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Monday, October 10, 2016

Can We Receive Promptings that Contradict the Gospel?

Dear Bro Jo,

I’ve been a big reader of the blog for a while now.

Just some background I'm a 15 year old guy, Active, and I'm Teachers Quorum President.

I need some help.

Or rather I need help helping a friend.

A good friend of mine in my Stake has paired off with another good friend of mine in the Stake. I know them both pretty well.

So here's the story.

About a month ago he (we'll call him Jeff) went out with her (we'll call her Marisa) on a single date to an amusement park.  Some of my other friends were there and caught them holding hands while they were walking around.

So when I heard this I talked to him about it (and to my mom because she likes to keep up on what’s happening in the Stake and she’s friends with the girl).

After that he kinda convinced me that it was all innocent (I should’ve known better).

Then about a week ago they posted to Facebook that they were in a relationship. (I didn't see this post until yesterday).

When I saw it I messaged him about it. After a little bit of conversation he said this:

"Oh haha I gotcha, I was confused. Honestly (my name)? I have not jumped into this in any sense. We've prayed about it. Fasted about it. The prophets as a general rule don't encourage it but she and I have been thinking about this for... 4 months? We think we're smart enough to not make those mistakes that many young couples make. And we both after many months have gotten separate answers from God that this is right at this time. No offense (my name), but I'll take my counsel from God not Bro Jo. Sorry if that seems harsh but Marisa's been getting some flak from her parents and I'm just a little frustrated. I appreciate your concern" 

(I already changed the names and withheld my name)

So he said he wasn’t going to take counsel from you because earlier in our conversation I sent him to two of your posts.

These ones in particular are: Good Guy's Dilemma  and Why Can't We Be Friends?.

What really annoys me about this is she is a great girl and he’s a great guy but in the message he sent me he said

"We've prayed about it. Fasted about it. The prophets as a general rule don't encourage it but Marisa and I have been thinking about this for... 4 months? We think we're smart enough to not make those mistakes that many young couples make. And we both after many months have gotten" 



That really annoys me to no end. I haven’t said that to him but i need some more advice.

I've already read up a ton on all the Church's things on dating I have the New Era April 2010 edition that is a special issue on dating and I've marked it up like my scriptures and I've gone through conference talks and teachings of the Prophets and consulted my parents ( they are both huge on dating rules).

As you can see I've done my HW I'm praying about it and pondering.

Would you tell me if I'm over reacting?

I just really care about them both. Any help on how to deal with this would be great. I've seen other youth in my older brothers' age groups have failed marriages (even one of Jeff's sisters) and people fall away from the Church all because they didn't date properly.

I really don't want this to happen to them.

- Help Please

Dear Help,

Can a person receive Personal Revelation that's contrary to the Gospel and teachings of the Church?

Absolutely not.

And yet some members make claims like this all the time.


Because we have a tendency to look for ways to justify doing what we want even if we know it's wrong.

As you get older, as you serve a mission and in Church leadership, you likely will see this more and more.

The thing is that unless they ask our advice there's nothing you or I can say or do that will change their minds.  They're already closed to the words of Heavenly Father, Jesus, The Spirit, Prophets and Apostles.

Just be a good pal, and don't say "I told you so" when they turn out to be wrong.

Unsolicited rebuking by us non-Prophets is usually just used as a further excuse for someone to stray.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo, 

Darn really wanted to do something about it.

Well I guess all that's left to do is pray.

Anyway thanks

- Help

Dear Help.

Prayer is powerful  As is the love and friendship we show.

Set an example of what we're supposed to do, and don't come across as judgmental.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

Does this quote by Dallin H. Oaks has any relevance to this circumstance?

"If you feel you are a special case, so that the strong counsel I have given doesn’t apply to you, please don’t write me a letter. Why would I make this request? I have learned that the kind of direct counsel I have given results in a large number of letters from members who feel they are an exception, and they want me to confirm that the things I have said just don’t apply to them in their special circumstance.

I will explain why I can’t offer much comfort in response to that kind of letter by telling you an experience I had with another person who was troubled by a general rule. I gave a talk in which I mentioned the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13). Afterward a man came up to me in tears saying that what I had said showed there was no hope for him. “What do you mean?” I asked him.

He explained that he had been a machine gunner during the Korean War. During a frontal assault, his machine gun mowed down scores of enemy infantry. Their bodies were piled so high in front of his gun that he and his men had to push them away in order to maintain their field of fire. He had killed a hundred, he said, and now he must be going to hell because I had spoken of the Lord’s commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”

The explanation I gave that man is the same explanation I give to you if you feel you are an exception to what I have said. As a General Authority, I have the responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don’t try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord."


Bro Jo said...

Dear Anon,

The WHOLE TALK has relevance to what we discuss here at Dear Bro Jo!

My hope is that you're focusing more on the "stop making excuses" points in what Elder Oaks said than the "don't write to me asking me to approve of your exception to the rule" points.


- Bro Jo

J-Dawg Fluffy said...

There's doctrine, there's standards, and there's counsel. Doctrine is only found in the standard works, or in unanimous statements from the apostles. Doctrine seldom, if ever, changes. Standards are published rules that are based on doctrines. Counsel is generally inspired advice. Can a person receive revelation that contradicts doctrine or standards? No. But can a person receive revelation that contradicts counsel? Certainly, but there's a high unlikelihood. For example, one of my chemistry professors here at BYU-I received revelation (She and her husband) that she should continue working (Teaching at the university) while her husband stayed home with their special-needs child. It worked out very well for them. But there is a big red flag in the case presented by this post: They're claiming they've received revelation based on the idea that they're special and superior. There is no end-game for this that wouldn't be achieved though them just staying friends. T=I have no doubt that they think they received revelation. The source, though, is questionable.