Rich and I have recently moved to Clovis, California from the East. We lived in the suburbs of Washington DC for over forty years. It’s been a big move but Clovis already feels like home. We are Mormons and are part of the Dry Creek Ward. (Our congregation). I was ask to speak in our Sacrament Meeting recently on personal revelation. This is my talk which includes many events which were very personal about times I cannot deny the influence and divine direction of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Sacrament Meeting Talk
October 22, 2017
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and know what a great privilege it is to enjoy the benefits of the gospel. I know personal revelation and I know we are all eligible to access that divine power. Personal Revelation is just that - personal. Very personal. What you receive is yours alone. No one can take it away from you.
When Elder Neil l Anderson invited us to maximize our viewing of General Conference, a few weeks ago, he said reverence invites revelation and challenged us to revently listen for guiding revelation.
I think it’s interesting that the word reverence and the word revelation begin with the same four letters. They have the same Latin root. Yes, so there is a connection.
Think of times you have felt the most reverent. Or times when you knew you were receiving divine direction and answers. Those times are personal and sacred.
Questions to ask yourself.
1. Do you have to be reverent to receive the gentle feelings of the spirit?
2. What frame of mind do you have to be in to receive a revelation?
3. How do you ask the Lord for divine answers?
In contrast most of us have times in our life when we drive the spirit away. We build up walls and emotional defenses around our hearts — and sometimes those walls keep us from feeling the embrace of the spirit.
I can think of a time in my life when I had hardened my heart to positive reverent feelings.
My little sister, Julie, died when when she was in her 40s. I was feeling heartbroken and wronged because she and her husband had two baby boys who were then 6 and 8 and now these little guys had lost their mother. It was such a huge loss and it didn’t seem fair to me. They had worked so hard to have a little family. I know my testimony must have been fragile and weak and I felt desperately sad about my sister. I have lots of brothers, (not that I could spare any of them) but I have only one sister. My feelings went from sad to bitter. I was so unhappy that her life couldn’t have been spared. And so, I couldn’t bring myself to go the temple for a couple of months because of those feelings.
Then our son, Jeremy, who was in law school in Michigan came for a visit. He hadn’t been through the Washington DC Temple since he left for his mission and wanted to go. Because he asked, I of course agreed, but I didn’t feel very good about going. When I got to the bridge at the temple I sat down and tried to gather up some reverent feelings and I kept a prayer in my heart as I proceeded. I really felt like my feelings were being tossed to and fro. When I picked up the name for the person I would be going through the temple for, I had to sit back down. Sometimes when you pick up a proxy name from earlier centuries there will only be a partial name. And this was the case. There was only a first name. I stared at the slip of paper a long time. The name on the slip of paper was “Julie”. My sister’s name.
It was a profound instant of personal revelation for me, I was completely overcome and started crying. I knew I had been given a wonderful gift and message of the spirit that day. And I knew then that Julie was where she needed to be. My bitter feelings were gone.
This experience was beyond my own breadth of revelation.
So What did I learn about personal revelation? Many things.
1. The first thing I learned was that my Heavenly Father loves me and often blesses me even when I don’t deserve it.
2. The second thing I learned was about proper prayer.
I had offered many prayers but my bitterness was blocking anything the spirit could offer me. I wasn’t reverent.
3. I also learned I had to pray with great faith and reverent feelings knowing that the Lord knows what is best.
Elder Richard G Scott said The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us.
One of the great lessons that each of us needs to learn is to ask. Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him and to ask? Because that is how revelation is received.
4. I also learned that I needed to listen properly.
5. Another suggestion from Elder Scott
Was to remember To turn to the scriptures for examples.
The scriptures give eloquent confirmation of how truth, consistently lived, opens the door to inspiration to know what to do and, where needed, to have personal capacities enhanced by divine power. The scriptures depict how an individual’s capacity to conquer difficulty, doubt, and seemingly insurmountable challenges is strengthened by the Lord in time of need.
(Remember Elder Scott was a true brilliant rocket scientist who became an apostle. . So I will read this paragraph again. Slowly)
And he said
As you ponder such examples from the scriptures, there will come a quiet confirmation through the Holy Spirit that their experiences are true. You will come to know that similar help is available to you.
And remember in Mosiah when king Benjamin is talking with his three sons. And tells them because of the Records the people will not have to - suffer in ignorance - but can know the mysteries of God.
And that’s exactly what we do when we try life on our own without prayer, without scriptures to inspire us. We Suffer in ignorance and then wonder why we make poor decisions.
Elder Scott adds
If you feel that God has not answered your prayers, ponder these scriptures—then carefully look for evidence in your own life that He may have already answered you
or in my case may be trying to.
What does Ebenezer mean? “Stone of help” or “Hitherto the Lord had helped us”
One of the most catastrophic military losses in Israel’s history occurs when the Philistines capture the ark of the covenant at Ebenezer.
About twenty years later (and after retrieving the ark), the Israelites engage the Philistines in another significant battle, only this time it is they who prevail. Unlike the first battle, in which the nation acts without consulting The Lord, they choose to rely on divine intervention and are rewarded with an improbable if not miraculous victory. This is a significant triumph as it marks the first time in the nation’s history that they defeat the Philistines.
Samuel, Israel’s last judge, first prophet and de facto leader, commemorates the occasion by erecting a monument which he names: “Ebenezer” Remember what it means. Hitherto the Lord has helped us.
I'm telling you this story because I want you to apply it to your own life. We learn two things.
1. Rely on the Lord
2. Remember when the Lord has helped us.
I believe it is important to build our own symbolic Ebenezer. Your own monument. Build it.
When has the Lord helped you do something? Our church leaders have encouraged us to memorialize these experiences. Make your list.
Remember your own Ebenezer. When you get to be my age you may not remember so build your record. And acknowledge the Giver.
One of the last lines of the 2nd verse says:
“Here’s my heart oh take and seal it.”
I’m grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who sacrificed his son. I will strive to always give my heart to the Savior who has blessed my life so greatly with the sacred privilege of personal revelation.
Quotes from Elder Richard G Scott, April General Conference