The term revelation is defined in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Guide to the Scriptures as “communication from God to his children on earth. Revelation may come through the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost by way of inspiration, visions, dreams, or visits by angels. Revelation provides guidance that can lead the faithful to eternal salvation in the celestial kingdom.”Members of the Mormon Church firmly believe that God continues to communicate with man, and that modern revelation is a vital part of Christ’s Church. The thirteen Articles of Faith describe some of the most important principles in Mormon belief. In the ninth Article of Faith it says, “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.”Revelation has always been a part of Christ’s Church especially to the [Mormon] Church’s leaders, known as prophets. Amos 3:7 reads, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are set apart in Christ’s Church as prophets, seers, and revelators. However, the President of the Church is the only person authorized to receive revelation for the whole Church.
The President of the Church, however, is not the only person entitled to revelation. Every member of the Church is blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The Holy Ghost is a revelator, no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations.” Every person is entitled to personal revelation for his or her own benefit. There are also a few roles that entitle people to getting revelation for others. Those in leadership positions within the Church, such as a bishop or stake president, may receive revelation for the members over whom they preside. However a bishop cannot receive revelation for an entire stake, because his authority is only over the ward. Parents are also entitled to receive revelation on behalf of their entire family.
The need for modern revelation is basic. Instruction given to past generations may not always be necessary for future generations. For example, in the Old Testament, God instituted the law of animal sacrifice through revelation. The purpose of animal sacrifice was to remind the people of the Savior that would come and give His life as a sacrifice for sin and redeem us all. However, when Christ came and performed this act, there was no longer a need for animal sacrifice. A new law of sacrifice was revealed and asked that members give of their time, substance, and talents to help build up Christ’s Church. Modern revelation is also needed to help clarify, and interpret past revelation.
Members of the Church value the Bible and Book of Mormon as sources for revelation about the organization of Christ’s Church, the commandments, the plan of salvation, important spiritual events such as Christ’s life and ministry, and as examples of God’s dealings with men. However these are not the only sources of God’s revelations; other revelations are needed to guide our lives and the Church to make sure that our actions are in accordance with God’s will.