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Seeking the Gift of Personal Revelation. LILI ANDERSON, LCSW, PH.D. BYU OPAC CONFERENCE 13 MARCH 2009. “…seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46:8). WE WILL REVIEW: -- WHY we MUST learn the language of the Spirit in order to live safely and peacefully in the latter days.

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Seeking the gift of personal revelation l.jpg

Seeking the Gift of Personal Revelation

LILI ANDERSON, LCSW, PH.D.

BYU OPAC CONFERENCE

13 MARCH 2009


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“…seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46:8).

WE WILL REVIEW:

--WHYwe MUST learn the language of the Spirit in order to live safely and peacefully in the latter days.

--KEYS to receiving, recognizing, and understanding personal revelation


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Robert D. Hales

While we are commanded not to seek after signs, we are commanded to “seek … earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46:8). These gifts include the Holy Ghost and personal revelation.

“Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets,” Liahona, Nov 2007, 86–89.



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James E. Faust

Of an interview in 1839 between the Prophet Joseph Smith and Martin Van Buren, who was then president of the United States, the following was recorded:

“In our interview with the President, he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day.

Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

(History of the Church, 4:42, emphasis added)


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Joseph Smith said:

“No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.”

(History of the Church, 6:58)


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Personal Revelation--


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2 Nephi 32:1, 3, 5-6

…I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way.

…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

…if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.


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Personal Revelation--


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D&C 45:56-57

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

Painting by William Blake


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Personal Revelation--


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Keys to Revelation


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Boyd K. Packer“Reverence Invites Revelation,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 21(emphasis added)

No message appears in scripture more times, in more ways than, “Ask, and ye shall receive.”


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  • Ask

  • Prepare to Receive

Keys to Revelation


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Boyd K. Packer

“Reverence Invites Revelation,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 21

The world grows increasingly noisy.

This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.

The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer.

Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit.


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Time to Commune

  • When?

    • Early Morning, if possible—

  • How Long?

    • At least half an hour—

  • Where?

    • A Private Place—


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What Do I Do?

  • Start with Praise.

  • Give Thanks.

  • Ask Forgiveness.

  • Pray for others.

  • Read Scriptures.

  • Pray for Personal Needs.

  • Listen.

  • Keep a Journal.


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Martin Luther

I have got so much to do today that I need to spend another hour on my knees praying.


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  • Ask

  • Prepare to Receive

  • Yield to the Will of God

Keys to Revelation


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D&C 22:4

…seek not to counsel your God.


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  • Ask

  • Prepare to Receive

  • Yield to the Will of God

  • Respect Stewardship Keys

Keys to Revelation


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“It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 21.


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  • Ask the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

  • Prepare to Receive

  • Yield to the Will of God

  • Respect Stewardship Keys

  • Learn how God communicates with His children

Keys to Revelation


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Stand Ye in Holy Places the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”, 138–42, 144–45

Harold B. Lee

If we will live worthy, then the

Lord will guide us—

by a personal appearance,

or by His actual voice,

or by His voice coming into our mind,

or by impressions upon our heart and our soul.


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Elder Dallin H. Oaks the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 14).

Visions do happen. Voices are heard from beyond the veil. I know this. But these experiences are exceptional. … Most of the revelation that comes to leaders and members of the Church comes by the still, small voice or by a feeling rather than by a vision or a voice that speaks specific words we can hear.


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  • Ask the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

  • Prepare to Receive

  • Yield to the Will of God

  • Respect Stewardship Keys

  • Learn how God communicates with His children

  • Understand how the Holy Ghost communicates with us

Keys to Revelation


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How does the Holy Ghost Communicate with Us? the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

He uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds and hearts. D&C 8:2–3; 85:6

He enlightens our minds.D&C 6:15; D&C 11:13-14

He brings peace to our minds.D&C 6:22-23

He may cause a burning in the bosom.D&C 9:7-8


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Elder Dallin H. Oaks the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 14).

What does a “burning in the bosom” mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word “burning” in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity.

Truly, the still, small voice is just that, “still” and “small.”


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Elder Boyd K. Packer the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”That All May Be Edified [1982], 335.

These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears.


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The Prophet Joseph Smith the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

taught that revelation may

come as “sudden strokes of ideas” that flow into our minds as “pure intelligence.”

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 151.


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  • Ask the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

  • Prepare to Receive

  • Yield to the Will of God

  • Respect Stewardship Keys

  • Learn how God communicates with His children

  • Understand how the Holy Ghost communicates with us

  • Rely on “Two Witnesses”

Keys to Revelation


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Two Witnesses the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves.”

  • “…I will tell you in your mind and in your heart….” (D&C 8:2)

  • What is in my heart?

    • “…[God] granteth unto men according to their desire.” (Alma 29:4)

    • “…many revelations daily….” (Helaman 11:23)

    • Fasting

  • What is in my mind?

    • Give the Lord something to work with

    • Read, Study, Memorize, Ponder


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(“What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

President Spencer W. Kimball

“I find that when I get casual in my

relationships with divinity and when it

seems that no divine ear is listening and

no divine voice is speaking, that I am far,

far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”


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Two Witnesses Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “…I will tell you in your mind and in your heart….” (D&C 8:2)

  • What is in my heart?

    • “…[God] granteth unto men according to their desire.” (Alma 29:4)

    • “…many revelations daily….” (Helaman 11:23)

    • Fasting

  • What is in my mind?

    • Give the Lord something to work with

    • Read, Study, Memorize, Ponder

  • Which speaks most loudly to me? Mind or Heart?

  • Section 50


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Revelation is Conditional Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;

And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:

(Leviticus 26:14-15, 19, emphasis added)


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L. Tom Perry Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)“We Believe All That God Has Revealed,” Liahona, Nov ‘03, 85–88, emphasis added

A person who petitions the Lord for guidance must be worthy to receive it. His life must be in harmony and in keeping with the standards the Lord has prescribed for His children. His life must be in good standing before God and His people. It must be in harmony with the teachings of the scriptures, the prophets, and the order of the Church.


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Harold B. Lee Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)October Conference, 1966

It isn’t the Lord who withholds himself from us. It is we who withhold ourselves from him because of our failure to keep his commandments.


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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Bruce R. McConkie Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

…we’re faced with two propositions.

One is that we ought to be guided by

the spirit of inspiration, the spirit of revelation. The other is that we’re here under a direction to use our agency, to determine what we ought to do on our own; and we need to strike a fine balance between these two….

“Agency or Inspiration?,” New Era, Jan 1975, 38 (emphasis added).


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Bruce R. McConkie Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

Well, maybe it will be a little shock to you,

but never in my life did I ever ask the Lord

whom I ought to marry. … I went out and found the girl I wanted; she suited me; I evaluated and weighed the proposition, and it just seemed a hundred percent to me as though this ought to be.

“Agency or Inspiration?,” New Era, Jan 1975, 38.


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William E. Berrett Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)Administrator of Seminaries and Institutesof Religion for The Church, quoted by Dallin Oaks

“Those who pray that the Spirit might give them immediate guidance in every little thing throw themselves open to false spirits that seem ever ready to answer our pleas and confuse us. … The people I have found most confused in this Church are those who seek personal revelations on everything.

(quoted in The Holy Ghost, 29–30, emphasis added).


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

  • Righteous Stewards and the Patriarchal Order

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

  • Righteous Stewards and the Patriarchal Order

  • You can’t stop God from blessing you if you deserve it.

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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D&C 121:33 Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

  • Righteous Stewards and the Patriarchal Order

  • You can’t stop God from blessing you if you deserve it.

  • Recognize God’s kindness and patience with us.

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

  • Righteous Stewards and the Patriarchal Order

  • You can’t stop God from blessing you if you deserve it.

  • Recognize God’s kindness and patience with us.

  • Remember

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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Harold B. Lee Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)Qualities of Leadership, address to the Latter-day Saint Student Association convention, Aug. 1970, 5.

President [David O.] McKay taught us this in the temple one day. … “I want to tell you one thing: When the Lord tells you what to do, you’ve got to have the courage to do it or you had better not ask him again.” I’ve learned that lesson, too.… it takes a lot of courage to act when directed as an answer to prayers.


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  • Don’t overdo it. Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

  • Righteous Stewards and the Patriarchal Order

  • You can’t stop God from blessing you if you deserve it.

  • Recognize God’s kindness and patience with us.

  • Remember

  • Yield to God’s Will and Timing.

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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Elder Dallin H. Oaks Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)Ensign, Mar. 1997, 10–11.

The Lord will speak to us through

the Spirit in his own time and in his

own way. Many people …believe

that when they are ready and when it suits their convenience, they can call upon the Lord and he will immediately respond…. Revelation does not come that way.…

‘It shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will’ (D&C 88:68). We cannot force spiritual things.


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…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40: 31


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  • Don’t overdo it. they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

  • “Stop me, if I’m making a mistake.”

    • If we truly seek His will, the Lord is on our side.

    • Keep peddling

    • “Move forward in Faith.”

  • Righteous Stewards and the Patriarchal Order

  • You can’t stop God from blessing you if you deserve it.

  • Recognize God’s kindness and patience with us.

  • Remember

  • Yield to God’s Will and Timing.

  • Trust in God’s Love.

A Few More Thoughts on Revelation--


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Be still, and know that I am God. they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

Psalms 46:10


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Joseph Smith and they shall mount up with wings as eagles; the Doctrine and Covenantsas a Manual on Revelation

SECTIONS OF THE D&C

I MADE THIS MY RULE:

When God commands, do it. (HC 2:170)


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God hath not they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

revealed anything to Joseph, but what he will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them….

(TPJS, p. 149)


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I know not by what methods rare, they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

But this I know, God answers prayers.

I know that He has given His Word,

Which tells me prayer is always heard,

And will be answered, soon or late,

And so I pray and calmly wait.

I know not if the blessing sought

Will come in just the way I thought;

But leave my prayers with Him alone,

Whose will is wiser than my own,

Assured that He will grant my quest,

Or send some answer far more blest.

~Hickok~


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If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 1:5


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