The other day I wrote somewhat concerning revelation. A couple of days later an old friend and I were talking and the subject of revelation in the modern Church came up. “You know they’re not guided like they used to be,” my friend said matter of factly about our Church leaders. – I was taken off guard a bit, because our friendship had developed while we were both serving as missionaries for the Church years ago in Seattle. – He continued, “I mean, when was the last time you heard of a revelation from the Lord? I just don’t know how I feel about that.”
His statements seemed rather emphatic; so I tread cautiously, trying to read his spiritual temperature. “What makes you say that?” I asked softly.
“Well,” he started off, seeming to grasp for words, “we just don’t hear about anything. And the Church doesn’t seem to be changing.” He seemed sincerely concerned as he said these words, and we began discussing the Lord and the manners in which He still guides His Church today.
My friend’s thoughts are not all that unique regarding modern revelation in the Church. Some Latter-day Saints wonder why there are not as many examples of miraculous spiritual manifestations now as in the days of Joseph Smith or the pioneers. But are there really fewer instances of divine power or guidance today, or is the supposed difference merely one of perception? After years of studying the Church as a convert, I am entirely convinced that the Lord is blessing and leading his Church as much today as in any previous time. The Doctrine and Covenants promised that the Lord would strengthen and direct those in His service. To Thomas B. Marsh He promised: “It shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do and whither you shall go” (D&C 31:11). While Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were on a short mission in western New York, they were assured: “I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls…Speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; for it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say…And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say” (D&C 100:4-6, 8; compare 84:85). The Lord promised a particularly close working relationship with those in His service: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
But are we still experiencing such guidance and revelation in the Church today? Well, I think first it would be good to review and define exactly what we as Latter-day Saints believe revelation is.
WHAT IS REVELATION?
I believe the Bible Dictionary states it best:
The English word revelation is translated from a Greek word apocalypse, meaning to make known or uncover. This is in contrast to apocrypha, which connotes covered or concealed. Divine revelation is one of the grandest concepts and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for without it, man could not know of the things of God and could not be saved with any degree of salvation in the eternities. Continuous revelation from God to his saints, through the Holy Ghost or by other means, such as vision, dreams, or visitations, makes possible daily guidance along true paths and leads the faithful soul to complete and eternal salvation in the celestial kingdom. The principle of gaining knowledge by revelation is the principle of salvation. It is the making known of divine truth by communication with the heavens, and consists not only of revelation of the plan of salvation to the Lord’s prophets, but also a confirmation in the hearts of the believers that the revelation to the prophets is true. It also consists of individual guidance for every person who seeks for it and follows the prescribed course of faith, repentance, and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The Holy Ghost is a revelator,” said Joseph Smith, and “no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations” (HC 6:58). Without revelation, all would be guesswork, darkness, and confusion.
In the Lord’s Church the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and the Patriarch are prophets, seers, and revelators to the Church and to the world. In addition, every person may receive personal revelation for his own benefit. It is contrary to the laws of God for any person to receive revelation for those higher in authority (see D&C 28:2–8; 100:11; 107:91–92).
That’s as concise, yet as thorough as we can get in so few words. The part I italicized is perhaps what most of us think of though when we try defining “Revelation”. It’s God the Father or His Son Jesus Christ communicating with us in some manner from beyond the veil.
After I joined the Church I had a voracious hunger to know of all the times the Lord had spoken since the Restoration of the Church. I studied the Doctrine and Covenants and tore through its pages excited to see and hear the voice of the Lord in our own day. However, by the time I got to the end I realized that something was up. There was only one revelation to Brigham Young. One revelation to Joseph F. Smith. And then a couple of declarations. “Why did the Lord stop?!” I asked incredulously. My new-found faith was shaken, and a study that would take up all of my teenage years ensued.
I bought countless books. Tons worth. Literally. And I eventually saw that the Lord continued to speak to each new prophet in the same manners in which He had spoke to Joseph Smith. The story of the Lord calling Brigham Young to be President of the Church among his brethren was a starting point for my study of revelation.
THE LORD HIMSELF CALLED BRIGHAM YOUNG AS PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH
On 5 December 1847 nine members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met in the small, leaky, and cold cabin of Elder Orson Hyde in Kanesville, Iowa (later renamed Council Bluffs). Brigham Young, who as President of the Quorum of the Twelve had been the de facto President of the Church since Joseph Smith’s death in 1844, felt the need to reorganize the First Presidency of the Church. Not all of the Quorum agreed on the matter. They discussed the matter at length late into the evening. But, said Brigham, “I have been stirred up to do this by the Spirit of the Lord.” Eventually, after much discussion, the matter was taken to God in prayer, and a magnificent spiritual manifestation occurred.
Suddenly a feeling of Pentacost descended upon the room, and everyone was touched in an enveloping peace. Elder Hyde would later say that he heard a rich encompassing voice. The sound originated somewhere beyond and above the circle of brethren praying. He felt quickened and knew the source of the voice he heard: “The voice of God came from on nigh, and spake to the Council.” The words were brief but the message to the group was direct: “Let my servant Brigham step forth and receive the full power of the presiding Priesthood in my Church and Kingdom.”
Moments later, as the men basked in the revelation that Brigham Young was to organize a new First Presidency, a knock came at the door to Elder Hyde’s small cabin. Men, women, and children from the entire neighborhood were running around in the cold of night saying that their homes had just shook and trembled. Many were afraid it had been an earthquake. However, the Twelve knew from whence the shaking had came, and one of the Apostles said smiling, “Do not be alarmed. The Lord was only whispering to us a little.” (See Footnote 1)
The Lord knew who He wanted to guide His Church on earth.
As President of the Church Brigham Young summed up his own prophetic speakings rather well at the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple cornerstone ceremony. He said,
I am not a visionary man, neither am I given much to prophesying. When I want any of that done I call on brother Heber–he is my Prophet, he loves to prophesy, and I love to hear him. I scarcely ever say much about revelations, or visions, but suffice it to say, five years ago last July I was here, and saw in the Spirit the Temple not ten feet from where we have laid the Chief Corner Stone. I have not inquired what kind of a Temple we should build. Why? Because it was represented before me. I have never looked upon that ground, but the vision of it was there. I see it as plainly as if it was in reality before me. (See Footnote 2)
REVELATION WAS CONTINUOUS AFTER JOSEPH SMITH
As I continued my studies as a young man I was exuberant to see that John Taylor received many revelations, and Wilford Woodruff gave the Lord divine credit for the issuing of The Manifesto (See Official Declaration 1). President Lorenzo Snow received the magnificent revelation on tithing which saved the Church from economic despair, and the Lord even personally visited him at least one in the Salt Lake Temple. President Joseph F. Smith received the beautiful vision of the redemption of the dead (D&C 138), and the list goes on. Our history as Latter-day Saints is overwhelmingly in support of continuous revelation from the Lord and unending sacred experiences.
However, one must be cautious in compiling and sharing accounts of sacred and divine manifestations. Because events tend to be embellished when recounted in second- or third-hand sources, it is important to seek witnesses as close to the actual event as possible. The credibility and reliability of those who report them is also especially important. Particularly fantastic stories often cannot be substantiated. Yet, there are many founded in good history that are entirely true. Common sense and good taste suggests that particularly sensitive or sacred events, especially those of a very personal nature, should not be discussed in public settings. An amazing amount of material exists that meets this criteria.
So far I have shared mostly examples from what seem to be “early Church History”, or 19th Century stories. But what about 20th Century, or even 21st Century stories of revelation within the Church? I shall attempt to share a few brief examples of just how involved the Lord has been with His Church throughout the past 100 years.
INSPIRED REVELATION TO SERVE IN THE CHURCH
The fifth article of faith declares: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy.” Here, the word prophecy means that inspired calls come by revelation. The following examples illustrate how revelation may anticipate calls to be given later, may come at the moment the call is made, or may confirm the inspiration of the call after it has been received.
In 1899, David O. McKay was a young elder serving as a missionary in Scotland. At a special priesthood conference, James L. McMurrin, a counselor in the European mission presidency, turned to Elder McKay and promised, “If you will keep the faith, you will yet sit in the leading councils of the Church.” It was a prophetic statement. David O. McKay was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1906, became a counselor in the First Presidency in 1934, and served as president of the Church from 1951 to 1970. (See Footnote 3)
President Heber J. Grant was guided by inspiration as he appointed General Authorities. In 1919, one of his first duties as President of the Church was to fill the vacancy created in the Twelve by his own call. As he reviewed in his mind the men he considered to be worthy and able to fill that position, he returned again and again to his lifelong friend, Richard W. Young. In a meeting of the Twelve, he fully intended to present him to the council for approval. But for a reason he could never fully explain, he was unable to do so; instead, he presented the name of Melvin J. Ballard, president of the Northwestern States Mission, a man with whom he had had very little personal contact. Elder Ballard, though essentially unknown to the Prophet personally, was presented to the Twelve and sustained, fulfilling a sacred revelation to his mother who had learned in a remarkable way years earlier that the baby she was carrying would become an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Elder Ballard’s own patriarchal blessing had even made mention to his call to become a “special witness” for the Savior. Both of these facts were entirely unknown to President Grant at the time he issued the call. (See Footnote 4)
Elder Harold B. Lee was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve at the April conference of 1941. Elder Lee later recalled: “It was on the day or so following conference that President Stephen L Richards, who was then chairman of the Church radio and publicity committee, approached me and said, ‘Brother Lee, next Sunday is Easter, and we have decided to ask you to give the Sunday night radio talk, the Easter talk, on the resurrection of the Lord.’ And then he added, ‘You understand now, of course, that as a member of the Council of the Twelve, you are to be one of the special witness[es] of the life and mission of the Savior and of that great event.’ The most overwhelming of all the things that have happened to me was to begin to realize what a call into the Council of the Twelve meant.
“During the days which followed, I locked myself in one of the rooms over in the Church Office building, and there I read the story of the life of the Savior. As I read the events of his life, and particularly the events leading up to and of the crucifixion, and then of the resurrection, I discovered that something was happening to me. I was not just reading a story; it seemed actually as though I was living the events; and I was reading them with a reality the like of which I had never before experienced. And when, on the Sunday night following, after I had delivered my brief talk and then declared, simply, ‘As one of the humblest among you, I, too, know that these things are true, that Jesus died and was resurrected for the sins of the world,’ I was speaking from a full heart, because I had come to know that week, with a certainty which I never before had known.” (See Footnote 5)
It is important to note that inspiration has not been limited only to calling General Authorities. Several Church leaders have borne testimony that mission calls are inspired. Elder Robert E. Wells tells of a young man from Sweden who was called to serve his mission in Chile and was assigned to work with a native companion. The Swedish elder was surprised to discover that his companion’s parents were then living in his own hometown in Sweden. The Chilean elder’s parents, not members of the Church, were political exiles who had gone to Sweden to work. The Swedish elder’s parents made contact with them and taught them the gospel. Can you imagine the inspiration required for the prophet to send a Swedish elder to Chile and the mission president’s inspiration to assign those particular companions to work together? Such things are beyond being a coincidence. (See Footnote 6)
INSPIRED SELECTION OF TEMPLE SITES
The Lord has also guided the Church in the selection of sites for Latter-day Saint temples. Revelation has anticipated future site selections, been part of the actual site selection process, or has confirmed the correctness of selections already made.
In the summer of 1924, Elder George Albert Smith was in San Francisco attending regional Boy Scout meetings. On that occasion he met with the presidents of the small branches in San Francisco and Oakland, the only Church units in the area at that time. They met at the Fairmont Hotel high atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill. From the hotel terrace, they had a panoramic and beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay.
The president of the Oakland Branch, W. Aird Macdonald, later recalled: “As we admired the beauty and majesty of the scene, President Smith suddenly grew silent, ceased talking, and for several minutes gazed intently toward the East Bay hills. “‘Brother Macdonald, I can almost see in vision a white temple of the Lord high upon those hills,’ he exclaimed rapturously, ‘an ensign to all the world travelers as they sail through the Golden Gate into this wonderful harbor.’ Then he studied the vista for a few moments as if to make sure of the scene before him. ‘Yes, sir, a great white temple of the Lord,’ he confided with calm assurance, ‘will grace those hills, a glorious ensign to the nations, to welcome our Father’s children as they visit this great city.’ ” Reports of Elder Smith’s comments led the northern California Saints to anticipate the time when the Oakland Temple would be built. The site was purchased in 1943 and the temple dedicated in 1964. (See Footnote 7)
In 1954 President McKay appointed Wendell B. Mendenhall, who was then directing the Church’s building program in the Pacific, to confidentially investigate possible temple sites. Brother Mendenhall looked over various properties in New Zealand but felt that he had not yet seen the temple site. One day he felt impressed to go to Hamilton, where the Church college was then under construction. “While in the car on the way, the whole thing came to me in an instant,” he recalled. “The temple should be there by the college. The Church facilities for construction were already there, and that was the center of the population of the mission. Then, in my mind, I could see the area even before I arrived, and I could envision the hill where the temple should stand. As soon as I arrived at the college and drove over the top of the hill, my whole vision was confirmed.” This hill commanded a spectacular view not only of the Church college but also of the fertile Waikato River valley. About ten days later President McKay arrived in Hamilton. Brother Mendenhall first met him in the presence of others, so nothing could be said about a temple site. Brother Mendenhall described their first visit to the hill: “After we stepped from the car and were looking around, President McKay called me to one side. By the way he was looking at the hill, I could tell immediately what was on his mind. I had not said a word to him. He asked, ‘What do you think?’ I knew what his question implied, and I simply asked in return, ‘What do you think, President McKay?’ And then in an almost prophetic tone he pronounced, ‘This is the place to build the temple.’ ” Brother Mendenhall believed fully that he had divine help in overcoming obstacles and purchasing the site. (See Footnote 8)
With such examples of revelation guiding the selection of temple sites in mind, some people wondered what went wrong when the Church experienced opposition in obtaining a site for the Denver Temple. Nevertheless, those involved in the difficult process of finding the site were convinced that they had witnessed the hand of the Lord guiding them. When the preferred location proved not to be available, they turned to two other sites. In each case, citizens concerned that an increase in traffic would alter the character of their neighborhood blocked approval. By this time the originally preferred site had become available. Church officials, having benefited from experience in dealing with opposition, were able to gain the support of the temple’s neighbors. The beautiful Denver Temple was completed in 1985. (See Footnote 9)
Even for my own Birmingham Alabama Temple there was revelation in the choice of where the temple would eventually be built. Near the stake center for my own Bessemer Alabama Stake was a piece of land which many felt would be perfect for a new House of the Lord. The prophet at the time, President Hinckley inspected it, and thought not, and was shown a less popular piece of land just north of the Birmingham Metro region. The temple was built on the other piece of land, and only afterwards was it discovered that the land near my stake center was unstable enough to hold a structure the size of even a small temple.
The Lord knew that when others did not.
REVELATION GUIDES MEMBERS IN CHURCH SERVICE
Elder David O. McKay spent the year 1921 visiting the Church’s missions around the world on a special assignment from President Heber J. Grant. At several points he was convinced that divine guidance spared his life or helped him fulfill his assignments. While touring the Hawaiian Mission, Elder McKay’s party visited the Kilauea volcano. Elder McKay and others climbed down onto a ledge to get a better view of the smoldering and ever-shifting lava. After some time on the volcanic platform, Elder McKay suddenly exclaimed, “Brethren, I feel impressed that we should get out of here.” No sooner had they moved to safety than the “balcony crumbled and fell with a roar into the molten lava a hundred feet or so below.” Everyone was silent as they pondered what could have happened. “Some might say it was merely inspiration,” a sister missionary in the group reflected, “but to us, it was a direct revelation given to a worthy man.” (See Footnote 10)
While visiting Palestine, Elder David O. McKay received instructions from the First Presidency to meet J. Wilford Booth and with him tour the Armenian Mission. The problem was that Elder McKay had no idea where to find Brother Booth, and without his knowledge of the language the mission tour would be almost impossible. Before leaving Jerusalem, Elder McKay ascended the Mount of Olives and, kneeling in a secluded spot, prayed earnestly “that we should be led by inspiration on our trip to the Armenian Mission.” Afterwards he felt impressed to take the train to Haifa rather than touring other parts of the Holy Land by automobile as they had previously planned. “If you feel that way,” responded Hugh J. Cannon, Elder McKay’s traveling companion, “we had better take the train.” After they had boarded the train, they both realized that neither had remembered to get the name of a good hotel at Haifa. “The delay caused by seeking information about hotels brought us to the station office door just at the same moment that another traveler reached it. He touched me on the shoulder saying, ‘Isn’t this Brother McKay?’
“Astonished beyond expression to be thus addressed in so strange a town, I turned, and recognized Elder Wilford Booth, the one man above all others whom we were most desirous of meeting.” Elder McKay was convinced that he could not have met Brother Booth at a better time or place. “As we recounted to each other our experiences, we had no doubt that our coming together was the result of divine interposition…
“Indeed, had it not been for our having met at Haifa, our trip to the Armenian Mission would have been, so far as human wisdom can tell, a total failure.” (See Footnote 11)
President Heber J. Grant described the process by which the principles of the Church’s Welfare Program were hammered out during the 1930s: “We have been meeting morning after morning for months…After we had evolved a plan I went especially in prayer to the Lord and prayed with all earnestness to know whether or not this plan met with his approval. In response there came over me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet such a sweet spirit and a burning within, that I knew God approved.” (See Footnote 12) In 1935, Harold B. Lee, then a stake president, received the assignment to put the plan into operation. “I prayed most earnestly,” President Lee recalled. “I had started out with the thought that there would have to be some new kind of organization set up to carry forward the Welfare Program…My spiritual understanding was opened, and I was given a comprehension of the grandeur of the organization of the Church and the Kingdom of God, the likes of which I had never contemplated before. The significant truth which was impressed upon me was that there was no need for any new organization to do what the Presidency had counseled us to do. It was as though the Lord was saying: ‘All in the world that you have to do is to put to work the organization which I have already given.'” (See Footnote 13)
With the approach of World War II, missionaries needed to be evacuated from Germany with some urgency. Mission president M. Douglas Wood assigned Norman G. Seibold, a missionary, to locate thirty-one missionaries who might need funds to buy railway tickets to Denmark. President Wood didn’t know exactly where they might be found, so instructed Elder Seibold “to follow his impressions entirely.” Elder Seibold commenced his search by train. In some towns he remained on board, but at others he was impressed to get off. In one small town, he felt inspired to walk out in the community. “It seemed silly to me at the time,” Elder Seibold recalled, “but we had a short wait and so I went.” He found two elders in a restaurant who were very glad to see him. “As surely as if someone had taken me by the hand, I was guided there.” (See Footnote 14)
A few years later, at the conclusion of the war, Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve received the assignment to go to Europe, supervise the distribution of welfare supplies and arrange for the resumption of missionary work. During his ten months there in 1946, he experienced one miracle after another. When President Benson’s companion, Frederick W. Babbel, was unable to obtain visas for their visit to Poland, Elder Benson said, “Let me pray about it.” Brother Babbel recalled: “Some two or three hours after President Benson had retired to his room to pray, he stood in my doorway and said with a smile on his face, ‘Pack your bags. We are leaving for Poland in the morning!…
“…He stood there enveloped in a beautiful glow of radiant light. His countenance shone as I imagine the Prophet Joseph’s countenance shone when he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.” (See Footnote 15) Providentially, the needed doors were opened, and within a few days Elder Benson had completed his visit to the destitute Polish Saints.
Stories of how Matthew Cowley, as mission president in New Zealand, was guided by the Spirit are legendary. “The Maori people used to pray for President Cowley to come to them. One day he drove up to the front of a post office in a rather distant city in New Zealand. There were two sisters standing by the post office waiting. When he got out of the car, one said to the other, ‘See, I told you he would be here soon.’ President Cowley said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ One of the sisters said, ‘We needed you and we’ve been praying. We knew you would be coming, and you always go directly to the post office, so we decided to wait here until you arrived.’ It was just that simple. People would tell the Lord what they wanted, and somehow or other President Cowley was led by the Spirit to go where they were.” (See Footnote 16)
Missionaries who served under President Cowley were greatly influenced by his spirituality. Two examples will illustrate this very well. After being in New Zealand for several weeks, Robert L. Simpson had a vivid dream that impressed him with the need to put forth an effort to learn the Maori language. He was left with the impression that “you are going to need this language when you get through with your mission. You are going to need it.” Elder Simpson heeded the warning, learned the language, and served a successful mission. Shortly afterwards, World War II broke out and Robert joined the Air Force. While awaiting orders he thought, “Here I go right back to New Zealand.” Much to his surprise, just before his group of hundreds of men were to sail out into the Pacific, he and four others were reassigned to a small American air base near Cairo, Egypt. “I don’t know what the Lord has in mind,” Brother Simpson reflected, “but I’ll just do the best I can, and I am sure that everything will work out all right.” Within forty-eight hours he discovered that an entire Maori battalion was stationed “within the very shadows” of the American air base. “For nearly two years I had the privilege of being there and meeting each Sunday with these Maori boys, bearing testimony with them in their own tongue, organizing them into small groups as they went up into the front lines in order that they might have their sacrament meetings and do the things that they needed to do…I want to tell you,” Elder Simpson concluded, “that the Lord had a hand in writing military orders because of all of the places in this world that Air Force men were being sent, very few were sent to Cairo, Egypt.” (See Footnote 17) Robert L. Simpson’s need for the language did not end there. In later years he became president of the New Zealand mission and, as a General Authority, supervisor of the Pacific Area with headquarters at Auckland, New Zealand.
Another of Matthew Cowley’s missionaries, Elder Glenn L. Rudd, later became president of the Florida Mission. In this capacity, he was responsible for Church members throughout the Caribbean Islands. He received a request from Flavia Salazar Gomez, a convert from Mexico then living in the Dominican Republic, to give her a blessing because she was critically ill with cancer. A few weeks later as President Rudd and a local Church member drove towards the city where Flavia lived, they suddenly realized that they did not have her address. As they entered the large, congested city, President Rudd was blessed to know which streets to take. When they found a parking place, they asked a man standing nearby if he knew Flavia Salazar Gomez. The man with surprise responded, “Yes, she’s my wife. She’s just inside that door.” They had parked right in front of her home. The desired blessing was given and, a few months later, President Rudd was grateful to learn that Flavia had been healed of her cancer.
In 1946 Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Twelve received the assignment to give leadership to the Church’s Lamanite program. While touring the Mexican Mission the following year, he received a vision or dream in which he saw the future destiny of the Lamanites: “Maybe the Lord was showing to me what great things this people would accomplish…I no longer saw you [as] the servant of other people, but I saw you as the employer, the owner of banks and businesses…I saw you in legislative positions where as good legislators and good Latter-day Saints you were able to make the best laws for your brothers and sisters. I saw many of your sons become attorneys. I saw doctors, as well as lawyers, looking after the health of the people…I saw the Church growing in rapid strides and I saw wards and stakes organized. I saw stakes by the hundreds. I saw a temple.?” This vision sustained and motivated Elder Kimball as he directed the Church’s efforts among these people. (See Footnote 18)
Expansion of the Church during the second half of the twentieth century brought into contact an increasing number of ethnic groups and cultures worldwide. This became the setting for one of the most remarkable revelations of all. Church leaders pondered the policy by which blacks were not permitted to receive the priesthood. President Kimball recalled, “I went to the temple alone, and especially on Sundays and Saturdays when there were not organizations in the temple, when I could have it alone. It went on for some time as I was searching for this, because I wanted to be sure. We held a meeting of the Council of the Twelve in the temple on the regular day [1 June 1978]. We considered this very seriously and thoughtfully and prayerfully.
“I asked the Twelve not to go home when the time came. I said, ‘Now would you be willing to remain in the temple with us?’ And they were. I offered the final prayer and I told the Lord if it wasn’t right, if He didn’t want this change to come in the Church that I would be true to it all the rest of my life and I’d fight the world against it if that’s what He wanted.
“We had this special prayer circle, then I knew that the time had come. I had a great deal to fight, of course, myself largely, because I had grown up with this thought that Negroes should not have the priesthood and I was prepared to go all the rest of my life till my death and fight for it and defend it as it was. But this revelation and assurance came to me so clearly that there was no question about it.” (See Footnote 19)
Of this sacred occasion, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “It was during this prayer that the revelation came. The Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon us all; we felt something akin to what happened on the day of Pentecost and at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. From the midst of eternity, the voice of God, conveyed by the power of the Spirit, spoke to his prophet. The message was that the time had now come to offer the fulness of the everlasting gospel, including celestial marriage, and the priesthood, and the blessings of the temple, to all men, without reference to race or color, solely on the basis of personal worthiness. And we all heard the same voice, received the same message, and became personal witnesses that the word received was the mind and will and voice of the Lord…
“In the days that followed the receipt of the new revelation, President Kimball and President Ezra Taft Benson – the senior and most spiritually experienced ones among us – both said, expressing the feelings of us all, that neither of them had ever experienced anything of such spiritual magnitude and power as was poured out upon the Presidency and the Twelve that day in the upper room in the house of the Lord.” (See Footnote 20)
THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH
Since Old Testament times the Lord has used spiritually mature men to assist His prophets. These men have been known as the Seventy. The first reference to the Seventy is found in Exodus 24:1 when the Lord commands Moses to bring seventy men of Israel with him to the mount to worship. Later when Moses felt his burdens were too heavy, the Lord instructed him to gather seventy elders “that they may stand there with thee” and “I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them” (see Numbers 11:16–17, 25).
During Christ’s mortal ministry, He called the Seventy, instructed them in a manner similar to the Twelve Apostles, and sent them out “before his face,” explaining that those who heard their voices would hear His voice (see Luke 10 and Matthew 10:1, 16–17). Stephen from the Book of Acts, who was martyred, was a Seventy (Acts 7), and there was even a pattern among the Jews in the Sanhedrin that their number would be approximately seventy.
“We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church,” President Boyd K. Packer has said, quoting the sixth article of faith. “And it included Seventies.”
President Packer has further explained the development of the Seventy in our recent Church History, saying, “When I first came to [the Church Administration building] there were seven Presidents of the Seventy, … venerable men that knew the history of the Church because they had lived it. The Seventies Quorum was not used much. There were a total of 26 General Authorities, and for the most part the Seventies would go out to stake conferences. They had no administrative duties at all. That was very comfortable.
“And then something happened. The Church started to grow, and it has never stopped growing,” he said. The twelfth President of the Church, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), “called three men in addition to the seven [presidents]. That made ten. And with that, the First Quorum of the Seventy was in existence. That could be enlarged to the number of seventy. That took care of it for a while. But President Kimball had the vision, and with that the First Quorum of the Seventy [was] organized, [and] then step by step the Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized.” (See Footnote 21)
The Lord said in 1832, “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” (D&C 88:73), and as the Church has experienced explosive growth in the past 100 years the Lord has revealed to His prophet how to extend His ordinances and Priesthood Keys via the Seventy. The chart below briefly details the growth of the Seventy.
For a more detailed timeline please click here.
THE LORD KNEW BEFOREHAND
I have always enjoyed the Lord’s insights in the revelation on the Word of Wisdom. Prefacing His law of health the Lord said, “In consequence of the evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forwarn you, by giving unto you this word of widsom” (D&C 89:4). Before the general population ever knew that Phillip Morris and other large tobacco consumers were conspiring to get folks addicted to their products via deadly chemicals at a young age, the Lord knew. And he warned of the evils beforehand.
In a similar manner the Lord’s Prophets, Seers, and Revelators have been guided in recent years by issuing two official Church proclamations.
President Gordon B. Hinckley first read The Family: A Proclamation to the World on September 23, 1995 at the General Relief Society Meeting, stating that the purpose was to “warn and forewarn” the world to the danger of deviating from its standards. (See Footnote 22). It states in part that marriage is ordained of God and between only a man and a woman, that gender is an essential characteristic since before birth, that men and women both have individual purposes in marriage, and that children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony. It closes by saying,
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
Since 2001 ten countries in the world have began to recognize and endorse same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages are not currently recognized by the federal government of the United States, but such marriages are recognized by some individual states. The lack of federal recognition was codified in 1996 by the Defense of Marriage Act, before Massachusetts became the first state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004. Currently eight states allow same-sex marriages while eleven states allow domestic partnerships. Ten states entirely ban same-sex marriage via state law, while the remaining states have no marriage, but also no official ban.
The Lord knew what was coming.
As the new Millennium dawned on January 1, 2000 the Brethren also put out another document known as The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles. Fitting considering that between 1995 and 2004 atheism grew from 3.8% of the population of the England to approximately 14% in that country alone. (See Footnote 23) While atheism has not increased as dramatically in the United States, agnosticism has, with people abandoning traditional worship of God due to the changes in society. When Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion was first published in 2006 it was thought to be just another run-of-the-mill book disproving God’s existence. However, in early December 2006, it reached No.4 in the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list after just nine weeks on the list, and it remained on the list for 51 weeks until 30 September 2007. Currently over four million copies have been sold and it has been translated into 33 separate languages.
As the moral fabric and beliefs of society have slowly edged closer to vile sin and disbelief, the Lord has always been ahead of the curve by guiding His chosen servants.
REVELATION ON SMALLER TEMPLES
On Thursday and Friday, June 5 & 6 of 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley was in Colonia Juarez, Mexico to rededicate renovated campus buildings as part of a Church Academy’s centennial celebration. Having flown from Salt Lake City to El Paso, Texas, President Hinckley and his group were then driven from El Paso to Colonia Juárez by President Meredith I. Romney of the Colonia Juárez Stake. Since 1886 northern Mexico had served as a home and haven to a large portion of Latter-day Saints who initially settled the area to escape federal prosecution due to living in polygamous marriages. In the years since polygamy was abolished the Church had flourished in the small communities of Chihuahua. For over seven decades, Saints in the colonies had needed to travel long distances to reach the nearest temple in Mesa, Arizona. Initially a full day trip, in the past twenty years the trip had shortened travel to six to seven hours. The Church membership of less than five thousand in the colonies area was considered far too small to warrant building a temple there.
During the three hour long car ride President Hinckley and President Romney discussed the Saints lives in detail. Their conversation was very lively. What percentage of the stake held current temple recommends? How often did they travel to the temple in Mesa? Were there difficulties in crossing the border?
President Romney told the prophet how stake members typically made a three- to four-day excursion to the temple in Mesa. President Hinckley responded by remarking on the length of time needed to build a temple and the cost involved. He indicated that he was concerned about getting temples closer to the members. The prophet mentioned that various options had been considered. Suggestions had even included placing the temple in a ship or airplane, but these ideas were rejected because of various drawbacks.
On Thursday evening, June 5, as President Hinckley arrived at the special fireside on the Juárez Academy campus, “He was impressed at the reverence and respect of the people assembled under the large tent, as everyone was in their seats ten to fifteen minutes early, quietly awaiting his arrival,” President Romney noted. “This was also the first opportunity that many people had of seeing and hearing a prophet speak in person.” (See Footnote 24)
President Hinckley was the final speaker at the end of the special fireside service. After reviewing the history of the colonies and praising the Saints for their faithfulness, the Prophet surprised his listeners with an unexpected idea by saying:
“This is the greatest era in the history of the Church and in the world for temple building. I would like to see the time come when all of our people throughout the world could get to a temple without too much inconvenience. I think you are about as far away as anybody, and I don’t quite know what to do about you. There aren’t enough of you to justify a temple. Now, if you’d multiply the membership here and get about twenty thousand members of the Church here, or thirty thousand, we’d build a beautiful temple. That’s a challenge for you. You may decide it is easier to keep going to Mesa.”
The Mexican Saints were nearly speechless. The thought of a temple in their midst had never even occurred to them because of their small numbers. They were riveted with the thought of a House of the Lord in their midst.
After the meeting the prophet went with Meredith Romney to his home, where he was to spend the night. The Romney residence was located on the hill just behind and above the academy. Before going in the house for the evening though, President Hinckley spent an hour outside walking around looking out over the valley. He remarked when he finally came inside on how much the people of the colonies had contributed to the growth of the Church throughout the world—especially in Mexico.
The next morning President Hinckley spoke at the commencement exercises of the newly renovated Church academy. After the meeting President Romney again had the privilege of driving the prophet back to the airport in El Paso, Texas. The three hour drive was much more quite than the ride just 24 hours before. “On the way into Mexico, President Hinckley was sitting beside me in the front seat and was quite talkative,” President Romney noted. “However, on the way back he sat in the back seat and seemed to be resting and meditating. He commented several times on how impressed he was with the people at the fireside, the musical numbers presented, and the sweet spirit that was there. He also commented on the graduating class.” (See Footnote 24)
President Hinckley later described what was going on in his mind during the drive to the airport: “As we were riding to El Paso, I reflected on what we could do to help these people in the Church colonies in Mexico. They’ve been so very faithful over the years. They’ve kept the faith. They’ve gone on missions in large numbers. These stakes have produced very many mission presidents who served faithfully and well. They’ve been the very epitome of faithfulness. And yet they’ve had to travel all the way to Mesa, Arizona, to go to a temple. . . . I thought of these things and what could be done. The concept of . . . smaller temples came into my mind. I concluded we didn’t need the laundry. We didn’t need to rent temple clothing. We didn’t need eating facilities. These have been added for the convenience of the people but are not necessary [for the temple ordinances].” President Hinckley noted that a smaller temple could be built more quickly and yet include all the essential facilities needed for temple ordinances. After boarding the airplane, he recalled, “I took a piece of paper” and “sketched out the [floor] plan, and turned it over to the architects to refine it.” He concluded, “The concept is beautiful. It’s a very workable concept.” (See Footnote 25)
President Hinckley would speak of his experience following the visit to Colonia Juárez reverently, “There came to my mind an idea I’d never thought of before. It was inspired of the Lord to build a temple there, a small one, very small, six thousand square feet with facilities.” He would emphasize that “every faithful member needs access to the house of the Lord. The gospel is not complete without the ordinances of the temple.” (See Footnote 26) During the temple’s actual dedicatory prayer, the prophet specifically used the word “revelation” to describe how the idea for smaller temples throughout the world came to him. “It was here in northern Mexico, that Thou didst reveal the idea and the plan of a smaller temple, complete in every necessary detail, but suited in size to the needs and circumstances of the Church membership in this area of Thy vineyard. That revelation came of a desire and a prayer to help Thy people of these colonies who have been true and loyal during the century and more that they have lived here. They are deserving of this sacred edifice in which to labor for themselves and their forebears.” (See Footnote 27)
Plans to construct three smaller temples were announced in the Priesthood Session of the October 1997 General Conference for the Mexican Colonies, in Anchorage, Alaska, and in Monticello, Utah. At the time there were only 50 operating temples in the Church.
Fourteen and a half years later there are now 137 operating temples in the Church, with 14 under construction and 15 more announced. Not all, but some being of the smaller design.
The Lord knew what to reveal to His servants to make His ordinances available to His Saints.
OTHER INSTANCES OF REVELATION
Large Church programs such as the Correlation efforts of the 1970’s or the Perpetual Education Fund just after the turn of the century deserve books of their own. Each was mammoth at the outset, but has brought great congruity and strength to the Church and each of the stakes of Zion. They came under revelation. The revolutionary tool of Preach My Gospel came while I was serving my mission, and was like D&C 139 to me when I first read and studied it. As a test mission it was amazing to see hands-on the revolutionary changes it would bring to missionary work and exciting to see the revelation which took place as it was fully developed.
What about the Church’s efforts to invest $1.5 Billion into the recently opened City Creek Center? That came from revelation too. The book published last year by the Church for the sisters in the Relief Society? Yep. Daughters in my Kingdom came from the Lord to His prophet to help strengthen the sisters and help them understand that they were in an holy organization “patterned after the Priesthood”. Even technological advances in the genealogy departments of the Church have experienced great growth in the past two decades as Church leaders have guided them in seeking new technologies to make the work move on more efficiently. Not to mention the Conference Center completed just over a decade ago, or the various Church History locations that are currently being restored so as to give us a greater appreciation for the Restoration of the Gospel, or the implementation of new Missions and stakes. Each and every thing done in the Church is done by revelation from the Lord. There are honestly too many instances of amazing guidance in the Church to cover in one single blog post.
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH REVELATION
Two years ago I was going through a variety of personal challenges in life. Emotionally, spiritually, and even temporally, I was about ready to crumble. Late one Saturday night I knelt before the Lord asking for some sort of help. Some sort of guidance. I asked for some sort of little reassurance that everything was going to be okay. I felt nothing. And then I said almost jokingly, “Lord, if I could just talk to my stake president, I know he’d know what to say.” – My stake president being a dear friend and an amazing man who literally emanates the love of the Savior. – However, knowing how busy my stake president always is, I decided to refrain from hassling him over the petty problems of my life. After a long conversation with God I finally fell asleep in my clothes, tired and emotionally drained. When I woke up the next morning for Church I was running late.
I rushed to get ready and pulled up to my local church building at about 9:05. As I hopped out of my car I walked up the sidewalk towards the front door of my building and saw that it was being held open for me by the stake executive secretary. He was smiling as I approached him, and as I reached out to shake his hand he said, “The stake president is in the branch president’s office. He wants to meet with you right now.” I heard the opening hymn being sang in the chapel and wondered to myself what in the world my stake president would want with me. I walked up to the cracked open office door and began to knock just as the president threw the door open in front of me. “Stan!” he beamed at me smiling. “Come on in.” Surprised, I did just that and walked in, taking a seat opposite him as he motioned me to sit down. Once we’d both been seated he just looked me in the eyes for a moment, smiled at me, and said, “Okay Stan, tell me why I’m here.”
“Excuse me?” I asked. I didn’t understand.
He was still smiling.
“Tell me why I’m here.”
I’m sure my stare was blank. And then he said, “I felt like I needed to come and see you this morning.” He then described that the night before a family in the stake had lost a baby, and that much of the stake leadership was going to comfort this particular family in their time of loss. He was going to go as soon as he was done with meeting me, “But first,” he said, “tell me why I’m here to see you.”
If I’d ever had any doubts of God’s individual love for each and every one of His children, it melted away at that moment, knowing that my faithful Priesthood Leader had traveled to the middle of nowhere to come and provide a little comfort to a weary saint.
The Lord knew what I needed, and He gave revelation to the one man I felt could help me at that time. – And help he did. – Although a small and deeply personal example, can it leave much room for doubt that the Lord was aware of me?
THE WORK GOES ON
But what conclusions can be drawn from the instances and few stories that I have shared here? Innumerable revelations given to the Lord’s servants in the modern era can be documented. Although most of the examples I have cited in this blog post have included General Authorities, there have been instances of divine guidance to individuals in other callings, as well as a couple of personal experiences. The revelations presented have involved a variety of Church activities – calls to office, temple service, missionary work, Church programs, and much more. Most of these revelations came by inspiration rather than through such spectacular means as personal visitations or visions. Interestingly and significantly, inspiration is likewise the source of most revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. Some might argue that the examples of divine guidance I have cited here are not that unique – that many other similar manifestations have been experienced by any number of Church members. Such a contention simply confirms that the Lord guides and strengthens his Church today as much as in any former time.
Regarding revelation, President Spencer W. Kimball gave a landmark talk in the concluding session of General Conference in April of 1977, and I would be in error if I did not at least share a portion of it with you. I hope that you’ll forgive me for quoting from it so extensively, but his words are of great worth on this matter. Said he in part,
Of all things, that for which we should be most grateful today is that the heavens are indeed open and that the restored church of Jesus Christ is founded upon the rock of revelation. Continuous revelation is indeed the very lifeblood of the gospel of the living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…
How this confused world of today needs revelation from God. With war and pestilence and famine, with poverty, desolation, with more and more graft, dishonesty, and immorality, certainly the people of this world need revelation from God as never before. How absurd it would be to think that the Lord would give to a small handful of people in Palestine and the Old World his precious direction through revelation and now, in our extremity, close the heavens.
In the meridian of time, the Son of God, the Light of the World, came and opened the curtains of heaven, and earth and heaven were again in communion.
But when the light of that century went out, the darkness was again impenetrable; the heavens were sealed and the “dark ages” moved in.
I bear witness to the world today that more than a century and a half ago the iron ceiling was shattered; the heavens were once again opened, and since that time revelations have been continuous…The foreverness of this kingdom and the revelations which it brought into existence are absolute realities. Never again will the sun go down; never again will all men prove totally unworthy of communication with their Maker. Never again will God be hidden from his children on the earth. Revelation is here to remain.
In the early years of his newly established dispensation, the Lord set his divine law of succession, and prophets have followed each other and will continue to follow each other in never-ending, divinely appointed succession, and the secrets of the Lord will be revealed without measure.
Since that momentous day in 1820, additional scripture has continued to come, including the numerous and vital revelations flowing in a never-ending stream from God to his prophets on the earth. Many of these revelations are recorded in another scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants. Completing our Latter-day Saint scriptures is the Pearl of Great Price, another record of revelation and translated writings of both ancient and modern prophets.
There are those who would assume that with the printing and binding of these sacred records, that would be the “end of the prophets.” But again we testify to the world that revelation continues and that the vaults and files of the Church contain these revelations which come month to month and day to day. We testify also that there is, since 1830 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, and will continue to be, so long as time shall last, a prophet, recognized of God and his people, who will continue to interpret the mind and will of the Lord…
Now, a word of warning: Let us not make the error of the ancients. Numerous modern sectarians believe in the Abrahams, the Moseses, and the Pauls, but resist believing in today’s prophets. The ancients also could accept the prophets of an earlier day, but denounced and cursed the ones who were their contemporaries.
In our day, as in times past, many people expect that if there be revelation it will come with awe-inspiring, earth-shaking display. For many it is hard to accept as revelation those numerous ones in Moses’ time, in Joseph’s time, and in our own year—those revelations which come to prophets as deep, unassailable impressions settling down on the prophet’s mind and heart as dew from heaven or as the dawn dissipates the darkness of night.
Expecting the spectacular, one may not be fully alerted to the constant flow of revealed communication. I say, in the deepest of humility, but also by the power and force of a burning testimony in my soul, that from the prophet of the Restoration to the prophet of our own year, the communication line is unbroken, the authority is continuous, and light, brilliant and penetrating, continues to shine. The sound of the voice of the Lord is a continuous melody and a thunderous appeal. For nearly a century and a half there has been no interruption.”
The revelations come from month to month and day to day in the Lord’s Church and Kingdom, and since the days of Joseph Smith to even our current day, there has been no interruption.
As I spoke to my friend the other day about revelation in the modern Church, first defining revelation as I did at the beginning of this post, and then discussing how God has made known so much to His many servants over the past 182 years, his eyes seemed to open while we talked on the phone. By the end of our conversation he said in reverence, “How had I never noticed all this before?”
Do we need thunderous appearances and booming voices? Do we need new written revelation and theatrics to make God’s will known to us? No. We don’t. Because the Lord is hastening His work and speaking as He alone sees fit.
I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ lives and the He is at the head of this Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His one true Church, and the one place on earth where the ordinances necessary for our salvation and exaltation are offered. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God to whom the Lord spake. And I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, like unto any Old Testament patriarch who communed with Jehovah, and he receives the mind and will of the Lord for us at this time.
Jesus speaks, and His voice is a continuous melody and thunderous appeal to all who will open their hearts and minds to hear His message. The Church is growing under direct revelation from the Lord. We have full-time missionaries in Karachi, Pakistan and a stake of the Church based in Abu Dhabi. Just as the Iron Curtain used to seem inpenetrable to the light of the Restored Gospel, so the Bamboo Curtain seems today. But from saints in Bahrain to branches in Bombay, the Church is growing and the Lord’s voice can be heard. As Joseph Smith once said, “Nothing can stop the work from progressing.”
As Zion grows, the world grows more wicked, and Lucifer makes one great and final stand, we need only follow the prophets and the Priesthood Keys to know whom we should follow. The Lord’s voice will be ever-present and obvious to those who seek His will. And as we seek that will I know we will be blessed.
My prayer is that we’ll all obey His voice.
If you would like to study more about revelation to leaders of the Church I would recommend Elder Christofferson’s talk The Doctrine of Christ. If you are interested in increasing your understanding of personal revelation I would recommend The Voice of the Lord from Gerald Lund, The Candle of the Lord from Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder Richard G. Scott’s How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life, or Dallin H. Oaks’ classic address aptly titled Revelation.
If you’re not even Mormon and you’ve read all of this for some reason, you definitely should be a Mormon! So go ahead and click here and learn more about how the Lord still speaks to prophets in our day.
1. Brigham Young, JD 8:197; Oct. 7, 1860; also Orson Hyde: The Olive Branch of Israel pp. 221-222
2. Brigham Young, JD 1:132-133
3. David O. McKay, Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955), p. 14.
4. Francis M. Gibbons, Heber J. Grant: Man of Steel, Prophet of God (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979), p. 175., and Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1949), p. 23.
5. Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Apr. 1952, pp. 126-27.
6. See Robert E. Wells, in Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, 1982 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983), pp. 173-74.
7. Harold W. Burron and W. Aird Macdonald, “The Oakland Temple,” Improvement Era, 67 (May 1964): 380.
8. Allie Howe, “A Temple in the South Pacific,” Improvement Era, 58 November 1955): 811-13; see also Wendell B. Mendenhall, in Conference Report, Apr. 1955, p. 5.
9. [BYU] Daily Universe, 28 Oct. 1986, p. 7, and 10 Nov. 1986, p. 6.
10. McKay, Cherished Experiences, p. 56.
11. Ibid., pp. 80-83.
12. William E. Berrett, “A General History of Weekday Religious Education,” CES Archives, Salt Lake City, pp. 103-9.
13. In Church News, 26 Aug. 1961, p. 8.
14. Norman G. Seibold, interviewed by David F. Boone, as quoted in Richard O. Cowan, The Church in the Twentieth Century (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985), p. 179.
15. Frederick W. Babbel, On Wings of Faith (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1972), p. 132.
16. Glen L. Rudd, in Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, 1987-88 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1988), p. 99.
17. Robert L. Simpson, The Lord Is Mindful of His Own, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year (Provo, 4 Apr. 1962), pp. 9-10.
18. In Church News, 19 Feb. 1977, p. 3.
19. In Church News, 6 Jan. 1979, p. 4.
20. Bruce R. McConkie, The New Revelation, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981), p. 128.
22. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World”, November 1995 Ensign p. 100.
23. “Worldwide Adherents of All Religions by Six Continental Areas, Mid-1995″. Encyclopædia Britannica Wordbook 1995, and “Two-thirds of Britons not religious, suggests survey”, from BBC News 21 March 2011.
24. Virginia Hatch Romney and Richard Olsen Cowan, The Colonia Juárez Temple: A Prophet’s Inspiration, (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009). See Chapter 2.
25. Dell Van Orden, “Inspiration Came for Smaller Temples on Trip to Mexico,” Church News, August 1, 1998, 3, 12.
26. Romney and Cowan, The Colonia Juárez Temple, Chapter 2.
27. Gordon B. Hinckley, “This Is a Day Long Looked Forward To,” Church News, March 13, 1999, 7.