A Changing World and a Continuing Revelation
Yet another explanation of the need for continuing revelation is the changing nature of what-is. Since Mormons believe that God is within space and time in some way or another rather than outside of all time and space, it makes sense to assert that there is no atemporal "viewpoint" from which God sees everything as it is once-and-for-all.
There is no such viewpoint because there is and can be no such once-and-for-all for the world. That would mean that God knows everything that is, but there is nothing that isn't undergoing change. The change of his knowledge would be one of its perfections, and new revelations would be its consequence.
Because the world changes, as it changes God's knowledge too would change, and he would reveal new things to his prophets. In that case, revelation continues because the cosmos and humankind change (and God too, though not in his loving relationship to us). As things change God is perfectly able to keep abreast of change and to reveal what is needed to his children, and he does so by continuing to give them revelations through the prophets he has called.
One needn't expect that the changes brought by new revelation would be rapid. Taking the long view, God need not hurry.
Seldom would his revelations violently interrupt the status quo or be spectacular (though both of those remain possible). But perhaps many would consist of revelations on seemingly insignificant matters. Because God inserts himself not only into the most sublime aspects and activities of our lives, but also into the most mundane, his revelations might often appear to be merely mundane.
One needn't believe that the Father and the Son continue to speak face-to-face with each succeeding prophet. Perhaps they do speak, but it isn't necessary to the faith that they do. It would be enough that God continues to inspire and lead them in whatever way he chooses.
One needn't believe that the prophets are infallible. I assume that they are righteous people, but I also assume that there are more-or-less ordinary people in my congregation who are their equal in righteousness. Prophets are not called because they are more righteous than everyone else, but because, being sufficiently righteous, they have the skills, attitudes, and abilities that God needs for a particular time and work.
Mormon explanations for why we believe in continuing revelation are likely to vary. But Mormon belief that the Church is led by continuing revelation is central to the identity of the LDS Church and its members.
James Faulconer is a Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University, where he has taught philosophy since 1975.