During the weekend of the April 2011 general conference, we had a major snowstorm in the Salt Lake City area on Saturday night. When my wife and I got up Sunday morning, we had 10 to 12 inches of snow in our yard, and the power was out. I thought I’d turn on a generator we had for emergencies.
When I tried to start the generator, the battery was dead. Later I found that there was a circuit that had drained energy from the battery. Although the generator had a charger to help keep the battery fully charged, someone had bumped the cord, so we ended up getting ready for general conference without any electricity.
Thinking back on that experience, I see that the generator and the battery are like our spirituality. Our spiritual batteries need to be charged all the time.
Charge Your Spiritual Battery
If a battery is left unattended, its electrical current will drain, and over time it will lose its charge. We’ve got to continue to charge it at a level that is higher than the drain of energy from the battery. If we’re in an environment that we can’t totally control, where our spiritual battery is being drained, then it’s important that we do something to recharge our spiritual batteries. Otherwise, there will come a time when we really need the power of faith, the priesthood, or revelation, and we won’t have it. We can continually charge our batteries through our prayers, our personal study, gospel conversations, attending seminary, and in our classes on Sunday.
Start Charging in Your Youth
As a boy of about 10, I didn’t feel like my prayers were really being answered. Finally I had enough courage to ask my father about it, and he explained that prayer was like a parachute that a pilot puts on when he flies an airplane. He doesn’t go up expecting to need to jump out of his airplane and use his parachute, but he puts it on every time so that when it’s really needed, he has it.
That was enough to help me in my young mind to continue my prayers and charge my spiritual battery. Also, as I watched my father use his priesthood, I gained courage and faith that I could someday do similar things. As time went on, I had experiences that taught me this principle was true. It has been important to continually charge that battery.
In later years I worked as an engineer installing robotic systems for many companies. There was one project I worked on for a long time. Some of the people I worked with didn’t always use good language, but they were my customers, and I had to work with them. I tried, in little ways, to improve their language.
I went back to that company years later, and while the manager was giving me a tour, someone came up to him and spouted a long sentence of expletives about a problem they were having. The manager didn’t respond to the question being asked but introduced me and said, “Now, he doesn’t stand for that kind of language, and we will not use that when he’s here.” I had no idea of the influence I had had all those years earlier. I didn’t need to defend my standards; the manager stood up for me.
By trying to keep our spiritual batteries charged and being good examples, we will have far more influence than we realize. It all starts by keeping that battery charged along the way—reading the scriptures, saying our prayers, being around good people, and living the gospel.
Do Something—That’s the Key to a Steady Charge
Moroni 10:3 states, speaking of the Book of Mormon, “When ye shall read these things, … ponder it in your hearts.” When you follow that pattern, you can ask and get an answer and “know the truth of all things,” not just about the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:5; italics added). We should pray and study, and then we can learn and know that these things are true. Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 says that to get answers to prayer, you must “study it out in your mind”—make a decision, and then pray for a confirmation. There’s an emphasis in the scriptures on continually doing, studying, and learning in order to be able to get inspiration. It’s a way of keeping that battery charged and being in a position where we can ask and know if the decision we’ve made is right.
I remember as a youth that I wasn’t quite as sure of spiritual things. I know that sometimes our youth haven’t had a lot of the experiences that older people have had, so they may find it difficult when they hear experiences of healings or receiving inspiration to do something. But the principles are true; your position on the path to develop these skills is just beginning. Those experiences will come to you in the future. Just keep your batteries charged so that you can be ready to receive and understand them when they come.
In my youth I did not fully understand these principles. Over time I gained understanding by doing things such as accepting and fulfilling assignments, attending seminary and Church meetings, serving my family and others, serving a mission, and keeping the commandments. I gained a testimony that these principles were true. You will develop your own testimony as you have your own experiences.
A battery can’t charge itself. For the battery on my generator, I had to buy a charger, connect it, and keep checking it. Keeping a battery charged isn’t something you can do just once and forget about it.
Since that experience I had at April general conference, I’ve been consistent in making sure the charger is plugged in and that the battery is staying charged. That’s the kind of discipline we all need for our testimonies—we need to work on them consistently. And in the doing comes the blessing of having your batteries charged.