In April 1995, in his first General Conference as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (COJC), Gordon B. Hinckley articulated a profound principle. He said, “We are all in this great endeavor together. We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory… Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence.” [1] At the time, I remember that statement stopped me in my tracks, though I could not put my finger on why. I just remember it felt important. As I have aged, I have finally taken the time to unpack the profound implications of this statement. In doing so, I have come to believe that there are at least three critical, overlapping implications from the 49 words above that can have a meaningful impact on how COJC members see themselves and those around them and which have the potential to increasingly empower COJC members to be more active in God’s restoration activities. My approach to this discussion is to take a very close reading of these forty-nine words and draw out the remarkable logical conclusions which they suggest.

Takeaway One: There is no “spiritual meritocracy.”

I admit that “spiritual meritocracy” is a phrase of my own creation, so let me explain what I mean. Merriam-Webster defines meritocracy as “a system, organization, or society in which people are chosen and moved into positions of success, power, and influence on the basis of their demonstrated abilities and merit.” [2] In the marketplace, the idea of a meritocracy suggests that the those who demonstrate the greatest ability “merit” positions of prominence—the best engineer gets the best engineering job and the best marketer gets the best marketing job, etc. The idea, then, of a “spiritual meritocracy” is that spiritual (i.e., ecclesiastical) leadership positions (bishop, Relief Society president, apostle, general young women’s president, etc.) are given to those with greatest spiritual ability (realized or potential) and thus to those who “merit” the position. So, the phrase “spiritual meritocracy” seeks to capture the notion that, in effect, one’s position in the COJC’s ecclesiastical structure is an indication or reflection of one’s spiritual righteousness. Unique to an LDS Church setting, the idea of a spiritual meritocracy can also reflect the inverse: that once someone is in a specific ecclesiastical position that person is made-to-merit, in a special way, additional access to the divine consistent with his/her responsibilities (consider President Thomas S. Monson’s well know aphorism, “whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” [3]).

In my lifetime in the church, this notion—to a greater or lesser degree, spoken or implied—has always been present in the chatter surrounding callings and in the subtext of Church lessons and discussions. In fact, my lived experience is that this perspective is fairly common (even if not always expressed this way) among COJC members. COJC members seem to use this lens most often in relation to general leadership (e.g., area authorities, general auxiliary leaders, general authorities, etc.), but often enough it is used in relation to local bishops, Relief Society presidents, high council, stake presidents and other high-profile ward and stake callings. There seems to be a general sense that either (1) the reason a person is put in calling of prominence is because that person has a level of spiritual righteousness that is commensurate with the profile of the calling; or (2) that now a certain person is in a high profile calling, he/she is made-to-merit, and indeed now has by virtue of the calling, a commensurate level of spirituality (or both). Said more directly: increasingly prominent leadership reflect/signal increased spirituality. Part and parcel of seeing ecclesiastical leadership this way is the unspoken implication that the kind of spirituality required for general leadership positions is beyond that of “average” members (because, the logic goes, if average members had reached the same level of spiritual maturity then they, too, would be put into these general leadership positions, and since most people are not in general leadership positions, there must be a level of righteousness that most people are not attaining; or conversely, that by being in a general leadership position one has been made-to-merit a higher level of spiritual maturity). To be clear, I am not suggesting this is true, only that my experience suggests this sentiment seems to be part of the fabric of COJC culture.

President Hinckley’s statement completely upends the notion of a spiritual meritocracy. His statement does this in two ways: First, President Hinckley makes clear that the “obligations” associated with Church callings are the same, regardless of calling. It may be the case that the responsibilities of different callings are different (e.g., the responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop are different than those of a youth Sunday School teacher) but the obligations of each are the same: both the Presiding Bishop and youth Sunday School teacher are obligated to “assist our Father in His work and His glory.” The type of labor we perform (e.g., the responsibilities associated with our specific callings), according to President Hinckley, is far less important than our commitment to meet this obligation, in whatever corner of God’s kingdom we are asked to labor. Second, President Hinckley expressly states that there are “no calling[s] in this church [that are] small or of little consequence.” Said without the negative, President Hinckley is saying “all callings in this church are big and of major consequence.” In other words, there is an intrinsic egalitarianism when it comes to Church callings that is more than just lip-service. President Hinckley is expressing the same sentiment Paul expressed in his first letter to the Corinthians: “For the body is not one member, but many… And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness… but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked” (1 Corinthian 12: 14, 21–23, 24). President Hinckley’s statement suggests—in way that is fully consistent with the scriptural truth that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Acts 15:9; 17:25–26; Rom. 2:11; 1 Ne. 17:35; D&C 1:35; 38:16.)—that in God’s eyes all callings are of equal weight, equal prominence, and equal significance. President Hinckley seems to be saying that in God’s eyes, the callings of Presiding Bishop and youth Sunday School teacher are not seen as any different when it comes to value and obligation; each are of equivalent importance.

Thus, if it is the case, as President Hinckley’s statement suggests, that (1) the obligation associated with callings does not vary, and (2) that in God’s eyes all callings are seen as similarly important, then the notion of a spiritual meritocracy falls apart. Therefore, rather than seeing callings as meted out according to one’s level of righteousness, we can view callings as being given to those with the skills to fill them or to those in which God sees unrealized potential that could be developed in a given calling. For instance, I may never be a ward or stake executive secretary but maybe that is only because I am not well suited to handling the kind of work an executive secretary does (or some other reason), not because I am not “spiritual enough” to serve in a bishopric or stake presidency. [4] Conversely, maybe those in general leadership have been called to those positions—not because they have passed through some threshold of spirituality that is beyond that of “ordinary” members—but because they simply have a skillset determined to be well suited for that position (or some other reason). In short, if President Hinckley actually means what he is saying, that in God’s eyes all callings carry the same obligations and are equally valuable, then it means that there simply cannot be a spiritual meritocracy.

Takeaway Two: All of us have been foreordained.

In COJC services, is common to hear the assertion that the President of the Church is “foreordained.” The not-so-subtle implication is that this specific calling is so important that God identifies in advance those who will occupy it. [5] Indeed, such discussion is often buttressed with scriptures from the Pearl of Great Price which point to the “noble and great” (Abraham 3:23) who are chosen to be leaders (note how this idea plays into, and is reinforced by, the idea of a spiritual meritocracy). It is less common to hear, and I think less widely recognized, that we have all been foreordained to whatever role we play in God’s kingdom. Yet, even if this reality is not often discussed, the Gospel Topic Essay on foreordination makes clear this is indeed LDS doctrine: “The doctrine of foreordination applies to all members of the Church, not just to the Savior and His prophets” [6] (emphasis added; parenthetically, as I have suggested elsewhere, my sense is that God’s restoration effort also includes the foreordination of those who are non-LDS to play their parts in God’s ongoing restoration [7]).

President Hinckley’s statement helps us understand why this must be the case. Again, as noted above, President Hinckley asserts that “no calling in this church is small or of little consequence.” If this is true—i.e., God sees all callings as equally important—then it would follow that all callings, from prophet to primary teacher, are important enough to merit foreordination. Going back to my previous example, that would mean that foreordination plays an equal role with both the Presiding Bishop and youth Sunday School teacher. And, when considered against the one-on-one nature of God’s interaction with humankind, [8] this makes sense. Each calling, through its specific responsibilities/tasks, touches God’s children in immediate, tangible, and unique ways, and actions impacting the “one” are just as important as those that impact the “ninety-nine” (Matthew 18:11–14; Luke 15 for the parable of the lost sheep). If we believe God has a hand in one Church calling because that calling helps God’s children, then it follows God has a hand in all Church callings because all callings help God’s children.

Takeaway Three (bringing the two previous points together): We all have the same opportunity for revelation and inspiration.

If it were the case that there was a spiritual meritocracy, and that foreordination only had a role in “important callings,” then it might also be the case that those folks who occupy “important callings” have greater access to revelation than those who do not. [9] But, as noted above, President Hinckley’s statement implies that there is no spiritual meritocracy and all of us have been foreordained. If this is true, there is no inherent limit on the revelation and inspiration we can receive in relation to our respective callings. But before I move on, let me tease this out a bit. I do not mean that individuals are entitled to revelation for things outside their sphere of responsibility. Rather, President Hinckley’s invoking of “spheres of responsibility” suggest that the revelation individuals receive will be specific to their spheres of responsibility (a position that is fully consistent with Doctrine and Covenants 28). That is to say, the Presiding Bishop and youth Sunday School teacher will each only receive revelation consistent with each’s sphere of responsibility; the one will not receive revelation for the other’s tasks. However, second, I do mean that the access to revelation individuals receive is not inherently limited or enhanced by a specific calling. That is to say that the Presiding Bishop is not entitled to greater access to revelation than a youth Sunday School teacher simply because that calling is at a general level; and neither is youth Sunday School teacher entitled to greater access to revelation than the Presiding Bishop simply because that calling is a teaching position. Rather, they are each entitled to receive the same degree of access to revelation, and the revelation will be specific to their separate spheres of responsibility.

Yet, this way of thinking about revelation cuts against unspoken cultural currents in many COJC communities. More than once, I have heard stories about the Church president receiving revelation (e.g., during their evening prayers, while contemplating scriptures, being woken up in the middle of the night, etc.), and most of the time, the tenor of these stories veers into the realm of pedestalizing this experience in a way that suggests Church presidents’ revelatory experiences are out of reach for the rest of us. The suggestion (explicitly or implicitly) is that these kinds of revelatory moments are only possible because the Church president is the Church president (at this point I hope you see that this framing both implies a spiritual meritocracy and employs the notion that certain callings are more important than others).

However, to suggest/imply that anyone (Church president or not) has greater access to revelation and inspiration than God’s other children based solely on an ecclesiastical position, both implies God is, indeed, a respecter of persons (which God is not) and, effectively, lets all non-Church presidents off the hook in terms of seeking the guidance of the Spirit. Not only that, when we pedestalize someone else’s revelation (thereby making it out of reach), we actually disincentive the pursuit of personal revelation. The reason being that if a certain degree of access to revelation is viewed as “out of reach” for those who are not in high profile callings, then those who are not in those high-profile callings (a) may self-limit the volume of revelation they might otherwise receive, and (b) may not feel like they have the “right” to seek that volume of/kind of revelation. One might think to oneself: “I can’t be expected to, and probably shouldn’t even seek to get revelation like that since I am not the Church President; I’m just a…” President Hinckley’s comment above helps correct this cultural current. Because President Hinckley makes clear all callings have the same obligation and all are of equal consequence to God, he implies that all callings carry the same possibilities with regards to the degree of access to revelation provided to those engaged in meeting that obligation. Thus, President Hinckley’s statement seems to suggest that specific callings do not come with more or less access to revelation ‘baked into’ the calling. Not even the calling of President of the Church.

Recognizing this is a strong assertion, at this point it is important to address the label of “revelator,” which might suggest to some that a person with that title is privy to more revelation than others. Before addressing that, it is important to observe that in LDS discourse, the term revelator is commonly used in connection with the Holy Ghost. For instance, Joseph Smith said that the Holy Ghost is “a revelator.” [10] This exact phraseology has been picked up and used by many different LDS leaders to describe the Holy Ghost along with broad descriptions of how it fills this role within the Godhead. [11] In another instance, Gordon B. Hinckley described “the Almighty” as “our revelator,” [12] which seems to echo the notion of Jesus serving as a second comforter. [13] Though interesting, for the purpose of this discussion I will focus on how that title is used to describe mortal individuals. In the LDS Church there are individuals who are sustained as “prophets, seers, and revelators.” Might these individuals have greater access to revelation than those who do not hold such a calling (they are “revelators” after all)? Though that seems intuitive, my research suggests that duties associated with being a revelator do not, in fact, entitle the one holding that title to greater access to revelation simply because of that calling. In fact, my research suggests that since the early days of the Church, LDS leaders have taught that anyone who receives revelation is properly called a revelator.

While the term revelator is also sometimes associated with a prophetic call—for example in the phrase “prophet, seer, and revelator,” or when referring to Joseph Smith or John the Revelator—the use of the word revelator in this sense is rarely defined in a way that might clearly delineate the specific features of what being a revelator entails. Nor is there much discussion as to whether a calling with such an appellation—in and of itself—would entitle one to increased access to revelation in comparison to other individuals with different responsibilities. This stands in contrast to the word “seer” (a title to which I will return momentarily). The Book of Mormon provides some specific language about the unique features of “seer-ness” (Mosiah 8:13–17). Notably for this conversation, in Ammon’s description of a seer he says that “seer-ness” enfolds both “revelator-ness” and “prophet-ness,” which—rather than implying that the terms are synonymous—suggests (1) that a seer is greater than both a revelator and a prophet; and (2) that each of the three have unique features. [14] Yet, most often in LDS usage, revelator is conflated with prophet and seer into a single—and frankly somewhat ambiguous—title.

In fact, my research only uncovered one time in which a Church leader sought to unpack the role of a mortal revelator specifically (i.e., in a way that is distinct from labels of prophet and seer). In 1952, S. Dilworth Young, speaking of the importance of the President of the Church as a revelator, used this language: “I recognize the fact that this Church is a Church of revealed principle. From the Lord come the revelations which establish the principles. I should like to bear my witness that there must be an interpreter for the Church of those principles. If we had no revelator to do it for us, each man and each woman would interpret, explain, and take into his own life only that portion of each principle which he would wish for himself, and this people would be disunited and divergent in its views” (emphasis added). [15] So a revelator, according to Young, is “one who interprets revealed principles.” Yet—and to be clear—Young’s portrayal of “a revelator” is still a description of responsibilities associated with the President of the Church’s sphere of responsibility (see also D&C 43:3–4, 100:11), and not a claim of greater revelatory privilege associated with being the President of the Church than is available to other individuals with different spheres of responsibilities.

What’s more, some Church leaders have explicitly stated that an individual who is not part of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but who receives revelation, is properly referred to as a revelator. Joseph Fielding Smith stated that heads of families fulfill this role, noting “as the Patriarch of his home, a father is also a revelator to his family… [and] in this sense stands in line to receive the revelations from the Lord for the good and blessing of that family” (emphasis added). More current LDS discussions affirm that mothers also act in this capacity for their families. [16] And Apostle Amasa M. Lyman further democratized the role of revelator, stating that anyone acting in any priesthood role “in whatever capacity he [or she] might be called to act… [is] a revelator and a minister of God” (emphasis added). [17]

Indeed, the only seemingly official definition for revelator that I uncovered comes from a Church history essay about Joseph Smith, in which a footnote defines revelator as “one who reveals the will of God to His children.” [18] This is very close to Mormon Doctrine’s entry on the word revelator which, though not official, defines the term by noting that “those who enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost have the spirit of revelation (D&C 8:2–3).” [19] Pausing for a moment, it is interesting to note that both definitions are slightly different than the one advanced by Young as noted above; Young associates a revelator with interpretation of previously reveled principles, whereas these definitions suggest a revelator obtains the principles themselves. Further, both definitions are consistent with the idea that anyone receiving revelation associated with their respective spheres of responsibility can be a revelator—i.e., the title need not only apply to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. And, conversely, both definitions seem to reinforce the assertion that carrying the appellation revelator in one’s official Church calling does not mean, in and of itself, that individual is entitled to greater access to revelation based solely on the calling he holds. [20]

A brief anecdote published on the Church’s website further reinforces this point and grounds it in a practical way: A Sunday School teacher tells of praying for inspiration for the 16–18-year-old class he was teaching. He recounts receiving clear inspiration about three specific things to teach this small group of students. Years later, a visiting general authority relayed a message that from then-President Spencer W. Kimball saying “that the Lord wanted them to tell leaders of youth to emphasize three things as we taught and worked with the youth.” They were the same three items on which the Sunday School teacher had received revelation years before. This individual, shocked at the congruity, told the visiting general authority about this experience. The general authority responded, “You’re not surprised, are you? You were praying and asking the Lord what He wanted you to stress when you were teaching the teenagers in your class. The prophet was praying about the same thing, for all the youth in the Church. You asked the same question of the same divine source. It’s not surprising at all that you got the same answer. The difference is, yours was for your stewardship in the Sunday School class. The prophet’s answer was for his stewardship of the whole Church.” [21] The same revelation; just different spheres of responsibility.

Even with all this being said, some might still suggest that certain callings may seem to require greater access to revelation as a function of the calling itself (i.e., the calling is to receive revelation). Take, for instance, a stake patriarch, a calling about which Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “There is nothing like this office in all of the Church or in all of the world” and whose responsibilities include “looking into the future, and enumerating the blessings and promises.” [22] Or a Seer who, according to Ammon, “can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known” (Mosiah 8:17).

The description of each calling is remarkable. Yet to the best of my research, there is still no foundation in scripture or official discourse that asserts these callings entitle the person holding that calling to greater access to revelation (based solely on the calling itself) than is available to someone who does not hold that calling. Further, presuming that these callings do entitle one to a greater access to revelation than is available to others “begs the question” [23]: the premise of argument (certain callings’ function require greater access to revelation) presumes the conclusion (thus, certain callings have greater access to revelation). Even more, this position also presumes as an unchallenged foundation that certain callings do not require access to revelation as a function of the calling itself (or only require a limited access to revelation for the functioning of the calling). Both of these perspectives reinforce the (I believe incorrect) notion that a spiritual meritocracy exists in the LDS Church.

Elder Henry D. Taylor explained: “While we know that designated leaders of the Church are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators, and receive revelation in connection with their callings, we might ask, who else can receive revelation? President Brigham Young taught that every individual can receive revelation for himself… Parents can receive revelation in connection with rearing their families… It is my firm belief that the bishop of every ward and the president of every stake have the right to receive revelation as to what is best for their ward and stake members. Also, that every person who accepts a calling from the Lord has the right to receive revelation in connection with that calling if he is living righteously so that he is in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.” [24] Far from suggesting that different Church responsibilities entitle different individuals to differential access to revelation, the only caveat that Taylor makes is that the President of the Church is the one designated to receive Church-wide revelation, or, to use President Hinckley’s language, revelation must be consistent with one’s sphere of responsibility.

More recently, President Nelson noted, “Whatever our Church calling, we can pray to our Heavenly Father and receive guidance and direction, be warned about dangers and distractions, and be enabled to accomplish things we simply could not do on our own. If we will truly receive the Holy Ghost and learn to discern and understand His promptings, we will be guided in matters large and small.” [25] Again, Nelson makes no qualifications about certain callings being entitled to greater or lesser access to revelation. In fact, the Doctrine and Covenants is clear on this point: “Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God” (D&C 50:17–18). Anyone sent forth to “preach the word of truth”—which applies to all callings in the Church in one way or another—must do so by the “the Comforter;” meaning, all callings require revelation as a function of the calling itself. In fact, in all of my research I could not find a single instance of any LDS leader asserting that any calling was entitled to greater access to revelation than another. Certainly, there was much discussion about differing roles, and thus the way in which revelation might differ; but in none of those discussions did any Church leader even hint at the idea that certain callings merited a greater access to revelation than others. Rather, like President Nelson’s language above, most discussion focused on the reality that everyone is entitled to revelation and encouraged individuals to seek it.

With all of this as backdrop, my conclusion remains that all of us have the same access to revelation regardless of our calling—and specific to our charge. This means that revelatory experiences are not the result of something tied to that person’s calling per se, but simply an example of how to receive revelation for one’s sphere of responsibility. And thus, what makes stories of dramatic revelations profound is not that they were associated with a specific calling, but rather the reality that a person (just like us) took their charge so seriously they were willing to put in the hard work to receive regular, direct revelation and inspiration from God. Viewed this way, everyone can have the same types of experiences within his/her own sphere of responsibility. This view is consistent with Brigham Young’s statement that “[Joseph Smith] said that every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness.” [26] In other words, one’s personal access to revelation (in this case via a seer stone) is dictated by one’s relationship with God, not one’s calling. And again, we see examples of this in scripture. Consider, for example, Enos and Nephi, neither of whom were called as a prophet at the time that they received much of their revelation. Yet, each had profound encounters with the divine because they were willing to put in the work (Enos 1:4; 1 Neph 11:1). It is with this background that we can truly understand Moses’ statement: “would God that all the LORD's people were prophets” (Numbers 11:29).

One Critical Caveat:

However, there is one critical caveat to everything above. When it comes to our mortal responsibility, there is a single responsibility that outstrips all others and is the responsibility which carries with it the greatest chance for revelation and inspiration. President Harold B. Lee explained, “The most important of the Lord's work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home… other Church duties are all important, but the most important work is within the walls of your home.” [27] This means that the responsibilities associated with the work done within our own homes (irrespective of the specific family configuration) outstrips all other spheres of responsibility in terms of importance: i.e., work within our home is more important than any Church duty—even the most high-profile general leadership positions (note President Lee’s use of the more inclusive ”duty” versus ”calling,” which certainly includes “duties” associated with quorum or group membership that go beyond specific callings). When it comes to revelation and inspiration associated with our home-related spheres of responsibility—both in terms of God’s willingness to provide it and our expectations regarding the degree of access we can have—we should expect that each of us will receive the most significant revelation when it comes to the “work [we] do within the walls of [our] own home[s].”

So, the Presiding Bishop and a youth Sunday School teacher may each receive the same access to revelation for their respective callings (for all the reasons noted above), and each should expect greater access to revelation when it comes to their family responsibilities. Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that while President Nelson certainly receives revelation associated with his specific tasks/responsibilities as the Church President, President Nelson should expect to receive greater access to revelation when it comes to his family since that is the “most important work” in which he is engaged. And since everyone comes from a family, this means that all of us—all of humankind—have the ability to receive revelation and inspiration associated with our family-related spheres of responsibilities, and perhaps that degree of access is even greater than the revelation and inspiration that is received in association with any specific Church assignment, calling, or duty. And that is a remarkable realization.


In April 2011, Elder Deiter F. Uchtdorf encouraged us “to live up to our potential and privileges” (though he was speaking specifically to priesthood holders, the message applies to all of us). [28] In contravention to the general cultural tendency to assign differing levels of importance to various positions within COJC ecclesiastical bureaucracy, in God’s eyes there are no “low” callings any more than there are “high” callings. “All are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). We all have spheres of responsibility and each of those responsibilities carry similar obligations and consequences, regardless of the specific tasks we perform. All of us have the same access to God and the same opportunity to receive the same volume of inspiration, especially when it comes to the work we do within our own homes. Hinckley’s statement—those 49 words on which this essay is based—carry the same message. The question is whether we will put in the work to receive the potential revelation that is our privilege.


[1] Gordon B. Hinckley, “This is the Work of the Master,” General Conference, April 1995. Available at: --- [Back to manuscript].

[2] “Meritocracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2022. [Back to manuscript].

[3] Thoms S. Monson, “Duty Calls,” General Conference, April 1996. --- [Back to manuscript].

[4] I am not addressing gender differences associated with specific callings. Were I a female I could not, now, be in a Bishopric or Stake Presidency regardless of my skill set or spiritual ability. Though this essay does not explore this topic, it is a conversation that is ongoing in other spaces. [Back to manuscript].

[5] Presuming that person lives in such a way as to not disqualify himself.
[Back to manuscript].

[6] Foreordination,” Gospel Topic Essays. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Available at: --- [Back to manuscript].

[7] M. David Huston, “The Restoration of All Things?” Public Square Magazine, June 23, 2021. Available at: --- [Back to manuscript].

[8] D. Todd Christofferson, “Why the Covenant Path,” General Conference, April 2021. Available at: --- [Back to manuscript].

[9] Throughout the following section, I will be focusing on the “volume” of revelation (verses the “quality” of revelation). This is not to suggest that “quality” is not important; it is. Rather, this section is only (and narrowly) seeking to address the cultural tendency in the COJC to believe that certain callings (especially high profile callings) have access to “more” revelation than other callings. [Back to manuscript].

[10] History of the Church, 6:58; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Oct. 15, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards; also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 328. [Back to manuscript].

[11] See, for just a few examples: Joseph Fielding Smith, “Out of the Darkness,” General Conference, April 1971; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pg. 359; Spencer W. Kimball, “The Holy Ghost, General Conference, April 1974; and David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” General Conference, October 2010. [Back to manuscript].

[12] Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Ensign to the Nations, a Light to the World,” General Conference, October 2003. [Back to manuscript].

[13] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 150–51 [Back to manuscript].

[14] Lewis R. Church, “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, David H. Ludlow, Ed (McMillian, NY: NY, 1992): pg. 740. [Back to manuscript].

[15] S. Dilworth Young, “To Obey Is Better than Sacrifice,” General Conference, April 1952. [Back to manuscript].

[16] Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, (Bookcraft, Salt Lake: UT, 1956), pg 172; see also Valerie M. Hudson, “Equal Partnership in Marriage,” Ensign, April 2013. [Back to manuscript].

[17] Amasa M. Lyman, “Advice to Missionaries, Etc.” in Journal of Discourses, Vol 10, pg 178. [Back to manuscript].

[18] “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator: Like unto Moses,” Church History. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See f.n. 3. Available at: --- [Back to manuscript].

[19] Bruce R. McConkie, “Revelator,” in Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Ed. (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City UT, 1966): pg. 651 [Back to manuscript].

[20] The use of the male “he” is intentional here since only men can currently occupy roles in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. [Back to manuscript].

[21] Gary Bikman, “Personal Revelation for a Church Calling.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Available at: --- [Back to manuscript].

[22] Boyd K. Packer, “The Stake Patriarch,” General Conference, October 2002.; Paker quotes from John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 3 vols. (1943–51), 1:73–74. [Back to manuscript].

[23] I use the phrase “begs the question” here as term of art for a specific logical fallacy wherein “the premise and conclusion are the very same proposition, albeit expressed in different words.” This term is used, among other places, in philosophical discourse. See “Hansen, Hans, "Fallacies", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2023 Edition), Edward N. Zalta & Uri Nodelman (eds.),
--- [Back to manuscript].

[24] Henry D. Taylor, “Revelation,” General Conference, April 1978.
[Back to manuscript].

[25] Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2018. [Back to manuscript].

[26] "History of Brigham Young," Millennial Star, 26 (20 Feb. 1864): 119. Available at:
--- [Back to manuscript].

[27] Harold B. Lee. “Strengthening the Home” [pamphlet, 1973], pg. 7. In its original context, this statement was directed at fathers, though it is regularly applied to both fathers and mothers. [Back to manuscript].

[28] Deiter F. Uchtdorf, “Your potential, Your Privilege,” General Conference, April 2011. --- [Back to manuscript].

Full Citation for this Article: Huston, M. David (2023) "“The Remarkable Implications of Spheres of Responsibility”," SquareTwo, Vol. 16 No. 1 (Spring 2023),, accessed <give access date>.

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