President David O. McKay once said “I want to tell you one thing: When the Lord tells you what to do, you’ve got to have courage to do it or you had better not ask him again.”
As members of this church we have the privilege of being guided through this life by apostles, prophets, local leaders, loving families, and personal revelation. We believe that anyone who goes to the Lord with a sincere heart and real intent can receive answers and guidance. In Moroni 10:4-5 is says,
“… I would exhort you that ye would ask God , the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true: and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
Today I would like to discuss a couple specific ways our Heavenly Father communicates with us and why it is so important we follow the instructions that He gives us.
There are many different ways in which Heavenly Father directs us in this life two of which I would like to touch on. They are by the Spirit of the Lord also referred to as the Holy Ghost and also through modern day prophets and apostles.
The Holy Ghost in a marvelous gift that all members of the church receive after baptism, when they are confirmed a member. This gift of the Spirit is given to be with us always as long as we remain worthy of it. There are many ways in which the Spirit works to give us answers to our prayers, to help us through trials, and to lead us back to our Father in Heaven.
In D&C 8:2-3 it says
“Yea I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall… dwell in your heart. Now behold, this is the spirit of revelation…”
So the way the Spirit works is by telling us in our minds and our hearts.
In an article found in the 1989 Ensign Jay E. Jensen- a former mission president- talked about the receiving answers from the spirit. He had this to say:
“When the Holy Ghost speaks, our minds may be struck with insight and clarity akin to sudden light. At the same time, our hearts may burn or we may feel flooded with joy or deep gratitude or love. Whatever particular feelings occur, they occur simultaneously in the mind and in the heart.
Some common expressions investigators often use during missionary lessons are “That makes sense,” “I’ve always believed that,” “Of course.” Sometimes, it may be a simple affirmative nod. At these times, the investigators are experiencing “enlightenment.” When we recognize the truth through the Spirit, we understand things—they become clear to us. As the Lord promised, “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind.” (D&C 11:13.)”
Another way the Spirit can guide and direct us is by speaking peace to our mind.
In a talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks called “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit” he talks about revelation and that “revelation applies to every communication from our Heavenly Father. He goes on to say
“It [revelation] shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will… In most cases, “his own way” is not the thunderous interruption or the blinding light, but what the scriptures call the “still small voice”. Some have misunderstood this principle. As a result, some have looked exclusively for the great manifestations that are recorded in the scriptures and have failed to recognize the still, small voice that is given to them. This is like making up our minds that we will learn only from a teacher who shouts and that we will refuse to listen to even the wisest teaching when it comes in a whisper.
We need to know that the Lord rarely speaks loudly. His messages almost always come in a whisper.”
If we look to the scriptures we can learn about how the Lord works and the different ways he communicates with us. In D & C section 6 verses 14-27 are filled with ways the Spirit speaks truth unto us. In these verses revelation is being given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery about how the Spirit speaks truth.
In versus 16 – “…as often as thou as inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit.”
Versus 15 “Behold thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind : and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlighten by the Spirit of truth.
Versus 22-23 “Verily verily, I say unto you if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have then from god?”
While preparing this talk I have felt impressed to share with you an example in my life about how the Spirit has directed me.
This past April I was listening to the last session of General Conference while getting ready for work, it was a Thursday afternoon. I was half listening while fixing my hair when I heard one of the speakers say “You need to put spiritual things in front of temporal things.” Within that same couple of seconds the Spirit came to me and its voice was a clear to me and if someone was standing there talking to me. It said “You need to serve a mission.” This came as a huge shock to me and I actually had to sit down so I could really comprehend what happened. As I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub my mind was whirling. All I could think about was all the plans I had already made for the next couple of years. I was seven classes away from my bachelors degree, I already have housing lined up in Laramie for the next year, a great job waiting for me also in Laramie, and a plan for after graduation. A mission was not part of any of those plans.
So I tried to rationalize all this in my mind and tried to shake what had just happened. I said to myself that is not going to happen. This little episode was just weird. I finished getting ready for work, got in my car and drove off. Within not even a minute of getting in my car and driving up the street a song came on. I can’t remember what the song was but I can tell you that it brought the Spirit into my car with so much intensity that I just broke down, and I knew. So I just started talking out loud to heavenly father
“Alright… if this is what you want me to do I will do it. But I am going to need your help. I have all these plans and a loan and I just can’t do it alone.”
Since then I have prepared for this mission I have looked back to that Thursday afternoon, almost daily. I have replayed that session of general conference a couple of times and read through the talks that were published in the Ensign and I cannot find anywhere in it any speaker say “You need to put spiritual things in front of temporal things. “
The spirit speaks to us in all different ways unique to us. Because Heavenly father knows us, He knows how to speak to our hearts, and He knows what is best for us. I have learned that our lives are like a giant puzzle. Heavenly father can see the whole puzzle and He knows what the finished product is supposed to look like. In this puzzle we call life we can only see it one piece at a time. That is why it is so important to let Heavenly father guide us, and he guides us through the Spirit and also through modern day prophets and apostles. Heavenly Father will never lead us astray. I testify of that.
Another way the Heavenly father speaks to us it through modern day prophets and apostles. Every October and April we are blessed to sustain the 15 presiding brethren of the Church as prophets seers and revelators, and by doing so we acknowledge that they do in fact receive revelation specific to us in these latter days.
In D & C 21:4-5 the Lord is speaking about Joseph Smith and in doing so sets a pattern for this dispensation. He says:
“Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith”
Thomas S. Monson along with the first presidency and the 12 apostles have been called of God to guide us. In these the last days, where Satan gains more and more power it is critical that we listen to these Men that are called of God to help us. Heavenly Father loves us so much and wants to help us so he has found numerous ways to communicate us. When these brethren talk to us they do it out of love. They pray that we will heed their advice to we can one day return to live with our Father in Heaven.
In a talk by Elder Neil L Anderson he states:
“… as the world’s course diverges even more dramatically from the path of righteousness, our trust in the voice of the Lord through his servant will be even more critical to our knowing right from wrong.”
In a world where we are taught that good is bad and bad is good listening to the prophets is of the utmost importance. In most cases’ it is not going to be easy to do, but it will be worth it.
One of the most amazing things about listening to the prophets and promptings of the spirit is the blessings we receive from doing so.
When talking about following the council of prophets and apostles the Lord promises this:
“For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”
That came from D&C 21:6
When we listen to Heavenly Father, no matter how he speaks to us we will be blessed with his trust. When we have the Lord’s trust that leaves us open to more blessings. I like to think of in terms of parents and their children. When we listen to what our parents say and are respectful and obedient we gain their trust. With that trust comes added freedom and more happiness in and outside the home. With that trust we feel better about ourselves.
This can be directly related to the trust between us and the Lord. In addition to all the benefits we get with the trust of our earthly parents Heavenly Father can bless all aspects of our lives. When we follow His prompting and those he has appointed on this earth as heads of His church He pours out blessings. More blessings than we can even imagine.
I know that it true. After making the decision to go in this mission I have seen the blessings come. In almost every aspect of my life the Lord has poured out blessings. Everything has just fallen into place in preparing to leave for the MTC and Chile.
Brothers and Sisters I have a testimony. I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us and because of that he speaks to us in many different ways. I know that the 15 men we sustain in General Conference are called of God to guide us. I know this church is true and that it brings great happiness to those who follow its teachings. I have the privilege of going to a new place to spread this wonderful gospel so others can experience the joy it brings. I know that following in Christ’s footsteps will bring us happiness and joy in this life and the next.
I would like to close with a scripture found in Alma 29:9
“ I know that which the Lord hath commanded me and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”
I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ- Amen