Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles in the church, not descriptions of what someone does

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Advocate
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Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles in the church, not descriptions of what someone does

Post by Advocate » Mon Sep 26, 2022 7:51 am

Something I've been thinking about for a while is how the church uses language. I think there are many examples of the church using definitions that most non-church people wouldn't think is typical (e.g. translate doesn't mean change from one language to another, it means receive a message from God and write it down), and I think something similar is done with what is meant by "prophet, seer, and revelator."

It seems to me that the words "prophet", "seer", and "revelator" as applied to the top 15 in the church don't actually mean someone who "prophesies", "sees", or "reveals". Not to say the person who holds those titles couldn't do those things, but the titles are given not because the person has actually prophesied, seen, or revealed anything, but because an authority has been passed. The support for this argument is found in three areas (1) timeline/events of when the title is given, (2) no requirement or proof of actually prophesying, seeing, or revealing anything to hold the position, and (3) other priesthood offices that don't use regular meanings of the word.

Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles that follow after an event
When someone becomes a "prophet, seer, and revelator", a certain sequence of events transpires as follows:
(1) Previous holder of title dies;
(2) Top leaders come to an agreement on who should hold the new title;
(3) New title/calling is offered in a meeting with the new person;
(4) Person verbally accepts the offer for the title/calling of being a prophet, seer, and revelator;
(5) Person is sustained to new calling in general conference (i.e. members raise their hand to sustain new leader, opportunity given to oppose);
(6) Session of general conference finishes, some hours pass;
(7) A "laying on of hands" prayer is done and new person is given authority / ordained to new office;
(8) New person opens his eyes;
(9) New person speaks, says "thank you"; and
(10) New person gives talk in general conference.

Looking at the above sequence of events, I think most people in the church would agree that the person is officially a "prophet, seer, and revelator" immediately after step (7) and not before. In other words, if the person died after (6) but before (7), they would not officially be a "prophet, seer and revelator". If the person died after (7) but before (8), they would officially be a "prophet, seer, and revelator".

No requirement of prophesying, seeing, or revelaing required to be called a prophet, seer, or revelator
There is no requirement that a prophet, seer, and revelator actually prophesy, see, or reveal anything to hold those titles. When a person is sustained and set apart in that office, that is enough for the church to recognize that the person is in those titles. There is no scriptural or customary requirement that the person offer any proof of a prophesy, or even say that they have prophesied before those titles are recognized.

Other priesthood offices don't use typical meanings of the word
The church uses priesthood titles in a way that they aren't given their regular meaning.
(A) Teacher is a priesthood title, but "teachers" are not required to teach anyone (not to say they couldn't teach, but they are not required to). In fact, we don't even call those that watch over other members "home teachers" anymore, we now call them "ministering brothers". Ministering brothers are not required to teach a lesson, rather, they minister to people.

(B) Elder is a priesthood title, but "Elders" are not required to be of an advanced age or demonstrate special wisdom. In fact, most Elders are given that priesthood title at an age of 18, when they are young and inexperienced. Not to say that an Elder couldn't be someone of an advanced age, but being of an advanced age is not required.

In a similar fashion, "prophet", "seer", and "revelator" are used as titles, not to recognize someone who has actually prophesied, seen, or revealed (again, not to say that they couldn't but they are not required to).

Final Thoughts
Are there any holes in my arguments? Do you agree with my hypothesis?

The biggest takeaway from this hypothesis is that it changes how you might think about the temple recommend questions that ask if you sustain certain individuals as "prophets, seers, and revelators". For me, when I call a missionary by the title of "Elder", I do so because I recognize and sustain him in a certain calling/title given in the church, not because I think the missionary is of an advanced age or is especially wise. In a similar fashion, when I sustain the top 15 as "prophets, seers, and revelators", I am recognizing and agreeing that those 15 people hold that title in the church, not because I think that these top 15 have actually prophesied, seen, or revealed anything.

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Re: Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles in the church, not descriptions of what someone does

Post by deacon blues » Mon Sep 26, 2022 9:29 am

I think every idea in your post is valid. I am curious, if I ask my TBM wife this question, what will she say? If a opportune moment comes up, I'll ask her, and return and report. :D
God is Love. God is Truth. The greatest problem with organized religion is that the organization becomes god, rather than a means of serving God.

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Re: Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles in the church, not descriptions of what someone does

Post by wtfluff » Mon Sep 26, 2022 11:11 am

Advocate wrote:
Mon Sep 26, 2022 7:51 am
Final Thoughts
Are there any holes in my arguments? Do you agree with my hypothesis?

The biggest takeaway from this hypothesis is that it changes how you might think about the temple recommend questions that ask if you sustain certain individuals as "prophets, seers, and revelators". For me, when I call a missionary by the title of "Elder", I do so because I recognize and sustain him in a certain calling/title given in the church, not because I think the missionary is of an advanced age or is especially wise. In a similar fashion, when I sustain the top 15 as "prophets, seers, and revelators", I am recognizing and agreeing that those 15 people hold that title in the church, not because I think that these top 15 have actually prophesied, seen, or revealed anything.
Agree with the hypothesis wholeheartedly.

Not that I ever want to set foot inside a Polygamy Palace again, but I would have no problem emphatically saying YES to the TR question - I "sustain" the corporate title of the old dudes on the Board of Directors for LD$-Inc. as "prophet, seer and revelator." (You can check the Articles of Incorporation for the Corp. if you don't believe me.)
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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Re: Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles in the church, not descriptions of what someone does

Post by nibbler » Mon Sep 26, 2022 2:08 pm

I'm a racecar driver. I don't actually drive a racecar, but I could one day, so I'm a racecar driver.

Joking aside, I think some of your steps are out of order. The new guy gets set apart in the calling within a week or two of the old guy passing away, regardless of the timing in relation to conference.

Take Nelson for instance.
January 2, 2018 - Monson passes away.
January 14, 2018 - Nelson was ordained to be prophet of the church.
March 31, 2018 - In the first Saturday session of general conference a solemn assembly is held for the already ordained Nelson.

They'll do sustainings during the beginning of the Saturday afternoon session but if there's a change in prophet they also do a solemn assembly during the Saturday morning session. The prophet is already ordained before the sustaining vote at general conference is held.

Kind of like stake conference where they tell you who got ordained to the MP after the fact and then ask for a ratifying vote.
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Re: Prophet, seer, and revelator are titles in the church, not descriptions of what someone does

Post by Advocate » Tue Sep 27, 2022 7:36 am

nibbler wrote:
Mon Sep 26, 2022 2:08 pm
I'm a racecar driver. I don't actually drive a racecar, but I could one day, so I'm a racecar driver.

Joking aside, I think some of your steps are out of order. The new guy gets set apart in the calling within a week or two of the old guy passing away, regardless of the timing in relation to conference.

Take Nelson for instance.
January 2, 2018 - Monson passes away.
January 14, 2018 - Nelson was ordained to be prophet of the church.
March 31, 2018 - In the first Saturday session of general conference a solemn assembly is held for the already ordained Nelson.

They'll do sustainings during the beginning of the Saturday afternoon session but if there's a change in prophet they also do a solemn assembly during the Saturday morning session. The prophet is already ordained before the sustaining vote at general conference is held.

Kind of like stake conference where they tell you who got ordained to the MP after the fact and then ask for a ratifying vote.
I agree that the steps are out of order for a new President of the church. I'm not sure what actually changes in terms of priesthood office or authority when someone goes from being an apostle to the President of the church because we already sustain all the apostles as "prophets, seers, and revelators."

I suppose it could be argued that only the President of the church is prophesying because he is the only one authorized to exercise all priesthood keys, but that would reinforce my hypothesis a "prophet, seer, and revelator" is just a title because all 15 are sustained as such.

My impression is my steps are correct for a new apostle. Do you know for sure if new apostles are not ordained/set apart until they are sustained in general conference?

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