- From among the chorus of voices we hear in mortality, we must recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd, who calls us to follow him toward our heavenly home.
- My remarks will refer to those voices that speak of God, of his commandments, and of the doctrines, ordinances, and practices of his church. Some of those who speak on these subjects have been called and given divine authority to do so. Others, whom I choose to call alternate voices, speak on these subjects without calling or authority.
He speaks about times where he has seen people be led by these alternate voices down paths that are not good.
- I have seen many instances where Church leaders and members have been troubled by things said by these alternate voices. I am convinced that some members are confused about the Church’s relationship to the alternate voices. As a result, members can be misled in their personal choices, and the work of the Lord can suffer.
President Oaks points out that the church doesn't ask members of the church to shun or stay away from these Alternate Voices. Instead, the church teaches the principles of the gospel and encourages personal choices.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not attempt to isolate its members from alternate voices. Its approach, as counseled by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is to teach correct principles and then leave its members to govern themselves by personal choices.
The church publishes official doctrine through various outlets including scripture, magazines, manuals, etc. These should be viewed as the official position of the church.
- Members who listen to the voice of the Church need not be on guard against being misled. They have no such assurance for what they hear from alternate voices.
Revelation is a key point to understanding the things of God. Personal revelation should be relied upon to understand how we should live our lives and what voices we should listen to.
- The acquisition of knowledge by revelation is an extra bonus to seekers in the sciences and the arts, but it is the fundamental method for those who seek to know God and the doctrines of his gospel. In this area of knowledge, scholarship and reason are insufficient. A seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation.
President Oaks reminds us that the Holy Ghost is essential in revelation.
- Gospel truths and testimony are received from the Holy Ghost through reverent personal study and quiet contemplation.
- One cannot find God or understand his doctrines and ordinances by closing the door on the means He has prescribed for receiving the truths of his gospel. That is why gospel truths have been corrupted and gospel ordinances have been lost when left to the interpretation and sponsorship of scholars who lack the authority and reject the revelations of God.
- In the acquisition of sacred knowledge, scholarship and reason are not alternatives to revelation. They are a means to an end, and the end is revelation from God.
We are at a time in the world where learning is taking place from all sorts of voices. We are learning about worldly things from various sources. The expansion of our understanding about God is not happening at the same rate. President Oaks says that we need less scholars and technology and more righteousness and revelation in our lives.
- In our day we are experiencing an explosion of knowledge about the world and its people. But the people of the world are not experiencing a comparable expansion of knowledge about God and his plan for his children. On that subject, what the world needs is not more scholarship and technology but more righteousness and revelation.
There are all sorts of places to receive knowledge from. Worldly knowledge is easily found on the internet and in our phones. But the things of God take effort to find. It is not as simple as Google telling us the answer. Truth about God is given to us through His spirit and through revelation. We should all be very careful to which sources of truth we are turning to when seeking to know what God has for us in our lives. Knowledge and understanding can be enhanced by the study and reading of good things. But these things should never take the place of righteous living and seeking the guidance provided by personal revelation.