Personal Revelation – Jan. 25, 2009 Nakano Ward, Tokyo Japan--jhh
I have been asked today to speak on personal revelation. As I considered what I might say I have thought that I should look at how others were able to receive revelation, and how I have been able to receive revelation.
I believe for a person to receive personal revelation we need to have certain conditions or requirements.
One condition or requirement might be for our own personal need.
Or another condition might be for the need of those we have some stewardship to serve.
Sometimes both of these conditions are met at the same time.
If we look at the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith I believe he is a great example of one who received personal revelation. So what did he do to receive those revelations?
In Joseph’s account of the first vision he stated that there was an unusual excitement on the subject of religion and the various faiths were contending one with another trying to convince those who would listen, to join their religion.
Joseph said this caused a lot of confusion for him and for others. He was only 14 years old at the time and felt inadequate “to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong."
So what did he do to find out which of all the churches to join?
First of all he read the scriptures and was familiar with the words of God. He had read the scriptures on his own and with his family. They had discussed the scriptures as a family. He had asked the leaders of different religions about how they understood the messages in the Bible.
What he found was confusion. These preachers would interpret the same scriptures differently and so he didn’t know who was right and who was wrong.
One day he was reading in the Book of James in the New Testament, and read:
He began to think about this scripture over and over again. We call this pondering.
He knew he lacked wisdom, he had not been able to gain that wisdom from others so he decided to do as James directed – to ask God.
And so Joseph did ask. He went to a private, quiet place, and prayed to know which of all the churches was right.
Joseph received an answer to his prayer, just as each of us can receive answers to our prayers.
His answer from God was that none of the churches on the earth at that time were right and he was to join none of them. Later, he would pray and study more and receive additional revelations that would restore the Church of Jesus Christ once again to the Earth.
Joseph’s pattern to receive personal revelation was to 1st--study the scriptures, 2nd--ask questions of people who have knowledge, and 3rd-- ask God in faith, believing he would receive an answer, to find out what he should do.
Joseph had a personal need. He wanted to know the truth about which church to join and God also had a need to call a prophet once again to serve his children here on the Earth.
In my life I have had times when I used this same pattern as Joseph Smith to know the truth.
When I wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true, I used this same pattern.
I read the Book of Mormon every day for several weeks. I asked a member of the church questions I had about the Church. Then I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was truly God’s word and was Joseph Smith his prophet.
As I prayed I came to know by the whispering of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was God’s word and that Joseph Smith was his prophet. I received this because I wanted to know for myself if it was true.
I also have another experience with revelation that I want to share. This was because of the need someone else had. In this case I was not praying to receive an answer, but God knew of a need that I could help with, and so I received a revelation.
I was prepared to receive the revelation because I was reading my scriptures regularly, and was trying to keep the commandments.
One day I was reading a conference talk by Elder Thomas S. Monson, who was a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles at the time. He was sharing in his talk a story about a rescue that a man had made, who was able to save many people’s lives, but in the process lost his own life.
As I pondered that message the Spirit told me that we needed to move from Colorado to Nevada, where my wife is from. It was a very strong impression.
Well I didn’t really want to go.
We lived in a beautiful place in Colorado, I had a great job, and we loved our ward and had many friends. However, I did not question the revelation I had received.
I have always been very impressed with Nephi and how he was always willing to do hard things.
My favorite scripture is 1 Ne 3:7
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
So I obeyed the prompting, and over the next several months eventually found a new job in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area, put our house in Colorado up for sale and we moved.
When we arrived we still didn’t know why we were supposed to move. But within 2 weeks we found out why.
My mother-in-law suddenly took ill and for the next two years we were there to help care for her. I have always been thankful that we could go and help when we were needed.
If we are willing to follow the promptings of the Lord through the Holy Ghost, we will always be blessed and we can be an instrument to bless the lives of others.
I testify that if we will read, ponder, and pray, then we will receive answers to our questions.
I also testify that if we are living worthy and willing to do what God asks us to do, then the Lord can bless the lives of others through us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.