Welcome back to the LDS Writer Blogfest! You may remember that I participated in this fun event last year with my post, Guided By the Holy Spirit. This year I am hopping in once again to share my thoughts on the inspired words of the apostle Richard G. Scott, from his talk, "How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life," from the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 2012.
President Scott holds a special place in my heart. When I was in college (NOT in Utah!) I got to attend a special Young Adult Fireside where he spoke and I had the opportunity to meet him afterward. He truly has a kind and gentle soul. Currently, his nephew is actually serving as my stake president (for those of you who are not members, he is the leader in charge of multiple congregations in central Virginia). I love seeing the family resemblance when I hear both President Scotts speak, both in General Conference and Stake Conference.
So how exactly do you receive personal inspiration and revelation and what's the difference?
President Scott taught that revelation is "crisp and clear and essential," while inspiration is "a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective."
Have you ever had either?
I remember one distinct experience I had with personal revelation, mostly because it's one of the only times anything has ever come to me in such a "crisp, clear, and essential" way. I was asked to be a "parent" at our Stake's Youth Conference. The parents were required to do a series of morning devotionals with our youth "family", and while my husband and I had discussed these, I still felt that something was lacking. I took my concerns to the Lord in prayer and I remember feeling overcome with the feeling of the Spirit. At the same time, distinct words entered my mind. Each one began with, "They need to know..." The Lord gave me a specific list of things that He wanted these youth to know, and that my husband and I were to teach them.
Needless to say, that's what I taught! I was so overwhelmed and humbled by the experience, and mostly by the gravity of the importance of teaching these special youth. The most important message I gained from that experience were that they mattered to Him. He was putting them in my charge and that was no small thing- He gave me that experience not only because He needed them to know certain truths, but because He needed me to know how incredibly important they were to Him.
I have had other experiences with revelation- much like President Scott knowing he should marry his wife, my revelation that I wanted to marry my husband came when the words came out of my mouth, "You do know I want to marry you, right?" I was as surprised to hear them as he was! We had only been dating for 1 week! But it'll be 10 years next month since our wedding day and I still know that this was a match made by God.
President Scott also talks about how important it is to ask God when we have concerns, and he explained his method for receiving revelation and inspiration:
2. Pray, ask the Lord to direct you to scriptures that will aid you in finding answers.
3. Read the scriptures; ponder and pray
I would add one more step to this list that President Scott has discussed in previous talks- write down any impressions you may have. This will be your own personal scripture to which you can refer when doubts arise in your mind.
President Scott talked about the things that can hinder revelation and inspiration: "emotions such as anger, hurt, or defensiveness" and "haughtiness, pride, and conceit" can push the Spirit away, as will "loud, inappropriate laughter" and "exaggeration or loudness in what is stated." I feel that last one is why General Conference and the meetings of the church hold such a different feeling about them than meetings of other mainstream religions- we don't have a preacher shouting from the pulpit, walking around, using grand arm gestures and verbose language. Words from the Lord come quietly and clearly, spoken by the Spirit, without great fanfare from man.
Another important message from this talk was President Scott's counsel that, "Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation." As members of the church, we believe that our bodies are sacred, and so it makes sense that we should be caring for them as the temples for our spirits. The more pure and refined the temple, the greater its ability to be a receptacle for the Spirit of the Lord.
President Scott's talk held many other beautiful truths, but these were just a few I wanted to share with you today. I encourage you to ponder his words and, like he has done, develop your own pattern for receiving personal revelation and inspiration. It is not only possible, it is essential to living our lives in accordance with God's plan for us.
Have you had any experiences with personal revelation and/or inspiration? Please leave a comment and share- I would love to read about it!
To find out more about what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit www.mormon.org.
For those of you fellow bloggers who have come to visit me for the blogfest, be sure to visit the other blog where I contribute, Mormon Mommy Writers. We'd love to have you join us!
Check out these other fantastic bloggers who are participating in the blogfest this week: