I finished reading through the D&C today and as I read through the Official Declarations at the end of the D&C, I was struck particularly with the way they were presented to the church in general conference
President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:
“I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”
In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously . . . .
Recognizing Spencer W. Kimball as the prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is proposed that we as a constituent assembly accept this revelation as the word and will of the Lord. All in favor please signify by raising your right hand. Any opposed by the same sign.
The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous in the affirmative.
There are so many things I love about what this says about the process of revelation in the Church
1) The Vote sustaining the revelation is anonymous- Even though some people will over subsequent months and years struggle and some will even leave the church because of these revelations (Especially the end of polygamy), the sustaining vote was unanimous. This teaches me something very meaningful about how we are to view the teachings of the Prophets. We may struggle, but we should also with all our hearts and with our voice sustain their teachings as inspired of God. In other words, if I am doubtful, I will question my own knowledge rather than question the prophetic mantle of the Prophet.
2) Among the 12 and ALL the general authorities the vote was unanimous to end the priesthood ban- The general authorities will act with one voice even if that means waiting for unanimity. On the other hand, this also shows that the general authorities no matter their personal opinions will all be unified if they feel the prophet has received revelation. A general authority from the deepest most racist part of the south would have sustained the prophet in the revelation that he received.
3) We are asked to personally sustain the Prophet and the revelation he receives. An integral part of sustaining him as Prophet, Seer , and Revelator is personally sustaining his teaching in our word and our conduct… If we do not sustain his teaching and revelation, we can not be said to be sustaining him as God’s anointed. Yet, we are also all asked to gain a personal witness as we raise our hands to sustain the prophet.
I think these examples help show the proper balance between sustaining the prophet and also seeking to know for oneself. We do both at the same time, with a hand in the air and a prayer in our heart. We act and we ask. We believe and we question. These action go together and are part of true discipleship.