Open revelation? How convenient, politically. A BYU prof sees a problem in the practice of Mormonism

16 Oct
This article points up the conspicuous political nature of Mormonism’s doctrine of “open revelation” as it has evolved. Incidentally, I consider this doctrine (open or continuous revelation) to be something of an Achilles’ heel of Mormon theology. Mormon Political Scientist (BYU) acknowledges as much when he notices that new prophetic revelation seems not only convenient (my criticism) but also politically progressive, both of which seem to undermine the credibility of the doctrine. Interesting article.
There is “a prevalent attitude towards continuing revelation among many who consider themselves “thoughtful” Latter-day Saints. We forever have our thumb on the channel-change button of ultimate moral-religious truth just in case we might have to change our minds, just as we did in 1890 on plural marriage and 1978 on ordination of black members. (In 1978 I somehow did not experience any existential tumult or reversal—just a huge sigh of relief, and no little gladness. But here’s the disturbing thing: I was fully committed to sticking with the Church even before the blessed revelation. Is that wrong?)

Our openness to prophetic authority has the effect of rendering present authoritative statements provisional. We bracket everything that we hear in General Conference, because, well, we’re so committed to prophetic revelation that, hey, it could change tomorrow. “Eternal Truth,” for those devoutly committed to the distinctive LDS principle of continuing revelation, means, apparently, at most “we’ll go with this until April conference. Peter had to learn the hard way to be open-minded about cheeseburgers and shellfish, so let us not cling to any prejudice about details such as traditional norms (or any norms, I suppose) governing sexuality.

But notice that for many of these “thoughtful” Latter-day Saints, our openness to continuing revelation always seems to be open in one direction; our remote control scans only to the left. What we are supposed to be open to always fits a progressive moral-political agenda of ever more individual freedom and equality.”

Read it all from First Things

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