Sources of Legitimacy

July 1, 2015    By: Jeff G @ 3:32 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,orthodox,Personal Revelation,Scriptures,Theology,Truth

In this post I wanted to briefly sketch out some of my own thoughts and taxonomies regarding how we go about legitimizing claims and positions.  I realize that the distinctions I make aren’t all that fine grained, but I prefer to sacrifice a certain amount of complexity for the sake of clarity.  When somebody calls some belief, position or claim into question there are, I submit, 4 primary ways in which we legitimate such things:

  1. They look “up” to authority, office or some other person who is set apart to answer such questions
  2. They look “out” to nature through observation, experiment, measurement, etc.
  3. They look “inward” to feelings, promptings, instincts and passions, etc.
  4. They look “back” to the past in traditions, customs, sacred texts and other things that have stood the test of time.

I think pretty much every culture accepts each of these sources of legitimation to some degree or another – the primary difference being in how they prioritize them.  While fully granting that none of these cultures is homogeneous by any stretch of the imagination, here are a few examples:

  • Feudal Europe: back, up, in, out
  • The Protestant Reformation: back, in, out, up
  • The Scientific Revolution: out, back, in, up
  • The French Enlightenment: out, up, in, back
  • The German Romantics: in, back, out, up
  • Utopian Socialists: in, out, up, back
  • The Fascists: up, in, back, out
  • Communists: up, out, in, back
  • Neo-conservatives: back, out, up, in

One thing worth noting is that I had a very difficult time prioritizing the 3rd and 4th source for almost all of these.  As such, I typically assigned the 4th one according to what the movement stood against most.  Of course, the whole point of this post is that I would like to situate Mormonism within this scheme.  Before I give my interpretation of it, however, I need to acknowledge that somebody might disagree with my 4 sources from the start.  If such is the case, how would you change it?  Other might disagree with how I have interpreted the above movements.  If so, how do you think they should be?  Your disagreements on these issues in which we are far less invested will probably help to resolve any disagreements that we might have with regard to Mormonism.  That said,

Mormonism: in, up, out, back

I think within Mormonism our inner promptings and other forms of personal revelation are completely basic, and can potentially outweigh anything else – this is exactly how missionaries convert people.  After that, I think following living prophets and priesthood leaders is quite fundamental to being Mormon.  Unlike the more authoritarian movements (Fascism and Communism), however, we see individual freedom to follow one’s promptings as non-negotiable.  I think looking to the world also plays a significant role within Mormonism in that we tend to be rather practical, believe in literal miracles, and are moderately inclined toward scientific thinking.  I think looking to the past comes absolutely last within Mormonism.  We are not too impressed by appeals to dead prophets, dead Greeks  and dead texts, nor are we terribly inclined to romanticize the distant past.  Yes, we do adhere to the living word of an older generation which gives the illusion of adherence to traditional values from the past, but this is due to the priesthood authority of this older generation rather than their seniority or experience as such.



  1. Mormonism: up, back, in, out.

    up = modern authorities
    back = past authorities (assuming no current authority has spoken to the issue)
    in = personal revelation (which we are always supposed to seek, but which is viewed with skepticism if it contradicts modern or past higher authorities)
    out = to the world for evidence (which is viewed with skepticism if it contradicts modern or past higher authorities, or personal revelation)

    That’s just off the cuff thinking though.

    Comment by Jay — July 1, 2015 @ 4:21 pm

  2. I think that’s probably the most popular way of seeing things in the church. I guess mine was sort of idealized, since most members clearly do not see things the way I said.

    Would you say that the Mormon ideal departs from popular opinion, or are they pretty much one and the same in your opinion? If so, what would you say the ideal is?

    Comment by Jeff G — July 1, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  3. Mormon popular opinion I think is as I described, and that also appears to be the official position of the church (these days). As someone who wishes that we’re not the case, it’s frustrating for me. I personally like your version a lot better – seems much healthier, spiritually.

    Comment by Jay — July 1, 2015 @ 8:11 pm

  4. I think you forgot gnosis which is the process that Mormonism came from but no longer supports.

    Comment by Howard — July 1, 2015 @ 9:40 pm

  5. I think one is a bit missing and that is the self-referential community “around”.

    I think back comes first. The reason is that I think the scriptures are seen as legitimate and “up” almost never seen as conflicting with scriptures. There are some exemptions but the Book of Mormon is backward looking and fundamental to mormonism. The missionary approach is Back, in, up, out. You look back to the scriptures, get a spiritual confirmation, this convinces you that Joseph was a prophet and you look out for the fruits of that leadership.

    You could say Christ is looking up but it is usually presented with reference to the historicity of Christ’s mission and as a restoration not starting from current prophets teaching. This is fundamentally “back” first.

    Think of the organization of time in church meetings. We hear “around” messages: talks and testimonies in Sacrament meeting. The sacrament prayers themselves make no mention of any authority other than Christ. (You could argue this is “in” first because our own witness is the legitimating act.) I think the term “remember” is fundamental in the prayer and that is back. Ordinances are extremely “back-laden” from specific words and actions and keys that are infrequently changed by authority. They are traditional.

    Culturally, look at the three historical cases of “up” first. What mormons see themselves as fascist, communist or feudal? I think most mormons would find “protestant, neo-conservative” less of an insult than Feudal, communist or fascist.

    In fact that sums up my whole disgust with your approach: it’s a fascist, communist feudalism.

    I’m curious where you would put “strict construction rule-of-law” politics. I think back, up, out, in.

    As for not being impressed with dead prophets, I think the issue with you is that you didn’t sing in primary.

    How many non-dead prophets are in the verses to ‘Follow the Prophet?” How many stories, minutes and words are cited from dead prophets and scripture versus the current prophets?

    I can’t imagine a member that follows the current prophet that is not impressed by the words of past prohets – zero.

    Comment by Martin James — July 2, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  6. Howard,

    Where do we look to find that gnosis? For example, Plato thought that timeless forms were the ultimate truth, but the way in which gained access to the forms was by looking in and remembering what we had already known on some level.


    I find the idea of looking “around” quite interesting, and I must admit that I did not think of it. The idea that “everybody else is doing it” might legitimize some behavior is a possibility. Of course there would be some overlap with looking “up” and “back”, but I think imitation is something worth thinking about.

    As for the rest, I think we are speaking about different things – which isn’t a bad thing at all. What I was more focused on was this: for people who are already faithful Mormons, if looking “back” and looking “up” lead in different directions, which one should we follow?

    A different question that I think Jay was closer to than I was is this: for people who are already faithful Mormons, if looking “back’ and looking “up” lead in different direction, which one do they tend to follow? I think a lot of your comment squares well with this, and I’m guessing you think that ideal and the actual cases are closer together than I probably suggest. Again, this isn’t all that bad.

    “In fact that sums up my whole disgust with your approach: it’s a fascist, communist feudalism.”

    Actually, it’s much more romantic than anything else since looking “in” trumps everything, something that fascism and communism where expressly fighting against in their opposition to liberalism.

    “How many stories, minutes and words are cited from dead prophets and scripture versus the current prophets?”

    To answer your question: as many as the living prophets cite for us! When living prophets distance themselves from the teachings of some dead prophet, the practical outcome is that the dead prophet gets neglected or forgotten.

    “I can’t imagine a member that follows the current prophet that is not impressed by the words of past prohets – zero.”

    I probably stated that part a bit too strongly. I was trying to channel the Pres. Benson claim that living prophets are more important than dead prophets – a claim which is at the very center of the entire restoration. It is, after all, what separates us from pretty much all other Christian churches. Thus, just because appeals to scripture is 4th on my list, it doesn’t mean that we are fighting against it, only that we find is deeply insufficient.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 12:23 pm

  7. I guess (yet) another important distinction that the post ignored was whether we are legitimizing private beliefs or public assertions. With regards to private beliefs, I think looking in trumps all. With regards to legitimizing public assertions to other people, however, I do not think this is the case.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  8. Jeff G,
    We look to the experience of Joseph Smith.

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

  9. Howard,

    I’m still confused. Are you saying that we follow JS’s example in looking in/up to God for confirmation? Or are you saying that we simply look back to cases like JS as confirmation?

    In other words, do you mean confirmation by:
    1) God literally speaking to my physical ears as an embodied authority figure?
    2) God prompting or communicating to me within my mind and heart?
    3) Looking back to the experiences that others – like JS – have had rather than having an experience for myself?

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

  10. How many ” cases like JS” can you point to Jeff?

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 1:13 pm

  11. Well, I guess you could include a few OT prophets, but I don’t think the number is all that relevant to the question at hand. You say I forgot the “gnosis” and I’m trying my best to understand what you mean by that.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

  12. Gnosis is spiritual knowledge, it is; to know. It is the product of profound revelation resulting from a profound relationship with God, not the product of some nebulous was it the spirit or my emotions kind of a feeling. Gnosis appears to be completely missing from modern LDS Q15s yet far more present than not with Joseph.

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

  13. The point is Mormonism as founded by Joseph has more “legitimacy” than the “prophets” we are to refrain from criticizing (even IF they are wrong) and follow unquestioningly even as we watch Mormonism watered down, correlated and codified.

    I think this is largely arguing against the direct you are typically pointing.

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

  14. direction

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 2:32 pm

  15. Howard,

    I agree that your appeal to gnosis probably clashes with what I have argued in other posts, but I simply do not see how I left it out in this post. Such spiritual knowledge, regardless of how clear it is, comes from looking inside.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

  16. Indeed it does Jeff but your description of looking “inward” was about feelings, promptings, instincts and passions, etc. None of those are gnosis or even come close to gnosis, gnosis is something much more intense and defined.

    So my point is gnosis is the founding process of Mormonism but it is no longer practiced and you failed to even consider it in this post! And your oversight is also the default oversight of the church itself and explains why the church is currently blind in it’s spiritual navagation. See Prop 8, see the 1949 Q1 statement, see blacks can, blacks can’t, blacks can and the essay that attempts to explain this contradiction, etc.

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 2:53 pm

  17. But my point is that the differences between gnosis, as you describe it, and other inward and thus private process is irrelevant. The degree of intensity or how defined it is does nothing to make it less “inward” and private.

    I too would strongly resist conflating each and every inward experience (promptings, inner voices, hunches, carnal passions, etc.), but this doesn’t make such things any less inward and private.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 3:37 pm

  18. Howard, why do you think what you call gnosis is missing? Because they don’t talk about it in general conference? Go to smaller meetings and you’ll find the brethren much more willing to be forthright. I remember Pres. Hinkley speaking for two hours on having ones calling and election made sure and the spiritual encounters related to that on my mission. (I sadly missed the talk but heard a lot about it from other missionaries)

    By and large people don’t share profound spiritual experiences in a common public setting. From all evidence Joseph was far more guarded with how he related the First Vision than he was talking about the Book of Mormon.

    BTW – out of curiosity, do you take Pres. McConkie’s final talk as evidence that he’d had that gnosis or not? At the time I thought it was very unusual he’d go as far as he did. (And as he said in the talk he died shortly thereafter)

    I should add I disagree with Jeff on all this. But that’s because I think we need to inquire and adjudicate between evidence. I find the inner/outer divide ultimately unhelpful as most experiences include both simultaneously in a fashion that’s hard to unwrap. But I do think when we draw inferences from experience we have to be careful how we do it.

    Comment by Clark — July 2, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

  19. Clark,

    I agree that there will be a lot of overlap and judgments calls between these different categories. (Would an appeal to GBH be an appeal to tradition or authority? At what point does one become the other? Etc.)

    When you talk about evidence, however, I can only assume you mean publicly available evidence that is observable out in the natural world. This would be looking “out” as far as I can tell. If one is talking about one’s own private experiences as evidence, then one is looking “in”. I don’t see anything deeply problematic about this.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 2, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

  20. Jeff,
    The differences are not irrelevant. One finds revelation on an inward path, that is one learns how to receive revelation by focusing inward first (“comes from looking inside”) but as it surpasses inspiration it becomes an outward telepathic communication that is spirit to spirit in many forms such as a wordless concept download that must be unpacked and translated into less than adequate words, thought words, visions including still images, video images and the sensation of being there, empathic knowledge, etc, etc. So it isn’t inspiration with an amplifier it is far more.

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 6:16 pm

  21. Clark,
    If Q15 have this power: 1) How can they not reveal the resulting revelations and magnify their callings as revelators? 2) how can they be sooo wrong? 3) God has nothing more important to reveal to the world today than younger missionaries?

    With regard to LDS leaders being inspired as individuals I have no doubt that this is true! I have experienced much of this personally but it varies far more by individual than by calling. I know spiritually powerful Bishops and SPs and I know spiritual midgets who hold the same callings.

    Comment by Howard — July 2, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

  22. Jeff, no I don’t think what some call public evidence is all that counts as evidence. Far from it. Public evidence typically is a bit of a problematic category. Usually it means repeatable evidence except that of course a lot of public evidence isn’t repeatable (say a bunch of people seeing something but not having a recording). It’s blurry at best and problematic in the typical case.

    That doesn’t mean we can inquire and be careful about more subjective or personal evidence.

    I find the public/private distinction ultimately problematic though, even if I understand the impulse behind it. Clearly repeatable testable evidence is stronger than evidence that is not so repeatable. It doesn’t mean other types of evidence can’t count. Say a soldier going off to war saying he loves his wife and then dying. That might not count as public but it sure seems to matter as evidence.

    Comment by Clark — July 2, 2015 @ 8:52 pm

  23. Howard, for your (1) I guess I don’t understand the argument. Why are they required to? God regularly withholds things from the world. Seems to me like the brethren are following Alma 12-13. Especially Alma 12:9.

    Most of the stuff that historians regularly talk about now were not widely known at the time in the church. Historians know it just because of private diaries and so forth that recorded it. The same sorts of things go on now but just aren’t widely discussed.

    It seems to me that typically those with such experiences have the Holy Ghost restrain them from speaking about it in other settings.

    With regards to leaders, of course their abilities are not always why they are called. There’s the J. Golden Kimball joke about the three “tions” of Church callings: inspiration, revelation and desperation. There’s some truth to that. I also think that often the Lord calls people to callings not because they are good at it but because it helps them develop as people. Often to be a skilled leader later on in their lives. Heaven knows I’ve had callings I felt ill suited for. I’m sure everyone has. And the one calling I keep praying they never call me to is Bishop.

    Comment by Clark — July 2, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

  24. In my experience, the willingness to classify someone else as a “spiritual midget” immediately disproves one having any special knowledge of God or His ways.

    That is not how God speaks of His children.

    So much for a claim to “gnosis.”

    Comment by SilverRain — July 2, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

  25. SilverRain,

    Many years ago my CES employed full time seminary teacher said I was a spiritual Pygmy, does that count? Howard did you ever work for the church?

    Comment by Martin James — July 3, 2015 @ 5:50 am

  26. Yes, Martin, that counts.

    Christ said our faith is like a mustard seed, and that we are little children….both imagery focuses on potential.

    Comment by SilverRain — July 3, 2015 @ 7:32 am

  27. *focus

    Comment by SilverRain — July 3, 2015 @ 7:32 am

  28. Clark,
    Well we obviously see my #1 differently but perhaps this quote from Hugh B Brown’s memoirs does a better job of making my point:

    “(An idea) is submitted to the First Presidency and Twelve, thrashed out, discussed and rediscussed until it seems right. Then, kneeling together in a circle in the temple, they seek divine guidance and the president says, ‘I feel to say this is the will of the Lord.’ That becomes a revelation. It is usually not thought necessary to publish or proclaim it as such, but this is the way it happens.”

    This probably inspired but committee vetted rubber stamp request process isn’t anything like the gnosis of Joseph’s profound “thus saith the Lord” revelations.

    Nice ad hominem SR.

    Comment by Howard — July 3, 2015 @ 8:01 am

  29. Again, why do you think that’s the only way it happens? Getting consensus is important of course. But now you’re conflating two issues – getting the revelation and the process of getting consensus. Take say Joseph F. Smith’s revelation of the spirit world. Doesn’t that violate your theory that what Brown outlines is the only way?

    Likewise you seem to be conflating a new change of policy for the church and individual “gnosis” which seem to be very different issues. Perhaps you should clarify what exactly you mean by “gnosis”? Your definitions seem to be shifting a lot.

    Comment by Clark — July 3, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  30. To add, I think the many, many problems Joseph has as a leader with those underneath him in terms of management of the church suggests that the process he used of just directing everything perhaps wasn’t the wisest. It may have been unavoidable in many situations given how much he had to reveal. But if your entire point of “gnosis” is that leaders should just lead by fiat I think church history argues strongly against it as an effective long term strategy.

    Comment by Clark — July 3, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  31. Clark wrote: Again, why do you think that’s the only way it happens? Well with the exception of D&C 138 (which I do accept), there is little evidence of anything beyond what Hugh B Brown described and that was apparently all he was exposed to during his tenure. In addition I have received profoundly clear personal revelation that created and supports my conclusion.

    “Getting consensus” is a part of the process of committee inspiration, there was no need for Joseph to “get consensus”. The evidence is overwhelming that no one person or one Q1 or even one Q15 has come close to Joseph’s revelatory contribution in fact you can cum all of the known revelation received by all of the LDS Q15s since Joseph and it doesn’t come close to his individual revelatory contribution. So clearly something of great significance has been lost and it is a mistake to create a model that ignores this and offer it up as logical explanation for the current state of affairs, it isn’t.

    This church was founded via gnosis but gnosis is no longer practiced. That is a huge loss of God’s power.

    Comment by Howard — July 3, 2015 @ 10:53 am

  32. Howard,

    Would you at least acknowledge that your position in 31 involves quite a few assumptions that are well outside the publicly available evidence?

    Comment by Jeff G — July 3, 2015 @ 11:08 am

  33. Jeff I prefer to view it as the preponderance of evidence including the description by a Q1 First Counselor of the inspired committee process supports my argument. There is little if any objective evidence to the contrary.

    Comment by Howard — July 3, 2015 @ 11:26 am

  34. Btw, Hugh B. Brown’s description isn’t the only authoritative record we have, we know David O. McKay prayed and prayed for revelation regarding the ban on blacks but died without receiving it and we know from Edward Kimball’s account of SWK’s months of effort on his knees and struggling with his own biases and stacking the quorum to avoid a full quorum (in order to avoid the problem of getting consensus) to finally receive a wordless feeling of a “revelation” (actually inspiration?). None of these descriptions are of Joseph style “thus saith the Lord” gnosis or even anything close to it!

    Comment by Howard — July 3, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

  35. Howard, you can’t ad hominem someone who isn’t here to defend themselves, and then whine about ad hominem. It doesn’t work that way.

    Comment by SilverRain — July 3, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  36. SR why don’t you jump into the discussion instead of sniping from the sidelines.

    Comment by Howard — July 3, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

  37. I’m with Clark on this one. It was much, much easier for JS to get consensus with himself than it will ever be among 15 men, no matter how similar their backgrounds.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 3, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

  38. Clark,

    I’m a little confused regarding what you mean by “evidence”, especially in the case of the dying soldier. I am more than willing to grant that there are good reasons to believe things that are not grounded in evidence, but it seems like you’re almost equating “reason to believe” with “evidence”. But I might just be misinterpreting what you mean by that soldier story.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 3, 2015 @ 4:09 pm

  39. Jeff,

    So can Packer’s talks now go down the memory hole?

    Comment by Martin James — July 3, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

  40. I’m engaging the argument you are actually making, rather than the one you think you are making. There is nothing new in it, just the same thing you have been prattling for years.

    Your entire claim is based on 1) the assumption that you have a closer relationship with God than the Apostles, and 2) your assertion that they no longer speak for Him, which assertion is made on no firmer ground than that they don’t fit your romantic vision of what a prophet is. I have heard them, and I have heard you. Based on scripture and the evidence I see, it is clear to me who actually speaks for God.

    The rank and file in Joseph’s day had the same opinion of him as your opinion of the current prophets. Yawn. Some things don’t change.

    Comment by SilverRain — July 3, 2015 @ 10:04 pm

  41. I don’t know, Martin, let’s see what the living authorities say.

    Again, you should have predicted my response.

    Comment by Jeff G — July 3, 2015 @ 10:31 pm

  42. Well then SR it’s good to know all is well in Zion and God has little to share with humankind beyond the need for younger missionaries.

    Comment by Howard — July 3, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

  43. If you claim that is all that has been recently revealed, Howard, you’re only proving my point that you are a troll to the gospel, and have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Policy changes are not the same thing as revelation. Even by YOUR faulty definition.

    Isaiah 50:10-11. You have rejected the word of God by revelation to His servants, and then claim they aren’t speaking it. You are the only one you will hurt through those actions, and you will reap only sorrow from it. No different than most of Joseph’s contemporaries.

    Try listening. Open your ears, and you will hear the word of the Lord. Just don’t be surprised when it isn’t saying what you expect.

    Comment by SilverRain — July 4, 2015 @ 5:41 am

  44. SR, I’m already familiar with the standard LDS it’s you, not us, you’re not studing the scriptures and praying enough one solution to all concerns.

    Comment by Howard — July 4, 2015 @ 6:16 am

  45. I might have predicted it, but it was good for me to confirm that you will follow it where it leads. It changes my perspective on your posts a bit. I’ll probably comment less now on them. Less is at stake on my end I think.

    Comment by Martin James — July 5, 2015 @ 10:39 am

  46. Howard (34) I think you’re still conflating several issues. At a minimum the nature of receiving the revelation by any particular individual in the quorum and the nature of presenting the revelation to the world.

    It seems rather odd to deny your ill defined “gnosis” to the events in the link you provide given that think link in question contains claims of angelic visitations (pg 53) and an other described it “as though another day of Pentecost” (pg 56)

    Again your problem is you think revelations have to come with a “thus saith the Lord” whereas even under Joseph Smith that simply doesn’t appear to be the case. In any case all the brethren present claimed to have an answer that was from God and could say “thus saith the Lord.” Your problem appears to be that you think revelations have a certain textual form and that textual form is necessary for “gnosis.” But that seems a questionable assumption even in Church history.

    It is probably relevant that you haven’t defined “gnosis” nor provided positive arguments for why revelation has to take the form “thus saith the Lord.” It’s interesting that many of the major revelations of Joseph aren’t presented as a text appearing to come from God’s lips. (Think of the things revealed in the King Follet Discourse or the Sermon in the Grove) More significantly the text of the Book of Mormon has passages in which God speaks, but also quite a few where “thus saith the Lord” clearly isn’t a part.

    So I find the premise upon which your critique wrests to be rather difficult to accept and of course unsupported.

    Comment by Clark — July 5, 2015 @ 5:38 pm

  47. Jeff (38) I think a strong argument is a type of evidence. So reasons to believe can be types of evidence but they are not the only type.

    I’d say evidence is anything from which an argument can be constructed such that its conclusion is what we claim the item is evidence for. In other words evidence for X is anything that can be a premise in an argument for X. The strength of the evidence depends upon its place in argument.

    Effectively evidence is tied to inference. An inference assumes nothing but its premises. Inference is what leads us from the evidence to the conclusion. And of course other arguments can themselves act as parts of an argument or premises for that argument.

    Comment by Clark — July 5, 2015 @ 5:46 pm

  48. Howard (42), I suspect that were the body of the church ready for it we would have more public revelations. Given that we aren’t living what we have we shouldn’t be surprised that we aren’t given more. Still, we have far more than was given to the Nephites and from all appearances what was given publicly to the people of Palestine after Christ’s death. Certainly far more than was given publicly to Israel prior to the savior’s birth from all we can discern.

    Any critique of us not having more of course has to also explain why these other groups don’t get more. (And again Alma 12:9-12 clearly explains why more isn’t given publicly)

    I’d add that history strongly suggests that Joseph would have been wise to gain more consensus. I think that one of his weaknesses and many problems (including often major apostasy) happened because he didn’t more consensus building. Clearly you want that kind of structure, although I don’t think you can provide a clear argument for such a structure being essential.

    Comment by Clark — July 5, 2015 @ 5:54 pm

  49. It should perhaps be mentioned that “in” in Christianity and Mormonism in particular is a special case of “up”. The divine origin of inspiration is what gives it personal authority over the other three mechanisms.

    Comment by Mark D. — July 21, 2015 @ 10:49 am