Monday, December 27, 2010

The Proclamation, President Packer, and Revelation

December 27, 2010
by Tim Barker

I had a conversation with a friend a month or two ago, regarding the subject of continuing revelation, which is, perhaps, the most distinguishing characteristic of Mormonism.  Among other issues discussed, questions arose as to what qualifies as a revelation, and how Latter-day Saints are to recognize or distinguish a revelation from an opinion.  This subject arose because of a change in wording from the discourse delivered by President Boyd K. Packer in General Conference entitled Cleansing the Inner Vessel, compared to the subsequently released printed version.  In his talk, President Packer stated that The Family: A Proclamation to the World, "qualifies according to definition, as a revelation..."  The printed version states that the proclamation "is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow."  The assumption was that President Packer's change in wording was an apparent correction, indicating that the proclamation was not a revelation, and this would be disconcerting to members who believed that it was.  Other changes in the printed version have received a degree of publicity and criticism, and there has been no shortage of speculation as to President Packer's motives.1