Presidents of Stakes, Bishops, the Presidents of Quorums, and heads of families and run through all the organizations of society, and the spirit of repentance, of reformation and of purification should flow in our midst, flow through the people in all our organizations until every man, woman and child shall feel that the Spirit of God rests upon them; we should put away evil, and endeavor to overcome the world, to withstand the influences of the hosts of hell, to resist the example of evil minded persons, to resist temptations of pride and vanity, and cease to be hypocritical; in other words, to be honest before God and one another, for his eye is upon us. Our ways are openly known unto him." - Erasmus Snow from April 1880 General Conference
- "You do not have a divine commission to correct me or any of the Brethren .... If I lead the Church astray, that is my responsibility, but the fact still remains that I am the one appointed with all the rest involved so to do: (page 9)" - Bruce McConkie 
- "Our relationship to living prophets is not one in which their sayings are a smorgasbord from which we may take only that which pleases us. We are to partake of all that is placed before us, including the spinach, and to leave a clean plate!" (Neal Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, p. 74)
- "Whoever arrays himself in any manner against the authority which God has placed in His Church for its government, no matter who it is-one of the Twelve Apostles even, or any number of them-unless he repents God will withdraw His spirit and power from him."Collected Discourses 5:79-88. Discourse of 16 February 1896.
- "There is one thing that the Lord has warned us about from the beginning [he said], and that is, not to speak evil of the Lord's anointed. He has told us that any member of the Church who indulged in this is liable to lose the Spirit of God and go into darkness. The Prophet Joseph said time and again that it was one of the first and strongest symptoms of apostasy. Have we not proved this? Have not his words upon this subject been fulfilled to the very letter? No man can do this without incurring the displeasure of the Lord. It may seem strange, in this age of irreverence and iconoclasm, to talk in this way. Nevertheless, this is the truth. God has chosen His servants. He claims it as His prerogative to condemn them, if they need condemnation. He has not given it to us individually to censure and condemn them. No man, however strong he may be in the faith, however high in the priesthood, can speak evil of the Lord's anointed and find fault with God's authority without incurring His displeasure. The Holy Spirit will withdraw itself from such a man, and he will go into darkness." Collected Discourses 5:221-226. Discourse of 6 October 1896.
- ""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 that have been made here today, with regard to the living oracles and with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when 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.’ ”Wilford Woodruff, in Conference Report, Oct. 1897, pp. 22–23; punctuation modernized; paragraph divisions altered.
- “I then made a short address, and called upon the several quorums, and all the congregation of Saints, to acknowledge the [First] Presidency as Prophets and Seers, and uphold them by their prayers. They all covenanted to do so, by rising.
“I then called upon the quorums and congregation of Saints to acknowledge the Twelve Apostles, who were present, as Prophets, Seers, Revelators, and special witnesses to all the nations of the earth, holding the keys of the kingdom, to unlock it, or cause it to be done, among them, and uphold them by their prayers, which they assented to by rising.
“I next called upon the quorums and congregation of Saints to acknowledge the presidents of Seventies … and to uphold them by their prayers, which they did by rising. …
“The vote was unanimous in every instance, and I prophesied to all, that inasmuch as they would uphold these men in their several stations, … the Lord would bless them; yea, in the name of Christ, the blessings of heaven should be theirs.”History of the Church, 2:417–18; from a Joseph Smith journal entry, Mar. 27, 1836, Kirtland, Ohio; see also Messenger and Advocate, Mar. 1836, p. 277.
- “The Presidents or [First] Presidency are over the Church; and revelations of the mind and will of God to the Church, are to come through the Presidency. This is the order of heaven, and the power and privilege of [the Melchizedek] Priesthood. It is also the privilege of any officer in this Church to obtain revelations, so far as relates to his particular calling and duty in the Church.” History of the Church, 2:477; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 6, 1837, in Kirtland, Ohio; reported by Messenger and Advocate, Apr. 1837, p. 487.
- “I will give you a key which Brother Joseph Smith used to give in Nauvoo. He said that the very step of apostasy commenced with losing confidence in the leaders of this church and kingdom, and that whenever you discerned that spirit you might know that it would lead the possessor of it on the road to apostasy(Heber C. Kimball, Deseret News, Apr. 2, 1856, p. 26; spelling and capitalization modernized).”
- The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)
- "If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason." (Brigham Young, JoD 16:160)
- “I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting, I drove him home. … When we got to his home I got out of the car and went up on the porch with him. Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray’ ” (Elder Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 78).
- “I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” (Wilford Woodruff)
- “Remember whose church this is. It carries the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who stands as its head. His is the power to remove any who is found remiss in his duty or who is teaching that which is not in harmony with His divine will.” “I say for each and all that we have no personal agenda. We have only the Lord’s agenda. There are those who criticize when we issue a statement of counsel or warning. Please know that our pleadings are not motivated by any selfish desire. Please know that our warnings are not without substance and reason. Please know that the decisions to speak out on various matters are not reached without deliberation, discussion, and prayer. Please know that our only ambition is to help each of you with your problems, your struggles, your families, your lives. …”(Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, Oct. 1992, pp. 79–80; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, pp. 59–60).
- “It is the Lord who is directing this Church. You don’t need to worry very much about Gordon Hinckley. The Lord is directing this work, and He won’t let me or anyone else lead it astray. I am convinced of that. My only desire, and I hope your only desire, is to do that which the Lord would have us do” (Fireside in Crawley, England, 26 Aug. 1995).
- Here we must have in mind—must know—that only the President of the Church, the Presiding High Priest, is sustained as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the Church, and he alone has the right to receive revelations for the Church, either new or amendatory, or to give authoritative interpretations of scriptures that shall be binding on the Church.... When any man, except the President of the Church, undertakes to proclaim one unsettled doctrine, as among two or more doctrines in dispute, as the settled doctrine of the Church, we may know that he is not "moved upon by the Holy Ghost," unless he is acting under the direction and by the authority of the President. Of these things we may have a confident assurance without chance for doubt or quibbling. —J. Reuben Clark, Jr. "When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?" Address to Seminary and Institute Teachers, BYU (7 July 1954); reproduced in Church News (31 July 1954); also reprinted in Dialogue 12/2 (Summer 1979): 68–81.]
- "Even the President of the Church has not always spoken under the direction of the Holy Ghost, for a prophet is not always a prophet. . . . In our own Church, leaders have differed in view from the first." http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/women/chapter7.htm#revelation1
- “The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. The learned may feel the prophet is only inspired when he agrees with them; otherwise, the prophet is just giving his opinion-speaking as a man. The rich may feel they have no need to take counsel of a lowly prophet” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.138).
- "But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong” (Heber C. Kimball, November 8, 1857, Journal of Discourses 6:32).
- “Brother Brigham is my leader: he is my Prophet, my Seer, my Revelator; and whatever he says, that is for me to do; and it is not for me to question him one word, nor to question God a minute. Do you not see?” (Heber C. Kimball, November 8, 1857, Journal of Discourses 6:33).
- "If I do not speak here by the power of God, if it is not revelation to you every time I speak to you here, I do not magnify my calling. What do you think about it? I neither know nor care. If I do not magnify my calling, I shall be removed from the place I occupy. God does not suffer you to be deceived." - Brigham Young
- "If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth." - The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24-26, 1973, with Reports and Discourses, 69.
- ↑ Elder Richard L. Evans, Conference Report, October 1940, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p.61
- ↑ Marion Romney, Conference Report, April 1942, p. 20
- ↑ Conference Report, April 1921, Afternoon Session, p.53
- ↑ http://withinthebubble.blogspot.com/2007/01/questioning-and-obedience_15.html
- ↑ The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 317. See "The Gospel Teacher and His Message" as found in LDS manual "Charge to Religious Educators," pp.51-52
- ↑ Ezra Taft Benson, “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” Tambuli, Jun 1981, 1. Address given Tuesday, February 26, 1980 at Brigham Young University. Published in Liahona, and available online here.
- ↑ Teachings of the Living Prophets, p. 21. Available online here.
- ↑ "Follow the Prophet", BYU Newsnet, July 8, 2008, http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/68994. Amazingly, the author of the article also said, "In sustaining, they are not voting for them or agreeing with their position, they are promising to support and listen to them."
- ↑ James E. Faust, "Continuous Revelation," Ensign, Nov 1989, p. 8. Quoted in Elder Neil L. Andersen Counsels Young Adults to Hold Fast to the Words of the Prophets
- ↑ http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/Did_God_have_Sex_with_Mary.pdf
- ↑ http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=1028#comment-123604
- ↑ LDS-PHIL mailing list. January 18, 1999.
- ↑ http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,11-1-13-15,00.html
- ↑ http://scripturesbeta.byu.edu/jod/jodhtml.php?vol=11&disc=19
- ↑ W. John Walsh, http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/history/plural_marriage/necessary.htm
- ↑ http://www.challengemin.org/adamgod.html
- Truth-Telling and Shifting Theologies: An Analytical Look at How Wide the Divide?, by Dave Combe - mentions Robinson's progressive view of what constitutes doctrine
- Excerpts from "When Are the Writings and Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?", by J. Reuben Clark, Jr. - Address to Seminary and Institute Personnel, BYU, 7 July 1954
- Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, by Ezra Taft Benson - Tambuli, Jun 1981, 1
- Trusting GAs More than Ourselves, by J. Nelson-Seawright
- The Priesthood Ban and Infallibility
- How do Latter-day Saints define the idea of "scripture"?
- Prophets of God
- Living Prophet: Our Source of Pure Doctrine, by Merrill C. Oaks