LDS Prophecies and Revelations Part IV
Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “Our Lord’s true Church is established and founded upon revelation. Its identity as the true Church continues as long as revelation is received to direct its affairs…No one but the President of the Church, who holds and exercises the fullness of the keys, can announce revelation to the Church” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 648). He also said, “Any message, whether written or spoken, that comes from God to man by the power of the Holy Ghost is scripture. If it is written and accepted by the Church, it becomes part of the scriptures or standard works” (p. 682). Early Mormon leaders often criticized other churches for not having current revelation and new scripture. LDS Apostle Orson Pratt said, “That the Romanists (Catholics) have continued in their apostasy until the present day is demonstrated from the fact that they have not added one single book to their canon (scripture) since they first formed it” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 3, p. 38, Dec. 1, 1850). On page 16, the editor of the weekly LDS “Church News” wrote on Sept. 3, 1966, “One of the signs of the true Church of Jesus Christ is the presence of living prophets who direct its work under the guidance of heaven… Revelation therefore, is an essential part of the true Church, constant, current revelation …With prophets and new revelations for the current guidance of the people also comes new scripture; for as the divinely-given revelations are recorded they are added to the existing volume of holy writ and in this way the body of scripture grows… The powers thus given to Joseph Smith have been bestowed upon each of his successors, even to the present day. Each then has been the prophet of the Lord in very deed, in the same sense as Moses, Elijah, Abraham, Isaiah and Ezekiel.”
The LDS “standard works” are their four books of scripture: 1. The Bible as far as it is translated correctly (but no LDS seems to know what isn’t translated correctly). 2. Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. These three books were all produced by Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon and “the Book of Abraham” in the Pearl of Great Price are supposed to be “translations” of earlier records so they are not “current revelation.” Joseph Smith claimed two small books (Moses and Joseph Smith—Matthew) were revealed to him and they are now in the Pearl of Great Price. They are also part of his “inspired translation” of the Bible which is now known as the Joseph Smith Translation or JST and are Smith’s revisions of Biblical accounts, so they aren’t current revelation either. The Doctrine & Covenants is primarily “revelations” from God to Joseph Smith which are considered LDS scripture. In it are 138 Sections or revelations. All Sections through Sec. 133 as well as Sec. 137 are by Joseph Smith who died in 1844. Sec. 134 is a statement about governments and laws that the LDS Church adopted on Aug. 17, 1835. Sec. 135 was written by John Taylor about Smith’s death. Taylor was with Smith when he was killed and later became the third LDS President. In Sec. 136 Brigham Young told the LDS in January 1847 how to organize and live when they began their move to Utah. Sec. 137 says it was revealed to Joseph Smith on Jan. 21, 1836, but it was not accepted as scripture until 1976, over 140 years later! Is that “current” revelation? Sec. 138 says it was revealed to Joseph Smith’s nephew, Joseph F. Smith, the sixth LDS prophet on Oct. 3, 1918, but it didn’t become a part of LDS scripture until 1976 which was 58 years after he said he received it! And that is the most recent revelation added to LDS scripture!
There are two “Official Declarations” at the end of the Doctrine & Covenants that are statements by LDS Presidents but are not revelations themselves. President Wilford Woodruff gave Official Declaration-1 in 1890 which told the LDS to obey the law of the land and stop practicing polygamy even though they were commanded to practice it by Doctrine & Covenants Sec. 132 which was a revelation recorded on July 12, 1843. That “revelation” is still in Doctrine & Covenants Sec. 132 and is the reason “Mormon fundamentalists” practice polygamy today. Official Declaration-2, made by LDS President Spencer Kimball in 1978, allowed the LDS Church to ordain black men to the LDS priesthood, which they had not done until then. This Official Declaration just says that Kimball had a revelation about this matter, but the revelation itself was never published.
Notice that the last revelation added to LDS scripture was given in 1918, which was over 100 years ago! And the next most recent “revelation” in LDS scripture was Brigham Young’s instructions for the LDS move to Utah on January 14, 1847, which was about 180 years ago! Is that “constant, current revelation”? Although Mormonism claims to have had 17 Prophets since Joseph Smith, only three have one section each in the D. & C. and two others have one Official Declaration each. Joseph Smith, who died in 1844, wrote everything else, so do LDS really have continuous revelation added to their standard works? How much has the LDS “body of scripture” grown since Joseph Smith’s time? While Mormonism says that the Prophets words can be scripture without being written, the LDS leaders quoted in this article certainly indicated that some of those words will be added to their volume of scripture so that it “grows.” What “revelation” can be added to “scripture” that will improve on the message of what Jesus Christ did for mankind on the cross? Heb. 7:25 declares that God is able to save them to the uttermost who come to God by Him (Christ). And Col. 2:10 declares we are “complete in Him.” Anything added to that message is what the Apostle Paul called a perversion or distortion in Galatians 1:7-9.