Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, my Mom and Dallin Oaks, a Convergence

Joseph Smith found language terribly important, and was clear that no translation into English could be perfect because of the limits of the language. Brigham Young expounded on the theme a number of times, that all revelation that came through prophets, all scripture and all records had flaws because of the weaknesses of the language, the impact of culture and other overlays that create the connotations we live with and the sub-texts of our lives. My first memory of a devotional at BYU was of Spencer W. Kimball quoting Brigham Young on how we would go astray if we relied on him for truth. Brigham Young believed in the errant nature of language, scripture and revelation that came through men.

As a result, he taught a number of times on the essential nature of communing with God directly for truth and that anyone who failed to do so was at risk to go astray from where God wanted him or her to be — relying on what others said would not do the task of leading one to truth because everything that was said was flawed.

Of all things, Elder Oaks recent talk at Harvard made me think of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in the lens of an experience my mother had.

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