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What does a prophet look/act like?


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You're marvelous, smac.  Simply marvelous.  I love how you regularly give such wonderful details in your posts, when you post.  

One thing I have noticed that seems common among most (or at least most I have noticed) members of our Lord's Church... the church you and I are members of... is to call revelation "revelation" only when the Presidency of the Church or other apostles receive it, otherwise it is referred to only as inspiration.  There are exceptions, of course, which is why I only say most members, but that seems to be the usual practice.  And I think that may be why, or at least part of the reason why, only apostles are said to be the ones to receive revelation from God, and only they are the "prophets" we refer to when we use the word "prophet".

And yet, of course, as you (I'm pretty sure) and I both know, those are not the only prophets on this planet, or in this Church, and also not the only ones who receive revelation from God.  In fact, anyone who receives a personal testimony from God is a prophet, even if they may not call themselves such or even realize they are getting revelation from God.  Maybe even some of our Catholic church friends receive some revelation from God, which makes some of them prophets.  Even if they deny other revelations from God.

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15 minutes ago, smac97 said:

1. Difference in Titles and Apostleship

Latter-day Saints believe Pres. Nelson (colloquially the "Prophet") is called "an apostle of Jesus Christ" (D&C 20:2), "prophet, seer and revelator" (cf. Mosiah 8:12-18, D&C 107:91-92, ), "presiding high priest" (D&C 106:1), "President of the High Priesthood of the Church; or, in other words, the Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church" (D&C 107:65-66), "President of the Church" (D&C 102:9), and possibly "First Elder of the Church" (D&C 20:2) (I'm not sure if this title was unique to Joseph Smith).

The claim of apostolic status (Pope Francis does not claim it, but Pres. Nelson does) seems like a pretty significant difference.

One of the titles of those claiming the Apostleship is "Witness of Christ".  Now of course our Apostles bear witness of Christ every chance they get but is that a redefinition of the term?
Is the Apostleship also connected with those who have had the opportunity to meet the Savior.  I only ask because of my ranting length post on the temple yesterday.  Is this a redefinition of what it means to be a witness?
I would think you would have a unique perspective on witnesses.

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2. Continuing Revelation and Open Canon

Are you under the impression that we believe God has not spoken to any of Joseph's successors?

D&C 68:4 comes to mind: "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."

Every six months we receive updated prophetic counsel during General Conference.  And plenty more such guidance in between.  I am very grateful for this.

I do believe Joseph's successors have received revelation, and that inspired discourses are scripture.  I'm just at a loss as to why virtually nothing is added to our official "scriptures".

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I would like to see published and canonized revelations about things that seem significant to us in the here and now, such as ordination to the priesthood (whether it is the will of God to restrict it to males, and if so why), same-sex marriage and same-sex behavior (for obvious reasons), and a few others.

One of the teachings of Joseph is that we never inquire for revelation if there is already a revelation to suit the case.  I am quite willing to acknowledge that we have scripture for a huge number of situations and that perhaps that is why new revelation is somewhat limited.  But as you point out, there are still issues that God appears to have been silent on.
 

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What does a prophet look like?

What does a prophet act like?

I don't know that a prophet "looks" any particular way.  But in order to be a prophet a person should prophesy at times.  In order to be a seer one should have visions.  In order to be a revelator one should receive revelations (and I should say that if one is a revelator to the Church that one should present revelations to the Church).  Otherwise it's like being a Doctor that doesn't practice medicine or a Lawyer that doesn't practice law - a lot of preparation and training not being put to use.
 

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2 minutes ago, Ahab said:

You're marvelous, smac.  Simply marvelous.  I love how you regularly give such wonderful details in your posts, when you post.  

One thing I have noticed that seems common among most (or at least most I have noticed) members of our Lord's Church... the church you and I are members of... is to call revelation "revelation" only when the Presidency of the Church or other apostles receive it, otherwise it is referred to only as inspiration.  There are exceptions, of course, which is why I only say most members, but that seems to be the usual practice.  And I think that may be why, or at least part of the reason why, only apostles are said to be the ones to receive revelation from God, and only they are the "prophets" we refer to when we use the word "prophet".

That's not how I differentiate between inspiration and revelation.  The contrast is an issue of format and openness to interpretation.  Not of who receives them.
The testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophecy, so as Joseph taught anyone with that testimony can be a prophet.

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There are exceptions, of course, which is why I only say most members, but that seems to be the usual practice.  And I think that may be why, or at least part of the reason why, only apostles are said to be the ones to receive revelation from God, and only they are the "prophets" we refer to when we use the word "prophet".

They are said to be the only ones to receive revelation for the Church.  It is out of order to receive revelation for those who preside over you or for those outside your sphere.
So Apostles, indeed perhaps the President himself,  are the only ones to receive revelation for the entire Church.  Members are absolutely entitled to personal revelation.

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11 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

That's not how I differentiate between inspiration and revelation.  The contrast is an issue of format and openness to interpretation.  Not of who receives them.

I'm intrigued by your response.  Please elaborate to explain to me more about what you mean.

11 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

They are said to be the only ones to receive revelation for the Church.  It is out of order to receive revelation for those who preside over you or for those outside your sphere.
So Apostles, indeed perhaps the President himself,  are the only ones to receive revelation for the entire Church.  Members are absolutely entitled to personal revelation.

Interesting.  From my understanding of what I have seen that you said before I pegged you as one of those who would say we receive inspiration rather than revelation.  So it's nice for me to know you agree with me more than I thought you did.

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I know it really doesn't have anything to do with the topic, but sovereign citizens sure do make life entertaining!  "Ken, how dare you say that, given what they did to that poor Southern Utah realtor?!" OK.  Yeah, I know, I know.  It's one of those things one might find amusing ... unless and until it happens to you.  It's a reminder, though, that for all of the times and the ways in which people in free societies might be moved upon to question how free they really are (given the machinations, inefficiencies, and sometimes, even the out-and-out wrongheadedness inherent in much government action), unless one owns his own private island in the middle of nowhere, really, there is no liberty without law.

And I know what you're going to say, Smac97, and yes, you're right: This topic is fascinating enough to merit its own thread.  I'll be happy to start it ... provided that you participate liberally. ;)

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1 minute ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I know it really doesn't have anything to do with the topic, but sovereign citizens sure do make life entertaining!  "Ken, how dare you say that, given what they did to that poor Southern Utah realtor?!" OK.  Yeah, I know, I know.  It's one of those things one might find amusing ... unless and until it happens to you.  It's a reminder, though, that for all of the times and the ways in which people in free societies might be moved upon to question how free they really are (given the machinations, inefficiencies, and sometimes, even the out-and-out wrongheadedness inherent in much government action), unless one owns his own private island in the middle of nowhere, really, there is no liberty without law.

And I know what you're going to say, Smac97, and yes, you're right: This topic is fascinating enough to merit its own thread.  I'll be happy to start it ... provided that you participate liberally. ;)

I have a collection of videos of sovereign citizens getting arrested while yelling "I do not consent!" if that helps.

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37 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I do believe Joseph's successors have received revelation, and that inspired discourses are scripture.  I'm just at a loss as to why virtually nothing is added to our official "scriptures".

They are, just not always so that they become included as what we call our "standard works".  Anything written by holy men (and I think women too) as they are moved (inspired) by the Holy Ghost is scripture.  See 2 Peter 1:21

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One of the teachings of Joseph is that we never inquire for revelation if there is already a revelation to suit the case.  I am quite willing to acknowledge that we have scripture for a huge number of situations and that perhaps that is why new revelation is somewhat limited.  But as you point out, there are still issues that God appears to have been silent on.
 

I don't know that a prophet "looks" any particular way.  But in order to be a prophet a person should prophesy at times.  In order to be a seer one should have visions.  In order to be a revelator one should receive revelations (and I should say that if one is a revelator to the Church that one should present revelations to the Church).  Otherwise it's like being a Doctor that doesn't practice medicine or a Lawyer that doesn't practice law - a lot of preparation and training not being put to use.
 

The President of the Church is designated by our Lord as the one man to receive revelation from our Lord for the entire Church but that doesn't necessarily mean he will tell the entire Church what our Lord revealed to him through revelation. 

Edited by Ahab
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22 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I know it really doesn't have anything to do with the topic, but sovereign citizens sure do make life entertaining!  "Ken, how dare you say that, given what they did to that poor Southern Utah realtor?!" OK.  Yeah, I know, I know.  It's one of those things one might find amusing ... unless and until it happens to you.  It's a reminder, though, that for all of the times and the ways in which people in free societies might be moved upon to question how free they really are (given the machinations, inefficiencies, and sometimes, even the out-and-out wrongheadedness inherent in much government action), unless one owns his own private island in the middle of nowhere, really, there is no liberty without law.

And I know what you're going to say, Smac97, and yes, you're right: This topic is fascinating enough to merit its own thread.  I'll be happy to start it ... provided that you participate liberally. ;)

When everyone is free to act in whatever capacity they are able to act that means everyone can affect others in some way.  I'm not sure what you think some law could do to stop that.

Edited by Ahab
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34 minutes ago, Ahab said:

They are, just not always so that they become included as what we call our "standard works".  Anything written by holy men (and I think women too) as they are moved (inspired) by the Holy Ghost is scripture.  See 2 Peter 1:21

Which means they carry little to no authority or weight and can be easily countermanded.  Perhaps you're on to something.

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The President of the Church is designated by our Lord as the one man to receive revelation from our Lord for the entire Church but that doesn't necessarily mean he will tell the entire Church what our Lord revealed to him through revelation. 

And I am certain that has been the case.  Wilford Woodruff specifically explained that with the Manifesto.  But it sure does lead to a lot of faithful assumption.

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53 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

And I know what you're going to say, Smac97, and yes, you're right: This topic is fascinating enough to merit its own thread.  I'll be happy to start it ... provided that you participate liberally. ;)

I want the rest of the story...what did the man intend to actually accomplish?

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3 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Which means they carry little to no authority or weight and can be easily countermanded.  Perhaps you're on to something.

In what sense are you thinking scripture can be countermanded?  It can be, of course, in some sense, but I'm not sure in what sense you had in mind when you said that.

God's word can be ignored... any command he gives can go without being obeyed, at least by some people, at some time... and yet God's word is still whatever he said when he said what he said.  And it is true, and good, even when it isn't obeyed.

3 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

And I am certain that has been the case.  Wilford Woodruff specifically explained that with the Manifesto.  But it sure does lead to a lot of faithful assumption.

Hmm.  Um, really?  Like what?   Generally I tend to avoid making assumptions and would rather wait until I am sure (have faith, preferably faith/an assurance from God that what I am thinking about is a good thing to be thginking.

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

What does a prophet look like?

What does a prophet act like?

I think the Church would gain some publicity were President Nelson to behave like Isaiah or even Elijah.

Were he to walk around naked in SLC for 3 years as a warning to the nations or, call down bears from Mt. Timp to maul children, he's probably trend on Twitter for a bit.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

How do we know?

How do we know if a particular person is a prophet or how do we know what a prophet looks like generally.

We have many scriptural examples and can see that Prophets come in many forms.

And we also know that anyone who brings the Gospel of peace has beautiful feet.  So I'd really want to check out their footwear.

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9 minutes ago, Ipod Touch said:

I think the Church would gain some publicity were President Nelson to behave like Isaiah or even Elijah.

Were he to walk around naked in SLC for 3 years as a warning to the nations or, call down bears from Mt. Timp to maul children, he's probably trend on Twitter for a bit.

Sheesh.  That all happened on only one day.  Judge a man by only one day of his life, do you?  President Nelson was young once and who knows the kinds of things he did while he was in high school or whatever university he attended.

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

I'm intrigued by your response.  Please elaborate to explain to me more about what you mean.

Interesting.  From my understanding of what I have seen that you said before I pegged you as one of those who would say we receive inspiration rather than revelation.  So it's nice for me to know you agree with me more than I thought you did.

I absolutely believe members receive revelation and should.  Not just the prophet.  But I also think what is often called revelation would better be designated as inspiration.
As for the difference - it's not the source or the receiver.  It's the delivery method.  And yes, I know there are many many different types of revelations - visions, dreams, still small voice, burning bushes, talking donkeys, etc.

The difference is simple although everyone seems to disagree and like to downplay it.

If I pray to the Lord about moving to Seattle for work and he says to me "move to Seattle", it doesn't matter if I feel good, bad, or indifferent about that.  I'm moving to Seattle.  That's revelation.
If I pray to the Lord about moving to Seattle for work and I "feel" that it's the right/wrong choice for me there is absolutely no way to 100% guarantee the source of that feeling, especially I have have a preference.  That's inspiration.  You feel that it's right/wrong.

I am not saying inspiration isn't a valid communication for the Lord.  Of course it is.  But it's hard to argue with something that God told you to do point blank, even if it makes you uncomfortable.  It's quite easy to feel something is right or wrong, feel it strongly, deeply, but not have it be from God.  I knew of a woman who left the Church who told her Bishop the spirit told her to remove her garments because she felt spiritual discomfort with wearing them.  This wise Bishop said something like I'm sorry dear sister but the spirit would never have told you to do that.  She felt she did right and assumed that feeling was from God.

Joseph might have taught that "'Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil."  Worth remembering that middle one.

Edited by JLHPROF
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25 minutes ago, Ahab said:

In what sense are you thinking scripture can be countermanded?  It can be, of course, in some sense, but I'm not sure in what sense you had in mind when you said that.

God's word can be ignored... any command he gives can go without being obeyed, at least by some people, at some time... and yet God's word is still whatever he said when he said what he said.  And it is true, and good, even when it isn't obeyed.

Hmm.  Um, really?  Like what?   Generally I tend to avoid making assumptions and would rather wait until I am sure (have faith, preferably faith/an assurance from God that what I am thinking about is a good thing to be thginking.

Much of the inspired by the spirit conference talks of Brigham Young and his contemporaries are now dismissed as not from the Lord.  At the time they could have been considered scripture.
It's simple enough for anything taught in Conference today to be scripture one minute and dismissed the next.

As for assumptions - you don't think if President Nelson says something is the will of the Lord most members automatically take his word for it because of his calling?
You can have a testimony of the office he holds but allow him to be mistaken as to the will of God.  I think that has happened on numerous occasions throughout Church history.
But again, it's harder to be mistaken when God give you actual instructions instead of a confirming feeling.

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2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I absolutely believe members receive revelation and should.  Not just the prophet.  But I also think what is often called revelation would better be designated as inspiration.
As for the difference - it's not the source or the receiver.  It's the delivery method.  And yes, I know there are many many different types of revelations - visions, dreams, still small voice, burning bushes, talking donkeys, etc.

The difference is simple although everyone seems to disagree and like to downplay it.

If I pray to the Lord about moving to Seattle for work and he says to me "move to Seattle", it doesn't matter if I feel good, bad, or indifferent about that.  I'm moving to Seattle.  That's revelation.
If I pray to the Lord about moving to Seattle for work and I "feel" that it's the right/wrong choice for me there is absolutely no way to 100% guarantee the source of that feeling, especially I have have a preference.  That's inspiration.  You feel that it's right/wrong.

I am not saying inspiration isn't a valid communication for the Lord.  Of course it is.  But it's hard to argue with something that God told you to do point blank, even if it makes you uncomfortable.  It's quite easy to feel something is right or wrong, feel it strongly, deeply, but not have it be from God.

Joseph might have taught that "'Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil."  Worth remembering that middle one.

I think I see what you mean now, and I think we agree.  Especially on this point:  "there are many many different types of revelations - visions, dreams, still small voice, burning bushes, talking donkeys, etc."  I include inspiration as a form of revelation.

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3 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I think I see what you mean now, and I think we agree.  Especially on this point:  "there are many many different types of revelations - visions, dreams, still small voice, burning bushes, talking donkeys, etc."  I include inspiration as a form of revelation.

Sure, in much the same way the Aaronic priesthood is an appendage of the Melchizedek priesthood.  Or the spirit of truth born in all men is an appendage of the Holy Ghost.
Inspiration is an appendage of revelation.

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2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Much of the inspired by the spirit conference talks of Brigham Young and his contemporaries are now dismissed as not from the Lord.  At the time they could have been considered scripture.

Each person has their own opinion/beliefs, some people agree and some other people do not.  I'm sure there were some people during the life of Brigham Young and his contemporaries who believed some things they said was not scripture while other people believed it was, just as there are people today on both sides of the fence.  Scripture is not based on popular opinion or a consensus vote.  Scripture is based on whether or not what was written (or spoken before being written) was inspired by the Holy Ghost.  And if it was, it is.

 

2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

It's simple enough for anything taught in Conference today to be scripture one minute and dismissed the next.

No, not really.  When someone writes something the Holy Ghost inspired that person to write then it is scripture and will always remain scripture, even if our Lord makes some changes to some things he said through the Holy Ghost in the past.

2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

As for assumptions - you don't think if President Nelson says something is the will of the Lord most members automatically take his word for it because of his calling?

Like Brigham, I think President Nelson has some fear or trepidation that that might happen, which is why I think he and other apostles focus so much on trying to teach us how and why we need to be able to receive personal revelation from God.

That way when we raise our hand to sustain him and other apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators we are doing so because God has told us they are, rather than just because other people tell us they are.

2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

You can have a testimony of the office he holds but allow him to be mistaken as to the will of God.  I think that has happened on numerous occasions throughout Church history.
But again, it's harder to be mistaken when God give you actual instructions instead of a confirming feeling.

It is, isn't it.

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55 minutes ago, Ipod Touch said:

I think the Church would gain some publicity were President Nelson to behave like Isaiah or even Elijah.

Were he to walk around naked in SLC for 3 years as a warning to the nations or, call down bears from Mt. Timp to maul children, he's probably trend on Twitter for a bit.

I'm watching the latest iteration of Stephen King's The Stand, which features a bona fide prophet in Mother Abagail.   Everyone receives a personal witness, a vision, of Mother Abagail calling them to come to Boulder.   When they arrive, she's a real person - a little old lady who sets them all off on a course.  Then she takes off into the wilderness to seek God's will, which she's able to deliver right before she dies of exposure from being a little old lady who spent some nights in the wilderness.

LDS Prophets haven't been so dramatic in my lifetime.  Closest they've come have been some recent pronouncements about how church needs to happen during COVID.  Some drama in there, on like the fifth paragraph, if you read it right, about how we're putting lawmakers on notice that we're gonna insist of having church.

A good sifting moment would come if suddenly our prophets start behaving differently than they've behaved since things settled down after Brigham Young's day.

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D&C 68:4 comes to mind: "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."

 

Don't most religions claim to be speaking for God because they have been moved upon by the Holy Ghost to know his will?  And don't most people in those religions feel what they teach has been confirmed to them of its truthfulness by the Holy Ghost?

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1 hour ago, Ipod Touch said:

So I'd really want to check out their footwear.

Beautiful shoes often mean ugly feet. Ugly shoes may be a sign of someone who cares about their feet more than superficial culture norms (can you tell what kind of shoes I am forced to wear...I am hoping we still wear shoes in the CK so I can have some fun in that category along with hats).

Make those alleged prophets take those shoes off rather than focus on their footwear. 
 

Does this mean prophets go in for pedicures?

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5 minutes ago, california boy said:

And don't most people in those religions feel what they teach has been confirmed to them of its truthfulness by the Holy Ghost?

This is debatable.  I have met some who feel it is an offense to God to expect a confirmation, others that see that as an ineffective way to determine truth and they depend on other things to support their beliefs.  Have no clue how common an attitude these are. 

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

In a now-locked thread, @MiserereNobis  made the following remarks, which I would like to open for discussion (the thread was locked for other reasons, so I don't think I'm circumventing the mods).

Hi Smac!

Thanks for opening the topic here. I enjoyed the conversation on this topic that was had on the other thread and am interested to see wider input on a thread solely dedicated to this topic. I also wanted to say that I hesitated a second before hitting submit, because my tone/tenor was a bit more critical than I usually am. My personal purpose on this board is to learn more about the LDS faith, tp clarify things concerning Catholicism, and now, after these years, to enjoy the personalities of those who post. But the issue of a living prophet and continuing revelation is one that I don't mind gently criticizing.

I do want to include something here from my original post. I don't really want to get into the discussion of which church is Christ's church (that would settle the topic, ha). I'm more interested in what I see as a difference between what is claimed and what appears to be going on.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:
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I've brought this up before, because it is an issue I have with the LDS church.

The LDS church makes pretty grandiose claims: a living prophet who guides the church by continuing revelation from God. Whoa!

Quite true.  But then, the claims from our Catholic brothers and sisters regarding the papacy are, in many ways, also "grandiose."

I suppose all religious claims are grandiose to a degree. And yes, the claims surrounding the papacy are grandiose. Perhaps, though, more people are used to the claims of the papacy, since it's been around for 2000 years (give or take, depending on your view of Catholicism). I'll say within Christendom, though, the LDS claims concerning a prophet who sees and speaks with God and delivers the actual words of God to the world are unique and sound quite impressive. And it's this that I want to focus on. How does the prophet and continuing revelation actually work? Is it unique? Do they match the appearance/expectation? And you've aptly titled your thread based on that.

Ok, #1: Difference in Titles:

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

The claim of apostolic status (Pope Francis does not claim it, but Pres. Nelson does) seems like a pretty significant difference.

True. And you correctly quoted/summarized the Catholic view of the Pope and the bishops. We do not claim they are apostles -- the apostles were those that were sent by Christ with the Great Commission to teach and baptize. They are the successors to the apostles with the priesthood authority of the apostles.

I do agree with your statement here. The claims between Pope Francis and President Nelson are significantly different. Pope Francis does not claim to be an apostle. He claims he is a successor to the apostles, and to Saint Peter in particular. But, my whole point is to see if the claim (the words) match up to the way both actually function. My contention is that they (Francis and Nelson) function the same, despite one claiming to be a prophet and an apostle, so in the end it's only words, even though one sounds more grandiose than the other.

#2: Continuing Revelation and Open Canon

Now we are going to get into the issue of what the word "revelation" means in LDS and Catholicism. They are not the same, and that causes some difficulty.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

For Catholics, "Vatican II states 'no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.' The notion of progressive or continuing revelation is not held by the Roman Catholic Church or by Eastern Orthodoxy, who instead favor the idea of tradition and development of doctrine, while progressivist and continuationist approaches are specifically condemned in the declaration Dominus Iesus."

Yes, and that has stated many times before Vatican II. However, revelation here does NOT mean receiving truth, information, understanding, etc., from God. It means that the deposit of faith, the full and complete gospel, the truth and means of salvation, were revealed in Jesus Christ. Christ's apostles were not lacking any truth needed for salvation. Nothing was withheld from them. From the catechism:

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There will be no further Revelation

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ." Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

[...]

Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

So, no new public revelation, because it was fully given in Christ. However, look at the bolded part. The Christian faith will continue, over centuries, to understand it, to develop it, to apply it to new situations. It will make the revelation more explicit. This is done with the inspiration of and under the protections of the Holy Spirit. This is the purpose of the Magisterium (the equivalent of the LDS Brethren). This is why there have been 21 ecumenical councils that are inspired by the Holy Spirit to further our understanding of what God revealed when He spoke His Word, Christ Jesus, into the world. This is why the Pope frequently writes encyclicals and other documents, to help clarify our understanding of the deposit of faith that was given by and through Christ.

We do not believe in further revelation, but our definition of the word is not really the same as your definition of the word, especially as it appears today. What the LDS church appears to claim as revelation today seems very similar to what the Catholic Church does. We just don't call it revelation, because we use revelation to mean something else. But we do believe that it comes from God, through the Holy Spirit.

The revelation of Christ will never pass away, so no new (in other words different) revelation is needed.

I included the last sentence in the quote because I hadn't really thought of it as possibly referring to the restorationist churches before. Now I think it does. Because of your belief in the apostasy, new revelation was needed. Because we believe there was no apostasy, no new revelation was needed (using the Catholic definition of revelation).

Now remember, no new revelation does NOT mean no inspiration, no guidance from God, no learning what God's will is, no clarification from God on what is true, etc. Catholicism very much believes in these things.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:
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I'm told the amazing story of Joseph Smith and can read 100+ revelations he received from God -- God spoke to him!

Are you under the impression that we believe God has not spoken to any of Joseph's successors?

No, I know you believe he has. But there is marked difference between how Joseph Smith appeared and how President Nelson appears. Joseph Smith gave out the revelations to read. He acted like a prophet. President Nelson, from what I can gather, does not act like Joseph Smith. There are no revelations to read. There are no direct words of God. So his claim in a very blatant way does not match up to Joseph Smith's claim. He is called a prophet, but I see no prophecy. I see advice, exhortation, instruction. But it nothing like what Joseph Smith did.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Every six months we receive updated prophetic counsel during General Conference.  And plenty more such guidance in between.  I am very grateful for this.

The Pope frequently issues counsel, clarification, and understanding through papal encyclicals and apostolic constitutions. There is a list of recent ones here. He also frequently gives homilies. There is also the most solemn address Urbi et Orbi that is given 2 or 3 times a year.

So the Pope has the equivalent of general conference. Remember, my point is that the way the LDS President (not Joseph Smith -- he acted like one would think a prophet would) functions and the way the Pope functions are nearly identical, despite the difference in names/titles.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I agree.  But "looks like" seems to be a key element of that sentence.  Is that the only way "continuing revelation" can manifest?  Is revelation restricted to canonized words?  For the Latter-day Saints, the answer is "no."

If we use the LDS definition of revelation, the answer is also "no" for Catholicism.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Is this passage quantitatively different from, say, the mission call I received in 1992?  Not really.  It's canonized, which is a difference.  But my mission call was, in my view, as "revelatory" as the one given to Stephen Burnett.

Again, from the catechism:

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67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

So, we also believe in private revelations, like your mission call.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Our canon has been added to in my lifetime (Official Declaration 2 in 1978).  I hope to see more additions before I close my eyes for good.  Meanwhile, however, I believe that revelation continues in the Church.  I gave some examples here:

The last ecumenical council closed in 1965 (I wasn't alive). The last infallible statement pronounced by a Pope was from Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 (alas, I also wasn't alive). Let's take a look at that pronouncement:

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By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory

Now, when I compare that to Official Declaration 2, I gotta say that the Papal pronouncement has got a little more oomph behind it, but I guess that's not terribly important. My point is, you have Official Declarations, we have ex cathedra infallible Papal declarations. Now, this was not added to "the Canon" meaning to the Bible. The Bible is closed. But we are not sola scriptura, so even though nothing will be added to the Bible, Pope Pius XII declared a new dogma. You could consider this, using your definition, as continuing revelation.

You also include a list of what you consider contemporary revelation. Those are exactly the same sorts of things that the Pope has/can/would do. You respond to that idea with this:

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I think the "stuff" is not the "exact same."  And the disclaimer of revelation seems fairly significant.

It seems pretty similar to me. There is really nothing in that list if tweaked to be related to Catholicism that I would say that the Pope couldn't do. And the disclaimer of revelation is only a matter of semantics and definition, as I hope I've shown above.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:
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The Catholic Church claims inspiration from and protection by the Holy Spirit. It seems that the LDS church claims a lot more than that, but the appearance is that things operate much the same.

How so?  One disclaims apostolic/prophetic authority, while the other makes emphatic claims to such authority.

The Catholic Church absolutely makes claims to apostolic authority. The bishops are the successors of the apostles. They have the authority of the apostles. They are not called apostles, but they have their authority. That is what our entire Magisterium (and Church) is based on: Apostolic succession.

Above, in section 1, you wrote about claims of apostolic status, and I agreed with you. Pope Francis does not claim to be an apostle. But he must definitely claims apostolic authority, as do all bishops in the Catholic Church.

Also, I noticed you used "apostolic/prophetic authority." Why does the LDS church equate the two? Why does apostle = prophet?

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Claims of authority, revelation, open canon, etc. are pretty important, as is actually having them.

Two responses to this. It appears to the me that the claims of revelation and open canon were obvious to all in Joseph Smith's time. The claim matched the actions and appearance, and the actions and appearance were markedly different from the Catholic Church. Today, however, the claims don't seem to match the actions and appearance much, and the actions and appearance are similar to the Catholic Church.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:
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In other words, it appears like false advertising to me. I know that might sound a little harsh, but I guess it just seems quite clear to me as an outsider that the words don't match up.

I can appreciate that perspective.  I respectfully disagree with it.  I think it's based more on subjective expectations about and prophets and revelations and authority and such work, and less on how they actually work.

I understand what you mean and can appreciate it, too. I guess my issue is that Joseph Smith set up some pretty strong expectations. When I read the story of Joseph Smith and am told that he was a prophet and President Nelson is a prophet, I guess I would expect some similar actions/appearances. They just aren't there. Why?

And when the LDS church makes emphatic claims of continuing revelation as something unique to it, but I don't see any real difference between what the LDS church does and what the Catholic Church does, I also ask, why?

3 hours ago, smac97 said:
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That doesn't seem like an open canon.

Again, this sounds to be more about subjective expectations than anything else.  What do you think an "open canon" would look like?  Are regularly-scheduled canonizations necessary?

Maybe it is subjective. But it is based on what Joseph Smith set up. And the two additions since the 1800s are official declarations, which sounds a little different than a revelation. But I don't need to quibble too much over that. I'll just reiterate that the LDS open canon has a parallel in Catholicism. We don't add to the Bible. But when a dogma and/or anathema is declared, it is as binding upon the Catholic faithful as the contents of the Bible. Catholicism rests on Sacred Scripture (the Bible), Sacred Tradition (what was handed down but not written in the Bible), and the Magisterium (the Pope and the bishops in communion with him). They are equally important, so from a certain point of view you can say we have an open canon -- when the Magisterium declares a dogma.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

By way of comparison, let's take a look at the U.S. Constitution. 

I don't think this analogy works. Continuing revelation and an open canon are hallmarks of the LDS faith. The fact that the constitution can be amended is not a hallmark. Is it necessary? Yes. Is it a good thing? Yes. But the LDS emphasis on continuing revelation is much much greater than any emphasis placed on the fact that the constitution can be amended.

LDS missionaries often begin with, "we have a prophet who receives revelation from God." Advocates of the constitution do not being with, "we have a constitution that can be amended."

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

What does a prophet act like?

Someone who gives prophecies. Someone who speaks for God. Joseph Smith is a good example, I'd say.

Edited by MiserereNobis
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