Continuing revelation is essential part of gospel

Heed guidance of prophets

Know policies, procedures

are refined by revelation

Realize more will

yet be revealed

Beginning with Joseph Smith and continuing on to his successors as president of the Church, the ongoing stream of revelation has perfected Church members' understanding of the gospel, said Elder Merrill C. Oaks.

Speaking Sunday afternoon, Elder Oaks of the Seventy gave his first general conference address since being called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy last April. He said that "the understanding of doctrines is more complete as taught by the Church today than at any prior time in this dispensation."

Quoting the ninth Article of Faith - "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God" - Elder Oaks explained that the principle of continuing revelation is an essential part of the Kingdom of God.

Elder Oaks noted that in D&C 21:4-5, the Lord declared to Church members their obligation to heed the guidance of His prophets.

Today, he continued, Church members have large amounts of written historical material available to them, including sermons of early Church leaders. "These give us background that help us understand the early events of the Restoration and the situations that existed in those days," he said.

"This year we have the privilege of studying teachings of the prophet Brigham Young in priesthood and Relief Society meetings. There are a wonderful continuity and agreement of these teachings and those of our more current prophets."

However, continued Elder Oaks, as the policies and procedures of the Church are refined by continuing revelation and inspiration, there are those who become disturbed by any changes.

"Some literally hunt for situations where earlier Church leaders or members made statements which are not in complete harmony with our understanding and practices today. The mind set of some is that anything coming from an earlier time must be more correct."

Elder Oaks explained that some of the procedures of the Church were not completely developed early in this dispensation and have been amplified and clarified by subsequent prophets. Additionally, he said, protection from erroneous doctrine lies in an overriding belief in continuing revelation to the current prophet.

"The Church is founded on continuing revelation to a current, living prophet," he concluded. "Many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God have been revealed and more are yet to be revealed through the living prophet."

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