(December 7, 2015)
It was interesting to see the differing approaches to the questions brought to the Lord, and I think it was instructive as well. First we have questions that lack a specific speaker. Were they raised by Joseph Smith himself? I think there is some indication in the text that they were. In any event, these questions were answered by the Lord – verily thus sayeth the Lord.
The second set of questions were raised by Elias Higbee. These questions were answered, as best as we can tell, by Joseph Smith (in any event, the Lord is not declaring that He is the speaker). I think that many of our interactions with the Lord are handled in this way. Our Priesthood leaders act often as intermediaries between us and the Lord, while they are able to communicate directly with Him within their stewardships. This is particularly valid, I think, when it comes to the Prophets.
Some argue that this ‘isn’t fair’ in some way – that the Lord should not expect us to work through prophets, but should interact with all of us the same way. This is very much a conceit of our age and one that likely is not of eternal significance – the Lord’s house is a house of order, and I don’t see that changing in the hereafter.