Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

“I’d be interested to see more references in scripture that talk about listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I’ve met many people who claim to follow these promptings and then do ridiculous things and even horrible things and say the Holy Spirit told them it was right…which then makes me wonder if it is happening at all…”

One of my friends wrote this comment last week on Facebook. I answered him some of what you’ll read here and at the same time realized that he had given me my topic for this week’s post.

Before I list any scriptural references, I’ll mention a few considerations that I have learned and that are important. There may be more points to make than these, but these are most basic.

First and foremost, in order to receive Him, one must have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost conferred by the laying on of hands by those in authority to do so.

“…the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:16-17

Secondly, the heart must be pure and the hands clean. (James 4:8) And we must be humble. Very humble. We don’t call the shots. “God resists the proud…gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6) Obeying the commandments, (John 14:21) repentance and keeping the covenants (promises) we make with God are all important as well. If there is sin in a person’s life, the Holy Ghost will leave that person.

“We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost-the medium of individual revelation-if we are in transgression or if we are angry or if we are in rebellion against God’s chosen authorities” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 9)

“Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear; For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite” D & C 136:33

And thirdly, we receive revelation for our own lives and those that we are responsible for. I may be prompted by the Spirit for myself or concerning a situation with my family. The Bishop of a ward may be led by the Holy Spirit regarding the care of one of his members; however, he would not receive revelation pertaining to the direction of the whole church.  That is not his area of responsibility.

“Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” D & C 50:2

Lastly, I would say that if you feel folks “do the ridiculous and horrible” then you are able to recognize or discern that it cannot possibly be a truth. Remember the fruit of the Spirit? None of these fruit lead one to feel repelled or disgusted.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:22-24

Here are some Scriptural References about listening to promptings or receiving personal revelation:

John 16:13-15 “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is yet to come” (A favorite I’ve had marked for very many years)

Acts 8:29 “Spirit said unto Philip, Go near…”

Acts 10:19 “The Spirit said unto him…”

Acts 11:28 “and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world”

1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly”

Galatians 5:18, 25 “led of the Spirit”

1 Kings 19:12 “a still small voice”

2 Peter 1:21 “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”

Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”

Psalms 12:6 “The words of the Lord are pure…as silver-purified seven times”

Job 33:14 “God speaketh”

John 10:4 “sheep know His voice”

John 14:21 “I will love him and manifest Myself to him”

John 14:26 “The Holy Ghost shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance”

Hebrew 3:7, 15 and 4:7 “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”

1 John 5:6 “it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth”

Galatians 2:2 “I went in response to a revelation”

Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord shall guide thee continually”

1 Nephi 11:11 “Spirit…spake unto me as a man speaketh with another”

Jacob 4:13 “for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not…”

Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3 “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart”

Heavenly Father desires us to receive revelation.  Many times in the scriptures we are reminded to “Ask, and ye shall receive”.

“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. Moroni 10:4-5

I feel privileged to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -to have come to the place that indeed does have the authority to confer that precious gift of the Holy Ghost.

“I am He which searcheth the reins (desires and thoughts) and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” Revelation 2:23 

There is much to ponder as we read and study the scriptures. The condition of our heart is important when we consider our relationship with God. Searching all the scriptures that mention the condition of the heart may teach us much about purity and humility.

Jesus Christ lived, died and is resurrected. He lives. He has done what He said He would do. There is a connection between obeying His commandments, repentance when we do not and the guidance and inspiration from the Holy Spirit that we long for. He freely gives as we grow in righteousness.

How have promptings (personal revelation) helped you in your family and church responsibilities and other areas of your life? 

Why would personal revelation be so very important in our day?

 

Such a glorious and amazing weekend! We’ve been well fed, satisfied and grateful for our witness of the tremendous truths of the gospel and those lessons intended for our ears, at the 182nd Semi-annual General Conference! If you would like to know about the General Conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, click here.

Most of us received a spiritual feast, but not all– I’ve learned that our friends ‘down under’ wait another week yet.  Wow, you have patience!

Originally, I had planned to post my favorite quotes from each of the speakers. As I prepared my notes, I realized that you would not likely desire a tome of thousands of words, no matter how rich their meaning.

Here’s what I’m choosing instead. I’ll give you my overall basic view. Then, I’ve focused on one speaker for the purposes of my blog because his complete talk was about the Holy Ghost-a lot of important information! I’m reining in my enthusiasm-hard- to not give you the whole of His talk either! If you’d like to listen to it, click here.

For several months I have pondered-often wondered -why it is that the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today, are most sweet, loving and gentle in their approach, in particular when they are addressing the church or/and the world.

Not that I dislike this, however, in most of our scriptures, the language and speeches of the prophets and even of Jesus Christ can be forthright, blunt and certainly to the point- No mincing of words.

I do appreciate that perhaps, because they are this way, the Spirit is magnified and therefore we each can feel the messages the Lord intends for us.

This time, I felt a change- a definite seriousness, firmness and intensity in our leaders that I have rarely noted. (Let’s not include Elder Holland here, okay!) Throughout each session, I felt that the messages strongly impressed a sense of urgency-a feeling that we are running out of time and we must get our act together. Study and know our scriptures, communicate with and obey the Lord, and do whatever we must do before it’s too late.

Was it just me, or did this conference feel different to you than those in recent years?

We’ve been taught and counselled to ask questions of Heavenly Father in preparation for conference. He, knowing our heart’s desire responds during the tutelage of His servants. As has happened in the past, a couple of the talks felt directed to me, so powerfully did I feel the influence of the Spirit. Grateful, and with extra attention I intend to return to those for my own benefit.

Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy’s talk is perfectly suited to a post on this blog. If you get an opportunity you’ll no doubt enjoy hearing it again and again.

  • …deep sense of gratitude for this unspeakable gift from God-the gift of the Holy Ghost
  • The Holy Ghost … knows our thoughts and the intents of our hearts.
  • The Holy Ghost wants us to be happy.
  • Since He knows the challenge we will face, he can guide us and teach us all things we must do to return and live with our Heavenly Father once again.
  • He communicates to our spirits true feelings and impressions.
  • He has the unique responsibility of being an agent through which revelation is received.
  • In scripture, the Holy Ghost is often referred to as the “Holy Spirit”, “the Spirit of the Lord”, “the Holy Spirit of promise”, or simply “the Spirit”.
  • The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of God the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ, and to teach us the truth of all things. A sure witness from the Holy Ghost carries far more certainty than a witness from any other source.
  • President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that the Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than that truth can be imparted by personal contact, even with heavenly beings.
  • The Holy Ghost is also known as the Comforter. During times of trouble or despair, or simply when we need to know that God is near, the Holy Ghost can lift our spirits, give us hope and teach us the peaceable things of the kingdom, helping us feel the peace of God which passes all understanding.
  • The Holy Ghost is a teacher and a revelator-enlightens our minds and quickens our understanding.
  • We all have experiences with the Holy Ghost even though we may not always recognize them. As inspired thoughts come into our minds we know them to be true by the spiritual feelings that enter into our hearts.

“The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. While we speak of listening to the voice of the Spirit, one most often describes a spiritual prompting by saying ‘I had a feeling’. It is through these sacred feelings from the Holy Ghost that we come to know what God would have us do for this- is the Spirit of revelation.” Boyd K. Packer

  • Before baptism, all honest and sincere seekers of truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time, however the opportunity to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the fullness of all the associated blessings are available only to worthy baptised members who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands through those holding the priesthood authority of God.
  • Through the gift of the Holy Ghost we receive:
    •  added capacity and spiritual gifts
    •  increased revelation and protection
    •  steady guidance and direction
    •  the promised blessings of sanctification and exaltation in the celestial kingdom
  • All these blessings are given as a result of our personal desire to receive them and come as we align our lives with the will of God and seek His constant direction.
  • …the gift of the Holy Ghost is Heavenly Father’s precious and unspeakable gift to all who will come unto His Son, be baptised in His name and receive the Holy Ghost through confirmation in His church.

What was your favorite moment or quote at this General Conference? I truly would like to know.

“There have been many people who have prayed, as your Mormon friends suggested, and felt that God was not leading them because of the “off the wall” doctrine. Did God lead them in a different way or do we assume that those people were not sincerely open to God’s leading?”

A few weeks after I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I received a letter from a very dear friend, asking me this question. I had no idea how to respond at that time. I’ve often pondered that question. Even today, what can I say?

God gave me a powerful witness of the Book of Mormon so that I know with all my heart and mind that it truly is a historical work and that it is a third testament of Jesus Christ. Why me? And why do others not receive the same?

I believe my instincts kept me from searching the internet for anti Mormon literature. And instincts kept me from approaching my past leaders to ask them for their opinion or guidance.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord” Jeremiah 17:5

I just knew that a biased opinion, even if knowledgeable on some important issues would make my way very murky and would more than likely, completely add confusion to an already seemingly overwhelming task-that of learning the truth for myself.

Based on what I’d learned from reading my Bible, I believed that God was interested personally in me, desired for me to do His will and would lead me in the direction of His choosing. I chose to remain completely dependent on Him to reveal His truth to me. So, I followed direction, and sought first to read the Book of Mormon and then pray as instructed.

Though it may not be necessary for everyone to receive a testimony as soon as possible when investigating the church, it is a great advantage in my opinion. True, I didn’t study everything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before I received my witness. True I knew very little about the church, which scared everyone around me to death!

Putting first things first enabled powerful enough evidence for me to withstand naysayers. Powerful enough to endure others anger, contention, bitterness and difficult questions.

And especially, powerful enough to endure the fiery darts of the adversary-with truths that immediately got thrown in the path -twisted and bent out of shape to be almost unrecognizable as good and holy and pure as their origin.

Was it not for Heavenly Father’s faithfulness and the priceless gift of the Holy Ghost to help recognize and discern the differences between truth and error, how very lost I would be.

There are many people desiring to know the truth and desiring to know which church is true but don’t know where to find it. Just as sad is the reality that people feel dependent on knowledgeable men, scholars, books or the internet to point the way to truth, rather than asking and seeking of God.

For example, just about that same time, one of my family members stated that a preacher friend said that he had studied Joseph Smith for 2 years and had decided he was a fraud. Again, I was not sure how to respond. (I had not yet received a testimony of Joseph Smith as God’s true prophet.)

Today, I would say, “One does not study Joseph Smith. Study Jesus Christ. Look only to Him, give Him your whole heart, mind and soul, trust Him and ask Him what the truth is that He would have you seek. Believe that He desires to answer you.”

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him”  Jeremiah 17:7

While you are seeking, first and foremost, seek a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Read it. Ponder upon the words. Pray. Ask. Once you know the truth for yourself, once you commit to this marvelous church and have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, you will be able to discern and sift the truth of all other matters regarding this marvelous church.

Afterwards, when you find yourself mired in controversial stuff, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost will strengthen and guide you into all truth. Even then, be vigilant in praying and seeking the Lord for answers, as the adversary may be be hard at work, seeking your downfall.

Do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

Brothers and Sisters, those of you that are converts to the church, are welcome to share your testimonies or conversion experience here.

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Next week, in “Addressing the Book of Mormon, Part 2”, for your interest I’ll post a transcript of an interview including a couple of commonly asked questions regarding the Book of Mormon. Terryl Givens, professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond and commentator, elucidates.

You’d like your own Book of Mormon? Do contact me.

Or call 888-537-2200 and ask for one. It’s free!