Question on visiting angels
I think you've got some interesting thought questions on angels. Neal A. Maxwell gave a talk in General Conference (Neal A. Maxwell, “God Will Yet Reveal,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 52) where he talks about angels and revelation. It may be helpful in thinking about some of your questions.
I think I've heard the modern teachings you mention, could you point me to the quote or reference you are thinking of? MJ 19:18, 28 Apr 2005 (CEST)
- MJ, Thanks for referring to Elder Maxwell's talk. I really enjoyed it. Though, it was secondary to the purpose of the article, the purpose of angels is mentioned several times. I think the following is an interesting quote from that article relevant to Rob's question: "Therefore, the process of revelation typically involves angels and prophets (see Alma 12:28–29)." --Matthew Faulconer 09:57, 29 Apr 2005 (CEST)
- This is interesting to me, because I thought I'd detected over the pulpit more of an emphasis on personal revelation and spiritual promptings from the Holy Ghost than on revelation involving angels. For example, President Faust, in April 2004, said "messages are more commonly manifested by the still, small voice, which speaks to all of us through the scriptures, modern prophets, and personal revelation." Another recent talk about personal revelation from the Holy Ghost is Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Unspeakable Gift,” Ensign, May 2003, 26. Talks like these have struck me as a sort of an explanation addressing a general perception of Matthew's points 2 or 3 below. --RobertC 14:07, 5 Nov 2005 (UTC)
- I'm not sure exactly how it applies but I think the verses Moro 7:36-37 are relevant to this discussion. I'm not exactly sure how to apply these verses though. In other words it doesn't seem right for everyone who hasn't had an angelic visit to think of this as a personal problem showing a lack of faith. On the other hand, if no one in the church has an angelic visit, then it seems like the church ends up condemned by Moroni's words. --Matthew Faulconer 14:58, 11 Nov 2005 (UTC)
Rob, I have never before heard of the teaching you refer to that suggests we don't need angelic visitations. However, I have wondered why we don't hear about more visitations today. I see three possibilities:
- We, as a people, receive the same amount of angelic visitations and we hear about them just as much. It may seems like we don't hear about Angels as much when we compare our experience to the Book of Mormon because our experience is just our own and we are comparing that to a short spiritual history of a people that covers a 1000 years.
- We receive the same amount of angelic visitations but we don't speak about them as much and therefore don't hear about them as much.
- We receive fewer angelic visitations than the people of this time.
I lean towards 1 or 2. But the scriptures do show us times when God has given more spiritual gifts to his people and sometimes fewer. Sometimes the scriptures make it clear that this is due to the faith of the people; other times, the reason is not made clear. So there is a precedent for 3. The difference between 1 and 2 is in how much people talk about their spiritual gifts. It may be that our culture, for various reasons, is one that talks little about spiritual gifts publicily and so we hear about them only infrequently. --Matthew Faulconer 09:57, 29 Apr 2005 (CEST)
Rob, I rewrote the question to take out the reference to the commonly claimed idea that we don't need angels if we have the priesthood. Is that cool? If you or others think this is commonly taught let's discuss. --Matthew Faulconer 13:43, 2 Nov 2005 (UTC)
I knew if I thought about it long enough I'd find at a quote on this...today at the beginning of my fast it came to me, an Elder Hartman Rector Jr. quote from the April 1979 General Conference: "If you pray for a revelation from the Lord, he will probably send you your bishop with the answer. You really don’t need a visit from an angel so long as you have a bishop." (Ensign, May 1979, p. 30). This may be the primary source behind my thought on this--though I thought I had heard Elder Packer say something similar once as well. But having read Elder Rector's "Already to Harvest" book on my mission maybe 100 times (the conference talk was reprinted in that book), this is the most likely source for that thought. Not sure how widespread the idea is in the Church. Rob Fergus 01:52, 6 Nov 2005 (UTC)
We know not how soon
Verse 25 says the people didn't know how soon the Jesus would come. I don't remember where off the top of my head but it seems like there are some pretty specific prophecies that say exactly how soon Jesus would come before this verse. Does anyone know where those are? Mathewfaulconer 00:56, 31 Oct 2005
Wanderers and plainness (v. 23)
I find the exegesis Matthew posted on wanderers and plainness very interesting. I think two corroborating examples on the opposite end of the spectrum are Christ's parables and the writings of Isaiah--both seem less plain and written for a non-wandering people. --RobertC 03:05, 30 Jan 2006 (UTC)
- I didn't write it up this way but I wonder if this should be part of the answer to the question on angelic visits. Originally I didn't favor the solution to that question which said that we just get less angelic visits than they did then (c above) but now reading these few verses in context I feel Alma's point in saying they get lots of angelic visits is to show that they were a favored people becasue they were wanderers. --Matthew Faulconer 12:40, 30 Jan 2006 (UTC)
Why God can be more plain with wanderers
I was thinking about this more and was thinking about why it is that God is more plain with the Nephites about the coming of Christ than he is with the Jews. Here Alma says it is because the Nephites are in a "strange land." I think by strange land what Alma means is that it is a land not known to the Jews in Jerusalem. But why does that make a difference? I think the reason for this has to do with the different types of faith required by each people (a Nephite versus a Jew). A Nephite was given very specific information about Christ but was told that Christ would be born in another land. (See how this requires faith by looking at Hel 16:20.) Further when Christ was born, the evidences of the birth of the savior were undeniable for the Nephites. All this could be done because they were in a strange land--they weren't in the land where Jesus lived. On the other hand when Jesus was born among the Jews everyone didn't instantly know that this was their messiah. His life fit the prophecies but not to the point where Christ was unmistakably the savior. Had the signs that accompanied Jesus's birth and death been given to the people of Jerusalem it would seem that we would have a very different historical record that required little to no faith.
I think of this as the same reason that the Book of Mormon had to be given to a prophet to translate. If instead it would have been discovered by some archeologists and everyone agreed it was a legitimate ancient artifact and over time a bunch of scholars translated it--imagine how little faith it would take to believe in Christ.
--Matthew Faulconer 13:13, 30 Jan 2006 (UTC)