Does Public Opinion cause Revelation?

By: Mormon Heretic
May 5, 2014

Russell Stevenson proclaimed on a Radio West interview last year that the priesthood and temple ban on black church members lasted so long because church members were as much to blame as church leaders.  I was one of the first to dismiss his idea.  As I’ve had time to think about it, I’m beginning to think that he might be on to something.

I am beginning to believe that church leaders only give revelation when the members want it.  When the Manifesto was received (Official Declaration 1), in part because many LDS members were tired of going to jail.  Official Declaration 2 was received after boycotts from the NAACP, as well as some internal discussions.  Currently, the LDS Church has justified the exclusion of women from the priesthood precisely because a 2011 Pew Research study claimed “90 percent [of women] opposed the ordination of women to the priesthood“.  President Hinckley stated in an interview that women weren’t “agitating” for the priesthood.  Well, what happens if women change their minds and start agitating?  Does that mean a revelation would be more imminent?

Yesterday in priesthood, someone mentioned that if a revelation was received, he would support it.  Until then, we should not agitate.  But as I stated in a previous post, nearly all revelation comes from agitation.  In fact, I can’t think of very many cases (except where God is correcting someone like Paul or Alma) in which a revelation was received that wasn’t agitated for.  Can you think of any?

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39 Responses to Does Public Opinion cause Revelation?

  1. Hedgehog on May 5, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    I suppose it can act as a catalyst, in some cases. To define it as a cause would be too strong I think.

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  2. Earl Parsons on May 5, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    This is an interesting question.

    I can’t think of any revelation that came without someone agitating for it. Sometimes the agitator is a prophet, sometimes the agitator is someone close to the prophet. Even in the case of Alma the Younger you could argue that his father was agitating by praying that God would intervene in his son’s life.

    The scriptures teach that we should seek, ask, pray, knock.

    I teach youth Sunday School. A few weeks ago the theme of my lesson was we need to pray and ask God our questions to participate in the ongoing restoration.

    How did Joseph Smith trigger the First Vision? He prayed to ask God for wisdom.

    How did he trigger the visit by Moroni which led to the Book of Mormon? He prayed to ask God for forgiveness of sins.

    How did he get the priesthood? He and Oliver prayed to ask God for it.

    How did we get most of the sections of the D&C? People agitated to Joseph for more light and knowledge.

    I hope as a people we can spend more time agitating for revelation and less time reassuring ourselves that we have all the answers.

    I’ll keep thinking about this…

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  3. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    The problem is the church no longer receives revelation, no longer enjoys a conversational relationship with God. Instead they rely on a feeling of inspiration or a group feeling of inspiration. The leaves man to initiate simple yes or no questions with God like asking an 8-ball. So given this, how would God tap man on the shoulder and say something like it’s time to use wine in place of water for the sacrament? What would that “feeling” look, sound or feel like? Try it with a friend, give them a loving touch that means “switch from water to wine” and see if they get it. They won’t. Add to this the months of work SWK went through to receive the OD2 answer. Why would the brethren put that kind of work into a question they disagreed with? They wouldn’t. The truth is the church is cut off from God with the exception of being inspired in their callings in the way a Deacon quorum president is and this means we lack conversational neauance with God and must rely on gross hot/cold guidance. This is the reason we’ve become pharascal over time. Consider BRM’s statement regarding OD2

    We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.

    . A “new flood of intelligence and light” came from a group feeling that was interpreted to mean “yes”. So we might consider being adrift while being wrong for so many years on this question as actually a part of the very cumbersome and primitive method of communication with God. From this it appears that ANYONE that enjoys more than hot/cold yes or no divine communication with the spirit enjoys more divine communication than Q15. I know many non-Mos who qualify here. This lack of divine communication is the single biggest problem the church faces. The blind TBMs who believe revelation comes when God is ready are simply kidding themselves.

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  4. Jared on May 5, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    MH-I think the following verses apply.

    63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
    64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;
    65 And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:63 – 65)

    14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.

    (Book of Mormon | Jacob 4:14)

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  5. Glenn Thigpen on May 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    MH,
    I pretty much agree with Earl Parsons on this. There are some exceptions though. There is no written record of anyone or any group of people agitating for the priesthood to be vested soley with the tribe of Levi and taken from among the Children of Israel in general. Also, Joseph was not agitating for the institution of polygamy when he took his questions about the practice to the Lord.
    The story of Cornelius in the Book of Acts is ambiguous. Cornelius was a righteous man and was one who prayed to God on a regular basis, but it is not recorded that he actually was praying to hear the gospel or even if he knew there was a gospel. Yet he was sent an angel to tell him to look up Peter as he was in the process of receiving his unclean animal vision.
    Many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants did come from someone praying, asking questions, etc., but alsosome seemed to pretty much come out of the blue, such as the revelations on the New Jerusalem and the building of temples.
    Maybe there were people agitating for a change in Ninevah and praying to God for help when he sent Jonah to preach hell fire and brimstone to the inhabitants. If so, it is not recorded. God just seems to have received His fill of their unrighteous behavior and sent a corrector, who had to be corrected himself. Of course that will come under the Paul and Alma the Younger type of corrective revelations.
    The Book of Revelations itself does not seem to have been from any type of agitation on the part of John.
    Likewise, Jacob’s vision when he tarried at Luz on his flight from his brother’s wrath was not agitated for.
    I could probably find other examples, but I think that the point can be made that God does respond to the prayers of the righteous when they opportune Him, and he also provides revelations and corrections when He feels it to be the correct time.

    Glenn

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  6. New Iconoclast on May 5, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    To a certain extent, I think the Lord gives people what they want, and then the consequences follow – the example that comes to mind is in 1 Samuel 8, where the elders and people of Israel ask for a king. The Lord tells Samuel to let them know what a bad idea it will be (vv. 7-18), they want one anyway (19-22), and the Lord inspires Samuel as to who the king will be (chapter 9). From that hard-heartedness on the part of Israel comes both great evil (Saul’s later reign; civil war) and great good (David’s line and an eventual Savior).

    Reminds me of the time, still very clear in my mind, when at age 4 I pestered my mom to let me taste Tabasco sauce. Finally, she let me. Consequences ensued. :)

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  7. New Iconoclast on May 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Glenn Thigpen says, I pretty much agree with Earl Parsons on this. There are some exceptions though. There is no written record of anyone or any group of people agitating for the priesthood to be vested soley with the tribe of Levi and taken from among the Children of Israel in general. Also, Joseph was not agitating for the institution of polygamy when he took his questions about the practice to the Lord.

    I would add that the revelation one gets isn’t necessarily the revelation one wants when one starts agitating. :) Oliver Cowdery was hoping for the ability to translate; Martin Harris was hoping for the thumbs-up; Joseph (re. polygamy) was hoping for “let this cup pass from my lips.” They asked, and they received – just not quite the answer for which they hoped.

    I’ve found, although the circumstances are less momentous, that the principle holds true in my life quite a bit as well. Thus, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

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  8. Mormon Heretic on May 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Jared, because you didn’t explain your scriptures, let me see if I am likening the 2nd scripture to the modern day. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with my likening.

    14 But behold, the Mormons were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think we’re killing any prophets, so I don’t think that scripture applies. Were the Mormons stiffnecked when Pres Kimball and Pres Woodruff sought OD 1 and 2? Were we looking beyond the mark to get rid of polygamy and the black ban?

    (Perhaps you should explain your point of view instead of thinking people will understand it.)

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  9. Last Lemming on May 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Well, if you believe Benjamin Johnson’s account of what Hyrum told him, Joseph had to be threatened by a sword-wielding angel to start practicing polygamy. And no account that I’m aware of speaks of agitation for the practice.

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  10. Mormon Heretic on May 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    There is no written record of anyone or any group of people agitating for the priesthood to be vested soley with the tribe of Levi and taken from among the Children of Israel in general.

    I guess you are right on that one. That changed when Jesus was on the earth. He called non-Levites as apostles, thus eliminating the need for Levitical priesthood, and distributing it to all Jews. But it is curious why he didn’t choose Levites. Was he not putting new wine into old bottles?

    Your other examples are all ambiguous, and I don’t think are solid evidence for or against agitation.

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  11. Mormon Heretic on May 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Last Lemming, I would agree with New Iconoclast on this point. Sometimes the revelation received isn’t what one expects. Polygamy came about because Joseph asked (agitated to know?) about Abraham’s polygamy. And if Benjamin Johnson is correct, then we would never have had D&C 132 if Joseph had simply felt the issue was settled and hadn’t asked about Abraham and David’s polygamy.

    If there was a revelation that women should NOT hold the priesthood, that would settle the issue and Ordain Women would probably go away. The agitation would hold precisely the opposite of what they hoped for, but it would in fact settle the issue. Martin Harris got a “no” twice for his agitation. The third time he asked, he was condemned for it. But so far as we know, the brethren have never asked a single time or we would have OD 3 or D&C 139 to point to.

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  12. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Joseph was not agitating for the institution of polygamy…Many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants did come from someone praying, asking questions, etc., but also some seemed to pretty much come out of the blue…

    Indeed, Joseph didn’t need to agitate then because he knocked at an earlier time and God personally tutored him to a conversational level of “thus saith the Lord” revelation by which God simply spoke his mind through Joseph. Today’s LDS “revelation” is nothing like this.

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  13. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    I think public opinion comes into play with prophets who must rely on inspiration rather than Prophets who are capable of “thus saith the Lord” revelation. This limitation leaves prophets not knowing or even wanting to know and therefore reactive so public opinion becomes a growing incentive for them to know while Prophets either already know or can easily and quickly find out making them proactive or potentially highly responsive. Prophets lead while prophets lag.

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  14. Earl Parsons on May 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Glenn,
    Those are some good examples. Another one I thought of was the calling of young Samuel. As a young boy the Lord called him out of the blue.

    So not every revelation is the result of someone agitating for change or asking questions. But there are enough examples that we shouldn’t be put off by it as a people when someone wants change or has a question.

    I agree with MH that if the church could point to some sort of revelation justifying a male-only priesthood, OW would probably fade away. At the very least they would lose a lot of support. For me, the revelation doesn’t even have to be canonized. If they could point to an event where the 1st presidency and twelve prayed about women receiving the priesthood and the answer was “No,” that would be something.

    Until then we should worry more about seeking light and knowledge and less about defending the status quo.

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  15. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    …the 1st presidency and twelve prayed about women receiving the priesthood and the answer was “No,” that would be something.

    The problem is asking a “yes” or “no” question probably doesn’t reveal God’s will or mind on the subject. Perhaps God wants women to hold a different version or format of priestesshood, how does he communicate this neauance to guys who only speak yes/no Morse code? How do they know which questions to ask and how long will it take to sort it out if it took months to get a yes/no answer for OD2? As a result today’s church is incredibly limited on all issues as compated to the church under Joseph. Little more than caretaking can occur with this communication limitation.

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  16. Earl Parsons on May 5, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Howard,
    I don’t understand the problem with yes/no questions.

    My sincere questions:

    Is it because they prevent God from expressing his will compared to open ended questions? Or is it because the answers come in the for of “feelings” instead of heavenly manifestations?

    Thanks.

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  17. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Earl,
    Yes to your first question. Think of yes/no in terms of black and white, what lies in between is a rainbow of gray scale possibilities that are neither black nor white and any of those gray dots may be an intersection leading away from that particular y/n question to a completely different concept. So how do we accuratly access God’s mind on the subject without conversation or at least being able to receive and understand a monolog narrative? A Prophet must be able to speak more telepathy than y/n Morse code, he must be at least capable of receiving a narrative to know the mind of God on a particular issue. In theory analog can be approached with a lot of binaries but given how long it took SWK to receive a single yes TSM could easily expire before we figure out God’s mind regarding OW.

    This same logic is evidence that God doesn’t manage the day-to-day transactions of the church in any nuanced way.

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  18. Earl Parsons on May 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Howard,
    Thanks for answering my question.

    I don’t think asking binary questions limits God’s ability to reveal truth to us. Think about Joseph Smith’s experience receiving the Book of Mormon. To trigger Moroni’s visit Joseph prayed “that I might know of my state and standing before [God].” That seems like a simple binary question about a specific situation, but it led to something much grander.

    I also don’t think the leaders of the church limit themselves to “magic 8-ball” inquiries. When Elder Scott came to my mission he described a process he follows where he cycles through prayer, meditation, and decision. Through this process he communed with the Spirit to learn God’s will.

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  19. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Earl: God, shall I turn right or left here?
    God: Earl, what are you doing at that intersection? You should be in Zarahemla not Chicago!
    Earl: God, please answer shall I turn right or left here?
    God: Earl, go south.
    Earl: God, shall I turn left or right here?

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  20. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    The brethern: God, shall we ordain women to the priesthood?
    God: I’m training Kate Kelly to be my Prophetess she will ordain them.
    The brethern: God, shall we ordain women to the priesthood?
    God: I’m training Kate Kelly to be my Prophetess she will ordain them.
    The brethern: God, shall we ordain women to the priesthood?

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  21. New Iconoclast on May 5, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Earl, just to play devil’s advocate, or Howard’s advocate, or simply to advocate for clear English – you are strictly correct in that “asking binary questions” doesn’t limit “God’s ability to reveal truth to us.” However, your example is not one of a “binary question.” Specifically, you say, “Joseph prayed ‘that I might know of my state and standing before [God].’ That seems like a simple binary question”. . .

    That is emphatically not a binary question, which by definition is one that can be answered only two ways. “Yes/No.” “On/Off.” “Saved/Damned” (which was not what Joseph was asking). “Coke/Pepsi.” If people are asking “Which is it, Father? Coke or Pepsi?” and they’re predisposed only to hear the binary answer, and the answer comes and it’s “Dr. Pepper” (unlikely, I grant you, but some people actually drink that swill) – it’s quite possible that they’ll miss it.

    Hence, to go back to Howard’s example, if you’re asking “Right or left?” and God says “South,” or “Zarahemla,” do you hear? Or are you straining so hard to hear “right” or “left” that you miss it? I probably do, myself, with depressing regularity.

    Thus, while “asking binary questions” doesn’t limit “God’s ability to reveal truth to us,” asking binary questions may lead us to expect binary answers, and could cause us to miss or to misinterpret non-binary revelation and inspiration when given.

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  22. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    You might also consider how one would dictate or write the D&C via God’s binary answers.

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  23. Earl Parsons on May 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    I agree that if we expect binary answers we can miss out on all that God wants to show us. Just because someone asks a binary question doesn’t mean they will only listen to a binary response.

    With regards to Joseph’s question, if I wanted to know my state or standing before God, I would ask something along the lines of:

    “Can I receive forgiveness for my sins?” or “Am I your son and do you love me as your son?”

    These questions can be answered with a yes or no, but can also open the door for so much more.

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  24. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    BTW, binary is actually an overstatement, most beginning communication with the spirit isn’t even up to binary, it’s confirmation or no answer at all which is not the same as yes or no.

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  25. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Consider these different methods of communication with the spirit.

    …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; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

    Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying: And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light…etc.
    Are these equivalent methods? Figure it out and ask vs. channeling God’s direct quote? Which is more sophisticated? More accurate? Contains more of God’s mind on the subject? Communicates more content?

    Divine binary (or less) communication is comuning with the spirit on training wheels! But that’s how the church is being guided today!

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  26. Howard on May 5, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    These questions can be answered with a yes or no, but can also open the door for so much more.. Only to those capable of receiving more. The reason people ask questions that have binary answers is because they cannot receive more. They are not simplifying the question for God, he knows their mind, they are simplifying the answer for themselves.

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  27. […] Wheat & Tares, Mormon Heretic ponders the nature of revelation for the entire […]

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  28. Nate on May 6, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    Howard, I think it’s easy to be seduced by the phrase, “thus saith The Lord” but I think the reality is that it is not that much different than a typical patriarchal blessing, just stated with more boldness. Joseph Smith interprets the inspiration he felt as “thus saith The Lord,” but General Authorities today soften it by trying it to previous revelation.

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  29. Howard on May 6, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    Nate, I could not disagree more. I think it’s easy to be seduced by a patriarchal blessing, mine isn’t worth the paper it’s written on or the time either of us put into it. My view is that we largely make them into self fulfilling prophecy. If it were that simple let’s just make patriarchs Stake Presidents, Prophets ans Apostles and voilà we have the equivalent of Joseph everywhere in the church!!! Right.

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  30. New Iconoclast on May 6, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    It is an interesting exercise to read the D&C in chronological order; as Joseph grows more used to leadership, matures, and becomes more experienced in many aspects of his life’s work, the general trend of the wording is away from “Thus saith the Lord” and more toward counsel from Brother Joseph. It could be argued, although I haven’t put a truly focused study into it yet, that as his ability increased, the Lord felt less need to be directive, and more respectful of Joseph’s own voice and agency. I am reminded of the words of the Lord to Nephi, son of Helaman, in Helaman 10:4-7:

    4Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

    5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

    [ . . . ]

    7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.

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  31. Hedgehog on May 6, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    That’s really interesting NI.

    Howard, I’m thinking too much “thus saith the Lord” could be off-putting, and come across as horribly authoritarian. Whilst it might be nice, for clarification of points of doctrine, and put an end to folk doctrines, it is nice to have the space to work things out and seek our own revelation and clarification.

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  32. Howard on May 6, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    NI and Nate,
    I’ve been using the phrase “thus saith the Lord revelation” to mean revelation that that results from a conversational relationship with God because it’s a phrase known to LDS members. My comments have been based in personal experience rather speculation or theory. Conversational revelation is NOT just boldly saying what comes into you mind it’s saying what God wants you to say. There is a very distinct difference. Unless you’ve experienced something like D&C 85:6 or 3 Nephi 11:3-7 you may have a difficult time appreciating this distinction.

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  33. Kt on May 6, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Well…..after seeing today’s post at FMH, I’m not sure there’s even a question – it clearly does. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/05/ensign-photo-swap/

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  34. MB on May 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Hmmm.

    Adam and Eve agitating for the institution of the practice of offering sacrifices?

    Gideon agitating to battIe against the Midianites and the Amalekites?

    Jews or Samaritans 2000 years ago agitating to be called to forgive 490 times or turn the other cheek instead of seeking justice right off the bat?

    General church membership lobbying for the enactment of the law of tithing?

    Israelites agitating for the 10 commandments and the installation of Levitical priesthood and it’s sacrificial requirements?

    I do recall reading about those Israelites agitating pretty strongly to be allowed to return to “the fleshpots of Egypt” and, later, to get Aaron to create a golden calf. The first agitation was denied. The second Aaron agreed to and was roundly rebuked for doing so.

    So, I think that agitation may coincide with readiness to receive a new commandment, but I don’t think it can be determined to always be a necessary catalyst for it. These are just a few examples of times when it doesn’t seem to have factored in.

    And though some things agitated for are excellent ideas and coincide with new, good revelation, the Israelite example reminds me that I should always be willing to consider the possibility that what I think is an excellent solution and idea and agitate for, may not, in actuality, be the best idea.

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  35. Mormon Heretic on May 7, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    MB, I’m not exactly clear why you put question marks there.

    Adam and Eve agitating for the institution of the practice of offering sacrifices? As I recall, Eve sinned, so she was the catylyst to overcome sin. So I guess there was agitation there.

    Gideon agitating to battIe against the Midianites and the Amalekites? Why were they battling in the first place? Weren’t they taking over Midianite lands, and Gideon agitated for a way to defeat them?

    Jews or Samaritans 2000 years ago agitating to be called to forgive 490 times or turn the other cheek instead of seeking justice right off the bat? The Jews asked the question and got an unexpected answer. This is agitation.

    General church membership lobbying for the enactment of the law of tithing? There were lots of members no longer willing to live Law of Consecration or United Order. Plus the federal government confiscating Mormon Property forcibly for them to become capitalists. So, God gave back tithing as a replacement. Once again, agitation.

    Israelites agitating for the 10 commandments and the installation of Levitical priesthood and it’s sacrificial requirements? I don’t buy your assumptions here. God was going to give Moses a higher law–the Israelites couldn’t live it, so they got the 10 commandments and Levitical priesthood instead. This doesn’t seem to be a counter-example at all.

    So, I think you need to try again if you think these are counter-examples to agitation.

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  36. MB on May 7, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    Mormon Heretic,

    I think you are using a wider-reaching definition of agitating than I am. I define it as wanting something for a specific reason and specifically asking repeatedly for it.

    I see no indication that Adam and Eve asked to sacrifice. Adam even admits he has no idea why, just that God told him to.

    Gideon was minding his own business trying to thresh wheat without being noticed when the angel showed up and he was called to lead and he pointedly questioned God if that was really what he was supposed to do.

    Asking a question in order to justify oneself or verifying the status quo was far more often the reason why Jesus was asked questions including the one about how many times to forgive. (Thought not the one about turning the other cheek.) Asking questions in hopes that one is doing the right thing already isn’t agitation. It’s seeking approval and justification. Sitting on a hillside listening to the sermon on the mount that includes the turn the other cheek bit doesn’t seem like agitation either, mostly it seems like curiosity to see what Jesus had to say.

    As to your take on the historic setting of the law of tithing, ancient or modern, I’d say that asking for a solution to a financial problem is asking for a solution, not agitating for a specific decree on the part of God.

    So, I think that you are expanding the definition of agitating to include anytime anyone asks a question for any reason, or finds himself or his organization in a difficult spot and seeks for any solution, not just a specific one, or is minding his own business in a situation where a solution is needed and is asked to do something he had no intention of doing, or does something like eat a piece of fruit that has consequences, as well as when one rallies support for a specific cause or the tide of public opinion turns.

    By that expanded definition which I think you are espousing then yes, I would agree, any revelation comes through, or is preceded by or accompanied by agitation.

    By my definition of agitation, then no, I would disagree, some revelation comes forth with agitation and some does not.

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  37. Mormon Heretic on May 7, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    MB, I think the Parable of the Unjust Judge is a wonderful example of agitation (using your definition of asking over and over.) Martin Harris also agitated to get the 116 pages. The Lord said no twice, before giving in and then condemning Martin. To my knowledge, the Brethren haven’t asked yet or we would have OD3 or D&C 139, so I think until that happens, we should follow the Parable of the Unjust Judge. If God says “no”, then fine. If God says “Yes” then that is fine. But I’m not a fan of the game of charades where we think we know what God wants without asking. Ask and it shall be given unto you. I’d be much happier if we got a real “no” than pretending that we know God’s will without asking.

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  38. MB on May 8, 2014 at 5:46 AM

    I agree completely that asking is extremely important. And asking repeatedly is fine. And I agree that assuming that we know what God wants without asking is foolish. I also think that it is wrong to assume that no one has asked simply because no one has said directly that they have or have not. I don’t believe in assuming what hasn’t been directly stated (whether it is related someone’s attempts to maintain a current course of action or someone’s attempts to question it or lobby for a different one) and so I try to avoid that. Given the individuals involved I thinks it’s wiser, if one is to assume anything, to assume that everyone in the spotlight that is involved in the current discussion about priesthood is asking as best they are capable of doing. And getting different answers, which means that the question is worthy of further good-hearted and thoughtful discussion and question asking.

    But going back to the definition of “agitation” I can see why your use of the word in your question could cause confusion in your readers, myself included.

    By dictionary definition, “agitation” can mean a) thoughtful and earnest consideration, and b) persistent and sustained attempt to arouse public feeling or influence public opinion, as well as c) mental excitement or a tremulous and disturbed state. I think that some of the discussion above relates to the fact that people are using different definitions of the word.

    And accordingly, “to agitate” means a) to discuss or debate excitedly or earnestly, b) to attempt to arouse public feeling for the sake of a specific purpose and also c) to excite or trouble the mind or feelings of others.

    If you assume that by his comment the member of your priesthood quorum means he thinks that we should not be actively engaged in persistent and sustained attempts at influencing public opinion or disturbing others’ minds in order to change policy, via revelation, to something we think may be needful (definitions b and c) then a discussion about his comment will be different than one where we assume that what he said was that we should not discuss it excitedly or earnestly (definition a).

    And while I assumed, when I originally read your post and initially responded, that you were using definitions b and c, I think, from your comment above, that it is more likely that you are primarily using definition a. In which case I would tend to agree with you that revelation often does correlate with earnest ongoing discussion on some level or other.

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  39. […] Women: Does it make sense to agitate for revelation? Especially considering people are just going to make up their own interpretations of what […]

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