I Needed to Turn Back
Nestor Querales, Portugal
One night, while I was serving as a stake priesthood leader in Loulé, Portugal, I was taking some youth home after a stake activity. It was very late, and as I drove home after dropping off the youth, I turned onto a dark road in a rural area with few cars. Along the way I drove over a small bridge and saw a light flickering on my right side down by the river as though there was a fire.
Because of the humidity of the night, I thought that even if there was a fire, it would quickly be put out by the moisture, so I returned my attention to the road ahead.
I had driven only a few meters, however, when I heard a voice say, “Stop!” I was surprised since I was traveling alone, but I ignored it and continued to drive. A voice of thunder then sounded, “Stop and go back!” I immediately turned the car around and drove back. As I did so, I asked Heavenly Father, “Lord, what is it?” As soon as I reached the bridge, I got out of the car, and the Lord’s answer was immediate, for I could hear someone below yelling, “Please, help us!”
There was almost no light, and I couldn’t see anything except the small, orange light flickering below. There was a steep ravine below the bridge, and with insufficient light, I didn’t know how to help. I quickly called an emergency phone number, and rescuers were there shortly to help.
That small light was from a car carrying five people that had fallen off the road. Two had lost their lives, but it could have been worse had I not paid attention to the voice of the Holy Ghost.
I testify that the Lord speaks to us through the Spirit, whether by a mild voice or by a voice of thunder. I am grateful to have listened to it that night. I know that the Lord lives, that He loves us, and that the Holy Ghost communicates with us. We need only be attentive to His voice.
I Decided to Listen
Nancy Williamson Gibbs, Colorado, USA
Years ago I began having a persistent nagging feeling that I needed to put together a family cookbook, including recipes from my extended family. I dismissed the idea. I often thought to myself, “I don’t have time to make a silly cookbook! I have six busy children! Making cookbooks is for the bread-making, cinnamon-rolls-from-scratch type of moms. I don’t have time for that!”
The compelling feeling stayed with me for years until one day I finally decided to consider it seriously. But I wondered who in my family would even want to participate. I was the only member of the Church in my family, my parents had passed away, I had no siblings, and most of my extended family lived far away. However, I decided to listen to the prompting anyway.
I contacted my family, explaining that I was compiling a family cookbook and inviting them to send recipes. Over the next year, I received several recipes. Some relatives even sent family stories and photographs. This prompted me to interview my oldest living relatives and gather our family history, which I decided to include in the book also.
In putting the book together, I realized I did not even know many of the family members who had submitted recipes. For this reason I decided to include a family tree. I asked for everyone’s information, wrote out the family tree, and put it in the manuscript.
As I took one last look at the completed book, I turned to the family tree page and became overwhelmed with the Spirit. Tears ran down my cheeks as I became keenly aware of why I was to put this “silly” cookbook together. It had very little to do with recipes. I had gathered names and dates of generations of my ancestors. All these people could now have their temple work done. Additionally, I had preserved wonderful stories for future generations.
Today I am in contact with several of my cousins on a regular basis and enjoy a wonderful relationship with my extended family. When I look at my cookbook, I often think of the scripture, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). I am still amazed when I stop and think of all the joyous and wonderful things that came out of heeding a prompting and putting together a simple cookbook.
It Just Felt Right
Jeffery Stockett, Utah, USA
The Spirit communicates in a number of ways. I’ve experienced moments of peace, feelings of comfort, and clarity of thought. Some of my strongest impressions come simply as a feeling of truth or correctness. The feeling is hard to describe, but it is there when you simply know that something is true or that you need to act.
One of the most powerful experiences I’ve had with this feeling was in my search to find a house to purchase. I was single and had been contemplating buying a house for several years. I told my realtor what I was looking for, and she did an excellent job of finding houses that fit my description. She would show me houses, but I would turn them down because they didn’t feel right. She started asking me what I disliked about each one so that she could better show me homes that would fit my needs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t articulate very well what was missing.
Finally, one afternoon we walked through a house that wasn’t as nice as some of the others we had seen. It was a little more expensive than others. It fit my description for what I had said I wanted but not as perfectly as some we had seen. Nevertheless, after walking through it, I told my realtor I wanted to put in an offer. She seemed somewhat surprised at my willingness to act so quickly. Considering my reluctance through previous months, she was right to be surprised. But the feeling that this was where I needed to live was almost overwhelming. I didn’t feel a need to stop and think about it.
I put in an offer, and the sellers accepted my bid, despite the fact that it was not the highest offer they had received. I told my family that I knew I was supposed to live in that house, though I didn’t know why.
I found out why I needed to live there fairly quickly. I met a woman in the singles ward within a month of moving in. A little over a year later, we knelt across the altar in the temple, where we were sealed as husband and wife.
The Lord truly moves in mysterious ways. I had no idea that He was leading me toward eternal marriage when He helped me choose a house. All I knew was that I was being guided to take this step, and now I can see that that guidance came from His Spirit.
The Spirit Will Guide You
“The gift of the Holy Ghost, if you consent, will guide and protect you and even correct your actions. It is a spiritual voice that comes into the mind as a thought or a feeling put into your heart. … It is not expected that you go through life without making mistakes, but you will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Spirit. This promise applies to all members of the Church.”
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Counsel to Youth,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 17–18.
Eight Purposes of Revelation
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Spirit communicates for eight purposes:
To testify: The Spirit can witness that Jesus is the Christ and that the gospel is true.
To prophesy: Within the limits of one’s areas of responsibility, a person may be inspired to predict what will come to pass in the future. The prophet, patriarchs, and even we can receive prophetic revelation.
To comfort: The Spirit can comfort us as He comforted Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail: “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment” (D&C 121:7–8). Comfort also comes in connection with priesthood blessings, visions of departed loved ones, and forgiveness of sins.
To uplift: The Spirit can lift us up from depression, feelings of inadequacy, or a plateau of spiritual mediocrity. He comes as we read scriptures or enjoy wholesome music, art, or literature.
To inform: You may be given the words to speak on a particular occasion. The Lord told Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, “For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say” (D&C 100:6). On some sacred occasions, information has been given face to face from heavenly personages. Other times, needed information is communicated by the quiet whisperings of the Spirit.
To restrain: This form of revelation will deter us from things we should not do. It often comes by surprise, when we have not asked for guidance on a particular subject.
To confirm: You can receive a confirmation through the Spirit after proposing a particular course of action and praying to know if it is the right choice.
To impel: This type of revelation is not sought after but comes to call a person to some action not proposed. This type of communication from the Spirit is rare but, therefore, significant.
From “Revelation,” in Brigham Young University 1981–82 Fireside and Devotional Speeches (1982), 20–26.