2. CAUTIONS ABOUT PERSONAL REVELATION
The history of this Church is filled with examples of people who have been led away from the truth by revelation from a source not approved by heaven. I had a missionary companion who received revelations faster than he could write them down. He was certain when he was 20 years old that he was soon to be called to fill a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve. He had ideas to revolutionize the missionary work in my mission. He had no time to proselyte! There were more important things to do. Only the strongest counsel from our Mission President turned him away from a course that might have led to destruction.
I have an acquaintance who has had a multitude of visions and revelations and who has started his own church. He received a revelation calling me to the quorum of the twelve in his new organization.
And the stories go on and on. Beginning with Hyram Page in D&C 28 and continuing on with the numerous and troubling examples in our own day, we have records and personal experience with people who have not been able to discern between what is divine and true and what is not.
D&C 28 gives us some important direction:
1. “But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.” The word “in” in this verse has been interpreted to mean “for.” Only one man can receive revelation “for” the Church. The same is true of wards and stakes and families. There is an order in this process that is as critical as any in the Church. (28:2)
2. “And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom . . .” (28:3-4) “thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment” (28:8). We can speak under the Spirit of inspiration. We ought to. But we are not permitted to publish our insights as commandments.
3. “And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church . . . “ (28:6) Only one person can give commandments to the President of the Church, and that is the Head of the Church.
4. “And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him; For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants” (28:11-12). Nothing shall be appointed to the Church contrary to the covenants of the Church. This is a great standard for the protection of the people and the perception of the truth.
5. “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” (28:12) The raising of the right hand to sustain leaders and to acknowledge their right to receive revelation for us is a powerful antidote to any efforts of Lucifer to divert the energies of the Church.