And now the spirit of Alma was again troubled; and he went and inquired of the Lord what he should do concerning this matter, for he feared that he should do wrong in the sight of God.
Thinking this morning about how revelation works—particularly with prophets for the whole Church, but it also applies to us.
In Mosiah 26 and Acts 10, two different prophets have two different questions. Alma wanted to know how to deal with children of Church members who left the Church to form their own church. Peter received a vision about the gospel being preached to the Gentiles when it had only been preached to the Jews (as God had commanded).
In both cases, even the prophets didn’t have all the answers or God’s perspective, notwithstanding their inspired calling. The answers came line upon line after much prayer and pondering.
In both cases, they had to work through their understanding of God’s will (Paul had a vision repeated 3 times and he had to pray to understand what it meant AND have the courage to follow it because it was a new direction).
I think sometimes our natural man tendencies lead us to criticize our leaders in the way they lead us (both generally and locally). But they are learning this process of revelation just like we each are. And the Lord leads us each along the same path of understanding.
However, notwithstanding their mortality, God’s chosen prophets are called by Him and directed by Him as they lead His Church.
I know sometimes it’s easy to look at our leaders and question why they do the things they do. It’s been our natural tendency to do that always (Moses, Peter, Alma, Joseph Smith, President Russell M. Nelson, to name a few), but God is in control and revealing His ways line upon line. Studying these past examples of how revelation works, how the Lord works with us, His people, and how He leads prophets, I have perfect confidence in two things:
1. when I don’t understand something, I, like Alma and Peter, can take it to the Lord in fervent prayer, and
2. Prophets are called of God and they are going through this process with the Lord’s help and under His watchful eye. I trust them completely because I trust God completely and they are His chosen conduit for leading me. The voices of the world don’t sway me because I’ve studied the pattern in the scriptures and prayed for myself for that confirmation that this is how God works.