Your Notre Dame Mormon on Continuous Revelation


Was Jospeh Smith the “buck stops here guy”, or does the current Prophet supercede him? Did Joseph Smith have the fullness of truth in his teachings?

Thanks for your questions!

The LDS 9th Article of Faith states:

“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.”

“In the words of Wilford Woodruff: “And thus addressing the Twelve, [Joseph] exclaimed, ‘upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now. But now the responsibility rests upon you’ ” (Times and Seasons, 5:698).

Revelation and guidance from heaven did not end with the death of Joseph Smith. “Many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” have been revealed through those who succeeded him as President of the Church. In the words of President Spencer W. Kimball:

“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.”… Merrill C. Oaks, “The Living Prophet: Our Source of Pure Doctrine,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 82

“A very encouraging portion of the ninth article of faith we have been considering is its conclusion, “We believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” Elder Boyd K. Packer, now Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated: “Revelation is a continuous principle in the Church. In one sense the Church is still being organized. As light and knowledge are given, as prophecies are fulfilled and more intelligence is received, another step forward can be taken” (The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1980, page 137).

This Church constantly needs the guidance of its head, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…

When does this promised revelation come? Only God knows. It comes as needed. To whom does it come? To obtain the answer to this, we must go back to the words of Amos: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7)…

The doctrine of this Church was stated by Elder Stephen L. Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “They [the First Presidency] are the supreme court here on earth in the interpretation of God’s law.

“In the exercise of their functions and delegated powers they are controlled by a constitution, a part of which is written and a part of which is not. The written part consists in authenticated scripture, ancient and modern, and in the recorded utterances of our latter-day prophets. The unwritten part is the spirit of revelation and divine inspiration which are appertinent to their calling…

The responsibility for determining the divine validity of that which one of the oracles of God may state does not rest solely upon him. President J. Reuben Clark, formerly a member of the First Presidency, stated, “We can tell when the speakers are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’ only when we, ourselves, are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’ ”…

This is in harmony with the counsel of President Brigham Young:

“I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not” James E. Faust, “Continuing Revelation,” Ensign, Aug. 1996, 2

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.

I would offer the following thoughts on such matters: (1) Some of the procedures of the Church were not completely developed early in this dispensation and have been amplified and clarified by subsequent prophets. (2) Our protection from erroneous doctrine lies in an overriding belief in continuing revelation to the current prophet.” Merrill C. Oaks, “The Living Prophet: Our Source of Pure Doctrine,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 82


**God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him. **


There is of course continuing private revelation because when Jesus died he sent the Holy Spirit to all the believers not to one central head. But private revelation is not binding on the entire church. God continues to give inspiration through the Holy Spirit to help us continue to understand his final revelation in Jesus Christ.


Amen, christianley, to all of this.

I do take issue with Kellie’s presumption that “there will be no further Revelation after [Christ].” This notion is contradicted by both Peter and Paul’s revelations.


True, but private revelation is only valid (from God) if it doesn’t conflict with divine revelation. That is one of the tests that the Church uses in making determinations related to the validity of private revelation. And, the main reason the Church even gets involved is to protect the flock from deception.:slight_smile:


Amen to that also, JimO.


Here is our continued revelation:

Notice it doesn’t break somewhere in the 2nd century only to re-emerge in the 19th century in the “good ol’ USA”. American opportunists who convinced weak-minded men with promises of false gifts and false status in heaven if they built up their own churches while inventing new theological excuses to claim historical Christianity was void. That is gross Americanism at its core, infiltrating one’s religion (see Restorationism):

Christ speaking to his appointed missionary disciples: “He who hears you, hears me. He who rejects you, rejects me. And he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16

  1. St. Peter (32-67)
    2 St. Linus (67-76)
    3 St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
    4 St. Clement I (88-97)
    5 St. Evaristus (97-105)
    6 St. Alexander I (105-115)
    7 St. Sixtus I (115-125) – also called Xystus I
    8 St. Telesphorus (125-136)
    9 St. Hyginus (136-140)
    10 St. Pius I (140-155)
    11 St. Anicetus (155-166)
    12 St. Soter (166-175)
    13 St. Eleutherius (175-189)
    14 St. Victor I (189-199)
    15 St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
    16 St. Callistus I (217-22)
    17 St. Urban I (222-30)
    18 St. Pontain (230-35)
    19 St. Anterus (235-36)
    20 St. Fabian (236-50)
    21 St. Cornelius (251-53)
    22 St. Lucius I (253-54)
    23 St. Stephen I (254-257)
    24 St. Sixtus II (257-258)
    25 St. Dionysius (260-268)
    26 St. Felix I (269-274)
    27 St. Eutychian (275-283)
    28 St. Caius (283-296) – also called Gaius
    29 St. Marcellinus (296-304)
    30 St. Marcellus I (308-309)
    31 St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
    32 St. Miltiades (311-14)
    33 St. Sylvester I (314-35)
    34 St. Marcus (336)
    35 St. Julius I (337-52)
    36 Liberius (352-66)
    37 St. Damasus I (366-83)
    38 St. Siricius (384-99)
    39 St. Anastasius I (399-401)
    40 St. Innocent I (401-17)
    41 St. Zosimus (417-18)
    42 St. Boniface I (418-22)
    43 St. Celestine I (422-32)
    44 St. Sixtus III (432-40)
    45 St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
    46 St. Hilarius (461-68)
    47 St. Simplicius (468-83)
    48 St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
    49 St. Gelasius I (492-96)
    50 Anastasius II (496-98)
    51 St. Symmachus (498-514)
    52 St. Hormisdas (514-23)
    53 St. John I (523-26)
    54 St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
    55 Boniface II (530-32)
    56 John II (533-35)
    57 St. Agapetus I (535-36) – also called Agapitus I
    58 St. Silverius (536-37)
    59 Vigilius (537-55)
    60 Pelagius I (556-61)
    61 John III (561-74)
    62 Benedict I (575-79)
    63 Pelagius II (579-90)
    64 St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)
    65 Sabinian (604-606)
    66 Boniface III (607)
    67 St. Boniface IV (608-15)
    68 St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
    69 Boniface V (619-25)
    70 Honorius I (625-38)
    71 Severinus (640)
    72 John IV (640-42)
    73 Theodore I (642-49)
    74 St. Martin I (649-55)
    75 St. Eugene I (655-57)
    76 St. Vitalian (657-72)
    77 Adeodatus (II) (672-76)
    78 Donus (676-78)
    79 St. Agatho (678-81)
    80 St. Leo II (682-83)
    81 St. Benedict II (684-85)
    82 John V (685-86)
    83 Conon (686-87)
    84 St. Sergius I (687-701)
    85 John VI (701-05)
    86 John VII (705-07)
    87 Sisinnius (708)
    88 Constantine (708-15)
    89 St. Gregory II (715-31)
    90 St. Gregory III (731-41)
    91 St. Zachary (741-52)
    92 Stephen II (752)
    93 Stephen III (752-57)
    94 St. Paul I (757-67)
    95 Stephen IV (767-72)
    95 Adrian I (772-95)
    97 St. Leo III (795-816)
    98 Stephen V (816-17)
    99 St. Paschal I (817-24)
    100 Eugene II (824-27)
    101Valentine (827)
    102 Gregory IV (827-44)
    103 Sergius II (844-47)
    104 St. Leo IV (847-55)
    105 Benedict III (855-58)
    106 St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67)
    107 Adrian II (867-72)
    108 John VIII (872-82)
    109 Marinus I (882-84)
    110 St. Adrian III (884-85)
    111 Stephen VI (885-91)
    112 Formosus (891-96)
    113 Boniface VI (896)
    114 Stephen VII (896-97)
    115 Romanus (897)
    116 Theodore II (897)
    117 John IX (898-900)
    118 Benedict IV (900-03)
    119 Leo V (903)
    120 Sergius III (904-11)
    121 Anastasius III (911-13)
    122 Lando (913-14)
    123 John X (914-28)
    124 Leo VI (928)
    125 Stephen VIII (929-31)
    126 John XI (931-35)
    127 Leo VII (936-39)
    128 Stephen IX (939-42)
    129 Marinus II (942-46)
    130 Agapetus II (946-55)

[continued below…]


[continued from above]

131 John XII (955-63)
132 Leo VIII (963-64)
133 Benedict V (964)
134 John XIII (965-72)
135 Benedict VI (973-74)
136 Benedict VII (974-83)
137 John XIV (983-84)
138 John XV (985-96)
139 Gregory V (996-99)
140 Sylvester II (999-1003)
141 John XVII (1003)
142 John XVIII (1003-09)
143 Sergius IV (1009-12)
144 Benedict VIII (1012-24)
145 John XIX (1024-32)
146 Benedict IX (1032-45)
147 Sylvester III (1045)
148 Benedict IX (1045)
149 Gregory VI (1045-46)
150 Clement II (1046-47)
151 Benedict IX (1047-48)
152 Damasus II (1048)
153 St. Leo IX (1049-54)
154 Victor II (1055-57)
155 Stephen X (1057-58)
156 Nicholas II (1058-61)
157 Alexander II (1061-73)
158 St. Gregory VII (1073-85)
159 Blessed Victor III (1086-87)
160 Blessed Urban II (1088-99)
161 Paschal II (1099-1118)
162 Gelasius II (1118-19)
163 Callistus II (1119-24)
164 Honorius II (1124-30)
165 Innocent II (1130-43)
166 Celestine II (1143-44)
167 Lucius II (1144-45)
168 Blessed Eugene III (1145-53)
169 Anastasius IV (1153-54)
170 Adrian IV (1154-59)
171 Alexander III (1159-81)
172 Lucius III (1181-85)
173 Urban III (1185-87)
174 Gregory VIII (1187)
175 Clement III (1187-91)
176 Celestine III (1191-98)
177 Innocent III (1198-1216)
178 Honorius III (1216-27)
179 Gregory IX (1227-41)
180 Celestine IV (1241)
181 Innocent IV (1243-54)
182 Alexander IV (1254-61)
183 Urban IV (1261-64)
184 Clement IV (1265-68)
185 Blessed Gregory X (1271-76)
186 Blessed Innocent V (1276)
187 Adrian V (1276)
188 John XXI (1276-77)
189 Nicholas III (1277-80)
190 Martin IV (1281-85)
191 Honorius IV (1285-87)
192 Nicholas IV (1288-92)
193 St. Celestine V (1294)
194 Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
195 Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04)
196 Clement V (1305-14)
197 John XXII (1316-34)
198 Benedict XII (1334-42)
199 Clement VI (1342-52)
200 Innocent VI (1352-62)
201 Blessed Urban V (1362-70)
202 Gregory XI (1370-78)
203 Urban VI (1378-89)
204 Boniface IX (1389-1404)
205 Innocent VII (1404-06)
206 Gregory XII (1406-15)
207 Martin V (1417-31)
208 Eugene IV (1431-47)
209 Nicholas V (1447-55)
210 Callistus III (1455-58)
211 Pius II (1458-64)
212 Paul II (1464-71)
213 Sixtus IV (1471-84)
214 Innocent VIII (1484-92)
215 Alexander VI (1492-1503)
216 Pius III (1503)
217 Julius II (1503-13)
218 Leo X (1513-21)
219 Adrian VI (1522-23)
220 Clement VII (1523-34)
221 Paul III (1534-49)
222 Julius III (1550-55)
223 Marcellus II (1555)
224 Paul IV (1555-59)
225 Pius IV (1559-65)
226 St. Pius V (1566-72)
227 Gregory XIII (1572-85)
228 Sixtus V (1585-90)
229 Urban VII (1590)
230 Gregory XIV (1590-91)
231 Innocent IX (1591)
232 Clement VIII (1592-1605)
233 Leo XI (1605)
234 Paul V (1605-21)
235 Gregory XV (1621-23)
236 Urban VIII (1623-44)
237 Innocent X (1644-55)
238 Alexander VII (1655-67)
239 Clement IX (1667-69)
240 Clement X (1670-76)
241 Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89)
242 Alexander VIII (1689-91)
243 Innocent XII (1691-1700)
244 Clement XI (1700-21)
245 Innocent XIII (1721-24)
246 Benedict XIII (1724-30)
247 Clement XII (1730-40)
248 Benedict XIV (1740-58)
249 Clement XIII (1758-69)
250 Clement XIV (1769-74)
251 Pius VI (1775-99)
252 Pius VII (1800-23)
253 Leo XII (1823-29)
254 Pius VIII (1829-30)
255 Gregory XVI (1831-46)
256 Blessed Pius IX (1846-78)
257 Leo XIII (1878-1903)
258 St. Pius X (1903-14)
259 Benedict XV (1914-22)
260 Pius XI (1922-39)
261 Pius XII (1939-58)
262 Blessed John XXIII (1958-63)
263 Paul VI (1963-78)
264 John Paul I (1978)
265 John Paul II (1978-2005)
266 Benedict XVI (2005—)



Thanks for the Amen, but I’m afraid you wouldn’t agree with much of what I believe regarding Mormonism. Even if Joseph Smith received “revelation” from God, it would be considered private revelation. And, since denying the Trinity (along with countless other conflicts) conflicts directly and completely with Divine revelation, it must be exposed as false to protect the faithful.


And I amen that distinction as well. The revelations of Joseph Smith directly conflict with clear and established Catholic doctrine and thus must be regarded by the Catholic Church as false revelations.

Truth of a revelation is discernable by its compatibility with previously established truth.


Does the Catholic Church teach the Pope receives ongoing revelation from God?


No, not in the sense that the Mormons believe their “prophets” do.


There are two kinds of revelations: (1) universal revelations, which are contained in the Bible or in the depositum of Apostolic tradition transmitted by the Church. These ended with the preaching of the Apostles and must be believed by all; (2) particular or private revelations which are constantly occurring among Christians

The Church herself has no protection in private revelations, the bishop could be in error. We are not obliged to believe him, or even the Pope himself in such a case.

What kind of Spirit is at work when someone receives a vision, a revelation, or a more routine favor? To determine this is called the discernment of spirits. It is of great importance to find the right answer. It is evident that there can be three sources: good spirit, evil spirit, auto-suggestion

causes of error in revelations

Faulty interpretation of visions by the recipient- Joan of Arc in prison had a revelation that she would be delivered by a great victory–it was her martyrdom, which she did not suspect.

Human action may mingle with the divine action-St. Catherine Labouré foretold many events correctly, but failed on others

A true revelation may later be altered involuntarily by the recipient-This happens especially with intellectual locutions which need to be translated into words

Secretaries may alter without intending to do so-accuracy of the text is disputed in the works of Mary of Agreda

Causes of False Revelations

Pure bad faith, fakery

Overactive imagination.

Illusion in thinking one remembers things that never happened.

The Devil may give false visions or revelations-Magdalen of the Cross , it all came true–ecstasies, levitation, prophecies, simulated stigmata. At door of death she confessed. Exorcism was needed.

Predictions by falsifiers.-there was an epidemic of prophecy especially on “the great Pope and the great King” inspired by the 17th century commentary on the Apocalypse

degree of certainty or probability is possible?

When God so wills, OT prophets, for they furnished certain signs of their mission we must work by exclusion-hypnotism, somnambulism, telepathy, thought-reading, Inquiries to be made about the alleged recipient

What are the natural qualities or defects, physical, intellectual, and moral

what books he has read, what information he may have picked up from other more learned persons.

What virtues does the person have?

watch out for the work of satan–he may really promote good things for a while, provided that in the long run he gains.

Humility is a major key

Has the person claimed revelations before?

Has the recipient suffered great trials before or after the revelation-Extraordinary graces are very likely to bring great trials, as St. Teresa of Avila remarked,

Has the recipient been fearful of deception, open to Superiors or Director, and never desired revelations?

It is probably good to employ the testimony of expert psychologists as to ecstatic states etc

Is there a revelation of the vices and sins of others? This does not always prove a revelation is false, but calls for careful checking

Is the information useful for salvation of souls? If it is merely to satisfy curiosity it is unlikely to be of divine origin.

Is all in accord with the dignity and gravity of the Divine Majesty? Some alleged revelations descend into vulgar speech

Are there sentiments or peace of disquiet?

Revelations to direct princes or clergy are suspect

  1. Signs of the spirit of God: fits with teaching of Church; serious; gives light to the soul, docility, discretion: no hurriedness or exaggerations; humble thoughts; confidence in God, rightness of intention, patience in suffering, self-denial, sincerity and simplicity in conduct, no attachments not even to the gifts, great desire to imitate Christ in all things (a very strong sign), gentleness, kindness;

  2. Signs of the evil spirit: (the opposite of the above–spirit of falseness or lie, suggestion of useless things, curious things, impertinent things, darkness, restlessness in the soul, a bold, obstinate spirit, many indiscretions, pride, lack of hope, disobedience, vanity, self-satisfaction, impatience, rebellion of the passions, hypocrisy, pretense, attachment to earthly things, forgetfulness of Christ and of imitating him, a false charity including bitter zeal, indiscretion- Fr. William G. Most

Despite the great stature of the prophets, no matter of Jewish law can be decided by the means of prophecy or any other form of Divine inspiration. When a question of Jewish law is concerned a prophet is no better than any other sage.


I think the letter to the Hebrews is probably the strongest case against the LDS position of Prophets and “restoration” of old practices being necessary. I think it goes far to dispel the apostasy theory as well. A few choice passages:

Hebrews chapter 1:

  • 1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.*

…chapter 13*.5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a] 6So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”**

7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.***


Laws of Rebels include nine commandments, three positive commandments and six negative commandments, which are: (1) to act according to the Torah as the Great Rabbinical Court declares it; (2) not to deviate from their words; (3) not to add to the Torah either in the commandments of the Written Law or in the interpretation that we have learned from tradition; (4) not to take away from either of them; (5) not to curse one’s father or mother; (6) not to strike one’s father or mother; (7) to honor one’s father and mother; (8) to fear one’s father and mother; (9) that a son shall not be stubborn and rebellious against the voice of his father and mother.


I pasted from the CCC, and it was regarding public revelation.
As JimO said, the CC runs tests to validate private revelation, due to risk of deception.
Hence why we don’t believe Joseph Smith and why we don’t believe in the subject of this thread.
As you stated, you know the position already of the CC on this subject so why the thread?


Except that Christ called and ordained the Twelve to establish His Church and He continued to lead them through revelation, right? (Kellie, this is where my question comes in regarding your post. I really don’t know the particulars of the Catholic Church on revelation. I had heard that the Church didn’t subscribe to it. The distinguishing public and private was a good explanation for me.)


It’s all well and good to claim that continuing revelation is necessary. Unfortunately for Mormons, you have to be able to make a legitimate claim the revelation you receive makes some sense. From multiple gods to changing revelations in the D&C to the absolutely ridiculous claims of the Book of Mormon to the mistranslation of Egyptian papyrii, Mormon revelation is flawed.


Christ led the Apostles in person originally. He never indicated that revelation beyond that which he gave them was necessary. I support Kellie’s post on public vs. private as that is from the CCC

I find Hebrews very specific on illustrating that the calling of prophet is no longer needed.


For the purposes of this thread, I am happy to stipulate that after Christ, the callling of a prophet was no longer needed. In so doing I am holding that Christ calling His Apostles as witnesses to His divinity, giving them charge to establish and lead the Church, and leading them in that respect through revelation, served that prior function. Do you agree?

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