Pray, Then Listen: President Nelson Counsels Members to Seek Revelation
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
- Turn to God for answers and for comfort.
- Write the thoughts that come to your mind.
- Record your feelings and follow through with actions you are prompted to take.
“Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.” —President Russell M. Nelson
In his Sunday morning address during the 188th Annual General Conference, on April 1, President Russell M. Nelson told Church members, “The Lord will assist us in all our righteous pursuits.” He centered his address on the topic of revelation.
He said he is optimistic about the future. “It will be filled with opportunities for each of us to progress, contribute, and take the gospel to every corner of the earth,” he said. “But I am also not naïve about the days ahead.”
Recognizing that the world is complex, increasingly contentious, and has a constant availability of social media and news, President Nelson said, “If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.”
As a person receives the Holy Ghost and learns to discern and understand His promptings, he or she will be guided in matters large and small, President Nelson said.
“Imagine the miracle of it,” he said. “Whatever our Church calling, we can pray to our Heavenly Father and receive guidance and direction, be warned about dangers and distractions, and be enabled to accomplish things we simply could not do on our own.”
Sharing his recent, “daunting task” of choosing two counselors in the First Presidency, President Nelson said he wondered how he could possibly choose just two from the twelve men he loves and respects.
“Because I know that good inspiration is based upon good information, I prayerfully met one-on-one with each Apostle,” he said. “I then sequestered myself in a private room in the temple and sought the Lord’s will. I testify that the Lord instructed me to select President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring to serve as my counselors in the First Presidency.”
Just as his counselors were called by revelation, so were the two men called to fill the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve.
“When we convene as a Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, our meeting rooms become rooms of revelation,” he said. “The Spirit is palpably present. As we wrestle with complex matters, a thrilling process unfolds as each Apostle freely expresses his thoughts and point of view. Though we may differ in our initial perspectives, the love we feel for each other is constant. Our unity helps us discern the Lord’s will for His Church.”
Earlier in his address, he told of experiences that helped him learn how to receive revelation. Whether it was when he, as a young boy, was drawn to the gospel while living in a home led by parents were not active in the Church, as a young man in medical school marrying Dantzel White, as a father to their 10 children, or, after his wife passed away, marrying Wendy Watson, he said that “each of these blessings has come as a result of seeking and heeding the promptings of the Holy Ghost.”
“Brothers and sisters, how can we become the men and women—the Christlike servants—the Lord needs us to be?” he asked. “How can we find answers to questions that perplex us? If Joseph Smith’s transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.”
All have the ability to receive personal revelation.
“Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph,” he said. “Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.”
President Nelson invited members of the conference congregation to pray about concerns, fears, weaknesses, and “the very longings of your heart.”
“And then listen!” he said. “Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will ‘grow into the principle of revelation.’”
To those wondering if God really wants to speak to them, President Nelson said, “Yes!”
“You don’t have to wonder about what is true,” he said. “You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.”
President Nelson invited listeners to stretch beyond their current spiritual abilities to receive personal revelation.
“Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.”
Recognizing there may be times a person may feel as though the heavens are closed, he said, “I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you. …
“My dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. Let this Easter Sunday be a defining moment in your life. Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.”