I was poking around in the Doctrine and Covenants today and I was suddenly struck by how crazy it is that there are so many specific revelations given to members of the church by name. There are so many that it's conceivable to compile an entire 240-page book containing brief biographies of each one of them. And that made me think of this verse from Joseph Smith History, when Smith discusses his vision with a Methodist preacher:
I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.Mormonism loves to celebrate this moment and how it causes the church to diverge so boldly from the rest of Christianity. From this point in history on, so it goes, one church was getting revelation from God and all the rest continued as rudderless as before. Mormonism is proud of its claim of a living prophet and constant divine revelation. But oddly, the "revelation" the church gets today doesn't look much like the revelation it got in its beginning stages.
It's not a new concept to me that recent prophets haven't made much of anything resembling a prophecy or even a revelation in years. I've seen that idea brought up repeatedly in the blogosphere, on forums and on Reddit. But what's never occurred to me is how different the things that supposedly come from God are nowadays. Apparently God stopped micromanaging and and no longer gives his disciples personal written instructions relating to specific circumstances. Why?
My guess is that there are no such things as clear, unambiguous personal revelations from the prophet himself in these days. All such things ceased with the pioneers. There will never be any more of them.
The more I think about the church, the more glaring it becomes to me that it has changed and evolved in a manner obviously directed by the decisions of men instead of by the unchanging wisdom of a deity.
That doesn't seem right to me.