16 July 2013

Personal Revelation

I got a lot of really good feed back about my post Journey to Gay (Part 3), both directly, and when it was published on a gay Mormon blog called No More Strangers. But I have gotten a lot of people telling me that I am wrong. That personal revelation will never contradict established revelation from the Prophet. This is my experience with talking to my (then) Stake President. 

After my experience in the temple, I went home and studied the concept of revelation. How it works, how it's "supposed" to feel. The next day I emailed my bishop and told him that I had an experience in the temple that regarded personal revelation, and that I'd like to speak with him about it. He immediately sent me upstairs to the Stake President (to this day I still wonder why he did that without speaking to me first.) I gave his executive secretary a call, and I met with him about a week later.

I went into the meeting and I explained what I had experienced in as much detail as I could. I told him everything. He sat there nodding his head, and he looked a little puzzled. He opened his scriptures and started marking things, and taking notes. When I finished, he told me very plainly, "I'm sorry, but what you have just told me is a lie. Personal revelation will never trump official, established revelation given by the Prophets." He continued to explain that it was the case partly because I do not hold the Priesthood.

Excuse me? My personal revelation was false? A lie? And because I don't hold the Priesthood?? (Which implies that no woman in the Church will ever receive revelation) No way. I believe that Satan can tempt us, but I do not believe that he can imitate the feelings that the Holy Ghost gives in confirmation. When I received this revelation, I felt the exact same feeling that I felt when I prayed about the Book of Mormon. If I had not, I probably would have interpreted it as Satan trying to tempt me. Not that it would have mattered, because I firmly believe that Satan cannot penetrate the temple to get to us. God would throw his sorry ass out to the curb. But that's just my opinion...

After recovering from the shock of his statement, I brought up the story of Nephi and Laban in 1Nephi 4. Nephi was not yet a prophet. His father Lehi was still alive and receiving revelation, as was Jeremiah in Jerusalem. He had no prophetic or apostolic authority to receive revelation for others. Therefore Nephi received personal revelation. And his personal revelation was in contention with official and established revelation from the prophet Moses. Nephi was commanded to kill Laban for the brass plates, but the Ten Commandments tell him, Thou shalt not kill. 

Nephi questions the Spirit at first (with good reason) saying, "Never at anytime have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him." (1Nephi 4:10) The Spirit had to tell him three times that he was to kill Laban. Finally Nephi obeyed the voice of The Lord (1Nephi 4:18), and he smitten off Laban's head with his own sword (1Nephi 4:19). He did this because the Spirit testified that "It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." (1Nephi 4:13)

In regards to my personal revelation... The Spirit testified to me three times. I questioned The Lord; I doubted His Spirit. But I know that it was given to me because it is better that I live to see another day, and that others live to see another day, than to have the entire LGBT Mormon community dwindle and perish. And I told him this. Which in hindsight... Not the best idea...

My Stake President got a little flustered at this point... He told me that I had not been "chosen" like Nephi was. That Nephi was preparing to be a prophet (which I absolutely believe). He told me that I was bordering on being an apostate. And he told me that my communication with Satan was sinful, and that until I turn my heart back to The Lord, I would not receive "legitimate" revelation. 

*cue Todd Akin*

That day, I left discouraged... But 6 months later, when I received my patriarchal blessing, I was uplifted. Because my blessing is chock full of affirming passages to my personal revelation. Like this, "The world is in commotion. There is a multitude of opinions, motives, and desires in conflict and it is difficult for a seeker of truth to know who is right. The grace of God has given you the answer. Be grateful for the knowledge and testimony he has given you."

Am I being prepared to be a prophet? No, but my blessing does say this, "You have been reserved to come to earth in the dispensation of the fullness of times in which you now live in order that you could assist in the preparations for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Are there purposes for me to fulfill? Heavenly Father says so, "You will be able to accomplish the purposes for which you were sent to earth. There are significant purposes and circumstances where you will provide very valuable assistance in accomplishing the work of the Lord."

And there is no mention of marriage. None. Which, as I have been told, is quite rare and unusual for a young, fertile woman like myself. Pretty sure that's not a coincidence.

I am including passages from my blessing, not to brag about the kick ass things I'm meant to do, but to support my unwavering knowledge that what happened that day in the temple was genuine. I only wish that I had received my blessing earlier, not just to tell my Stake President, and show him that I'm not an apostate, but for my own well being.

Since I wrote about this experience, and since it has been published on No More Strangers, there have been countless people that have told me about similar experiences. That they have had the Spirit testify to them that they are doing the right thing. Coincidence? I think not.

Let me reaffirm that I did not, under any circumstance, receive revelation for the entire, world wide Church. That is a Priesthood key that I do not hold. The only person on the earth that holds that key, is Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church, and sustained as prophet, seer, and revelator. I sustain him. And I will sustain him in every general conference for the duration of his life. And then I will sustain the next prophet (whoever he may be). 

With that said, I encourage every person, who has ever had a question about anything, to ask it. Put James 1:5 to work. But ask in faith, with no bias (James 1:6), because you will not receive an answer to your prayers when your heart is closed to it. That applies to the average member of the Church, and to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. If your heart is closed and hardened, you will not receive revelation.

Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened up unto you.

25 comments:

  1. I've mentioned it tons of times but you haven't read it yet: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/two-lines-of-communication?lang=eng

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    1. Your point?

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    2. Anonymous, I don't know who you are, so I don't know if you have mentioned this "tons of times", but I have read this article, and I just read it again. Let me state (again) that I am not claiming to receive revelation for the whole Church. I am aware that if I follow the counsel I received in my personal revelation, I will not be able to participate fully in the Church. I will not hold a temple recommend, I will not hold callings, I will not take the sacrament. Because revelation has not yet been received by President Monson for the whole Church. I know this, and while I do not like it, I will accept it, until such day that I can raise my hand in General Conference and sustain said revelation.

      In one of my previous posts titled "Journey to Gay (Part 3)", I speculated on why I received this revelation before the Church. While I do not know if this is the actual reason, I believe that I received it because The Lord needed me to stay alive. Because I was ready to give up my life... rather than to have one more impure thought about women. I thought that dying would be more pleasing to God, then living as a chaste lesbian.

      Am I wrong? I don't think so, but its possible. If I am wrong, I'll die and go to the other side of the veil, to find out that I was wrong. But I would have lived a full life, instead of dying at the age of 21. And thousands of my peers would have lived full lives. And I think life is more pleasing to God than dying because your church told you to hate who you are.

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    3. My point is that your revelation is going against the Priesthood line of the church. The talk clearly says that they shouldn't contradict each other. You will not receive revelation before the Prophet. You'll be waiting for that day for a long time, sorry.

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  2. I am so glad you didn't let him discourage you from accepting God's divine guidance.

    He was really trying to trap you with a fallacy. Basically his logic is circular. He is more or less saying " believe the church leaders because the church leaders say you should." This kind of logic only works with divine confirmation. In fact, you should not believe the church leaders unless you get divine confirmation. This is the promise of James and of Moroni. This is what Joseph Smith did when he had the first vision. This is what you have to do. You have no choice but to trust the answer God gives you, because otherwise you would have no reason to accept the gospel in the first place.

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  3. Love this. Stay strong! Our relationship with God and with our Savior trumps our relationship with a stake president any day. :)

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  4. I loved this. I gave a gospel doctrine lesson on apostasy where we spent the entire time discussing exactly this sort of experience, and where I made the same distinction. There is an even better example for you than Nephi -- there are all sorts of examples in the 1970s of patriarchs giving blessings to black men promising the priesthood and temple sealings, before the revelation to give blacks the priesthood had come out. It freaked the church out for a while -- I think they even may have repeated blessings a couple of times with different patriarchs because it went against official church policy. But the promises were repeated. God is so much more infinite and vast than the human limits "the Church" sometimes places upon him.

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    1. I had no idea that there was record of black men receiving patriarchal blessings (pre 1978) much less them saying that! That's remarkable!

      With my blessing, I was at first discouraged that it said nothing about marriage (gay or straight). But then I thought about it... The Lord wouldn't have told that to the (elderly and conservative) patriarch. It would've placed doubt in him, and my blessing would've no longer been inspired and prophetic. I believe that the lack of mention is the Lord's way of telling me, while still letting the patriarch be awesome and be inspired :)

      But that's just me :)

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  5. Ellen, thank you for sharing your experiences. I do admit that I do not understand nor can I be fair in telling you right or wrong about your spiritual experiences. My only suggestion to everyone including myself is that Everyone is fallible. Many have been deceived by various means. We have been taught that the Adversary can imitate signs and feelings from the Spirit. May you Ellen and all of us lay hold onto the Iron Rod and not be fooled by the Father of Lies.

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    1. Satan can imitate, but he cannot replicate. We need to be sensitive to the dissonance between the still small voice of the Spirit, and the counterfeit forgeries of the adversary.

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  6. A friend of mine sent me a link to this post (I have no idea how she came across it), but I just wanted to say that I appreciate you sharing your experience. It's been a while since I've been to church and I keep wanting to go back. I want to pray and feel the spirit and have those blessings that come with church attendance. I miss feeling the Spirit. Anyway, I just wanted to say that your post (and your whole blog, really, which I honestly plan to browse all night) makes me want to really pray to God and find out if my life is okay with him. I've just assumed that the choices I've been making (including having a serious girlfriend) are not things that He would support, but I haven't really ASKED. I don't know why. Personal revelation was always something I held dear. I guess it's time to try and make use of that again.
    (I'm also going to re-read my Patriarchal blessing, which I haven't looked at in months.)
    So thanks for sharing this. I really, really appreciate it.

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    1. If you live in Salt Lake City, you can always come with me. My ward is pretty awesome :) bring your girlfriend too! :)

      You will always be able to feel the Spirit. I honestly believe that once you have it, you have it... Until you kill someone or something. If the only "transgression" you've made is having a girlfriend, then I think you'd be in the clear as to having the Spirit. But that's just me.

      If you're going to read my blog all the way back... Disregard how pathetic it is in the beginning... I had no direction for where I wanted it to go. The new-ish ones are better... Just an FYI ;)

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  7. I'll skip any sort of details to save embarrassment for the person involved, but I have to say that Satan can very convincingly imitate the feelings of the Holy Ghost - especially when we are spiritually fatigued (such as when we have been struggling with something).

    I know someone who had an experience of receiving what felt exactly like personal revelation but which contradicted church doctrine. It was a difficult and confusing mess to untangle but this person did come to realize that the experience was a very cunning imitation of revelation and also to marvel that it could be so completely convincing.

    I'm not trying to make a judgement on your experience but I would invite you to not underestimate what the adversary can do.

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    1. I will say that David is right, but David, how many times have we been told by leaders that Satan cannot penetrate the walls of the House of the Lord? Either her personal revelation is right, she convinced herself it was PR in the first place, OR the leadership is wrong. That's one of the interesting aspects about this post,

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  8. Ellen,
    Loved the post, your stake president was out of line in his manner of how he approached you with his disagreement which to me shows a flag that he left his mindset of stake prez to his imperfect, human perspective that may just be blinded to personal prejudice. I've seen it plenty of times since my conversion 6 years ago and even before hand when I was Anti-Mormon (part of the fuel of that old fire actually). One thing I will never do will be blind and obedient. If I question something about church policy, which IS different from the GOSPEL (as the church and the Gospel are separate things, sorry folks that confuse that, your bubble is burst). Anyways I pray about it for confirmation; which is great because even those that don't question can't argue that because we've been told to countless times as well by leadership. But to go back; to me the Gospel and the Church are totally different and with that, the Gospel is perfect, and the church is not, it's NOT SUPPOSED TO BE, WE are the church and are we perfect? Nope, so we (the church) are bound to make mistakes. If people and members understood this concept we wouldn't have so many people blind and submissively believing and instead would be really seeing what their faith and testimony is really made up and would be able to grow in ways they would never have known possible. And all those members who left because they where "offended" would probably still be active because they would know that shiz happens. Preach on sista!

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  9. Thank you for this post. It is hard for a lot of us in the church to accept that someone could get an answer to a prayer that we disagree with.

    I had a similar experience when I was considering my divorce. I had been debating and praying for a couple of years about whether it would ever be acceptable for me to end my marriage. I received a complicated answer in the celestial room and had my take president tell me I was being deceived by Satan. He was so angry about me taking that answer over his advice that he disfellowshipped me for "abandonment" of my family even though I've never missed time with them or any financial obligations, and go out of my way to give more time and money than the courts specify.

    When I was reinstated to the church (I'm sure most people never realized I had been disfellowshipped because I never stopped actively participating and finding ways to serve), my new bishop reviewed the case and apologized for the way my old stake president handled things.

    People who have seen the transition in my life over the past 7 years can tell that my life is better in every way now than it was back then, and they know I must have been listening to the spirit. But a lot of people told me how wicked and fallen I was back then because their preconceived idea was that divorce is always wrong.

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    1. What your Stake President did was wrong. You did nothing wrong. Divorce is never ideal... It's not something that people "want" to do, or should do at the first sign of problems. But it can be the best thing for some people, depending on the situation.

      I'm glad that you did what was best for you. And screw anyone tht thinks that you don't deserve happiness.

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  10. Your stake president did exactly the right thing. You should have been excommunicated, or at least disfellowshipped for false teaching, and apostasy. This is why the gays and the feminists are a threat to the Church. It's people like you that invite the Spirit of Contention, and Satan into the hearts of the righteous. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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    1. Way to sound like a complete ass backwards bigot, It's actually you that is the biggest UN Christ like threat to the religion. Oh and way to hide behind a keyboard, bet if it was face to face you'd not dare say a word, you're the worst type of Mormon and the reason why I hated the church for so long. Have fun answering to God one day for all the people you've helped to offend in the name of YOUR views.

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    2. People are entitled to their opinions... I don't agree with him/her, but I would rather see all the opinions people have, rather than just the opinions that I like and agree with. While I personally see it as cowardly that they hide under an anonymous title, I can understand it... They are in the minority. Annoying, but whatever.

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    3. Ellen, Valid point, my apologies for what I said.

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  11. Isn't your patriarchal blessing supposed to be kept sacred?
    Do you not care about sacred things?
    Are you twisting things to make then how you want to see them?!

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    1. My blessing is sacred, but it is not secret. I share the parts I'm ok with sharing, and keep the parts that I don't want to share to myself. Have you never heard someone say a part or multiple parts over the pulpit in a talk? I have. Multiple times.

      Of course I care about sacred things. Are you kidding me?

      No I am not twisting thing to see them how I want to see them. There is another part of my blessing that reads, "Read it frequently and pray that the Lord will bless you to understand it in the light of the time in which you are reading it, thus it will be useful to you throughout your life." In the short time that I have had my blessing, I have interpreted parts of my blessing in different ways. I will continue to do so throughout my life. My blessing be applicable no matter where I am in life, and no matter what situation I am in.

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