I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

One of the important aspects of the LDS doctrine of personal revelation is that the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes instruct individuals to act contrary to our own reason and understanding.

So here is a little supposal:

Think of a presidential candidate that you do not support.  Now put the candidate’s name into the appropriate places in the following passage:

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should support [a specific candidate] for President; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I supported a [candidate of that ideology/party/record]. And I shrunk and would that I might not support [her/him].

And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold it is the Lord’s desire that [that candidate] be President of the United States…

We spend a lot of time debating and defending our political beliefs, and comparing political candidates to our ideals. But what if, regardless of political party, or ideology, or record, or aptitude, or personality, or anything else we might use to judge our candidates, the Lord for His own reasons wants you to support a candidate different than the one you would choose?

It seems likely that most of the time He will leave it up to our best judgement. But we should also be open to the possibility that He will prompt us contrary to our reasoning. We should make sure that we consult with the Lord in prayer about who we should support in our political decisions and not rely solely on our own understanding and political philosophies.

So, continuing with the supposal:

Once the Lord has communicated his desire, how do you go about supporting the candidate? You can’t say that you honestly agree with the candidate’s positions.

You could say that he is the best person for the job, but since you don’t know the reason why the Lord wants him in office, you don’t know that for sure. Maybe she is not the best person, but the Lord wants her in office for some other reason.  All you know is that for some unknown reason, God has told you to support the election of this person.

You do not have the authority or stewardship to tell others that they should vote for the candidate because you have received a revelation that the Lord wants that candidate to be president.

And you’ve spent the last few years establishing your bonafides in a political position contrary to that of the candidate.  Now you will look like a flip-flopper, or even worse, incoherent.

So what do you do?

78 thoughts on “I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

  1. JMW,

    In your case you should just send a check for the maximum amount to the Obama campaign and probably leave it at that until you vote for him on election day. Unless you believe that God wants you to start a super-PAC.

  2. As usual there is a hint of seriousness in my joke. If you believe that you should support a candidate an easy way to do so is to give them money. You asked, I answered, sorry if that has caused offense. None was intended, though fun was intended.

  3. Sorry, ARJ. I was bristling at the fact that you made it about my specific political views instead of a more meta question. I apologize. I’m fine with fun, I just want the discussion to stay on track. Thank you for commenting.

  4. I’d say this is equally applicable for other up-for-vote issues. I can think of certain measures that individuals would vote for, even though all other aspects of their political and moral ideology would completely otherwise negate any other reason to do so, based solely on what comes down to, “I think this is what God wants me to do.” – And you know, my feelings on the appropriateness of acting on such change day in and day out.

  5. I think sometimes we think that God will give us THE answer, rather than an acceptable answer. Do I wear my gray or blue suit for Church? I think for most circumstances, the Lord is not going to care. Nor is he going to tell me the blue suit makes my butt look fat.

    Rarely are we in an instance of either/or, which includes the current presidential race. Even if it comes down to Obama and Romney/etc, there are candidates in third parties that can be considered.

    It may be that God sees the pros and cons of each candidate and really does not care, as long as we are ready to accept the consequences of our choices.

    The one thing I will say, if a person believes he/she has received such a revelation, that individual needs to keep the vision to herself. It does not apply to all the Church, unless the First Presidency and Twelve tell us otherwise. And history suggests that unless Pres Monson suddenly throws his hat in the ring, neither the Lord nor the Church will give out an endorsement.

  6. The question of what to do if you feel that you have received a revelation to do something that you believe is otherwise wrong or a bad idea is fascinating. Generally speaking, I think that if someone thinks that they have received a revelation to do such a thing, they should talk to people they trust for advice. And if it involves ethically or legally questionable activity, generally they should seek counsel from professional and/or ecclesiastical help.

  7. Stapley,

    Let’s put aside the hypothetical where it involves clearly unethical or illegal activity and stick to this supposal of revelation contradicting your own best political reasoning.

    TT considers the revelation false. Why?

    Rameumptom emphasizes that it is a personal revelation and not binding on anyone else (which the original post also covered). He emphasizes that in his view God probably doesn’t care about these issues as much as we do. And he uses the phrase “if a person believes he/she has received such a revelation”, which also seems to express doubt that it is an authentic revelation. Why?

    You suggest that one should consult with other trusted sources. That seems to suggest that the revelation should be doubted? Why?

  8. I don’t know what you should do. Here’s what I would do:

    I’d continue my examination of myself and my ideas and try to understand why I’d received the direction I had — is it because there is a position this candidate might support that I should also support? Or is it simply unknown to me how the candidate might do the Lord’s will.

    I think it’s appropriate to discuss my feelings with my family members (particularly with my spouse) and perhaps a close associate or two — not to advise them, but to share my experience to help me validate that I have recevied revelation that is contrary to my thinking.

    (I’m trying to envision how this could happen, since in most cases, our questions to the Lord are yes/no and he answers them yes/no; I suppose having gotten a stupor that I should support my chosen candidate, I might inquire if I should support the other candidate and then get that witness.)

    Having validated the personal revelation, then I’d seek to support the candidate. Contributing money is one way. Speaking in favor of the candidate and trying to bring to light his positive qualities and positions is another way (without indicating that I’m acting under the influence of personal revelation; except for my immediate family, I really have no revelational jurisdiction). I could put a yard sign in front of my house. I could distribute literature. I could volunteer to make phone calls, etc.

    Whether this signals a change in my “bonafides” for my prior political position seems immaterial if the revelation is truly from the Lord.

  9. Jmax, I don’t know how to answer this because in my experience personal revelation doesn’t work that way. I do feel I have received some big promptings and some little promptings. The big promptings were: join the Church, get married to your wife. The little promptings are: do this today to help this person, say that to help the other person, help your wife do the dishes, etc. I simply have never had a prompting anything similar to: “vote for this person that you think you don’t like.” I can’t even imagine it happening, so it is difficult for me to answer your question.

  10. If the Lord desires that a particular person be elected to office (and the premise of the question itself is a huge ‘if’), he has more efficient ways of getting that message out. The problem with those who think that the Lord has revealed his secret will for the direction of the world to them in personal prayer is that they believe that they have privileged access to the Lord’s will, access not universally shared, even with the leadership of the church. I suspect that the reason we are asked to pray for guidance in making our election choices has less to do with putting ourselves in the position of knowing who the ‘Lord’s choice’ is, and more to do with putting ourselves In a proper framework for evaluating our choice–not because there is a right one and a wrong one, but because the decision demands meditative reflection.

  11. “The question of what to do if you feel that you have received a revelation to do something that you believe is otherwise wrong or a bad idea is fascinating.”

    I’m not sure there’s much point in revelation if it always merely confirms what you were going to do anyway; in any case, in my experience revelation that merely confirms my plans has never been as powerful as revelation that causes me to change my behavior. I imagine many of us have received revelation that caused us to change our behavior in a more serious manner than simply changing who we’re voting for, even going so far as doing what we previously thought was a bad idea. Or maybe changing my vote doesn’t seem that extreme to me because I’m a moderate anyways…

  12. Fair enough, J. Max, though I did adress that. I think talking about it with people you trust is a good idea. That said, while I don’t feel particularly strongly about most political issues, I do know people that have almost religious devotion to their political positions. Consequently, I think that there are people that would experience what they consider strong ethical conflict in such a situation.

  13. Well, since I believe that politics are mostly smoke and mirrors anyways, I almost always vote by personal revelation. But I support absolutely no politics with money.

    And I have had personal revelation which has led me to do things I would not otherwise EVER do several times. But most of those were not political in nature.

  14. The element I’d be most like to examine is the part that says that the Lord _wants_ this particular candidate to win. Possibly He wants you to vote for a different candidate to demonstrate to (a generalized) you that you’ve been a narrow minded little toadie.

    Other then that, I don’t understand what the problem is. This hardly rises to the level of the Lord telling you to assassinate a candidate. If I felt the Lord had told me to vote for a particular candidate, I’d vote for her / him. And then I’d add the experience to the store of experience that I refer to as I muddle my way through the world.

  15. Three weeks ago, President Monson gave us a talk about being receptive to, and then following spiritual promptings. (“Stand in Holy Places.”) He gave two examples from his life. The first was seeking a lost $5 bill when he was twelve years old. It was kind of fun to listen to the President of the Church tell his own early case of an experience that is so common among the saints, to the point of being a cliche. The second was calling on someone to speak at a Frankfurt Temple dedication session after checking and learning that the man wasn’t present. While President Monson was being prompted that the man should speak, the man was following his own prompting that he needed to drive to the temple immediately. President Monson thought it was important, even necessary, for us to be prepared and open to receive such communication and act on it. Switching political allegiance if guided to do so by the Spirit seems like a small thing, though for some it could be a harder thing, more tied to their self-identity.

  16. J Max:

    Back in the early 1980s, I knew a man that lived in SLC in his 40s who claimed to have received a revelation via a visit from an angel. This angel told him to gather up weapons and food and cache them in caves in the Uintahs and Oquirrh mountains. He was to be the leader of a group of LDS and others who would be freedom fighters when the Soviets invaded America.

    Here we are 30 years later, he is now in his mid 70s, the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago, and his stores of weapons and stuff has all gone the way of the earth.

    None of what he was doing is illegal. But it definitely went beyond the mark of what the current prophets are telling us.

    The issue with Nephi being called to slay Laban is a one-off, and a different situation than what we get. First, Nephi believed Israel was in apostasy and Jerusalem was going to be destroyed. He believed this because his prophet (and others, like Jeremiah) were making this claim. Second, according to the Law of Moses, Laban showed himself worthy of death by stealing their goods and attempting to slay them. All that was left was to receive the command of the Spirit to do so.

    This is very different than living under prophets and apostles, and receiving a revelation that tells us to veer way off from their teachings.

    To tie this in with receiving inspiration on whom we should vote for, we should look at the standard statement the First Presidency releases every election year:

    The First Presidency said:

    “As we in the United States enter into this important election year, we send this message of both encouragement and caution to Latter-day Saints.

    “First, we encourage all members, as citizens of the nation, to become actively involved in the political process. The Church does not endorse candidates for office. However, we urge members as citizens to study carefully and prayerfully the candidates’ records and their positions on issues. Similarly, we encourage members as citizens to involve themselves in supporting measures on the ballot which they feel will strengthen the community, state and nation—morally, economically, and culturally.

    “We urge Latter-day Saints everywhere to become actively engaged in worthy causes to improve our communities, to make them more wholesome places in which to live and raise a family.”
    First Presidency Statement on Election Year Concerns

    And later in the statement, they note: “In all such activities, Latter-day Saints must understand that they function as citizens of the nation and not as representatives of the Church.”

    So, for a member to receive personal inspiration is binding only upon him/her, and not on the rest of the Church, as they prayerfully select someone, they are doing it as a citizen of the nation, and not as a representative of the Church.

  17. Geoff:

    I simply have never had a prompting anything similar to: “vote for this person that you think you don’t like.” I can’t even imagine it happening, so it is difficult for me to answer your question.

    While not related to politics, I have experienced revelation where I have asked what I should do and was told to take specific actions completely contrary to what I wanted and with results contrary to what I expected, and yet in the long run turned out to be right.

  18. TT:

    If the Lord desires that a particular person be elected to office (and the premise of the question itself is a huge ‘if’), he has more efficient ways of getting that message out.

    Efficiency takes a back seat to his over all plan. It would be more efficient to rip away the veil and reveal himself undeniably to everyone in the world, but it would undermine his more important works.

    TT:

    The problem with those who think that the Lord has revealed his secret will for the direction of the world to them in personal prayer is that they believe that they have privileged access to the Lord’s will, access not universally shared, even with the leadership of the church.

    Can you expound on this and explain how it applies to this supposal?

  19. Tim:

    I’m not sure there’s much point in revelation if it always merely confirms what you were going to do anyway; in any case, in my experience revelation that merely confirms my plans has never been as powerful as revelation that causes me to change my behavior.

    Great observation. Unless revelation can direct us contrary to our own reason, it is fairly meaningless. that goes for personal revelation, and even more so for revelation delivered through God’s authorized servants and councils of the church.

  20. Thomas Parkin:

    I don’t understand what the problem is. … If I felt the Lord had told me to vote for a particular candidate, I’d vote for her / him

    Adam G.:

    Vote for the guy and donate money if you can afford it. Seems simple enough.

    I agree. For me it would not be terribly controversial. The reason why I ask is that I think the way different people respond to this supposal reveals (no pun intended) something about their belief in and experience with personal revelation, as well as revelation in general.

  21. John Mansfield:

    President Monson thought it was important, even necessary, for us to be prepared and open to receive such communication and act on it. Switching political allegiance if guided to do so by the Spirit seems like a small thing, though for some it could be a harder thing, more tied to their self-identity.

    Thanks for the great comment, John. My political positions do tend to be tied more strongly to my self-identity than some others. However, my belief in and experience with personal revelation would trump whatever political-identity I have. As you say, President Monson has indicated that all of us should be ready for revelations that lead us to do things that do not seem to make sense at the moment.

  22. #25: “Unless revelation can direct us contrary to our own reason, it is fairly meaningless.”

    I guess I don’t understand this comment. The Doctrine & Covenants tells us to study alternatives out in our own mind, create a solution and presesnt that solution to the Lord for ratification. And it suggests that ratification (through peace to our minds and hearts or the burning in the bosom) is an acceptable revelation.

    Do you mean to suggest that ratification is not meaningful?

    Maybe what you mean is that the possibility of sending us in a different direction is what is meaningful. Or maybe you mean to suggest that for many (most?) people, we should expect some ratification and some stupors of thought, at least while we’re learning.

  23. In response to my initial post, I do not think there is any reason to believe that the Lord will never have a desire for a particular candidate to win.

    Nor do I think that the fact that he would reveal that he does want a particular candidate to win in a specific race would indicate that he has a preference in every race.

    Nor does it imply that if that candidate does not win that the revelation was false. If there is anything we know for certain about mortality it is that what the Lord desires and what people actually choose are not always the same.

    It is not expedient that the Prophets and Apostles promote a certain candidate through their priesthood stewardship. But there is no reason why the Holy Spirit cannot work directly and broadly among the people who are susceptible to his promptings to private promote a certain candidate, if it would further His purposes.

  24. “And you’ve spent the last few years establishing your bonafides in a political position contrary to that of the candidate. Now you will look like a flip-flopper, or even worse, incoherent.”

    It seems to me that this is the lot of those who follow the Spirit. People thought Lehi had lost his mind. Zeezrom, once he started following the promptings of the Spirit, was cast out by his own people. I don’t think the true follower of Christ can avoid this ‘stigma’.

  25. Paul

    Do you mean to suggest that ratification is not meaningful?

    Not at all. But the way I understand it, Faith is the ability to make correct decisions with insufficient information.

    Look more closely at the context of the D&C passages you are citing. What is Oliver Cowdery studying out in his mind? He can’t see the plates. Even if he could, the words are in an unknown tongue. He is looking at a seer stone. He doesn’t have sufficient information to make the right choice based only on reason. There is no way his reason can, by itself, come up with the correct answer which can then be ratified.

    Look at the Brother of Jared. Yes the Lord asks him to propose a solution. But what is the solution he come up with. He wants the Lord to touch the stones and make them shine. The solution depends entirely upon the Lord’s miraculous intercession.

    Yes the Lord will ratify our correct decisions, but the Spirit can also direct us contrary to our understanding. Nephi didn’t decide to kill Laben and then ask the Lord for ratification. The Spirit constrained him, contrary to his desires.

  26. Steve Evans:

    It seems to me that this is the lot of those who follow the Spirit. … I don’t think the true follower of Christ can avoid this ‘stigma’.

    I agree Steve. The Spirit trumps consistency.

  27. In thinking about my most recent contrary-to-my-personal-understanding-and-desires revelation, I think there is a pattern to receiving revelation in such cases.

    1) The idea enters your mind, and is summarily rejected.
    2) It continues to come to your mind, often with accompanying reasons ranging from “this is what I, the Lord, want you to do,” to “[scriptural passage, etc.] supports this,” to additional personal experience which supports the idea.
    3) The Spirit continues to converse with you, gradually convincing you that this is the correct path.

    This is the pattern demonstrated in Nephi’s passages. (And I don’t think that Nephi’s experience is as rare as some would like to think.) This is also the pattern I have recognized after the Spirit has convinced me to take a path I would not prefer.

    The key is to be humble. It is easy to think that your own reason trumps other whisperings, and the Spirit will not always struggle with a closed mind.

  28. J Max, this is a great question.

    There is one false assumption that I don’t think has been pointed out yet, although people have alluded to it:

    If we have a revelation that God wants us to vote for a certain candidate, we assume that God wants that person to become elected. But that’s not the case at all. God only wants YOU to vote for that person. He could guide someone else to vote for the other person.

    I think this happens all the time. People feel spiritually that they should vote for a certain candidate, because that candidate reflects certain values which they feel God has directed them to embrace. However, others might feel spiritually that God wants them to vote the opposite way, because they feel God is directing them to embrace values represented by the other candidate. Does this present a conflict? Is one a true revelation, and the other false? Absolutely not.

    It’s a little like having a revelation on who to marry. If God tells you to marry someone, it doesn’t mean that that person is the best spouse for everyone. Only for you.

    This is a fallacy people have about politics. They think that if they feel spiritually guided to support a certain platform, that it means that God wants everyone to support that platform. Then they become fanatical believers that God supports one side, and the devil the other.

    But political parties are like separate worlds, separate cultures. God may want us personally involved in one world, and not another, just as he might direct someone to take a job in one city as opposed to another.

    If you asked Harry Reid, he might tell you that God opened doors for him within the Democratic Party, and he felt inspired to move his politics towards the left. Romney might tell you that God led him to move his politics to the right.

    As far as your hypothetical situation, I think it could happen. Perhaps God wants you to abandon your orthodoxy, and embrace the idea that the other side also has importance in His eyes. Maybe He wants to teach you particular truths and values that can only be found in the other party. You should absolutely follow the prompting of the spirit. But you shouldn’t assume that by receiving a revelation, that you are privy to God’s will for actual outcome of the election.

  29. @ TT in #15:

    TT,

    On the one hand, I almost entirely agree with you that praying about who to vote for (and probably praying in general) is about putting ourselves into a “framework for evaluating our choice”.

    On the other hand, I do feel like I need to clarify LDS teachings on this point to others, since you are leaving out part of it.

    The LDS Church does teach that, at least in principle, we can all receive a very direct sort or revelation if the Lord desires to give it to us and that the only real limit placed on this is that if we have a revelation it isn’t a revelation to the Church, but for us personally. (Exceptions might be if it were a revelation for our Stewardship, such as, say, for our children.)

    So your statement…

    The problem with those who think that the Lord has revealed his secret will for the direction of the world to them in personal prayer is that they believe that they have privileged access to the Lord’s will, access not universally shared, even with the leadership of the church

    …is inconsistent with the actual teachings of the LDS Church for the hypothetical situation J Max actually gives here.

    Granted, I’ve never had this happen to me and don’t know too many people that have, but this is a purely hypothetical statement and it is consistent with LDS Doctrine in priciple. J Max acknowledges the stewardship issue when he points out you can’t go around telling people you received a revelation.

    I’m sure you know all of this, so I’m just clarifying for others
    since your statement (at least to me) left the impression that J Max’s hypothetical was somehow inconsistent with LDS Doctrine. It’s not.

  30. Bruce,
    Who the Lord desires to be president, if he even desires such a thing, does not happen to be in any of our stewardship and not telling anyone doesn’t change that fact anymore than not telling anyone that the Lord has revealed to you how your neighbor should live his life somehow is an exception to the issue of stewardship.

  31. In 2000 God told me who to vote for (not the Presidential election, a local race). I made a small donation and voted for that person, who ended up winning by less than 100 votes. As much as I tried, after following their career for years, I never did see any reason why I was supposed to vote for them. I’ve never had a strong feeling like that since even though I pray about the issues every election.

    The candidate didn’t belong to the party I supported at the time, but I wasn’t firm enough in my convictions for that to be overly strange.

  32. I think TT’s point is correct. In the J Max’s hypothetical situation, the Lord reveals that it is His will, that ___ become president.

    This automatically disqualifies the revelation as understood in LDS doctrine, because it makes us privy to the “Lord’s secret will for the world” which is obviously outside our stewardship.

    But if God reveals that he wants us to vote for someone, it is compatible with LDS doctrine, because our own individual vote is within our own stewardship, as long as it is only our vote, or the votes of those we have stewardship over.

    But if we assume because of the revelation, that God has revealed his will for the world to us, that would be an incorrect assumption, because it is outside of our stewardship. And God might be revealing to other people, that they should vote for another candidate or party, as part of their own personal growth and journey.

  33. Another issue to consider is that God gives to each person inspiration according to that which he/she is ready and willing to receive (see Alma 29:8). If a person is very set on being a Republican or Democrat, Tea Partier or OWS supporter, chances are that any inspiration that person receives will be within the confines of their current world view, UNLESS that person humbles him/herself sufficiently to be able to accept the higher truth from God.

    Which in this case means people would all vote for Ron Paul. ;)

    Seriously, I believe Mitt Romney can be guided on how to deal politically, whether it is as a liberal Republican in Massachusetts or as a conservative Republican in a general election. I don’t have a problem with that, whatsoever. While I generally vote for Libertarians or Republicans, there have been a few times when the Lord has told me to vote Democrat or a third party. And I did.

  34. “This automatically disqualifies the revelation as understood in LDS doctrine, because it makes us privy to the ‘Lord’s secret will for the world’ which is obviously outside our stewardship.”

    This concept would imply that Nephi and Moses’ stewardships were far vaster than I ever imagined.

  35. “which is obviously outside our stewardship.”

    It is certainly outside our stewardship to reveal the Lord’s will to the world with any kind of authority. I find it kind of depressing that some Latter-day Saints would think the concept of priesthood, especially Melchizedek priesthood — to know the mind and will of the Lord — is fenced in by our stewardship. It’s fenced in by our own limitations, worthiness and faith and desire in my experience. Make no mistake, I’m not suggesting that we have the authority to convey that revelation to others and have it represent the Lord’s will which they are bound to accept or receive the consequences. We have no right to do such a thing, even though what we receive may be true.

    I don’t know how we can have a thing such as a ward counsel, if only the Bishop can receive revelation involving other stewardships. I’m quite certain that other members of that counsel and even other members of the ward can receive revelation regarding someone’s stewardship in the YM. Their revelation is not binding for the YM organization, however, and they have no authority to go outside of their individual stewardship and seek to implement whatever details of that revelation happen to be. But they can seek to persuade others, which is what power in the priesthood comes down to.

    The Prophet Joseph recognized true revelations received by others and “signed off” on them so to speak even though it did not come directly through him. Orson Pratt received a revelation for the world and the Jews and basically called himself on a mission and Joseph said it was a true revelation and sent him on his way. The difference in my mind being, Orson Pratt followed proper channels of authority and went to the prophet to confirm it was revelation, and I suppose even if necessary seek to persuade him so the prophet could recognize the spirit of it, and then convey the proper authority to make that revelation legitmate.

    I’m sure there are some gaps to fill in my reasoning above, but I wish we LDS wouldn’t seek to clearly box in the concept of revelation so it fits a nice little organizational chart. Authority to deliver and convey to the world certainly functions that way, but not authority to receive in my experience.

  36. chris,

    Great point, except it was Orson Hyde, not Orson Pratt. Those two are easily mistaken. I once thought Orson Welles was one of the Twelve…..

    Nothing says we cannot receive revelation for things outside our stewardship. We just cannot walk up to the bishop or stake president and say, “Thus saith the Lord…”

    Yet, years ago, with a new stake presidency, I felt impressed that a couple wards needed to have their boundaries reworked and reduce three wards to two. I had a chance to talk with one of the counselors in the stake presidency, and just mentioned that it may be a good idea to consider reducing the number of wards, to increase the overall strength of the stake. I did not mention that I received this via inspiration, etc.

    A few months later, the stake presidency announced the changes.

  37. We just cannot walk up to the bishop or stake president and say, “Thus saith the Lord…”

    Actually, we can, if we truly believe that the Priesthood is God’s power. God can call whomever He wants to whatever He wants. Just because He USUALLY doesn’t reveal truth except through established channels doesn’t mean He cannot or will not.

    The problem comes when we try to force that revelation down others’ throats, within our stewardship or not. Then, it is not God who is revealing things to us, because His power works through righteousness.

  38. #43 Chris, I think recent teaching on the role of members of a ward council would suggest that any member of the council can legitimately claim revelation for any matter brought before the council, within the council. But that council must function as a body and come to agreement under the bishop’s presiding role.

    #46 SR, of course the Lord can choose to reveal Himself any way he wants. But he has made pretty clear in our day that he works through his established priesthood lines. Even the example that Chris shared of Orson X still went through the prophet, even though the “revelation” may have come to Orson first. (President Eyring recently allowed as such when he said in conference that a RS president might receive revelation about something in her stewardship (eg welfare in the ward) before the bishop.)

    Your last paragraph raises the point: it’s not that we can’t receive revelation; it’s about what we share or don’t and how we do it.

  39. SR, I’m on a high council. The stake president requests my advice and inspiration frequently on issues. That said, I never would state, “Thus saith the Lord”, even if I was certain regarding the inspiration. It is not my place to command, but to counsel. There is a huge difference.

    The moment I tried to command by saying “thus saith the Lord” to my stake president would be the moment he would call me on the carpet. And I would hope he would do so.

  40. Just as an aside on this, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with in life is being the recipient of pure knowledge in the form of revelation and being unable to convey it to others, especially when you’d hope they’d be willing to receive it. It’s because that revelation is impossible to convey without the spirit. Few things are frustrating or saddening in knowing how the Lord has his hands outstretched to others and is waiting to impart that same revelation to them, but some others are unwilling to ask or desire to receive it.

    I suppose that’s how the prophets feel about all of us at times…

  41. J. Max,
    Interesting post. I haven’t read all of the comments thoroughly, but I have enjoyed the discussion so far. I’m curious about one point here, where you say:

    …there is no reason why the Holy Spirit cannot work directly and broadly among the people who are susceptible to his promptings to private promote a certain candidate, if it would further His purposes.

    Do you feel it is inconsistent with the Holy Ghost’s mission, the principles that may govern revelation, or for God Himself, to have a preference that two humans vote for two different candidates? That is, do you think it possible that God might prefer you to vote for Candidate A and me to vote for Candidate B?

  42. I certainly would say “thus saith the Lord,” if He had indeed commanded me.

    And I think it is important to recognize the possibility. After all, having someone outside of the usual chain of authority called to prophesy is a strong part of the established scriptural pattern. Why would now be any different?

  43. I’d also like to hear J Max answer Scott B’s question: “Is it possible that God might prefer you to vote for Candidate A and me to vote for Candidate B?”

    Several people on these comments, including Rame, and jjohnson have said that they felt have indeed felt inspired to vote for certain candidates. I would also be curious to hear from them whether they personally inferred from their revelations that God wanted these people elected, or whether God just wanted them to vote for that person, but God might want someone else to vote differently.

  44. SR, again there is a priesthood chain of command. If the “Spirit” commanded one of us to command the prophet “Thus saith the Lord that all the members should vote for X”, then my view would be that the person is not following the correct spirit. Hiram Page had a peep stone with which he was “receiving revelations” and was commanding the members. It created a huge stir, as people began getting guidance and commands from him, rather than through the prophet. Even Oliver Cowdery was temporarily swayed, until the Lord, through Joseph, straightened him out:

    1 Behold, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given.

    2 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.

    5 But thou (Oliver) shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom;
    6 And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church;
    7 For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead. (D&C 28)

    In the early days of the Church, several members sought to command Joseph Smith regarding the things they thought they were receiving of the Spirit. The Lord insisted that commandments came through the Prophet, and all others were to counsel and advise through the Spirit. Good men like David Whitmer left the Church because they sought to command the Lord and his Prophet, rather than follow the commandments given.

    And this is what we see in the early scriptures, too. Several people sought to take the priesthood authority of command from Moses, including Aaron and Miriam. They learned the hard way that their position was to counsel only.

    Except within one’s stewardship, “Thus saith the Lord” does not apply. And even then, we must use caution to make sure we are not looking beyond the mark. If a Bishop were to stand before his ward and say, “Thus saith the Lord, we will all now engage in plural marriage”, he would be out of line. His teaching would be inconsistent with the teachings of inspired leaders above him.

    Doctrine and Covenants 124:84

    84 And with my servant Almon Babbitt, there are many things with which I am not pleased; behold, he aspireth to establish his counsel instead of the counsel which I have ordained, even that of the Presidency of my Church; and he setteth up a golden calf for the worship of my people.

  45. Nate,

    I’ve never received direct revelation on who to vote for, but I imagine if I did that it would be a bit like other revelation I’ve received–and all I’d know was that God wanted me to vote for a particular candidate.

    I think too often we try to figure out God’s reason in giving us revelation when he hasn’t given us a reason. Perhaps his reason is one we haven’t even thought of (in the voting example, perhaps he’s just testing our ability to obey, or perhaps he has some other mysterious purpose). We shouldn’t assume we know God’s reasoning when he hasn’t revealed it to us. Part of faith is acting on revelation even though we have no idea why God wants us to act that way.

  46. Rameumptom—I am not denying that is it much more likely that such things would come from the wrong spirit. But that does not make it impossible that the Lord would call someone to preach and prophesy outside of the normal Priesthood chains. It happened all the time, scripturally.

    “Thus saith the Lord” most certainly CAN happen outside of established priesthood authority, because the priesthood is God’s power. He can grant it to whomever He grants it, and that authority is automatically null and void anyways if it is being exercised in any way outside of righteous principles. It is not likely that the established priesthood leaders of our day would depart from righteous principles, necessitating a need for someone outside that establishment to preach and prophesy, but it is possible. If we deny the possibility, we are also denying God’s right to call whom He will.

    To use the example above, it is fully possible that the Lord could call someone to preach a particular candidate for office. I don’t think it is likely, and I would approach any claim to divine calling with extreme caution, but I do not deny the possibility. The very foundations of our Church are built upon the actualization of a similar possibility.

  47. I agree with Ram on this.
    The Lord’s house is a house of order, and I prefer an ordered house (that sometimes doesn’t do the right thing (omits) or does the wrong thing (commits)), rather than an anarchist society where everyone does their own thing…

  48. SR, but a person who commands other LDS to vote for candidate X because the Lord told him to do such, is going against the teachings of the Church! The Church has clearly stated every election year since before I joined the Church in 1975, that members should prayerfully select individuals, but the Church has no stance on it.
    It is one thing for a person to say that the Spirit and prayer have guided them to candidate X. It is another thing to be the prophet in the wilderness, especially when our Church does not function in that form today.
    As I stated, we can receive revelations wherein we can give counsel or guidance to our leaders. A bishop’s council, or a stake high council do exactly that. Bishops and Stake Presidents should strongly consider the inspired suggestions of the members of those councils. That said, if a Relief Society president or high councilor were to command their leader to do such and such, because the Lord commanded it, that individual would be out of line.

  49. One other thing. In the Church we have a priesthood of all believers, but also the structure of the formal priesthood. The priesthood of all believers does not have the right to dictate to the formal priesthood, but can and should counsel with it.

  50. I think perhaps you consider the gift of prophecy to be a Priesthood function, when it is a gift of the Spirit.

    “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy . . . . And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. . . .” -Acts 2:17

    “. . . They that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess . . . And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel . . . .” -2 Chronicles 34:22–23

    So either women had/will have the priesthood, or prophecy is not a priesthood prerogative.

    It is extremely unlikely that the Lord would call someone outside of a stewardship to prophesy regarding the specific domain of that stewardship, such as the administration of the Church. But as far as I know, there is no Priesthood stewardship over how people should vote.

  51. Joseph Smith received revelation about matters outside his stewardship–the three degrees of glory, for instance, over which he did not preside.

    SilverRain,

    you are quite right that the scriptures have lots of prophets who prophesy outside the lines of authority, such as they were. While I don’t think we should be rigid about only prophesying within lines of authority,* I don’t think we should take the OT or to some extent the NT system as a model either. Our embrace of dispensations means that organization and the economy of spiritual gifts can change from age to age. And development doesn’t always mean becoming superior, just more definite.

    That said, there are precedents even in early modern Church history and scripture for a different model where anyone can prophesy, but subject to the rebuke and/or correction of priesthood authority. That model isn’t the one we currently follow, hoever. The discords introduced into the Church in that different model haven’t been worth it.

  52. Just for the contrary example of the outside the authority structure, compare Nephi and Lehi. It’s interesting to note that Nephi at several tims appeared “in charge”. But Lehi was obviously the Patriarch who had the authority to receive and convey revelation to the family. Focusing on the structure and org chart of the chains of authority at the cost of the message is a mistake. It’s certainly important to look carefully at these things for “new” revelation in the sense like plural marriage for instance. But the point of the spirit and the reason for it is because there are not very many hard and fast “you should always do Z if X happens”.

    Here’s an example from the BoM of speaking out of the chain of authority.

    - First Nephi is always counseling his older brothers, even when they are seeming doing what Lehi asked of them. Technically, you could make the case he should be following them based on their organizational position.
    - Not only does Nephi not “respect” their organizational position as elder brothers, but he extends into their individual familial patriarchal authority in teaching their families.
    - Next, Nephi not only receives confirmation of revelation the Patriarch, or family Prophet in this sense, receives but he actively adds to this revelation and teaches it to his brothers. He even goes so far as to point out areas of the revelation that is father did not teach or did not focus on.
    - In the famous bow breaking example, everyone is murmuring, even Lehi, except Nephi. We read again that Nephi teaches them, presumably out of line of the immediate desires of Lehi, since even Lehi is in despair. After all that teaching, Nephi went and did some own works without seeking permission from authority (making a bow) and then he went back to his Father and paid deference to his authority and asked where to go.
    ” And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened ”

    So Nephi, was the instrument in teaching and chastening his Father and allowing the word of the Lord to penetrate his Father’s heart.

    Now, of course, I realize you could make a case and add in dozens of layers of nuance, etc. to argue that perhaps Nephi was some sort of “1st counselor” in the modern hierarchy, etc. But to me the point of revelation is much more clear this way. When we do what is “right” and is the will of the Lord, we shouldn’t be surprised when those in authority, who are even great men and women, but have lost the spirit in this instance get upset. The reaction against Jesus and many of his apostles and disciples was as much what they were teaching as it was going outside the bounds of “authority” and teaching it.

    It’s certainly a tricky case, and I’ve seen many local leaders who want to squash things that others suggest merely because it did not “go through the proper channels” — ie paying deference to perceived authority, rather than the actual power and authority of God that inspired those individuals in the first place.

    But you’ll notice in that BoM story, Nephi even though he was arguably crossing over the line here and there, it was obvious he still respected the authority of his father, and wanted to work within the construct of the priesthood organization. I think it’s a good example to follow.

  53. Holy typos and misspellings a grammar issues! The combination of tired brain, cold fingers, and trying to hurry up and get on with other things rendered that nearly unreadable. Sorry!

  54. Chris, I would consider your example of Lehi and Nephi as valid, except for a few key points you miss.

    First, Lehi himself tells Laban and Lemuel to obey Nephi as their spiritual leader. This comes from two sources: one Lehi begging Lemuel and Laman to be like the valley and river named after them. Two, in Lehi’s Dream, he sees Nephi coming when called, while Laman and Lemuel refuse to approach the Tree of Life. Third, Laman and Lemuel murmured when told to get the plates of Brass, while Nephi immediately obeyed. Fourth, in the patriarchal blessings Lehi gave, he expressly noted that Nephi had the authority (2 Ne 1-4).

    Second, Nephi did not seek anything outside of Lehi’s authority. When Lehi had the Dream of the Tree of Life, Nephi sought to have the same dream. When Lehi murmured because the steel bow was broken, Nephi went to his father to ask where he should go to hunt.

    Clearly, Nephi sought to follow the priesthood authority of his father. I do not see Nephi going outside that authority, even when Lehi was being disobedient.

  55. The thing with Nephi and Lehi was partly a lack of clear lines of authority. The OT setting had no clear ecclesiastical melchizedek priesthood authority anyway, Lehi had patriarchal authority, but Nephie had incipient ecclesiastical authority. As in the very early church, authority takes sometime to gel.

  56. Sure Ram, but you still have to take into account Nephi expands in a variety of ways on top of Lehi’s vision. And he claims an angelic ministration as the source and then relates that revelation to others.

    Laman and Lemeul are actually within the letter the law in going to get the plates. All of Nephi’s ideas at how to get the plates fail, so it’s no surprise given human nature at how distrusting of him they are after the first couple failures and flight for their own life.

    To the topic at hand:
    If I told you I received a revelation the Lord will provide a way for Romney to get elected, then asked you to sell all your property and donate it to the campaign fund and then Romney lost out in the primaries, how would you respond to me when I said, well, let’s try again to get him on the ballot at the convention and then lost there, and then said, well, let’s try again with a 3rd party in the general election…

    At that point you’d probably think I was making stuff up. Incidentally, I think Joseph Smith probably experienced this dynamic with all the sufferings and failures of various sorts that took place in his life time.

    My point is not necessary to make an apology for Laman, etc. but to point out in their perspective Nephi had crossed those lines of authority and a case could be made he did it at other times as well (ship, vision, bow example, etc.). It’s not a credible or accurate case as it may be. Likewise, when someone in the church accuses someone of going outside the bounds of their authority, in my experience it’s much more often a case of being upset with the betrayal of the org chart rather than the message itself.

    Certainly, corrupt messages need to be dealt with and address. But I’d rather address the message head on with the guidance of the spirit, rather than simply dismiss the message because it falls outside of their “stewardship”, etc. The point always comes back to having the spirit, and it’s not as trite an example as we joke about when we say to “follow the spirit”.

  57. Chris wrote:

    To the topic at hand:
    If I told you I received a revelation the Lord will provide a way for Romney to get elected, then asked you to sell all your property and donate it to the campaign fund and then Romney lost out in the primaries, how would you respond to me when I said, well, let’s try again to get him on the ballot at the convention and then lost there, and then said, well, let’s try again with a 3rd party in the general election…

    I guess it would depend on whether you were 1. President Monson’s son, and 2. President Monson’s favorite son. ;)

    I understand that Laman and Lemuel could view it from a traditional Hebrew concept of eldest son rules, etc. Yet, even in this ancient tradition, there are many examples of the younger son being the leader: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. In fact, IIRC, the name Jacob means Supplanter!

    So, there was prior precedence for Lehi to select the younger son.

    Still, as Adam notes, the priesthood line/authority concept was in its infancy, and based not on a church level, but on a family level. So there is a difference.

    That said, the Church today has a distinct and well defined formal priesthood chain that must be followed.

  58. I am much more concerned with being a pliable and trustworthy tool in the Lord’s hands than I am about stepping outside of my authority. All authority comes from the Lord. Period. He can do whatever He wants to with it.

    I don’t see what the problem is with that concept.

  59. The problem with the concept is there are many people who claim to have the Spirit tell them things “Thus saith the Lord” that actually collides with the Church leadership. Since Hiram Page, there have been people that believed God gave them a higher level of revelation than the prophet/bishop/etc.
    There are still polygamist sects who believed their revelations trumped Wilford Woodruff’s. There are groups today that claim their “prophet” has received a new scripture that is more important than the Book of Mormon, or contains the sealed portions of the plates, etc.

    I recall Elder Hunter (then president of the Twelve) once speaking at the Marriott Center, when a man with a briefcase ran up, said he had a bomb, and demanded Elder Hunter read a statement. Elder Hunter refused. When they subdued the man, they found the letter stated that the First Presidency and Twelve were in apostasy and needed to repent and follow this new prophet.

    Such chaos would leave the Church (either in Joseph Smith’s day, or our own) in a major quandary. This is why there is order in how revelation is received. Those with keys have the responsibility for all revelation received under their jurisdiction, primarily to ensure the doctrine remains pure and to guide people away from apostasy.

  60. Ram,
    “This is why there is order in how revelation is received.”

    I think we have to deal with two separate things. Using the previous Orson Hyde example, revelation was “received” which related to the entire world by someone other than Joseph. But it was not acknowledged as a true revelation valid for the entire world specifically until the Prophet validated and authorized it’s publication.

    That is a good pattern to follow, and even in the case of Nephi it is a similar principle. We don’t read about Lehi commanding Laman and Lemuel to help Nephi with the ship, but Nephi. And yet with what you pointed out and other passages, we can assume that Lehi “signed” off on Nephi’s revelations as it were.

    I see no problem with many people (claiming to) have the spirit saying things to them as long as those listening have the spirit to interpret. As it is, if I look back at my own life I can frankly see the fast majority of it I did not have the spirit with me to the degree I should even long after being baptized and “active”. To me, this ties in with Pres Packer’s statement that distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced a head of distributing the power in the priesthood.

    There are callings I can look back upon myself and see how I certainly had authority, and I received the spirit in various degrees inspiring my mind, but I know now I did not have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as I should have. The Holy Ghost is a revelator and no one can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. I didn’t realize this before, but my lack of revelation other than the occasional inspired thought is now an indicator that I had never really “received” the Holy Ghost.

    So I’d agree it’s hard to give and accept the answer we have to rely on the spirit, because I can look at my own life and see how much I didn’t actually have it with me to the degree of the gift of the Holy Ghost that I should have. On the other hand to be clear, I think all people have the spirit to enlighten their minds as they desire to do good and become better — this is a different dimension of the spirit in my own experience than receiving the Holy Ghost into our lives.

    Whatever the case, I ultimately agree that the keys and distribution of authority of the priesthood brings many things to the church, one of them an order we can rely on. But I feel uncomfortable with the idea of using the mere nature of authority, as in an org chart, to invalid revelation. Otherwise Joseph could have just said as much to Orson without giving the matter further thought. The influence comes from persuasion and long suffering, which means the content needs to be address, not just dismissal with solely an appeal to authority. Not saying you are suggesting this…

  61. “The problem with the concept is there are many people who claim to have the Spirit tell them things “Thus saith the Lord” that actually collides with the Church leadership.”

    And why is that a problem? False prophets exist. That doesn’t disprove what I’m saying one iota.

    When we deny our own potential for prophecy and revelation, we rob ourselves of a way to commune with God. There is no chaos created any more than there is chaos now in the face of false prophets. As Moses said, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” There is no “major quandary” for the Church. If all people would pray for and receive the gift of prophecy, imagine how that would bless the Church!

    And having stewardship doesn’t entitle someone to receive revelation, nor does it guarantee that any “revelation” received isn’t of the same false spirits that you are concerned with. My abusive ex-husband received “revelation” on my behalf. Technically, he had “stewardship” through lines of authority, but his authority was null and void because he was not exercising it in righteousness.

    The gift of prophecy is NOT a priesthood prerogative. It is a gift of the Spirit, and as such can only be understood by the Spirit.

    Why on earth would we be satisfied to relegate any gift of the Spirit to a particular organization, when all of Christ’s disciples should have the Spirit with them, along with access to the full panoply of Spiritual gifts?

    There is little practical difference between President Monson telling me I should do something versus a friend of mine telling me I should do something. In both cases, I should listen by the Spirit to gain direction to how I should apply the advice to my personal life. The only real difference is that if I don’t feel a prompting one way or another, I’m more likely to do what President Monson tells me. Even without a confirmation. With someone who has no stewardship, or whose Priesthood authority is questionable, I would have to receive a definite confirmation before acting.

    But that doesn’t mean that my friend wasn’t prompted to speak to me in the spirit of prophecy.

  62. And saying that we should deny the spirit of prophecy because some people claim it when they have not been given that gift by God is like saying we shouldn’t preach the gospel because there are other churches out there who preach.

  63. Wow. SR, you’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest and I don’t understand why.

    First you posit that God COULD choose to reveal something to you and tell you to tell others. God certainly COULD do that. You don’t claim that he has done it or even that he will do it, but just that he could.

    Then you cite scriptural evidence which is valid. (You neglect to include the best example I know, which is Samuel the Lamanite, who comes among the Nephites who have their own prophet and makes specific and remarkable claims that many Nephites reject. But their rejection of the claims does not negate them.

    Some have become concerned about revelation about this particular issue. Hypothetically, I suppose the Lord could reveal his will to someone and tell them to spread the word outside the church. If he did so, the church could still claim neutrality and the Lord’s message could be spread. Again — all in the conditional voice: it could happen. Not saying it will or even that it should happen.

    Finally, all who are told of this out-of-process revelation have the opportunity to confirm it through prayer and then act upon their own personal revelation.

    Doesn’t seem like such a dangerous thing. As you say, SR, there will be false prophets. But just because there are false prophets does not mean there are true prophets.

    All that said, God has made clear through his latter-day prophets that he has established an order and he has not signaled any reason to abandon that order. But he could if chose to.

  64. SR, my first sentence means to say I don’t know why it’s a hornets nest, not I don’t know why you are stirring. You and I are in agreement.

  65. Hah, Paul. I’ve been doing a lot of pot-stirring over here lately, I’m afraid. Guess I’ve been feeling extra feisty. Or maybe I just got tired of stirring the same rusty old pots on other sites.

  66. TT,

    Would you have reacted differently has J Max said it this way:

    You could say that he is the best person for the job, but since you don’t know the reason why the Lord wants you to vote for him, you don’t know that for sure.

    This leaves open a bit of space for the possiblity that the Lord wants you to vote for someone but that this isn’t related to ‘who the Lord wants in office.’

    The issue, of course, being that the natural and normal assumption (if this actually happened to someone) would be precisely what J Max said. The assumption would be that the Lord has revealed something that has meaning to them personally, like which of the candidates is actually the better person for the job, at least given the criteria you are considering. You’d have no way of telling the difference between ‘this is who God wants me to vote for’ and ‘this is who God wants in that office.’

    This is not a stewardship issue when phrased this way.

    But even in the worst case scenario, it’s not a stewardship issue anyhow, as I’ll explain in my response to Nate.

  67. Nate @40

    Nate says

    I think TT’s point is correct. In the J Max’s hypothetical situation, the Lord reveals that it is His will, that ___ become president.

    This automatically disqualifies the revelation as understood in LDS doctrine, because it makes us privy to the “Lord’s secret will for the world” which is obviously outside our stewardship.

    A couple of points here. First, it’s not obvious to me that J Max was saying (at least not as currently written) that God was telling someone via revelation “This is who I want to become president.” As I explained to TT, I had read it more like “This is who I want you to vote for.” As such, its possible you go to far with you say “the Lord reveals that it is His will, that ___ become president.”

    That being said, for the sake of argument, let’s assume you are right and that this was what J Max had in mind.

    This is still not in any way inconsistent with LDS doctrine. Notice that jjohnsen at #39 right above you gave a real life experience where this is exactly what seems to have happened. If TTs version of doctrine were true, then jjohnsen received false revelation, period. Luckily, this point of view is not what the LDS Church teaches.

    Again, I want to emphasize that I think TT is right the vast majority of the time. It seems unlikely that it would be the normal course of events that God has a preference for a particular candidate and that his primary means of trying to elect that candidate would be by sending personal revelation to the (I would assume) very few individiuals willing to accept a revelation at odds with their beliefs.

    However, this is a hypothetical scenario and should be treated as such.

    So the question you pose becomes important. Is the idea that God can and will reveal His will to individuals – even things not public knowledge to the Church – consistent with LDS Doctrine?

    Yes, absolutely. The only limitation is that you can’t then go claim it to be a revelation. Consider this quote from Joseph Smith:

    God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest (Smith, Teachings, 149)

    There is no LDS doctrinal limit on what God can and will reveal to you of His will. And the Stewardship concept is not intended to suggest such a limit. (Contrary to TTs assertions.) The stewardship concept is not a limit on what God might tell you about His will. The stewardship concept is a limit on how you can apply such personal revelations to others. (i.e. you can’t.)

    If you are right about what J Max is suggesting, then it is still consistent with LDS Doctrine. The idea that God has a preferred Presidential candidate doesn’t seem that farfetched on the face of it. The idea that God is going to interfere with the election via power and revelation seems very far fetched to me. The idea that this would take the form of personal revelation seems even more far fetched. But that’s the hypothetical. Surely the LDS Church believes God can do such a thing if He wanted to.

    J Max is thus asking “what if it happened that way?” That’s our starting point.

    J Max admits that you can’t then go claiming to others “God wants so-and-so as president because I received a revelation on the subject.” That would be a violation of the stewardship rule. This knowledge that God wants a specific person as president is limited in what you can do with it. In fact, all you can realistically do with it is vote and campaign, just like you were doing anyhow.

    So there is nothing inconsistent with this hypothetical scenario with the concept of revelation and stewardship. It’s just really far fetched is all.

  68. It might not be a stewardship issue in that scenario, but it is still a bad theology issue. It makes God look rather silly, capricious, and that God thinks about elections is rather strange ways.

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