Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reason and Revelation

In an interesting talk Elder Dallin H. Oaks said the following:

I admire those scholars for whom scholarship does not exclude faith and revelation. It is part of my faith and experience that the Creator expects us to use the powers of reasoning he has placed within us, and that he also expects us to exercise our divine gift of faith and to cultivate our capacity to be taught by divine revelation. But these things do not come without seeking. Those who utilize scholarship and disparage faith and revelation should ponder the Savior's question, "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" (John 5:44).

God invites us to reason with him, but I find it significant that the reasoning to which God invites us is tied to spiritual realities and maturity rather than to scholarly findings or credentials. In modern revelation the Lord has spoken of reasoning with his people (see D&C 45:10, 15; 50:10–12; 61:13; see also Isaiah 1:18). It is significant that all of these revelations were addressed to persons who had already entered into covenants with the Lord—to the elders of Israel and to the members of his restored church.

In the first of these revelations, the Lord said that he had sent his everlasting covenant into the world to be a light to the world, a standard for his people: "Wherefore, come ye unto it," he said, "and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning" (D&C 45:10). Thus, this divine offer to reason was addressed to those who had shown faith in God, who had repented of their sins, who had made sacred covenants with the Lord in the waters of baptism, and who had received the Holy Ghost, which testifies of the Father and the Son and leads us into truth. This was the group to whom the Lord offered (and offers) to enlarge their understanding by reason and revelation.

 [Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon." This talk was given at the annual dinner of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies in Provo Utah and has been subsequently published in Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, 2011, 237-48 and reprinted in the Journal of Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 21/1 (2012): 66-72].

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