Wednesday, June 13, 2018

President Boyd K. Packer on the proper source of revelation

President Boyd K. Packer (1924-2015) served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve (a position that no longer exists) from 1961 to 1970, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He served as president of that Quorum from 1994 until his death on July 3, 2015 at age 90.
"The point I make is that this phrase from Timothy strikes me as being monumentally important. 'But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them.' (See 2 Timothy 3:13–17) In the pattern of constituted authority in the Church we always know where revelation comes from. Revelation is always vertical. There is no horizontal revelation in the Church. It is all vertical. A bishop will get no revelation from a fellow bishop, or a stake president from a fellow stake president; but a bishop will receive it from the stake president, and his stake president from the general officers of the Church.
"In your youth you can learn that the scriptures are powerful, that they’re righteous; that in this Church we learn the scriptures, that we accept them, that we determine to live by them. Learn that there is a constituted authority—that our leaders are ordained by those who are in authority, and it is known throughout the Church. Nothing is done in the corner where there might be room for doubt or confusion or misunderstanding. We all have the right to go before the Lord to appeal in prayer and to receive inspiration and revelation for ourselves, so that each of us will know.
"One of the things the scriptures do is to make it very clear that we’re to follow the prophets. In the Doctrine and Covenants section after section states, 'I the Lord am speaking,' or 'It is I, God, who speaks,' and so on. Those declarations show that there is no doubt who is speaking."
- Boyd K. Packer, "Follow the Rule," BYU Devotional, Jaunary 14, 1977
Click here to read the full talk

This was a fascinating address by President Packer, filled with personal insights and anecdotes. Read the whole talk!

In this excerpt, he focuses on the importance of knowing whom we are listening to for critical instruction. There is a "pattern of constituted authority" established by the Lord for doctrine and principle that will bless us if we heed it:

We find that "doubt or confusion or misunderstanding" often result from forgetting this principle. We can learn from each other in wonderful ways, and be inspired by the examples and teachings of others. But it should always be in the context of the doctrinal foundation that comes from the Lord through His designated channels.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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