Tag Archives: inspiration

Do you know how to receive revelation? Part 3 (final part)

As mentioned previously, the May topic for Come, Follow Me is on Prophets and Revelation. I spent two weeks discussing the ideas in the “How do I receive personal revelation?” topic.

I thought the talks by Richard G Scott and David A Bednar gave some good information. Here are some quotes:

Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 45–47

When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures.

There are some practical principles that enhance revelation. First, yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost. Those emotions must be eliminated, or our chance for receiving revelation is slight.

Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.

Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.

On the other hand, spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. We will live for our appointed life span. However, we can improve both the quality of our service and our well-being by making careful, appropriate choices.

It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.

Based on this quote, I tried to emphasize the following:

  • Anger/hurt/defensiveness drive away the Spirit
  • Be cautious with humour. It was interesting that he noted that a good sense of humour (not inappropriate or too loud) helps revelation
  • Do not exaggerate things unnecessarily
  • Get a good amount of sleep and  eat well
  • That last paragraph is simple but powerful… It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit

David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 87–90

He starts at the beginning of his talk and talks about light. He talks about how the sun rises and that from moment to moment we can’t tell it is brighter, but as we look back, we can obviously tell it is brighter. He then compares that turning on a light switch in a room when the room gets brighter instantly. Both are very much like revelation. Sometimes we can feel it immediately, and sometimes it slowly grows/builds.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The Holy Ghost is a revelator,” and “no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 132)…

This blessing is not restricted to the presiding authorities of the Church; rather, it belongs to and should be operative in the life of every man, woman, and child who reaches the age of accountability and enters into sacred covenants. Sincere desire and worthiness invite the spirit of revelation into our lives…

I emphasize the phrase “apply unto it” in relation to the spirit of revelation. In the scriptures, the influence of the Holy Ghost frequently is described as “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12; 1 Nephi 17:45; see also 3 Nephi 11:3) and a “voice of perfect mildness” (Helaman 5:30). Because the Spirit whispers to us gently and delicately, it is easy to understand why we should shun inappropriate media, pornography, and harmful, addictive substances and behaviors. These tools of the adversary can impair and eventually destroy our capacity to recognize and respond to the subtle messages from God delivered by the power of His Spirit. Each of us should consider seriously and ponder prayerfully how we can reject the devil’s enticements and righteously “apply unto it,” even the spirit of revelation, in our personal lives and families…

A light turned on in a dark room is like receiving a message from God quickly, completely, and all at once. Many of us have experienced this pattern of revelation as we have been given answers to sincere prayers or been provided with needed direction or protection, according to God’s will and timing…

The gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30). Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation…

I have talked with many individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions…

Another common experience with light helps us learn an additional truth about the “line upon line, precept upon precept” pattern of revelation. Sometimes the sun rises on a morning that is cloudy or foggy. Because of the overcast conditions, perceiving the light is more difficult, and identifying the precise moment when the sun rises over the horizon is not possible. But on such a morning we nonetheless have sufficient light to recognize a new day and to conduct our affairs.

In a similar way, we many times receive revelation without recognizing precisely how or when we are receiving revelation. An important episode from Church history illustrates this principle.

Anyway, that is probably enough. As I said in the beginning, this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few weeks. I just wanted to share some of the things I’ve read and thought about and discussed. I am by no means an expert in receiving revelation, but I’m trying and asking and I have faith that the revelation does and will come.

My interview with Elder Echo Hawk and our new Stake Presidency

As mentioned before, this past weekend was our Stake Conference. Our previous Stake President, David P Homer, was called to be an Area Seventy (he told us on Sunday that he had been called in November and had to keep it a secret all this time) so we needed a new Stake President. We were originally supposed to have Elder Eduardo Gavarret attend, but apparently he had visa problems, so Elder Larry Echo Hawk was asked Thursday afternoon to fill in. He attended with the already assigned Area Seventy, Elder Jeffery E Olson.
NOTE: I’ll have a posting about Elder Echo Hawk later this week.

My interview was scheduled for 9 am at the Stake Centre. I live about 45 minutes away, and was scheduled to work on Saturday, so I got up early and went to work for 6:45 am and then left just after 8 am to go to the interview. I got there just before 9 and waited/chatted with Elder Homer and the Stake Clerk.

Just as it was with Elder Russell M Nelson and Elder Gary Crittenden 5 years ago, the interview was very short. I was with them for 5 minutes max. They first asked me about men who I thought would be good candidates for the stake presidency and then they asked me some questions. They asked about my wife and my previous callings. I keep typing “they”, but it was actually just Elder Olson doing the talking. Elder Echo Hawk sat there watching and listening.

I then headed back to work and the waiting began. It is a strange process. You want your leaders to know that you are worthy, but we are certainly not looking to get the “job”. I knew the interviews were ending at around noon, so I thought if was getting called to something I’d hear within an hour or two. By the time it was pushing 2 pm I figured that they had chosen other men, and I felt fine with that. Then at about 2:15 I received a call from Elder Homer asking if it were possible for my wife and me to come back to the Stake Centre to meet with Elder Echo Hawk and Elder Olson.

We made arrangements for someone to look after our children and off we went. We got to the Stake Centre at about 3:40. I met with Elder Echo Hawk and my wife met with Elder Olson. I was asked about my worthiness and if there was anything that would lead to members of the stake not sustaining me (I still didn’t know what the position was). My wife was asked the same question, along with questions about how I treat her and our children. After that we were brought back together again and the call was extended. I was called to be the 1st Counselor in the new Stake Presidency. Without hesitation we accepted. I was surprisingly calm about it. I know it will be a lot of work, but I also know how much the Lord blessed me as a bishop, and I know He will do that again.

It was kind of funny during the rest of the afternoon/evening and Sunday morning before the business was done. Several people made a few comments to me wondering what was going to happen. I just had to kind of shrug my shoulders and brush it off. They would find out soon enough.

And so the time for the sustaining arrived, and as I’m sure it usually is, it was unanimous. We were invited to the stand to participate in the rest of the meeting. The outgoing Stake Presidency and their wives were invited to bear their testimonies, and then the incoming Stake Presidency was invited to do the same (unfortunately there wasn’t time for our wives).

After the meeting we were set apart. Elder Echo Hawk set apart the President, I was set apart by Elder Olson, and then Elder Echo Hawk set apart the 2nd Counselor.

Lastly there was a short (about 1 hour) introductory training meeting with our wives to go over the basic responsibilities and how to main balance.

It was a whirlwind of a couple of days! I feel good about things, and think we’ll be able to continue the great work that the previous presidency was able to do.

One thing that really stuck out in my mind over the two days was how many times Elder Echo Hawk and Elder Olson testified that they were there under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and that the Spirit had definitely witnessed to them what they were supposed to do. A sceptic might say that they have to say that, but it was very sincere, and the Spirit was with them as they said it. As one of the people who was chose, this was definitely very comforting.

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Stay on the Lord’s side of the fence

Stay This Side of the Fence closeup

Every summer my family goes up to a small cottage in a place called Buckhorn. It isn’t fancy, but it’s nice to get away. Buckhorn is about half an hour north of Peterborough, and Peterborough has a nice little zoo with a small train that takes you around the property.

It’s funny where we get our inspiration from, but every time I think of Peterborough I think of that train and a small sign on one of the fences.

“Stay this side of the fence”

I think of this often because of the simplicity of it, but how important it really is.

The train moves very slowly, so it seems unlikely that you wouldn’t be able to get out of the way in time. However the train is very heavy, and if you do get stuck, you could be in big trouble. This is kind of like life. If we face temptation, it isn’t because it comes charging at us unexpectedly. We know that it is coming. We can feel or hear the signs. But we probably think we have enough time to get out of the way. We can watch inappropriate movies and feel we’d turn them off if they get really bad. We justify language in music because it has a good beat. We view inappropriate things online because it is “funny”. However, too many people don’t get out of the way in time.

The George Albert Smith manual that we used last year had a good quote about this sort of thing:

“When I have been tempted sometimes to do a certain thing, I have asked myself, ‘Which side of the line am I on?’ If I determined to be on the safe side, the Lord’s side, I would do the right thing every time. So when temptation comes think prayerfully about your problem and the influence of the Lord will aid you to decide wisely. There is safety for us only on the Lord’s side of the line.”

That simple sign can truly save lives!

Stay This Side of the Fence

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

We had a great morning! We got up after 7 am, had a nice big breakfast (regular bacon, peameal bacon, eggs, pancakes, bagels and toast) and then went for a long walk. When we got back, the kids watched a cartoon movie, and I watched the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast.

We’re all set now to watch the Sunday Morning General Session. The whole family will watch the session together.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Oh Say, What is truth?

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang The Morning Breaks (a gorgeous arrangement!)

Elder Marlin K Jensen offered the invocation

President Henry B Eyring

  • many of us feel that God is far from us
  • in moments of pain, confusion, we do not need to see Jesus to know that he is there to help
  • don’t let things of life stop of us from seeing the things of God
  • we can’t insist on our time table when God has his own
  • His time should be enough for us since he wants only what is best
  • some delays seem long, but they are always calculated to bless
  • we can be assured the Lord keeps his promises

President Boyd K Packer (spoke from his chair)

  • told a story about going to American Samoa years ago
  • there was a horrible storm and along the coast there was a light above on land, and a light below
  • quoted from Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy
  • we need to repent and turn away from sin
  • guilt can be wiped out

The choir sang Does the Journey Seem Long?

Sister Linda K Burton

  • we are surrounded by people who need us
  • we need to love one another
  • it isn’t easy, but we can do better with practice
  • observe then serve

The choir and congregation sang Called to Serve

Elder Walter F. González

  • we need to come unto Christ
  • navigating millions of pages on the Internet will not be enough
  • we have another source for greater knowledge
  • we need to navigate the celestial web in our hearts and minds
  • iniquity hampers our ability to love

Elder Jeffrey R Holland (he always speaks with such passion!)

  • we forget how inexperienced the original apostles were and how much they depended on the Savior
  • when Jesus left them, the apostles must have asked “What do we do now?”
  • they went fishing, and saw the Savior again
  • the Savior asks, “Do you love me?”
  • Christ needs disciples and needs them forever
  • at judgement day, we very well may be asked if we loved God
  • we can’t quit and we can’t go back
  • the commission to a missionary as he baptizes people changes the convert, but it was to change the missionary as well
  • love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation
  • our Father in Heaven expects our loyalty and love

The choir sang If the Savior Stood Beside me

President Thomas S Monson

  • an apostle for 49 years
  • take an inventory and recognize the blessings you have received
  • our prayers are heard and answered
  • the more we act on impressions and inspiration, the more the Lord will trust us with his errands
  • never postpone a prompting
  • shared a few stories of ways he had responded to a prompting to find out the person had been praying for help
  • the opportunity to be a blessing in the life of another comes rather expectantly
  • the Lord is in the details of our lives

The choir sang If the Way be Full of Trial, Weary Not

Elder Keith R Edwards offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: