In this video, current and past leaders of the church give their testimonies that they do receive revelation in this time. The video explores the differences between revelation today and revelation in Joseph Smith’s time.
My dear brothers and sisters, if the Restoration did anything, it shattered the age-old myth that God had stopped talking to His children. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prophet has stood at the head of God’s Church in all dispensations, from Adam to the present day. Prophets testify of Jesus Christ—of His divinity and of His earthly mission and ministry. We honor the Prophet Joseph Smith as the prophet of this last dispensation. And we honor each man who has succeeded him as President of the Church.
My dear brethren who hold the priesthood of God, tonight I wish to speak about the wonderful way in which the Lord leads His kingdom on earth. You already know the fundamentals. I pray that the Holy Ghost will confirm them to you.
First, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church in all the earth.
Second, He leads His Church today by speaking to men called as prophets, and He does it through revelation.
Third, He gave revelation to His prophets long ago, still does, and will continue to do so.
Fourth, He gives confirming revelation to those who serve under the leadership of His prophets.
From those fundamentals, we recognize that the Lord’s leadership of His Church requires great and steady faith from all who serve Him on earth.
Prophets? Seers? Revelators? The events of 1820 and 1830, and the events of nearly two centuries that have followed, declare that revelations and those who receive them are not “long ago given and done.”
The principle of present revelation … is the very foundation of our religion.”
The principle of present revelation? The very foundation of our religion? Let me return from those foundations to the present, the here and now, the 21st century. For one and all—ecclesiastics, historians, and laymen alike—the issue is still the same. Are the heavens open? Does God reveal His will to prophets and apostles as in days of old? That they are and that He does is the unflinching declaration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to all the world. And in that declaration lies the significance of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, for nearly 200 years now.
His life asked and answered the question “Do you believe God speaks to man?” In all else that he accomplished in his brief 38 and a half years, Joseph left us above all else the resolute legacy of divine revelation—not a single, isolated revelation without evidence or consequence, and not “a mild sort of inspiration seeping into the minds of all good people” everywhere, but specific, documented, ongoing directions from God. As a good friend and faithful LDS scholar has succinctly put it, “At a time when the origins of Christianity were under assault by the forces of Enlightenment rationality, Joseph Smith [unequivocally and singlehandedly] returned modern Christianity to its origins in revelation.”
In the very year Mr. Emerson gave his Divinity School address implicitly pleading for such, Elder John Taylor, a young English immigrant to this country, was called to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, a prophet, a seer, a revelator. In that calling Elder Taylor once said in sympathy with honest seekers of truth: “Whoever heard of true religion without communication with God? To me the thing is the most absurd that the human mind could conceive of. I do not wonder,” said Brother Taylor, “[that] when the people generally reject the principle of present revelation, skepticism and infidelity prevail to such an alarming extent. I do not wonder,” he continued, “that so many men treat religion with contempt, and regard it as something not worth the attention of intelligent beings, for without revelation religion is a mockery and a farce. … The principle of present revelation … is the very foundation of our religion.
We do “thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days,” because many of those days will be windblown and tempest-tossed. We give thanks for that morning in the spring of 1820 when the Father and the Son appeared in glory to a 14-year-old boy. We give thanks for that morning when Peter, James, and John came to restore the keys of the holy priesthood and all the offices in it. And in our generation we give thanks for the morning of September 30, 1961, 43 years ago this weekend, when (then) Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was called to the apostleship, the 75th man in this dispensation to be so named. And so it goes down to a day such as this, and so it will go continually until the Savior comes.