Friday, July 21, 2006

Revelation by any other name

Revelation is an interesting term. By definition, it can mean many different things to different groups and people.
We have some that disbelieve in any revelation, some that believe that revelation only occurred anciently, and some that believe it is on-going today.
Some believe that revelation is the inspiration one receives through their conscience or through the thoughts and ideas that pops up in one's head. Others believe revelation is a lightning and thunder theophany, where the mountains shake and the waves crash violently against the cliffs.
Are all of these different ideas, revelation? Or are some revelation, and some just natural events? Or are they all just natural events that mankind mistakes for the Divine?
LDS belief in revelation is very expansive. We believe that God sends the Light of Christ throughout all of space (D&C 88, 93), and it is the power of Christ that causes all things to exist and have agency. A higher form of this power is displayed through the Gift of the Holy Ghost, but it is still worked by the same processes.
While many LDS focus on the burning/swelling in the bosom feeling; LDS scripture insists that this is only one of the many manifestations of revelation. We can have it inspire us, expand our spirits/souls, enlighten our minds, and make truth delicious to us (Alma 32, D&C 8, 9).
Why is it that the LDS claim to have the fulness of the gospel, yet we can read in the Oct 2005 General Conference and in the August 2006 Ensign that the Reformers were inspired of God? Because we believe that all people, nations and tongues can be inspired to the level of truth they are ready to receive (Alma 29:8). In essence, Mohammed was inspired to lead the Arabs to a greater truth, as were Buddha, Confucious, and Martin Luther for their peoples. This is not to say that they had the end-all truth and authority. They did not. But they had the power and gifts given to raise people from a telestial state to a terrestrial state: the same role given Moses and Aaron at Sinai when the people rejected the fulness of the gospel (D&C 84).
Revelation is necessary. Inspiration came from the heavens to bring Columbus to the New World. It created the first printing press. How did Einstein imagine the theories of relativity and space/time that he did, except via inspiration of God? The Bible even suggests that wicked people can be inspired occasionally of God, such as Caiaphas' prophecy of the death of Christ.
The Book of Mormon has a special purpose in witnessing for modern revelation. It tells us that if the gifts of God, including miracles and revelation end, then it is because of the loss of faith among the people, and woe to the people if they end up in that predicament.
So, our purpose in life is to seek truth and inspiration of God. And, as Brigham Young stated: claim all the truth for ourselves, regardless of where we may find it. One of the wonders of truth and information is, there is an endless supply. Unlike physical materials, which must be rationed and consumed individually according to need and scarcity, I can share my knowledge with the world, and it only costs me a little time/space. Once it is on this blog, it costs me nothing else, since my time and effort is already spent on it, and I owe nothing else. Yet, millions can download it (wouldn't that be awesome?), but it still would be as fresh as the day I write this, ready for millions more to download and use it as they will.
The Internet does not become a primary source for revelation. It does, however, become a primary source for information to consider, weigh, judge, and ponder. It is in the studying and then pondering of an idea that God can then instill within us that feeling, or thought, or understanding, or peace, that tells us that an idea is valuable and worth keeping until a higher idea comes along and passes our inspiration test.
God truly has flooded the Earth with truth in our day, and it is only getting more impressive.

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