After reading this session of conference (April 1974, Sunday morning), I learned something that makes me see revelation differently. Revelation is holding the hand of God.
We have prayer and faith and ordinances and all parts of this mighty gospel as various ways of connecting with our loving Heavenly Father, but I think revelation is where He reveals His hand to us. What a gift to be able to reach out and hold that glorious hand. Everything in this gospel has been given to us by way of revelation; and because of modern revelation, we can continue holding his hand every day of our lives receiving personal guidance whenever we need it.
Boyd K. Packer explained that there is an order to how revelation works. “The prophet receiving it for the Church; the president for his stake, his mission, or his quorum; the bishop for his ward; the father for his family; the individual for himself.” For me, that is very comforting. It isn’t easy to receive correction, but when we understand the order of things it makes sense how God would rely on those He has given specific authority over. We love those we have responsibility for, which allows that message to be lovingly handed down.
Sometimes, we hear of people outside the proper order thinking they can tell others a thing or two. Someone who refuses to listen to the prophet, and in fact, announces that the prophet is wrong and proceeds to tell him so, is usually attacking, not revealing. Revelation is directional but more important, it is personal. The messages we get from God are meant to guide us through the murky path. His hand holds us close, revealing the way.
This was L. Tom Perry’s first conference as an apostle. Over the years, he has often shared stories of his loving parents during his childhood upbringing.
“As we would kneel in family prayer and listen to our father, a bearer of the priesthood, pour out his soul to the Lord for the protection of his family against the fiery darts of the wicked, one more layer was added to our shield of faith. While our shield was being made strong, theirs was always available, for they were available and we knew it.”
In a family situation, a father who honors his priesthood has the right to call upon the powers
of heaven to protect his family. He has power to discern the needs of his children. He has power to deflect the adversary from entering his home. All of these blessings come because of the gift of revelation. God reaches out His hand and we gratefully grab hold.
J. Thomas Fyans also was called at this conference, as a Seventy, and he testified beautifully how we can recognize, through personal revelation, that what the prophet says is true. Speaking of the conference reports, he said, “We can know the will of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, and the word of the Lord as we ponder these modern scriptures.” What more comforting statement is there? We are in good hands when we accept revelation that comes through the words of our leaders.
Instead of being hard-hearted, stubborn, and unteachable we might do well to recognize revelation as loving guidance and connection. Elder Fyans offered his heart to the Lord, which frankly is even better than holding out our hand to Him.
“President Kimball and your inspired counselors, President Benson and the special witnesses who form your quorum, as we assist you we place on the altar before you our hearts, our might, our minds, and our strength. In unity, my companion and I commit whatever we are to His service.”
Delbert L. Stapley gave us this statement to chew on. “Herein lies the beauty of the gospel: the opportunity for repentance, forgiveness, and life eternal, thus giving meaning to our Savior’s atoning sacrifice.” This is the completed picture of the revealing hand of the Lord. Our leaders preach it, we read it over and over again in the scriptures, and our testimonies are rooted in it. Through revelation we can know and recognize saving truth; we can reach out and hold God’s hand and avoid the pitfalls of this lost world.
Ezra Taft Benson, as the final speaker of this session, spoke on missionary work. As members
of the church, we are under condemnation if we don’t share what we know. Speaking of D&C 1, he said, “No message [or revealed word] heretofore given set forth in such clarity and power the worldwide nature of the message of the restored gospel. If there had been any question before, this left no room for doubt. Our message is a world message.” If we help take this message throughout the world, we will be offering the Lord’s hand to others. They will then be able to revel in the revealed voice of the Lord for themselves.
For those who refuse, “The day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off” (D&C 1:14) It will be a sad day when those who could have taken His hand refused. If we stop listening to the voice of the Lord, by way of His divine order of authority, we have let go of His hand. We will no longer hear His voice, or receive His revelations, or listen for His Coming. When we refuse to hold His hand, we will be lost.
May our hands be outstretched toward the revealer of all truths. His hand is stretched out still (2 Ne. 19:12).
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
Blessing Our Families Through Our Prayers Daniel Ortner
Carefully constructed for you Marilyn Nielson