I'm currently enrolled in Grant Underwood's "Joseph Smith in Mormon History" class at BYU. My textbook is "Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling" by Dr. Richard L. Bushman, recognized inside and outisde of the Church for his scholarship. Reading his book just gave me a huge "AHA" moment. Let me explain.
I have wondered for years why the revelations before 1835 were favored in the Doctrine and Covenants. When the Twelve were called, the burden of “direct” revelation was taken from the prophet, and transferred to leading councils of the Church. What a beautiful system that the Lord has created!
Joseph Smith’s ability to apply, adapt, and expand on his own revelations fantastic to me. But he did he not only rely on his own revelations, but he seems to have recognized (to an extent) pragmatism and Priesthood should work hand in hand. Revelation was not only parting the Red Sea, it was organizing Israel’s camp. It was not only Jesus multiplying the bread and fishes, it was the distribution of the bread and the fish.
A final word about revelation, from President Henry B. Eyring. This is from an MTC address that he gave several years ago, while he was teaching mission presidents how to teach missionaries to teach by the Spirit. Some of this is paraphrased, but you get the idea:
"You may think that revelation is easy for me, because I'm an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is not. Revelation is hard. I'm supposed to teach you by the Spirit how to teach hundreds of others how to teach by the Spirit. That is a near-impossible task. That is why I stay up late at night worrying about assignments like this, pleading the Lord, reading his word, and trying to figure out how to say what is most important. It is HARD."
Revelation is hard. We have prophets, councils, and the Spirit to teach us what to do.
Sorry these thoughts are so scrambled. I just love the Prophet so much. If he could do so much, with so much on his plate, and so little experience, it gives me hope that I can in some small way help build the Kingdom of God.