Revelation, councils, unanimity and marriage

In Doctrine and Covenants, Oliver Cowdery is taught a lesson about how revelation works.

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind;” (D&C 9:7-8)

To receive God’s help, His guidance, we must pray, we must ask. But as Oliver discovered, this is generally not enough. Sure there are exceptions when we can just ask and get an answer with no effort of our own (this is Grace) but the rule is that we must also do our part.

It is this principle that guides (or should guide) all the councils and presidencies of the Church. Heavenly Father does not inspire only the presiding authority in every decision or issue.  There must be discussion, dialog.  Opinions, feelings, impressions should be openly shared among those on the council or in the presidency. As discussion continues, often there is an aligning of opinion. This alignment is where revelation happens. If alignment does not happen, then nothing is done. That in and of itself is an answer.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency describes how this process works with a story. The following clip is from a press conference held after President Eyring was called into the First Presidency. He is responding to a question about how some leaders of the church have connections to Harvard. President Eyring is explaining that the world’s ways are not God’s ways and in doing so, he teaches how revelation is received in the Church.

This principle also applies in marriages and families. Couples who discuss things and then seek an alignment or unanimity are those who have marriages guided by revelation. If a spouse is unsettled in an issue and decision to be made, they should not move forward. It is NOT up to the “Priesthood holder” to cast the tie-breaker vote. There must be alignment.

With embarrassment I have to admit there have been times in my marriage when I have moved forward without that alignment. In one particular financial decision, I had Jill’s blessing but she certainly was not settled. If I had followed this rule I would have recognized the revelation and avoided a significant financial struggle.

The answers are there. The revelation flows if we are willing to ask, work and then recognize when it is being offered.


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