Revelation and policy.

I came across something today on Facebook by one Lisa Downing that has brought to the forefront of my attention, something I have seen frequently by those advocating for the acceptance of sin in the Church.

In their zeal to find any little nugget to justify their position, they have squared in on the concepts of “what is policy” and “ongoing revelation” 

Because if something is a policy It is subject to change in their minds, and to a degree, also becomes (again in their minds) no binding on them to comply with. Nevermind that this is a grave error, policy and adherence to policy is every bit as important as adherence to “Doctrine”, but those seeking justification are prone to feeling different about these things.

Those looking to confuse the issue so as to make their justification for the acceptance of sin palatable, utilise a number of tools, one of which is a sloppiness of language, and obscuring of meanings and realities, in doing this it is easier to sway the similarly emotive mind to their causes.

Remaining level headed and rational, is key to

1. Seeing through the smokescreen
2. Responding in a calm non emotional manner, that utilizes the real details, rather than attempts to snare heart strings.

With that in mind consider the following


Ms. Downing has in her overwrought emotive posting, made a grave error in logic, and deductive reasoning.

For reasons beyond the rational mind to comprehend she supposes that because Elder Oaks referenced the policy as a policy (hint it IS a policy) that means Pres. Nelson either mischaracterized it in saying it came by revelation, (not so) misspoke (also not so) or he and Elder Oaks disagree as to the nature of the change.

Somewhere in her handwringing, she seems to forget that policy change can and does, and should come by way of revelation, in fact that is realistically the ONLY way I want policy change to occur within the Church.

She presents a false dichotomy, seeks to make a binary situation where one does not exist. There is no dissonance, between Pres. Nelson saying it came by revelation, and Oaks rightly calling this a policy. It IS BOTH.

Here are some other policies that came by way of revelation just so we don’t confuse what is occurring.

Circumsion, Law of Moses, Passover observance, different Sabbath commemorations, restriction of priesthood to Levites, restriction of Gospel to gentiles, opening of Gospel to all, end of dietary restriction on clean and unclean, priesthood open to all Israel, blacks restricted from priesthood, blacks not restricted, United Order, tithing, Plural Marriage.

Now the causal observer might say wait you just listed a host of “Doctrines” but called them policy, that is semantic word games.

While you would be within reason to do so, it highlights what I mentioned earlier regarding sloppiness of language, it is something almost no one avoids at one point or another.

Additionally such imprecise language, and using terms interchangeably that aren’t really interchangeable is something Church leaders both past and present have been guilty of, however such is to be expected after all we are but mere fallible mortals, and we can be careless in speech, especially when speaking in a high contextual manner like you have in General Conference, and Sacrament meetings etc, where the speaker assumes a certain level of base knowledge in the audience.

But back to the topic at hand, often what we’ve called “Doctrine” was simply the current policy, so Law of Moses, no gentiles, Plural Marriage etc, these were all policies governing daily practice of the Gospel at different times, they were all instituted and rescinded by revelation in various dispensations.

And again let’s be honest here, don’t we want policy established by revelation?

We consistently mention ongoing revelation, but as soon as we have an example of it that contradicts our personal proclivities, we seek to diminish and dismiss it as mere “policy”, in fact that is the only recourse for those opposing ongoing revelation, they need it be something other than by way of revelation, otherwise they are actively fighting against God. They need it to be mancrafted policy, any hint of inspiration and divine influence puts them squarely on the wrong side, so it must be mere policy, if nowhere else but in their mind and purview.

It doesn’t work like that though we either have ongoing revelation influencing policy, or we are simply making policy based in whimsy?

Do we really want to assume whimsy is the reason for a policy, or do we really sustain or leaders and trust God, humble ourselves, and assume they seek His will, and He provides it, and directs them in forming Gospel policy for our day?

I know what I’m choosing, I encourage you to cease halting between the two options as Elijah said if the Lord be God, serve us Him.

To suppose it is either policy or revelation is pure silliness, and like trying to cram 20 lbs of crap in a 5 lbs bag.

A someone once said God cannot pour 1 gallon of revelation into a 1 cup mind.

Oh the vainness and foolishness, and frailties of man, when they have a little knowledge they think they are wise.


3 thoughts on “Revelation and policy.

  1. it’s also interesting to note that many are hung up on the “canonization issue. Since a revelation hasn’t been “canonized” by a vote at General Conference, it’s not really “doctrine.” This, of course, in nonsense. For example, many view the proclamation on the family as a mere suggestion and reject it as a revelatory document with doctrinal messages. This misses the point entirely. The leaders of the Church guide by inspiration and revelation and not every important doctrine has or will be “canonized.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Additionally we have an open Canon, policies come and go, and our Canon has changed periodically as need arises and it will continue to do so. To act as though something is a mere suggestion because it isn’t officially Canon is foolishness.

      The Handbook ought to be given the same weight as any canonized scripture, while such policies are in force.

      Further the Handbook is simply a framework from which the boundaries for governance are outlined. It isn’t designed to be a hard fast letter of the Law enforcement directive manual.

      This is why there is a certain amount of vagueness to the language of the Handbook in certain sections.

      Which vagueness caused confusion in the recent leak, but if there was no leak the vagueness presents no problem to those who understand the purpose of the Handbook and its function


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