Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Valuing Inspiration as Legitimate Revelation

I think, personally, that God inspires and gives revelation to MANY outside the LDS Church - and I don't think that's inconsistent at all with our scriptures, history and fundamental principles. I'm also of the opinion that MUCH of what we call revelation really isn't different in nature than MUCH of what we call inspiration. I believe in instances of revelation that are more clearly divine communication than general inspiration, both for prophets and also in my own life, but, in general, I believe we place way too high an importance on what I might call "radical and obvious revelation" - especially when there is so tiny an amount of it recorded even in our canonized scriptures.

If we really stop and think about it, most of what we call revelation could be termed "visions" or "dreams" or such - and dismissed easily by those who don't believe in such things. Certainly, that is the case with Joseph in Egypt, Ezekial, Paul, Joseph Smith, Jacob's ladder, Wilford Woodruff, Spencer W. Kimball, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Muhammed, Nephi - and even Jesus, of Nazareth. I'm not saying that to disparage revelation in any way - but it does point to the heart of this post.

I don't think there's a thing I'm "missing" by being LDS - mostly because I believe I can and do tap into everything that is available to anyone else anywhere else - and more. (especially since I can study almost anything I want to study and remain firmly within the LDS Church) I really do believe there is something "extra" in the cosmology of Mormonism that is missing elsewhere - and I really do value that "something" as a source of inspiration and revelation. In other words, I believe both inspiration and revelation are available to all - but I also believe they both are more accessible generally within Mormonism than elsewhere.

I don't say that lightly, and I don't say it condescendingly - but I also think the very fact that I am writing this post and acknowledging the possibility of "receiving" personal inspiration and revelation (in the manner in which I am writing about it) is more instructive than most people realize.


Howard said...

There is a difference and that difference is important, revelation includes more of God and less of man than inspiration!

Papa D said...

I agree, Howard.

I see much of what we term "inspiration" as truly divinely inspired - which means I see much inspiration as revelatory in nature. "Pure revelation" is different in an important way, but, to an outsider who doesn't believe, much of it is indistinguishable from "divine inspiration".

Iow, I believe much inspiration is a subset within the unmbrella of revelation - meaning that much inspiration really does "reveal" the hidden or previously unknown.

Howard said...

Yes, we agree. it is a continuum. The difference between inspiration and revelation is the ability of the prophet to receive spiritual messages, it is not God limited. As the prophet's skills increase he moves toward revelation. God speaks to us at the highest level we can receive and comprehend in fact He often exceeds that level to stretch us and help us grow!