3. Angels communicate with thoughts or feelings.
In addition to angels’ visitations and conversations, angels may communicate with thoughts or by feelings. Elder Dallin H. Oaks summarized: “The ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. President John Taylor described ‘the action of the angels, or messengers of God, upon our minds, so that the heart can conceive . . . revelations from the eternal world’ (The Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham , 31).
“Nephi described three manifestations of the ministering of angels when he reminded his rebellious brothers that (1) they had ‘seen an angel,’ (2) they had ‘heard his voice from time to time,’ and (3) also that an angel had ‘spoken unto [them] in a still small voice’ though they were ‘past feeling’ and ‘could not feel his words’ (1 Nephi 17:45) . . . Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen.”10
As Elder Oaks attested, mortals can feel the words of an angel. The full text of 1 Nephi 17:45 states: “Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder” (italics added). The concept of feeling an angel’s words may be indicated in the following passage from latter-day scripture: “Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory” (D&C 121:27).
4. Angels can give impressions.
Christopher Columbus was guided by an angel from the Lord, who “gave him deep impressions,” taught Elder Orson Hyde on America’s Independence Day in 1854: “[An] angel was with Columbus, and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammelled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him.”11
5. Angels can communicate through pure intelligence.
Other Church authorities provide additional understanding regarding spiritual communications with angels. President Boyd K. Packer, citing the Prophet Joseph Smith, referred to “pure intelligence,” which one may experience when communicating with an angel: “Should an angel converse with you, neither you nor he would be confined to corporeal sight or sound in order to communicate. For there is that spiritual process described by the Prophet Joseph by which pure intelligence can flow into our minds and by which we can know what we need to know without either the effort of study or the passage of time, because that is revelation.”12
Laws govern angels and their communications.
Angels’ visitations and communications must be authorized by those authorities who are assigned to direct such work. All of God’s messengers, whether they are resurrected or translated beings, unembodied or disembodied spirits, or mortals must comply with God’s laws relating to communication among the different spheres of existence. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeable to the most perfect order and harmony: their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably.”13 Without order and divine organization among the spheres, there would exist chaos and confusion. Elder Orson F. Whitney explained: “God’s house is a house of order, and the spirit world is a room in that house. This being the case, it is only reasonable to conclude that before anything important or unusual can take place there, the Master of the Mansion must first give consent. Otherwise confusion would prevail, and the divine purpose for which the veil was dropped between the two worlds might be thwarted. . . . Permission from the Great Father would have to be obtained before one of his children, either an unembodied or a disembodied spirit, could make itself manifest to mortals.”14
Lead image from lds.org
Although angels are a vital part of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine, their roles and purposes are often misunderstood. In this inspiring volume, author Donald W. Parry discusses in a clear and understandable way what we can learn from the scriptures and from modern prophets and apostles about angels and their missions.
Here you will find answers to such questions as the following:
What are angels?
What powers and abilities are angels given?
How do angels communicate with mortals?
What are the assigned missions and roles of angels?
How do angels reveal truth and teach the doctrines of the gospel?
How do angels minister to and comfort mortals?
What is the role of guardian angels in the modern world?
When just the thought of someone watching out for us can give us hope in challenging times, to realize that angels minister light, love, and power to us, whether we are aware of them or not, gives us unparalleled understanding, comfort, and peace.
^1. “Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 61; see also N. Eldon Tanner, “Warnings from Outer Space,” Ensign, Nov. 1972, 26: “Since the very beginning of time we have a record of God’s messages to man, either by personal appearance, by angels, by direct revelation, by visions, by dreams, or by inspiration.”
^2. Gospel Doctrine, 436.
^3. Gospel Doctrine, 436.
^4. Articles of Faith, 205.
^5. Kimball, “The Cause Is Just and Worthy,” Ensign, May 1974, 119; Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, 142.
^6. Journal of Discourses, 5:258.
^7. “Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 59.
^8. “The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 49–50.
^9. Autobiography, 93–94.
^10. “The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 38–39.
^11. Journal of Discourses, 6:368.
^12. Mine Errand from the Lord, 125.
^13. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 325.
^14. Saturday Night Thoughts, 307.