I have a believing heart that started with a simple testimony that came when I was a child. I was with my father out on a farm away from our home, trying to find things to do until my father was ready to go home. Over the fence from our place were some old sheds that would attract a curious boy, and I was adventurous. I started to climb through the fence, and I heard a voice calling me by name and saying, “Don’t go over there!” I turned to look at my father to see if he were talking to me, but he was far away at the other end of the field. There was no person in sight. I realized then, as a child, that there were persons beyond my sight, for I had definitely heard a voice.
Through the scriptures this phrase is often repeated: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15). All of us are not so blessed to hear all that we ought to hear.
There was an occasion, just before the Crucifixion when the Master was in the temple, and the Greeks came among the people, apparently anxious to see Him because He had gained such notoriety. There, in that place sacred to Him, the Master kneeled down and prayed, asking the Lord to let this hour pass, and then He said, “Father, glorify thy name.” The answer came, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28). There were some people who heard it and said that it had thundered; there were a few who said an angel of the Lord had spoken to Him. You see, there were some who had ears to hear, but they didn’t hear.
You will recall the occasion when the Apostle Paul was converted; he was on his way to Damascus with writs of authority to further persecute the Saints at that place. Remember how he was stricken down by a bright light that overshadowed him and blinded him, and a voice spoke out of heaven and said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4). And Paul, in telling about the incident, says, “And they that were with me, saw indeed the light … but they heard not the voice of him that spoke to me” (Acts 22:9). These also had ears to hear, but they heard nothing.
Some of us fail to live so that we can understand the message that comes from eternity when God speaks, but if each of us could commit ourselves to obey God’s commandments and live as we should, a wonderful change would be effected in us, and we could then hear the messages from the unseen world.
Another way by which we receive revelation was spoken of by the Prophet Enos. He writes this very significant statement in his record in the Book of Mormon: “And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, the voice of the Lord came into my mind” (Enos 1:10).
In other words, sometimes we hear the voice of the Lord coming into our minds, and when it comes, the impressions are just as strong as though He were sounding a trumpet in our ears.
We as individual members of the Church may receive personal revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost. The Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early days of the Church, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation” (D&C 8:2–3). The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 328).
On what matters may you receive a revelation? Is it startling to you to hear that you—all members of the Church who have received the Holy Ghost—may receive revelation? Not for the President of the Church, not about how to look after the affairs pertaining to the ward, the stake, or the mission in which you live; but every individual within his own area of responsibility has the right to receive revelation by the Holy Ghost.
Every man has the privilege to exercise these gifts and these privileges in the conduct of his own affairs, in bringing up his children in the way they should go, in the management of his business, or whatever he does. It is his right to enjoy the spirit of revelation and of inspiration to do the right things, to be wise and prudent, just and good, in everything that he does. I know that this is a true principle and that is the thing that I would like the Latter-day Saints to know. Now then, all of us should try to strive and listen to and obey the sudden ideas that come to us, and if we’ll obey them and develop the ability to hear these promptings we too—each of us—can grow in the spirit of revelation.
The revelations of God are the standards by which we measure all learning, and if anything does not agree with the revelations, then we may be certain that it is not truth.
I have seen matters come before the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve in our weekly meetings on which decisions have been reached that were not based upon reasoning, but were based upon an impression which, after that decision had been made, has been found to have been a heaven-sent direction to protect and to guide.
After an important decision has been made, it has been a thrilling thing to hear the President of the Church say, “Brethren, the Lord has spoken.”
It was a week following a conference, when I was preparing a radio talk on the life of the Savior and read again the story of His life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, that there came to me a testimony, a reality of Him. It was more than just what was on the written page, for in truth I found myself viewing the scenes with as much certainty as though I had been there in person. I know that these things come by the revelations of the living God.
The thing that all of us should strive for is to so live, keeping the commandments of the Lord, that He can answer our prayers. If we will live worthy, then the Lord will guide us—by a personal appearance, or by His actual voice, or by His voice coming into our mind, or by impressions upon our heart and our soul. And oh, how grateful we ought to be if the Lord sends us a dream in which is revealed to us the beauties of eternity or a warning and direction for our special comfort. Yes, if we so live, the Lord will guide us for our salvation and for our benefit.
I want to bear you my humble testimony that I have received by the voice and the power of revelation the knowledge and an understanding that God is.
I bear you my solemn testimony that the Church is guided by revelation. Every soul in it who has been blessed to receive the Holy Ghost has the power to receive revelation.