(Cross-posted at Main Street Plaza.)
Back in the days when I paid attention to LDS General Conference, I always attended the priesthood session with my wife's father and brother. I enjoyed the tradition of returning to report some fantastic fictional revelation to my wife and her mother. I call this a tradition because I did it every time, but I was the only one who ever did.
When I returned from the priesthood session in October 2000, shortly after I was baptized, I reported that President Hinckley had a revelation that all worthy women should be allowed to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, beginning on the next Sunday. They were flabbergasted and asked if that was really true. "No," I said. "But he did say you're supposed to wear only one pair of earrings."
I think the reason I did this is because I longed for true revelation. Something that could make a real difference. Even as a new convert, I recognized that no longer do Prophets Of God boldly proclaim Revelations From The Lord about the Very Nature Of God And Humanity. These days, "thus saith the Lord" has been replaced with "thus saith the manual", and dress codes and style guides pass for revelation.
I've forgotten most of the fake revelations I came up with over the years, but every once in a while, I still wonder what kinds of "revelations" from the LDS church leadership I would actually be impressed with. Here are some things I would love to hear. They may be implausible, but hopefully not totally out of the realm of possibility.
- All members will be afforded the same opportunities regardless of genitalia, social standing, business background, or sexual preference.
- The church's finances will be made public again, as they were before 1959, so everyone can confirm the incredible charitable work that has been done with members' donations. And for the next month, all donations will be given to those in the Philippines who desperately need it.
- Members are encouraged to express concern or dissent with the church's policy or actions, because that is a necessary part of a healthy community. Church leadership will seriously consider members' feedback instead of excommunicating them.
- The Word of Wisdom means what it says. Don't scald your throat with hot chocolate and don't eat three Big Macs in one sitting. Beer is okay, as are tea and caffeinated drinks. Better yet, disregard the Word of Wisdom entirely and follow the recommendations of your physician instead.
- Members are encouraged to examine church history from all perspectives, thinking critically about the evidence for the church's claims and trying to be as objective as possible in reaching their own conclusions.
- Previous revelation states fairly clearly that a proper tithe is 10% of one's surplus. Especially in these difficult times, this interpretation is emphasized, without any subtle implications that you should pay 10% of gross income instead.
- An earthquake of epic proportions will hit the Salt Lake Valley on March 22, 2010. Everyone pack up your handcarts. We're heading to Missouri.
Okay, maybe it's too much to hope for. Sadly, I think the chance of any of these revelations is nearly zero. Almost any of them would be a good start in making the world a better place. Instead, what we will hear from the prophets, seers, and revelators is probably more like this.
- Obedience is the first law of heaven. But don't just obey any old person. Obey the prophet. He says exactly what God would say if God could talk.
- Tithing is the first law of heaven. We won't come right out and say how much you should give. Just give as much as you possibly can, or preferably even more. It would sure be a shame to miss out on all those blessings, wouldn't it?
- Speaking of money, we're building a dozen new temples. That's called faithful stewardship, and it's certainly not a wasted opportunity.
- For God's sake would you please stop sending your kids to church in skirts and flip flops! How many times do we have to say this?! The Lord is displeased!
- Pornography is bad. Really bad. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind bogglingly bad it is. By the way, you can find lots of it very easily on the Internet. But don't look at it. Don't even think about it. In fact, don't even think about trying not to look at it. We shouldn't even be talking about it right now. But we can't stop talking about it. That's how bad it is!
- I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet. We love our dear prophet so much. We are unworthy to kiss his feet, or even to unloose his oxfords. May the Lord bless him with good health, and long life, and lots of sweet widow stories forever and ever. Oh yeah, and nameofjesuschristamen.
What would you love to hear in General Conference? Got any predictions of your own?