There are different types of angels, but they all fit under the same category of definition:
A person who relays a message from the presence of Christ to us (sons and daughters of Adam).
God the Father speaks to Christ, Christ speaks to his angels (i.e. Peter, James and John), and the angels of Christ conveys the message to us as instructed.
Angels from Christ can come in different forms. An angel that has not yet obtained a body is called an “un-embodied” Angel. An angel who has lived and died, such as Abinidai or the like, is called a “dis-embodied” Angel. There are also embodied Angels (they are dwellers in the flesh), like the three Nephites, John the beloved, etc. who are translated beings and still can walk the earth in the flesh.
If we mortals receive instruction from the presence of Christ (literally being spoken to in his presence as would a prophet) and are acting in that capacity, then in that capacity you’d be considered an angel too.
However, there is a difference between being inspired (to say or do something), and being instructed by the voice of the Lord. Tradition seems to group inspiration and hearing the voice of the Lord together. It is not the same. The difference is significant. A few examples that I can think of is Abraham and Isaac. Do you think that Abraham woke up one morning and said to his wife, “Sarah, I think I should offer up my only son as a sacrificial offering this afternoon. I just have a feeling.” It doesn’t make sense, does it. It’s not until we consider that Abraham was commanded by the very voice of the Lord to make such an offering, that we can make sense of the character of Abraham (he was a special man with special blessings). Another example is the story of Nephi obtaining the plates from Laban. Just picture it in your mind. Nephi is standing in the street, over a drunken Laban. Then he gets a feeling, in his heart of hearts, saying, “Hey… cut off his head!” Does that work? No way! There was a voice, not just an impression, feeling, or an instinct.
When we group the two together we tend to justify our sins. When we consider the voice of the Lord and gut feeling inspiration as one in the same, why would we need to enter into the presence of Christ? All we need is the inspiration, right? We all get those gut feelings of inspiration. So then if they are the same thing, then we are already there! No need to improve, we have arrived. That is what we teach from the traditional method. We are taught that it is better to have a witness from the Holy Ghost, than to come into the presence of Christ and hear his voice. No one asks any questions when this is taught in primary or Sunday school because it has been repeated so many times that we just kind of accept it blindly. And… we desire all to receive the same as us, to be like us- as if the more people who are just like us, justifies that it must be true. That seems to be the democratic way- we vote on what is right and wrong and the most vote must be the truth. We justify our sins thinking that God will somehow make it right. In this mindset we say, “All is well in Zion.”
It doesn’t seem right, does it? The entire purpose of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the truth, and that is Christ (I am the way, the truth, and the light…). Adam offered up offerings unto the Lord. He could have justified his sins. The Angel asked Adam why he offered up sacrifices? Adam responded that he did not know. Then the Angel educated him about the “reason” he offered up sacrifices. We too are like Adam, not knowing why we do what we do. We too can have Angels minister to us, as they did to Adam, and teach us why this and why that. So that we know the reasons why we sacrifice our time and talents. If Angels aren’t appearing, Moroni said that it is because of our unbelief (Moroni 7:37). When we get it right, we find ourselves working to learn, repent, and align with Christ. We seek God in prayer for missing knowledge, as did Abraham (Abraham 1:2) and Nephi (1 Nephi 2:16). We want to know the truth. Justification doesn’t serve us at all. Excuses are cast out, and we are totally humbled, knowing that we know nothing. Moses, after gaining consciousness from a having vision, considers man nothing, “…which I had never before supposed.” (Moses 1:10). There are missing gaps of knowledge that we are required to seek God to fill. The Angels instruct us as far as they can, until finally, you approach the vale.
But when no one is seeing Angels, or seeing Angels is uncommon and rarely spoken of, we begin to redefine seeing Angels in terms that are closer to home, closer to our reality. Instead of moving toward the truth, we manipulate perception to justify our sins only so that we don’t have to change. Thus there is no reason to repent, we’re already pretty good, right? Remember, that’s what Laman and Lemuel said about the people in Jerusalem and then the people in Jerusalem got wiped out and scattered.
There is no substitute for coming unto Christ. Inspiration, gut feelings, and a strong conscience is the very beginning, the light of Christ, that is given to every man that comes into the world. If we follow those gut feelings, it will lead us to the words of Christ. The words of Christ lead us to revelation (the Holy Ghost is the spirit of revelation). As we receive more revelations and obey, angels will appear to give you further light and knowledge, until they can say no more by way of commandment. Then you are brought into the presence of Christ. Now you can easily hear his voice.
2 Nephi 32:6
“6. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”
After you see Christ in the flesh, then you hear his voice as he speaks directly to you. So here is what I have discovered as the order of things. Then you can evaluate where you are and what you need to seek to obtain Christ:
- The Light of Christ- leads you to seek Christ in prayer
- The Words Christ- the mind and will of God for us to understand and align to him through repentance
- Ordinances- it’s purpose is to educate us in the ways of the Lord
- Holy Ghost- a gift to provide us with more and more light and truth, until by the Holy Ghost, we come to know the truth of all things
- Angels- messengers from Christ to give us further light and knowledge to bring us to Him at the vale (2 Nephi 9:41 -he employeth no servant at the vale)
- Christ- when the Holy Ghost is our constant companion, we become sanctified, and are brought back into the presence of Christ, by angels, and we are found worthy. Now he speaks to us directly
We can only break free from the traditions of spiritual relativism by seeking a personal relationship with Christ. There is only one right way to obtaining that personal relationship. Angels and the Holy Ghost are the tools Christ uses to show us that way. If we aren’t receiving instructions from real Angels, we must repent from our unbelief, and seek them out through the ordinances and the study of the word. If we do not, then, all is vain. The redemption that Christ made for you was done in vain.
“37. Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
38. For no man can be saved according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.”