Communion with the Holy Spirit


(Adapted from a talk given in general conference on April 5, 1980. See Ensign, May 1980, pages 12–14.)

Latter-day Saints, having received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, are entitled to personal inspiration in the small events of life as well as when they are confronted with the giant Goliaths of life.

Many faithful Latter-day Saints have been warned by the Spirit, preventing injury or death. Among these was President Wilford Woodruff, who said:

“When I got back to Winter Quarters from the pioneer journey (1847), President Young said to me, ‘Brother Woodruff, I want you to take your wife and children and go to Boston and stay there until you can gather every Saint of God in New England and Canada and send them up to Zion.’

“I did as he told me. It took me two years to gather up everybody, and I brought up the rear with a company (there were about one hundred of them). We arrived at Pittsburgh one day at sundown. We did not want to stay there, so I went to the first steamboat that was going to leave. I saw the captain and engaged passage for us on that steamer. I had only just done so when the spirit said to me, and that, too, very strongly, ‘Don’t go aboard that steamer, nor your company.’ Of course, I went and spoke to the captain, and told him I had made up my mind to wait.

“Well, that ship started and had only got five miles down the river when it took fire, and three hundred persons were burned to death or drowned. If I had not obeyed that spirit and had gone on that steamer with the rest of the company, you can see what the result would have been.”

There are some rules necessary for one to receive revelation and inspiration; they include (1) to try honestly and sincerely to keep God’s commandments, (2) to be spiritually attuned as a receiver of a divine message, (3) to ask in humble, fervent prayer, and (4) to seek with unwavering faith.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown