I recently received the May issue of the Ensign (the official magazine of the LDS Churchh) which contains the talks from last month’s General Conference of the LDS Church. This is an important issue because General Conference talks are so important. How important?
Elder Mark E. Petersen, said: “A general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is far more significant than most people realize. . .
. . .it is one of the most important events of the present day. Many do not regard it, even among the Latter-day Saints. But for those who appreciate its true significance, it is of transcending importance, for in it PROPHETS OF GOD SPEAK, living prophets.
When God gives a message to mankind, it is not something to be lightly cast aside. Whether He speaks personally, or through His prophets, He himself said, it is the same.
And in this conference HIS PROPHETS SPEAK!” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, p. 63)
Ezra Taft Benson said, “The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one living in our day and age. . .Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is that of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece. That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words in current Church publications.” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, p.19)
Because of the importance Mormonism places on these talks, I take extra time reading them. I have just read the first few talks but what has already struck me is how much emphasis there is on the Holy Spirit and on receiving personal revelations from him. Mormonism teaches that personal revelations come through feelings and impressions and a person has to be worthy to receive them.
For many Christians, this has always been a puzzling aspect of Mormonism because feelings are notoriously fickle. How many times haven’t people, even with the best intentions, done something because it felt right, only to discover that it was the wrong thing to do? Over the years I have asked numerous Mormons how they can determine if what they feel is truly from the Holy Spirit. Has a feeling, which they thought was a personal revelation, ever led them astray?
The responses have been interesting to say the least. Some have said their feelings have never led them astray. Others admitted that their feelings had led them astray, but the problem was with them. It has been interesting to see this topic being discussed on Mormon blogs with again differing reactions.
More than one Mormon has told me that they felt sorry for me because the only revelation I had was the Bible. I, however, would much rather rely on it. It is perfectly sufficient for me. It especially reassures me that Heavenly Father considers me worthy to live eternally with him, not because of what I do, but because of what Jesus did for me. It emphasizes that the temple work that needed to be done to live with Him was already done for me by Jesus when he was sacrificed for me. It gives me great guidance for life. It comforts me with tremendous promises of the Lord’s protection and provision. I receive revelation not through feelings, but through His Word. For me, that is much more solid ground to stand on.