Tag Archives: revelation

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.

Do you know how to receive revelation? Part 2

As I mentioned in the first part, when I was interviewed by Elder Olson and Elder Echo Hawk to be in the Stake Presidency, Elder Olson asked me if I knew how to receive revelation. That, together with the topic for May in the new youth curriculum has given me plenty to think about.

“Do you know how to receive revelation?” is kind of a tricky question. It’s like the question in the temple recommend interview that asks if you are worthy to enter the Lord’s house. If you say yes, you sound boastful. If you say no, then it’s as if something is wrong with you.

I guess the first thing to remember is that what revelation is. To me, revelation occurs any time you feel the Holy Ghost. If someone is bearing their testimony and you feel the Spirit, you have received revelation. The Spirit has let you know that what they are saying is true. This obviously isn’t revelation like Joseph Smith received, but I still consider it revelation.

If we consider revelation to be received anytime we feel the Spirit, then it doesn’t seem so daunting. So let me ask the questions again… “Do you know how to receive revelation?” The answer should be yes. You receive revelation because you keep the commandments. If you aren’t receiving revelation, you probably have some areas that need some work.

I understand that this is a very simplistic way to look at it, but this is the way I was describing it to the Priests that I was teaching the last couple of weeks. At 16, 17 or 18 years old they should be able to receive revelation. Since they are able to receive revelation, they should be receiving it often. If they are not, then they need to figure out what needs to change in their life so they can receive it.

I also want to emphasize how important it is to want revelation. We shouldn’t just wait to see if it comes. We should be seeking it out. I love D&C 42: 61:

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

If we ask, we are promised revelation upon revelation. Good stuff!

Do you know how to receive revelation?

That was one of the questions that Elder Jeffery Olson and Elder Larry Echo Hawk asked me during my interview when our stake presidency was changed. I have thought about it every day since. I’m not sure why it has struck me as such a profound question, but it has. I have reflected on what it means, and what I can do to improve my ability to receive revelation.

I plan on a more in-depth posting on revelation soon (it is also the topic in May for the new youth curriculum), but for now I’ll post some of the questions I’ve been thinking about:

  • Do you know how to receive revelation?
  • Do you recognize revelation when it comes?
  • Are you asking for revelation?
  • It is “easy” to understand how revelation pertains to Church life, but do you understand that revelation can be received for literally EVERYTHING in your life?
  • Are you aware of the things in your life that would stop you from receiving revelation?
  • When you receive revelation, do you act on it?

As I said, I’ll have a more thorough post later, but these are some questions to get you thinking…

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.


Communicating in the Lord’s way

On Saturday I was talking with my wife about communication. I suggested that the next time she was assigned to speak in Sacrament Meeting, she should talk about communication. Then the next day someone actually did speak on that in Sacrament Meeting. The person used the talk Christlike Communications by Elder L. Lionel Kendrick as the source of many of her quotes. Then on Monday the blog Entitled to Revelation had a posting called Promises: All This and Greater Also that also kind of dealt with communication. (Isn’t it interesting how those sorts of things happen?!)

You can read both of those articles/postings yourself. The main point that my wife and I were talking about, was that people need to communicate. We’re talking about this in its most basic form. People need to talk. We need to share. The scriptures are literally full of examples of people who talked/shared. They preached, they counseled, they asked questions, they communicated. Very rarely do we see examples of people who know things but don’t share them (Mary obviously being one exception in Luke 2: 19).

I’ve seen too many times where leaders get frustrated because they find something out too late. When I was a bishop, I remember one time where a family had a car accident and it was weeks before I found out. Others knew but never said anything. I know of other leaders serving with me at the time who would get frustrated when I would forget to share something with them. The end result is that people can’t serve effectively, and the people we should be helping are not getting the full benefit of the resources of the Church.

Obviously we can’t share everything. Some things are confidential. Some things just aren’t important. However, generally, we need to share. We need to be open. We need to care.

Marking my scriptures

Entitled to Revelation had a posting earlier this week about colour-coding your scriptures. That has prompted me to share how I’ve marked my scriptures in the past.

I attended Seminary when I was in high school. I had a set of scriptures that I used. They were the less expensive kind, so the quality of the binding wasn’t great. After 4 years of study, they were falling apart. Around when I turned 18 I got a new set of scriptures. They were beautiful! Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of my markings in them. That was less beautiful 🙁

I spent the next year copying over my markings, and then starting new ones. At the time, I decided on a colour coding system. I can’t remember all of them, but this is generally how it worked:

  • Blue – rightesouness
  • Orange – wickedness
  • Burgundy – prophecy
  • Green – general
  • Yellow – commandments

There may have been more, but that is what I can remember off the top of my head. Here is a page showing some of the colours.

Here I am 18 years later, and I am so grateful I marked them that way. At a glance I can see what the page is about. It also helps me look things up as I generally know where things are, and I know the type of scripture it is, so I can focus on a colour when I’m searching.

I don’t mark with colour any more. I generally underline in pen and/or make notes in the margins. But I love my work from before my mission. It has served me well!

Canada-wide Stake Conference

I was going through some drafts that I had, and this one stuck out. Apparently 2 years ago we had a Canada-wide Stake Conference that was broadcast from Salt Lake City. Well, here we are 2 years later, and we have one this coming Sunday. I figured that I might as well post the notes that I typed up (but never posted) from the conference from 2 years ago, and then I’ll post the current notes next week. Obviously I paid a lot more attention to the Saturday broadcast than the Sunday one. I was still the bishop of the ward at that time, and the Saturday session essentially took the place of the local Priesthood Leadership session.


Elder Pace

  • We can’t receive too much counsel
  • Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are lacking because they are failing to tap into the power of the quorum
  • our leaders try to prime the pump of revelation, but we need to receive the revelation from deity

Elder Ballard

  • Q) how we do combat pornography
  • A) we draw a line in our minds over which we will never step
  • stop, repent, quit, draw the line
  • make a resolve and commitment with the Lord that you will not step over into the devil’s playground
  • pornography will destroy your spirituality
  • if this is an issue, stop it today
  • be careful on other sites as well (like Facebook)
  • stay on the Lord’s side
  • Matthew 25 – do not be a goat

President Uchtdorf

  • he has lived more of his life in districts than in stakes
  • don’t wait to make an impact in the lives of our children
  • in today’s world, don’t trust the compass the world is offering
  • trust the Holy Ghost
  • spoke of compass ambiguity as he traveled in northern Canada (has been to Frobisher Lake and Goose Lake)
  • use the time you have in your calling
  • don’t dare say “if only I was the…”
  • 1 Samuel 10 – the Lord will turn us into another man
  • there is no small calling in the Church


  • 111 downlink sites
  • 10 + languages
  • my son asked if there was another episode
  • Elder Pace on both days called Elder Ballard by the name Russell M Ballard
  • President Uchtdorf was very fidgety
  • Truly a united nation of the Church
  • 800+ missionaries
  • President Uchtdorf said that sometimes we have to look for something different to see the true identity. Bald Eagle, golf balls

“The solution of the problems that vex his life [will come]”

A couple of days ago I quoted from Elder John A Widstoe about the power of temple worship and yesterday about the importance of sealings. Here is another good one (the last one from this talk):

I believe the busy person on the farm, in the shop, in the office, or in the household, who has his worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. If he will leave his problems behind and in the temple work for himself and for his dead, he will confer a mighty blessing up on those who have gone before, and quite as large a blessing will come to him, for at the most unexpected moments, in or out of the temple, will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life. That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly, because it is a place where revelation may be expected. I bear my personal testimony that this is so.

Widstoe, John A. “Temple Worship.” Genealogical Society of Utah. Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City. 12 Oct. 1920.