The mental gymnastics of revelation denial

Church leaders aren’t receiving revelation!


Here are the gymnastics involved in accepting that claim:

1. Deny witness testimony

You have to come up with some reason why these people’s statements are not true:

Sister Wendy Nelson on the specifics of President Nelson receiving revelation:

President Nelson: “The Lord has asked me to let you know…”

President Eyring’s witness of revelation to church leaders:

Elder Davies on revelation of a temple site to President Hinckley:

Elder Scott on his process:

Elder Cook on the revelation on the priesthood:

Elder Cook on recent confirming revelation:

Elder Cook on personal experiences and distinctly different modes of revelation:

For more examples, see Dennis Horne’s collection on Interpreter. Another massive source of examples of revelation in the church is the biographies of church leaders.

And if you’re still determined to deny witness testimony- as you formulate your denial, keep in mind that these objections don’t make something untrue:

  1. “Doesn’t fit my paradigm”
  2. “Isn’t what happened in a different situation”
  3. “Is not possible to defend to everyone’s satisfaction against counterarguments”
  4. “Contradicts the mental model that I’ve always held”
  5. “Cannot be confirmed to my satisfaction”
  6. “Does not reflect my personal experience”
  7. “Does not reflect the experience of people around me”
  8. “Does not meet my personal standard for validity”
  9. “Does not fit a narrative I’ve created about the church”
  10. “Is not something I can wrap my mind around”
  11. “Doesn’t seem fair to me”
  12. “Is not the way I wish for God to operate”

2. Redefine revelation after the fact

Employ the Texas sharpshooter fallacy to say that these examples of revelation somehow don’t count, because you have drawn an arbitrary target definition of revelation after the fact in order to exclude them from consideration.

3. Assume your view does not need defending

In response to tons of examples that contradict your claim, you can just say “Nuh-uh.” That’s not a valid argument of course, but if you are not intellectually serious, you’re welcome to go with it.

Or, don’t do mental gymnastics.

Some honest positions to hold:

“I don’t know what to make of that”
“I can’t bring myself to believe that, but I can see how someone else would believe it if it’s more reflective of their personal experiences”
“I can’t accept those claims, but that definitely might be a me problem.”

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