LDS members do not have to vote on whether a purported statement by their prophet is a revelation or not. But since 1878, RLDS delegates to General Conferences (now “World Conferences”) have carried the obligation of debating and voting whether a document presented to the conference by the prophet is a revelation and should be added to the Doctrine and Covenants. In periods of severe controversy within the church, such as during the 1920s “Supreme Directional Control” debates and the 1980s controversy over women’s ordination, a significant minority of delegates have voted against the pro-posed revelation. The recent 2004 conference had some delegates reacting negatively to a revelation (now Section 162), from the first non-Smith president/prophet, which they thought was subtly supporting the acceptance of the ministry of homosexuals. This paper will explore the difficult challenge facing RLDS delegates as they attempt to decide if a document should become part of our canon of scripture.
William D. Russell