Shared Revelations

Shared Revelations September 5, 2020


Where the Boss and I were married
The 1978 Revelation on Priesthood was received in the Salt Lake City Utah Temple


Earlier this evening, we had the largest screening to date of the Interpreter Foundation’s theatrical film, Witnesses.  Somewhat more than fifty invited guests were in the audience in a large theater, masked and distanced.  The film has been modified slightly since the previous screening.  The feedback from these events is valuable.


On the general subject of witnesses, here are some quotations about the 1978 revelation on priesthood from Adventures of a Church Historian, the memoirs of the late Dr. Leonard J. Arrington:


“Those in attendance said that as he began his earnest prayer, they suddenly realized that it was not Kimball’s prayer, but the Lord speaking through him. A revelation was being declared. Kimball himself realized that the words were not his but the Lord’s. During that prayer some of the Twelve—at least two who have said so publicly—were transported into a celestial atmosphere, saw a divine presence and the figures of former presidents of the church . . . smiling to indicate their approval and sanction. Others acknowleged the voice of the Lord coming, as with the prophet Elijah, ‘through the still, small voice.’ The voice of the Spirit followed their earnest search for wisdom and understanding.

“At the end of the heavenly manifestation, Kimball, weeping for joy, confronted the [other members of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve], many of them also sobbing, and asked if they sustained this heavenly instruction. Embracing, all nodded vigorously and jubilantly their sanction. There had been a startling and commanding revelation from God—an ineffable experience.

“Two of the apostles present described the experience as a ‘day of Pentecost’ similar to the one in the Kirtland Temple on April 6, 1836, the day of its dedication. They saw a heavenly personage and heard heavenly music. To the temple-clothed members, the gathering, incredible and without compare, was the greatest singular event of their lives. Those I talked with wept as they spoke of it. All were certain they had witnessed a revelation from God.”[1]


“It is a common regret among Latter-day Saints that general authorities do not speak openly about their remarkable spiritual experiences in the way Joseph Smith and other early prophets used to do. Although they unquestionably do have such experiences, they have said little about this one.”[2]


Arrington terms this revelation “indisputable evidence of God’s presence and direction in these latter days—divine reaffirmation of the faith and values of our church.”[3]


[1] Leonard J. Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois, 1998), 177. On the preceding page, Professor Arrington remarks that “As a historian I sought to learn the particulars and record them in my private diary. The following account is based on dozens of interviews with persons who talked with church officials after the revelation was announced. Although members of the Twelve and the First Presidency with whom I sought interviews felt they should not elaborate on what happened, I learned details from family members and friends to whom they had made comments.” He acknowledges that “Some of these statements may have involved colorful, symbolic language that was taken literally.” Arrington’s entire chapter on the subject, “The Long-Promised Day,” pp. 175-185, is of interest.

[2] Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian, 176 (emphasis in the original).

[3] Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian, 176.



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