The Prophets Speak: John Taylor on Revelation
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“The Prophets Speak: John Taylor on Revelation,” Tambuli, Aug.–Sept. 1986, inside front cover

The Prophets Speak:

John Taylor on Revelation

From Journal of Discourses, 16:373–376, February 1, 1874.

We believe that it is necessary for man to be placed in communication with God; that he should have revelation from him, and that unless he is placed under the influences of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he can know nothing about the things of God.

I do not care how learned a man may be, or how extensively he may have traveled. I do not care what his talent, intellect, or genius may be, at what college he may have studied, how comprehensive his views or what his judgment may be on other matters, he cannot understand certain things without the Spirit of God, and that necessarily introduces [the] principle [of] the necessity of revelation. Not revelation in former times, but present and immediate revelation, which shall lead and guide those who possess it in all the paths of life here, and to eternal life hereafter.

A good many people, and those professing Christians, will sneer a good deal at the idea of present revelation. Whoever heard of true religion without communication with God? To me the thing is the most absurd that the human mind could conceive. I do not wonder, when the people generally reject the principle of present revelation, that skepticism and infidelity prevail to such an alarming extent. I do not wonder that so many men treat religion with contempt, and regard it as something not worth the attention of intelligent beings, for without revelation religion is a mockery and a farce.

If I can not have a religion that will lead me to God, and place me en rapport with him, and unfold to my mind the principles of immortality and eternal life, I want nothing to do with it.

The principle of present revelation, then, is the very foundation of our religion. The Christian world rejects that, and says the Bible is all-sufficient. I can remember in my younger days searching its contents very diligently. It is a glorious book to study, and I earnestly recommend it to the attention of our young men and women, and of our old men and old women. “Search the scriptures,” was the command of Jesus, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39.)

I would not only search the scriptures we now have, but I would search every revelation that God has given, does give, or will give for the guidance and direction of his people, and then I would reverence the Giver, and those also whom he makes use of as his honored instruments to promulgate and make known those principles; and I would seek to be governed by the principles that are contained in that sacred word.