confirmation

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.

This post began with one thought that lead into another, that lead into another. You know how that is.

It began with something I was reading. “When the Lord has spoken through His servants, there have been at different periods of time many people in the earth who have said, “I do not believe in revelation.” This age is no exception to the rule.

The thousands, yes, the millions, of our Father’s children who live in the earth are but repeating the history of the past when they deny that God has revealed again His will to the children of men, and say that they have no need of any further revelation.” (George A. Smith, Improvement Era, Mar. 1949, 137)

Noah was a just man and perfect (Hebrew: complete, whole, having integrity) in his generations, and Noah walked (guided) with God.  Genesis 6:9 (KJV)

My first thought was of Noah and the days of the flood. Men had turned to wickedness. The earth was filled with violence and all flesh was corrupted. So God commanded Noah to build an ark, taught him detail upon detail how to accomplish this astonishing project and expounded on His plan for mankind.

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain.” Genesis 6:5-6

Can you believe it possible that Noah was the only righteous man living on the earth at that time? That he alone chose to obey God’s commandments? The only person left in this world able to receive revelation-to hear the voice and instruction of the Lord?

Wow. Awfully near to 100% annihilation of humans off the face of this earth. What would have been the outcome had this one righteous man not been able and willing to hear and obey God?

I imagined Noah preaching and warning the people. Perhaps he had other children and even grandchildren that he supplicated with all his being. He would have had many other relatives-brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. His heart must have felt an awful burden of grief and sorrow for those he knew and loved.

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Genesis 6:22

As he explained what the Lord had planned, can you imagine people’s reactions as Noah built the ark? “Why would the Lord speak to you? What makes you so special?” “Who says you’re a prophet?” “We don’t believe in revelation.” “Go away-you’re wrong. God doesn’t speak to people anymore.” “You don’t know what you’re talking about Noah.”  “Ha, ha…he’s crazy!” “He’s losing his mind.”

Only 8 Were Saved

Once the door was sealed and the rain began, what was it really like for those eight people? They left behind people they loved and had shared their lives with. The scriptures don’t mention the state of their minds and their hearts at that time. What would they have felt? Despair? Anguish? Fear? Pain?

Not only was the world as they knew it a bit shattered, it was totally gone. Not a little at a time. It disappeared all at once. As the door slammed shut, each individual they had known and loved become only a memory of the past.

Each of them knew personally hundreds of people that perished. Heartbroken? Shocked? Scarred by the experience? I wonder how emotionally prepared they were for the future they faced.

And then perhaps, none of those torments would have lasted too long as they trustingly turned their hearts and their minds towards Heavenly Father.

I’ve always, because of a children’s song that ends with the phrase, “but only 8 were saved”, stopped at that thought. They were saved. But, what saved those 8 people?

Is it possible that they were the only people prepared to receive revelation? Did they hear a confirmation of the truth from the Lord, as they listened to Noah preaching? I believe they harkened to the Lord’s still small voice, humbly entered into covenant with God, and followed Noah into the ark.

Perhaps it’s possible that their hearts and their minds had long before been prepared as they received comfort, assurances, confidence and strength from the Lord for the choices they made.

There is none other but God that is capable of surrounding His children with a palpable comfort and peace that passes all mortal understanding. There is none other so capable of bathing broken hearts with His healing balm to make them whole again.

And then my thoughts rolled around back to the quote that began my musings. I thought of those I love. I pondered, if a prophet of the Lord came to this very town I live in, and told me it was time-right now- to leave everything-my kin, my home, my wealth-behind, how would I respond?

Am I ready to ask for and seek the Lord’s confirmation? Would I recognize and accept His true messenger? How would my neighbors react to our prophet? What would my family think? What would my family do? Would they come with me? Would I be able to go with the few and leave those most dear to my heart behind?

One day we will be dependent on the Lord’s direction to save our lives, perhaps even temporally. I wonder how many are truly prepared to recognize and listen to His voice, guidance and instruction. Or, will we be among the millions who say “We have no need of any further revelation”?

“For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37-38

Which scriptural characters-those who are obedient to God’s commandments and hear and obey His voice- come to your mind? Which one is your favorite? Why?

A few days ago, I discovered this great little article in June’s Ensign.  The excerpts below are from a speech given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

At the time, I made a note of sharing it with you in a few weeks if and when I run out of something to say. It happens. 🙂

Then, Sunday morning in our Relief Society class a sweet sister referred to this same list. I quite like it and just cannot wait another day to pass it on to you. Besides, it follows my last post quite nicely!

Elder Oaks said, “My purpose in suggesting this classification and in giving these examples is to persuade each of you to search your own experience and to conclude that you have already received revelations and that you can receive more revelations because communication from God to men and women is a reality.

President Lorenzo Snow declared that it is “the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint . . . to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives” (CR, April 1899, p. 52).

Every day of our lives“. Isn’t that a marvelous promise?!

Eight Purposes of Revelation

To testify: The Spirit can witness that Jesus is the Christ and that the gospel is true.

To prophesy: Within the limits of one’s areas of responsibility, a person may be inspired to predict what will come to pass in the future. The prophet, patriarchs, and even we can receive prophetic revelation.

To comfort: The Spirit can comfort us as He comforted Joseph Smith  in Liberty Jail: “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment” (D&C 121:7–8). Comfort also comes in connection with priesthood blessings, visions of departed loved ones, and forgiveness of sins.

To uplift: The Spirit can lift us up from depression, feelings of inadequacy, or a plateau of spiritual mediocrity. He comes as we read scriptures or enjoy wholesome music, art, or literature.

To inform: On some sacred occasions, information has been given face to face from heavenly personages. Other times, needed information is communicated by the quiet whisperings of the Spirit.

“A child loses a treasured possession, prays for help, and is inspired to find it; an adult has a problem at work, at home, or in genealogical research, prays, and is led to the information necessary to resolve it; a Church leader prays to know whom the Lord would have him call to fill a position, and the Spirit whispers a name. In all of these examples—familiar to each of us—the Holy Ghost acts in his office as a teacher and revelator, communicating information and truths for the edification and guidance of the recipient.”

To restrain: This form of revelation will deter us from things we should not do. It often comes by surprise, when we have not asked for guidance on a particular subject.

To confirm: You can receive a confirmation through the Spirit after proposing a particular course of action and praying to know if it is the right choice.

To impel: This type of revelation is not sought after but comes to call a person to some action not proposed. This type of communication from the Spirit is rare but, therefore, significant.

To enjoy Elder Oaks’ complete talk and examples from his personal experiences, here’s the link.

President Harold B. Lee taught:

“Every man has the privilege to exercise these gifts and these privileges in the conduct of his own affairs; in bringing up his children in the way they should go; in the management of his business, or whatever he does. It is his right to enjoy the spirit of revelation and of inspiration to do the right thing, to be wise and prudent, just and good, in everything that he does.” [Stand Ye in Holy Places (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), p. 141–42]

I do enjoy the gifts of revelation and of inspiration. I testify that the truth of the restored gospel can be known by each of us through the direct personal line of communication to our Heavenly Father.  My greatest desire is that you too may experience this grand privilege and the sweetest of blessings.

Do you believe that it is possible to have “the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives”?

What experiences have taught you that Heavenly Father does interest Himself in our affairs?