The watering down of what is revelation

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Advocate
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The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Advocate » Mon Aug 29, 2022 4:58 am

I attended a leadership meeting for stake conference recently. The stake president told everyone that the meeting was supposed to be a "revelatory" experience, which he described as meaning we hear instructions (e.g. get all your ministering interviews done) and when we feel we should follow those instructions (e.g. I need to do better with getting my ministering interviews done), we have received revelation. While I don't think such things couldn't be revelation for some individuals, I think for most it is not a revelation.

I take revelation to mean a communication directly from God to the person receiving the revelation. So if God tells me something, I have received a revelation. But if I perfectly and accurately share that message with my neighbor, my neighbor didn't receive a revelation. Rather, my neighbor learned what I received in a revelation.

If we use the stake president's definition of what is a revelation (e.g. you hear some instructions in a meeting and feel you should do them), then I receive many revelations. For example, I recently visited my personal physician. He told me that I should lose weight by eating less and exercising more. I felt his advice to exercise more was something I should do. Since I was in a meeting and received instructions and felt I should do them, I have received a revelation.

It wouldn't surprise me if this watered down definition of "revelation" is being pushed from Salt Lake as they continue to water down many definitions in order to convince people that God is actively working in the church.

Have you seen what is revelation being watered down in your area?

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stealthbishop
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Aug 29, 2022 6:49 am

I'm not sure if I have seen this specifically but I do think it fits easily in an LDS context with the doctrine that the prophet/president can receive, from God, revelation for the whole church, bishops can receive revelation for their wards, etc. Our own inner authority is constantly being superseded, dismissed, and vetoed by external authority in the church hierarchy. This is typical in high demand religions in contrast to progressive/reform traditions where it is up to the individual to decide what is best for them or what God might be teaching or revealing to them.
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græy
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by græy » Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:59 am

I get what you're saying, and I 100% agree that the church enacts concerted efforts to water down the miraculous to make our everyday lives seem "blessed" by our church activity. That said, I'm going to play the Devil's (church's :lol: ) advocate for a sec.

Strictly speaking, a revelation could be described as anything that reveals a previously unconsidered, unobserved, or unrecognized thought or idea. To use your physician analogy; If a moderately out of shape middle aged man goes into the doctor thinking he is mostly A-OK but could use a bit more exercise, suddenly learns that he has dangerously high blood pressure and cholesterol and is at risk of a severe heart attack any day, he might consider that "revelatory". His true circumstance has been revealed to him. The source of that new knowledge or idea is irrelevant.
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nibbler
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by nibbler » Mon Aug 29, 2022 9:19 am

græy wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:59 am
Strictly speaking, a revelation could be described as anything that reveals a previously unconsidered, unobserved, or unrecognized thought or idea.
Which is certainly not something that could be said of anything that goes on in LDS meetings. LDS meetings are where you go to hear the same idea rehashed again and again. To use the meeting about doing ministering interviews an an example, who walks away from that meeting saying, "Well that's news to me!"

Using, "Well that's news to me!" as a barometer, nothing said at church (or even general conference for that matter) meets the bar of revelation. Church is where people go to have new ideas reined in so they can retreat back to the same four or five talking points.

A leadership meeting about doing better at ministering isn't a revelation. Realizing that leadership meetings are a waste of time is revelation.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
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græy
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by græy » Mon Aug 29, 2022 10:38 am

nibbler wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 9:19 am
græy wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:59 am
Strictly speaking, a revelation could be described as anything that reveals a previously unconsidered, unobserved, or unrecognized thought or idea.
Which is certainly not something that could be said of anything that goes on in LDS meetings.

...

A leadership meeting about doing better at ministering isn't a revelation. Realizing that leadership meetings are a waste of time is revelation.
True. And agreed.
Well, I'm better than dirt! Ah, well... most kinds of dirt; not that fancy store-bought dirt; that stuff is loaded with nutrients. I can't compete with that stuff. -Moe Sizlack

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Red Ryder
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:33 am

I once saw a diagram that outlined the hierarchy of Mormon revelation.

1. The Prophet receives revelation for the church.
2. Personal revelation is allowed but only if it doesn’t conflict with rule #1 above.

Personally I think Mormons tend to confuse our conscious with personal revelation. For example, Sister Smith was driving by her neighborhood elementary school and thinks I wonder how Sister Peterson is doing now that school started? I should call or text her.

Later that day she calls and finds out that Sister Peterson isn’t doing well. She got sick after the first week of school and needed meals brought in since her husband can’t cook. She arranges a few nights to be covered by the local relief society sisters who make really good chicken noodle soup.

Sister Peterson recovers and the next fast & testimony meeting she gets up to thank the sisters and explains that she was praying that morning asking God to bless her and help her feel better when later that day Sister Smith called.

Thus personal revelation was received and prayers were answered!

I think too many faith promoting stories get passed along to help bolster the idea that any normal convenient thought is considered personal revelation.

In regards to revelation from the Prophet, president Nelson has clearly distinguished between policy adjustments and revelations. Thus watering down the idea that revelations are continuing today.

So yes, every prophet is a portal to god but many don’t speak for him like they used to. It seems God has found a better platform through the church news website, PR firms, and law office of Kirton McKinky.
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stealthbishop
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Aug 29, 2022 12:03 pm

This for me is one of the very reasons why church became so difficult for me during my NOM phase of trying to make it work as best I could because of my family relationships. I was bored. What they were calling revelation was so mundane and ubiquitous. It was getting harder and harder to tolerate. I wasn't getting spiritually nourished or fed.

Hey we need to do more missionary work and attend the temple more and do more ministering. Blah. Blah. Blah. Over and over again.

Sacrament talks are usually now just a regurgitation of conference talks. Boring. Uninspiring.

I guess we are raising the bar on revelation. We expect more. We have a right to expect more from LDS leaders. I think the writing has been on the wall and the LDS leadership is found wanting.

A big revelation is dropping the mission ages. Wow! That's incredible! A big revelation is that we will punish the children of gay couples who are married and then we'll rescind it. Wow! Amazing! </sarcasm>
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Red Ryder
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Aug 29, 2022 2:10 pm

Great comment Stealth.

I’ve realized recently that there is a lot of Mormon themed podcasts that are becoming increasingly popular because the podcast hosts are providing a better message and product than the actual church. The wife has been devouring podcasts the last few months and coming away more spiritually fed than she has been from the church in a long time.

I don’t think the church can compete when the narrative is old white guys that don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman in the church. Or a questioner. Or have gay children or gay friends. Or anything relatable after 1950.

The church is becoming irrelevant in the lives of the youth, the women, and people who skip daily scripture study.
“I switched baristas” —Lady Gaga

Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by wtfluff » Mon Aug 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:33 am
...
law office of Kirton McKinky.
...
Dear Gelos that made me giggle. :D
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Cnsl1 » Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:54 pm

You can receive personal revelation!

Cool.. so, like God can tell me personally what's up?

Yes!

How do you know this?

The prophet said so.

Uh... so then why do you need the prophet?

To lead us, and tell us what God wants us to be doing in this day and age.

Why don't you just ask God yourself?

Because God tells his prophet who then tells us.

So, why do I need to talk to God?

So you can have a personal relationship with him and receive personal revelation! You just can't receive revelation for other people outside of your stewardship.

So.. God won't tell me what's up for you?

Right. Only I can do that.

That's cool, and that works for everyone?

Everyone.

So, why do we need a prophet again?

To tell us what God wants for everyone.

Everyone who can access God for themselves?

And to lead his church, and help us get closer to God.

I think if everyone accessed God for themselves, the prophet would be out of a job.

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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Advocate » Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:18 am

græy wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 10:38 am
nibbler wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 9:19 am
græy wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:59 am
Strictly speaking, a revelation could be described as anything that reveals a previously unconsidered, unobserved, or unrecognized thought or idea.
Which is certainly not something that could be said of anything that goes on in LDS meetings.

...

A leadership meeting about doing better at ministering isn't a revelation. Realizing that leadership meetings are a waste of time is revelation.
True. And agreed.
+1.

The exact line that was used is that the meeting is intended to be "a revelatory experience". I agree 100% that this statement is true depending on the definition you pick of revelation. My point is that it saddens me that "revelation" is now common place.

A talk titled "You are receiving revelation" that was given at Ensign College by Loren Dalton was discussed in the same meeting. https://www.ensign.edu/devotionals/loren-dalton. Here are a few quotes from the talk:
I have two goals today: to help you realize that you are indeed receiving revelations on a constant basis, and 2) to have you be committed to act on the revelation you do receive immediately.
In a physical way it appears to us like a positive thought that will just pop into our heads………..BING!! And that is revelation.
“Any positive thought to say or do something is a prompting from God until proven otherwise. Just act on it!” And that was our rule.
IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU'RE A BAD PERSON IF YOU'RE GETTING PROMPTINGS FROM THE ADVERSARY...HE USES LOGIC: He is so good at that. He is really good at using logic.
(emphasis in original)

The problem with this line of thinking is that it sets the bar for "revelation" so low that it makes it impossible for someone to tell if they are actually getting a message from God. It equates what is mundane with something miraculous. Except if it is logical as logic is a sign that the revelation is from Satan. [insert banging head against wall emoji]

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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by AdmiralHoldo » Tue Aug 30, 2022 2:07 pm

Well they keep watering down what a miracle is... why not water everything down while you're at it.

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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by wtfluff » Tue Aug 30, 2022 2:34 pm

Advocate wrote:
Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:18 am
The problem with this line of thinking is that it sets the bar for "revelation" so low that it makes it impossible for someone to tell if they are actually getting a message from God. It equates what is mundane with something miraculous. Except if it is logical as logic is a sign that the revelation is from Satan. [insert banging head against wall emoji]
Glad I'm not the only one bruising the noggin.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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Cnsl1
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Cnsl1 » Tue Aug 30, 2022 11:05 pm

So, if you chance to have a thought
BING!
That's revelation.
Unless it's logical
Then it's from Satan.

And if you're still not sure
Just ask that revelation to shake your hand.
Satan doesn't have hands, just logic.
So now you know.

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Hagoth
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Hagoth » Wed Aug 31, 2022 6:13 pm

I read these 7 tenets and felt inspired to follow them. Therefore they are revelation. (p.s. they are the tenets of The Temple of Satan church)

I
One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.

II
The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.

III
One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.

IV
The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own.

V
Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs.

VI
People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.

VII
Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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2bizE
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by 2bizE » Thu Sep 01, 2022 3:53 pm

Revelation has certainly changed over the years.
~2bizE

Tangent
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Tangent » Tue Sep 06, 2022 3:10 pm

AdmiralHoldo beat me to it, but i was going to add 'miracles' to revelation as something that has become so watered down as to become meaningless.

I have several relatives who have recently or are now serving missions. The frequency with which they describe mundane events as miracles boggles my mind. Stuff along these lines (not an actual quote but you get the idea):

"I almost dropped my slice of pizza but just managed to catch it in time. Miracle! Proof that God's looking out for me and is involved in the minutiae of my life! The church is true!"

*facepalm*

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Hagoth
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Re: The watering down of what is revelation

Post by Hagoth » Wed Sep 14, 2022 5:49 am

Tangent wrote:
Tue Sep 06, 2022 3:10 pm
AdmiralHoldo beat me to it, but i was going to add 'miracles' to revelation as something that has become so watered down as to become meaningless.

I have several relatives who have recently or are now serving missions. The frequency with which they describe mundane events as miracles boggles my mind. Stuff along these lines (not an actual quote but you get the idea):

"I almost dropped my slice of pizza but just managed to catch it in time. Miracle! Proof that God's looking out for me and is involved in the minutiae of my life! The church is true!"

*facepalm*
Yeah, miracles ain't what they used to be. I am still amazed that Eyering can tell stories of giving priesthood blessings to people who die shortly thereafter, and call that a miracle. The bar is so low that the mere fact that you and I continue to wake up every morning without blessings from an apostle is a miracle that puts those stories to shame.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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