Continuing Revelation Summary

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Equal rights, freedom, and worth of all persons have been a struggle for centuries for human beings. Over the years, the struggle for power, the fear of differences, and loss of control are all common factors that separate us from one another. It is through the blessing of Continuing Revelation, individually and in community, we prayerfully listen to understand God’s will for our lives, the church, and creation more completely.
In 1984, the World Conference of the RLDS accepted Words of Counsel presented from Wallace B. Smith. This controversial revelation provided for the ordination of women. The watershed of Doctrine and Covenants 156 formed a schism that was more than strong feelings and theological differences. It was a time in which
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The First Presidency was profoundly aware and strived to create a sense of unity throughout the variety of opinion surrounding church doctrine and mission. Two years, prior to the controversial revelation, Wallace B. Smith pastorally reached out to the people of the Restoration seeking to resolve the existing conflict. Wallace shared, “This happening was prompted by the Spirit, I come to you this evening in response to the Holy Spirit which has rested on me very strongly in the past few days.” I believe the compassionate Spirit that prompted Wallace B. Smith was, of course, seeking to bring peace and unity among our differences. Based on Roy Schaefer’s accounting it seems that Wallace was carrying such a heavy burden for all involved, the Restoration and the Reorganization. This was reflected in Wallace Smith’s words to the gathering, “I have not come to argue doctrine, justify positions, or refute rumors … There are moments when one of the parties – and sometimes both of them – feels the temptation to be generous. The sudden outreach of sympathy, the humbling awareness of what each is doing – throwing away perhaps half a lifetime, maybe more, of cherished hopes and fondest dreams – make them acutely aware of the need for reconciliation.” I think Wallace was very aware of the depth of pain this separation was causing even those who left the church and I believe he responded with the guidance of that Spirit, seeking to honor the worth of all people. Again, as Wallace stated, “one being is as precious in his sight as the other”, I believe, he truly had a desire for reconciliation. A reconciliation that as Doctrine and Covenant 156 was accepted in two years would be desperately
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