My very favorite quote from this talk, and something that has been on my mind since General Conference, was the quote from Eliza R. Snow, “Let them seek for wisdom instead of power and they will have all the power they have wisdom to exercise.” I have felt this principle in my life – as I seek for wisdom, as I study the scriptures and listen to the prophets and ask the Lord for revelation, I feel as if there is a power within me to do the right thing, to know what and how to teach my children, to know how to talk to my husband, and how to act in many other relationships in my life. I have a really hard time when I do not know what I should do in a situation, or when I do what seems like it would be the right thing, and it ends up hurting people or causing more trouble than there originally was. A few years ago, when my son was a toddler, I would get exasperated when he would cry endlessly and furiously and I could not figure out what the problem was. I would shut myself in my bedroom and pour out my heart to the Lord, begging Him to reveal to me what I should do as a mother. I did, and still do, have faith that the Lord blesses my efforts as a mother, and that as I come to Him in faith, with an open mind and an open heart, He will reveal His will for me as a mother. And I testify that He has.
The story that Sister Barbara Thompson told of Nephi and his brothers, and their trouble receiving revelation, is a very good description of those who don’t seek revelation, and an illustration of the principles to follow in order to receive revelation. When his brothers did not know that what Lehi (their father) had taught them was true, Nephi asked them, “Have ye inquired of the Lord?” The brothers’ excuse for not asking was a little contradictory. They told Nephi, “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” Obviously the Lord would not make anything known to them if they hadn’t asked yet. The Lord tells us “ask, and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” We can’t expect God to just come down and tell us what we should do if we don’t even ask first.
In another talk in October General Conference, Elder J. Devn Cornish mentioned that “But because He will not infringe upon our agency, we must ask for His help.” Of course, revelation and testimony fall under the same principle. The Lord does not usually reveal things to people who do not ask sincerely for revelation. Some notable exceptions are Alma the Younger (whose father, and many members of the Church prayed for Alma to be “brought to a knowledge of the truth” – however, the choice to repent was still Alma’s), and Saul of Tarsus who saw Christ while he was running around persecuting Christians (who in the end had a choice whether or not to follow the Savior). And, of course, even Nephi’s brothers, Laman and Lemuel, had seen angels and miracles – and yet they still did not believe in the things their father was teaching them. Because in the end, it was their choice – whether to believe or not.
Revelation can come in a lot of different ways. Sister Thompson highlighted several of those. Sometimes, we don’t feel the spirit or receive revelation in just one way. When I received my patriarchal blessing, I was told that there was a principle of the gospel that I would know for sure and I would feel it was true by a burning in my bosom. For a long time, I thought that was how the Spirit would always speak to me. But as I have grown in the gospel, I have experienced the Spirit speaking to me in nearly all of the ways Sister Thompson pointed out. Specifically, I have heard a voice, clearly speaking to me. Other times revelation has come as a thought to my mind – recalling a scripture, or a quote, or something I had thought before. I have seen visions in my mind (which could probably also be classified under “thoughts”). Revelation and inspiration frequently comes to be when I listen to music – through the words of the songs I listen to.
Sister Thompson said, “Our testimonies fortify us and strengthen us as we face challenges in our daily lives.” I can’t tell you how true this is! This year has been full of many trials for me, serious challenges that have at times crushed my heart. But as I remember my testimony, I am given strength to bear my trials, and often I am given inspiration and revelation how to deal with those trials, and frequently how to make them easier to bear, or solve those trials that can be resolved. I echo Sister Hedwig Biereichal’s testimony as she said, “I didn’t keep a testimony through those times—the testimony kept me.”
Have you asked sincerely for revelation and received it? How have you obtained a testimony? How does the Spirit speak to you? Does your testimony keep you in hard times? How do you strengthen and preserve your tes