2 Nephi 29: 9

“And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.”
The assurance to us by the Lord that He is the “same yesterday, today and forever” appears often in scripture. (See, e.g., four times by Nephi including 1 Ne. 10: 18; 2 Ne. 2: 4; 2 Ne. 27: 23, and above; Alma 31: 17; Mormon 9: 9; Moroni 10: 19; D&C 20: 12; and D&C 35: 1, among other places.) Why do you suppose the Lord wants us to trust in this idea? What is it about the Lord’s “sameness” that is important for us to understand?
Are the Lord’s expectations different from one generation to the next? Are His teachings?  Are His ordinances? Can we discard what He has given us and be justified? If His expectations are as unchanged as He is, then how important is it for us to study and retain all that He has given by revelation to mankind? How important is it to keep ordinances entirely intact?
If the Lord does not change, and the story of the Nephite people is a story of temporary success followed by ultimate failure, then how relevant is that account for us? Does temporary success in repentance guarantee constant favor from the Lord? When the Book of Mormon follows splinter groups in the narrative, because the splinters kept the commandments of God better, does that preserve a relevant lesson for those reading the book today? If so, how?
If the Lord “speaks forth [His] own words according to [His] own pleasure” then how can we control to whom and when He is permitted to speak? If He reserves to Himself this right, what effect does our system of recognizing an authoritative message from Him have upon His right to speak? Did the revelation given to Oliver Cowdrey that told him that he could not write commandments, but only according to wisdom, and never command Joseph Smith who presided over Oliver, establish a binding precedent on the Lord? (D&C 28: 4-6.) If so, what limit does that place on the Lord?  Does the limitation on someone being sent forth as a missionary to preach the Gospel, and the requirement they be “regularly ordained by the heads of the church” limit the Lord’s ability to speak His own words?  (D&C 42: 11.) If so, in what way?
Does the revelation to Joseph Smith informing the Church in 1831 that no one other than Joseph Smith is to receive commandments and revelations for the Church limit the Lord’s ability to speak to anyone else? (D&C 43: 1-6.) In particular, what of the Lord’s counsel that this limitation was intended as “a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.” (Id. verses 5-6.) Does that prevent Him from speaking “according to His own pleasure?”
What about the 1830 revelation given to Joseph Smith that no one other than Joseph Smith is to receive revelations and commandments in the church? (D&C 28: 2.) Does that limit the Lord’s ability to speak according to His own pleasure?
Do the promises given to Joseph Smith apply directly and continually as the binding precedent and complete limitation on the Lord’s capacity to speak to us? If so, then can He still speak to individual members of the church but without providing a “revelation and commandment” to the entire church? For example, do we expect only President Monson to receive revelation on the individual members of your own family? How is President Monson supposed to be doing that for the families of some 13 million church members? If that isn’t possible, then what about the approximate 2,000 stakes? Do we expect only President Monson to receive revelation about each of these divisions? If the stake presidents have been delegated responsibility, then can the stake president receive all revelation for each family within the stake? Can the stake president alone receive revelation for the families of his stake?
If each person is intended to receive some revelation for themselves, is that an absolute bar to receiving revelation for another? If, for example, someone were not in your ward, not in your stake, not even living in your state, but asked you to give them a blessing because of illness or injury, are you entitled to receive revelation while giving the blessing? Even if you have no connection to this person by family or church calling?  Should you proceed with the blessing? If so, would you expect the Lord to assist, give revelation, and even inspire a commandment to the person if it were appropriate?
How hard and fast are the rules we impose on the Lord? Does His statement that He alone will decide when and to whom He speaks according to “His own pleasure” need to be weighed as part of the equation? If He cannot speak to anyone other than Joseph Smith, then did Joseph’s death prevent Him from speaking further? If He cannot speak to anyone other than Joseph’s successors in the office of President of the High Priesthood, then what if the occupant of that office is ill, infirm, or disabled?
Would the “system” govern, or the Lord’s “own pleasure” govern? If it is “His own pleasure” then how can we possibly know when He speaks?  What about the Lord’s house being a house of order? Once He has a church established, should we trust He will confine His efforts to that church alone?
I suppose all these questions are answered by the Lord adding to “His own pleasure” that “because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.”
In the final analysis, it is left to us to fast, pray, seek the guidance of the Spirit, and to find where the Lord’s own pleasure in speaking is to be found. I do not expect someone other than the presiding authorities to conduct the affairs of the church. Nor would I expect anyone would organize a ward or stake other than someone having authority over that responsibility, regularly recognized by the church. I would not expect to either pay tithing to, nor be asked to pay tithing to, someone other than a Bishop in the church.  But, just as Elder F. Enzio Busche encountered gifted sisters with the gift of prophecy and visions, I do not believe revelation is or can be confined to any single office, person, or group. (See F. Enzio Busche’s book, Yearning for the Living God.)  While serving in various church leadership positions, including as a General Authority, he encountered gifted women with spiritual capacities who astonished him. But, to his credit, he did not doubt them.
God speaks according to His own pleasure. He cautions you that just because He says one thing at one time, He is never limited in what He may say at another time; even if you think it contradicts His earlier statements. He is living and He has the final decision in what He says and to whom He speaks. We must not forget that principle. Even though we may not like the uncertainty this introduces to our trusted systems. He alone will remain in control.

14 thoughts on “2 Nephi 29: 9

  1. Could you please give us a page number or chapter in the “Yearning for the Living God: Reflections from the Life of F. Enzio Busche”
    in which it refers to woman with gifts?



  2. WOW! Denver, that took me a good half an hour to get through. Lots of implications to consider. I think you hit the nail on the head with your last line in this post, when you said: “Even though we may not like the uncertainty this introduces into our trusted systems.” That is at the root of our resistance. It means we have to actually depend upon the Holy Ghost to confirm everything we hear. That is hard. That is humbling. It is clearly what the Lord expects of us.

  3. DS Said: “If, for example, someone were not in your ward, not in your stake, not even living in your state, but asked you to give them a blessing because of illness or injury, are you entitled to receive revelation while giving the blessing?”

    I understand that was a constant problem for the Tongan patriarch Iohanni Wolfgramm (sp?). As a patriarch of one Phoenix stake he was constantly being asked to give healing blessings to folks from other stakes because his reputation for the faith to heal became pretty famous, particularly among fellow Polynesians.

    He was at one time, I believe, reprimanded by his Stake President that he was to give no one a blessing from outside of his stake, which he tried very hard to abide by.

  4. I have a question. It has been on my mind for a while and was brought to the surface again by the post on 2 Nephi 28:31. That same day my friend said to me “I just read an article by Elder (can’t remember who) in the Ensign. He said that the youth of today are the strongest spirits. That they are the most strong and best to face the challenges today, etc…. That just gave me so much hope. That we will all make it through, that my kids will.”

    A line in the post today brought that to mind again. It was “Are the Lord’s expectations different from one generation to the next?”
    Are they? I don’t think so. We all earn salvation by following the same rules.
    Why would he save the best for last. It does not really seem fair to me. Like we of these last days have an anvantage over everyone else. The truth is that it does not matter when you come to this earth, because you will still have to prove yourself through the same “test”. I mean are we the caliber of people like the women and children who would not deny Christ in Alma’s time. Who were then burned to death as a consequence. Are all we “stronger spirits” willing to do that?

    I will admit that I used to buy into this thought, because, well it’s flattering. But I am starting to re-think it. Does anyone know where this line of thinking came from? Is this a ‘false tradition’ that we all like to believe? I can certainly see how it would put a person at ease.

  5. CS,
    Remember this?
    Who are these children coming down, coming down.
    Like gentle rain though darken skies.
    With glory trailing from their feet as they go.
    And endless promise in their eyes!
    These are the few, the warriors
    Saved for Saturday, to come
    The last day of the world
    These are they, on Saturday.
    These are the strong, the warriors
    Rising in the might to win
    The battle raging in
    The hearts of men, on Saturday.

    It’s in our culture. We are the “chosen” ones with glory trailing from our feet as we go. And we were saved for the last days because of our strength. Although I can’t find anywhere in the scriptures to support that our generation is more worthy than any other, it is something that has been fed to us. Perhaps it’s with good intentions, so that we will rise to the occasion and “fight the good fight,” but I’m sure it has the ability to make us rest easy, because we’re “special.”

    It’s true that Ephraim has been given more blessings, but along with that comes the responsibility. As we’ve seen in recent blog posts from Denver, the Gentiles either are trodden under, or it’s “well with them” if they repent. It seems there is no middle ground. Telestial or Celestial.

  6. Many people say you will not receive revelation for anyone “outside your stewardship.” I don’t think I buy that. I’ve had many “impressions” where I knew a man was either into porn or cheating on his wife. I had no stewardship whatsoever over these people and sometimes I wasn’t even friends with them. They always proved to be true. Why would I have these? I seemingly do nothing with them except file them away in the back of my mind. I certainly do not go confront the people.

    Could it be a result of simply trying to live more in tune? Of trying to obtain the “mind of God” under all circumstances? Are we just given to know things as we strive to become more like Him and serve Him?

    Why was Wolfgramm so sought after? Why do we not have men like him in every ward? A similar man gave my mom a blessing to have children, a man who had received the Second Comforter. My parents travelled through 2 and 1/2 states to meet him and receive a blessing from him after EVERY priesthood leader REFUSED to give my mom a blessing. What- she was only past 40 with no kids and told by all her doc’s she’d never have any. And to think, that scared them all off. I fluctuate from being so saddened by that and being just pissed off. (sorry, brothers- I know you’re trying. I think.)

  7. To the Anonymous who used the word “pissed”:

    I have that feeling about certain people as well. My husband and I call it the “creepy guy” feeling. At first my husband thought I was being judgmental, but after being right a few times, he now listens to me. I feel this is what is called discernment. Some people are more in tune with it than others. I don’t ever remember not having it. It’s a gift. I’ve never had the feeling to approach the person after feeling it about them. I have had the feeling to warn my family about others.

    Just thought you might like to know there are others with this kind of feeling


  8. Tina,

    Did I say the p word? Sheesh.

    Yes, sometimes we call it “The Creeps.” I’m trying to awaken that in my daughters as they get older.

    Confession having nothing whatsoever to do with Denver’s blog: I clicked on your photo and saw your photos from your Bryce Canyon trip – what a fantastic waterfall!! Where is that, exactly? Not Bryce, the waterfall. :) (Hope this doesn’t give you The Creeps. lol.)

  9. To the “creepy” pissed anonymous, (LOL!)

    The waterfall is in the Bryce Canyon park on the North side. The Trail is called the “Mossy Cave Trail”. We spent a lot of time there because my kids loved it there…

  10. It seems that having the Spirit of Discernment to be able to tell a devil from a saint is one thing,(which by the way is vital if we don’t want to be easily deceived to support evil people in our family, friends & others we know & meet.

    But actually receiving revelation & personal instruction for another person’s life, more than just telling them you feel they need to repent, I believe remains with those who have stewardship & direct responsibility over the person. Like husbands & wives received revelation for each other & their children & Church leaders for members.

    But still, truth is truth, & so any light & knowledge we receive from heaven, is just as useful to our neighbor as ourself, if they are ready for it & the Spirit prompts us to share it with them.

  11. I believe the Lord gave us this “system” mainly to: Establish/Maintain truth and know and live operational laws AND enjoy continued connection with heaven to get us back to a celestial society. When we live God’s laws and ways, we find the purest and highest joy. We are that we might have joy, right? So these things lead us to real happiness and ultimately to exaltation. So the system is a way of getting the end result. Now what if, that “system” starts to break down? What if because of pride and the love of the things of the world more than finding and living the truth God keeps restoring to us, we break down even more over time? Now if church, ordinances, scriptures, rituals, symbols or the “system” or the way to get the end result (a happy and exalted people worthy to stand before the Gods gone before us) into the hands of the children of God breaks down in anyway, what then? What about those who begin to see these things after the system begins to falter, and it continues… can not one find a way to get the knowledge and truth necessary to enjoy Blessings & happiness which naturally come from living those truths/laws? Progression is just forefeited for those individuals because of the collective failures in the system? The system was created and given a commission to get us the end result, it wasn’t meant to unrighteously dominate and prevent individuals or families from truth and highest of exaltation. Now what? Just some serious pondering…

  12. Tina,

    Thanks! I think my kids will love that place, too!!

    More and more the “stewardship” concept is bugging me. It feels like we want a guarantee again. Like if we wholly disregard anyone with no “stewardship” over us, we’ll be fine. No discernment needed. I don’t like the way that concept is used sometimes.

    -Creepy and Pissed Off :)

  13. Anon. 11:27,

    Our progression has not & cannot be forfeited by or stopped or even be dependent on anyone on earth.

    We have lost nothing that is vital to our Exaltation & having extreme happiness & joy here on earth

    No one, not even the Prophet can stop us from the progression needed for Exaltation. It is not possible.

    Anyone on earth & especially in this Church as valiant members, can obtain all the blessings here & now, needed to have Exaltant Ecstacy in this life & Exaltation in the life to come.

  14. On the question of choice spirits being held in reserve, I have the following in my materials:


    A statement by President Wilford Woodruff as follows:
    The Lord has chosen a small number of the choice spirits of sons and daughters out of all the creations of God who are to inherit this earth. This company of choice spirits has been kept in the spirit world for six thousand years, to come forth in the last days, to stand in the flesh in this dispensation of the fulness of times, to organize the kingdom of God upon the earth, to build it up and to defend it, and to receive the eternal and everlasting priesthood.


    God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head – even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly…. Make no mistake about it – you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us.
    Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson p. 104-5

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