This Is the Spirit of Revelation?

I was amazed when I discovered that Christians believe God still speaks to them today! When I was LDS I had always been told that only the LDS Church believed in continuing and personal revelation. But Christians don’t believe the heavens are closed! Every person who has been brought to faith by the Holy Ghost receives personal revelation from Heavenly Father all the time. I relish the fact that God lives in my heart and speaks to me personally every single day of my life:

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:4-6) In addition to this amazing gift, the Holy Spirit also dwells in my heart and guides me every moment of my life.

The Gospel Doctrine Lesson states that “Personal revelation is the way we learn divine truths.” It also claims it is “the way we receive guidance beyond our own limited understanding in answering life’s questions, meeting challenges, and making decisions.” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 5: “This Is the Spirit of Revelation” p. 25)

I’m here to tell you that this personal revelation comes to you when you read scripture! I have a very personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. I get to talk to Him through prayer and He speaks to me personally when I read His Words in scripture. Jesus taught this truth when He rebuked the Jews for not knowing scripture or the power of God. He told them that God literally spoke divine truths to them when they read scripture:

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mathew 22:31-32). God spoke to the Jews through scripture telling them the divine truth that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were living prophets, not dead ones.

When I was LDS I didn’t know this truth, that God speaks to us personally through scripture. That’s because I didn’t understand the important truth that God’s Word is living and active—it’s alive! Now, I know it is the “sword of the Spirit” and is so powerful it can literally pierce the soul and spirit of man. It also can discern the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart (Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12).

The Holy Spirit actively works through the hearing or reading of God’s Word; this is actually how the Spirit works the miracle of faith in an unbeliever. Jesus claimed God’s Word is so powerful that a person is immediately granted everlasting life through hearing it and believing:

“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

The authors of scripture didn’t use their own words to write it. They were inspired about what to say when the Holy Ghost moved them to write Words given to them. In fact, the inspiration of scripture was the very mission of the Holy Ghost. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. Scripture is “able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3: 15-17/2 Peter 1:20-21).

Because I believe and trust in God’s Word I do not stumble in darkness! I boldly proclaim that God’s “word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). One of my favorite Psalms tells the importance of meditating on God’s Word:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1).

Scripture written several hundred years earlier still “spoke” to Jesus and His Apostles, and they were guided by it daily. We read one example in the book of Romans where Paul talks about the Prophet Abraham. Paul reminds his readers of the scripture from Genesis saying that Abraham was imputed with righteousness because of his faith. Paul then says

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” (Romans 4:20-5:1).

Did you read that? These scriptures were also written for your sake! If you “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” you also will be imputed with righteousness through faith!!! Just like Abraham and anyone else whose trust is in what Jesus has done for them—even me!

Have You Been “Pickled in Mormonism”? Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth

Today I compare God’s revealed way of determining truth with the method found in Mormonism. Why is the difference important? God’s truth has been hidden from those who have been “pickled in ‘Mormonism” because of a false spirit which is described in this weeks Relief Society lesson:

“I will [present a] figure in regard to bringing about and getting this spirit in us, and digging deep that we in the time of storm, may not be driven off. Place a cucumber in a barrel of vinegar and there is but little effect produced upon it the first hour, nor in the first 12 hours. Examine it and you will find that the effect produced is merely upon the rind, for it requires a longer time to pickle it. It does not establish the law of right and of duty in him during the first 12 or 24 hours; he must remain in the church, like the cucumber in the vinegar, until he becomes saturated with the right spirit, until he becomes pickled in ‘Mormonism,’ in the law of God; we have got to have those things incorporated in our systems.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow Chapter 3: Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth, p. 68)

There is only one way to be “saturated with the right spirit” and you will never find that spirit in Mormonism. I know this because I believe the words of Christ who taught us how the Holy Spirit works. Being “pickled” into Christianity is not like Mormonism; it happens in an instant. The Holy Ghost brings an unbeliever to faith through a spiritual rebirth that Jesus calls being “born again”:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6-8)

Christ also taught that the Holy Spirit shall bring you to a remembrance of what has been taught by Jesus and His apostles:

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26) “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:25-26)

The Apostle John warned you about false spirits and prophets. In fact he commanded that you “try the spirits” so as to discern whether a spirit is from God. How do you do this? He revealed that those who aren’t from God—won’t even hear his words or the words of Christ’s other apostles:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world…. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

Do you really want to know whether Mormonism has the spirit of truth or the spirit of error? Then compare God’s revealed way of determining truth with the method found in Mormonism. We read of this method in the Relief Society lesson:

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you,” etc. [See D&C 9.]

Here we read the LDS method of determining if something is true: You can’t just ask God—you must also “study it out in your mind” and then “if it is right” God “will cause that your bosom shall burn within you.” While these words were written specifically to Oliver Cowdery, President Snow explains how this method applies to you:

“So in regard to us, respecting the things which we are undertaking. If we expect to improve, to advance in the work immediately before us, and finally to obtain possession of those gifts and glories, coming up to that condition of exaltation we anticipate, we must take thought and reflect, we must exert ourselves, and that too to the utmost of our ability. We ought to … get the Spirit ourselves” (p. 65).

Can you see the difference between Mormonism’s false method of determining truth and what Jesus and the Apostle John revealed? In speaking of the Holy Ghost, Jesus taught “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Mormonism tells you to “study it out in your mind”. But what if “your mind” doesn’t know very much about God’s truth? If you’ve seldom studied what Christ originally taught, how can the Holy Ghost bring His Words to your remembrance? What good will it do to study the matter out in your mind if you haven’t studied what the Holy Spirit has already revealed in scripture?

Only a false spirit would tell you to use your wisdom and study it out in your mind to decide if something is true. Does your mind possess more knowledge than the wisdom that God has revealed through scripture? Satan wants you to trust in your own knowledge and feelings. But doing so will expose you to false spirits and you will be led astray; just as President Snow was:

Although he was content for a time with this understanding, he soon yearned for a special manifestation of the Holy Ghost. He said, “I had had no manifestation, but I expected one.” …No language can describe the instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding. I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the Holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the gospel.”

President Snow “yearned for a special manifestation” but the spirit he received was not from God. And because He didn’t test the spirit, he was deceived. To those who “received not the love of the truth” the Apostle Paul revealed that “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”:

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

I pray that you will be as the Bereans; of whom the Apostle Paul praised:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed” (Acts 17:11-12)

All praise and glory to our Savior Jesus, for teaching us how to discern truth!