Editor's note: Our bi-weekly Friday column, “Found in the footnotes,” explores some of the footnotes from remarks given by General Authorities and General Officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The other day I found myself driving down a road in Salt Lake County. Even though I’ve lived in Utah for nearly eight years, sometimes a landmark still catches my eye, and on this day, suddenly I saw a place where I longed to be.
The angel Moroni statue rose up over the horizon, sitting atop the Jordan River Utah Temple. Though I had driven the road I was on many times before, for some reason seeing the iconic statue still took my breath away. And oh, how I wished I could go inside. My heart yearned to be there, and when the abrupt reality of coronavirus once again set in, I found myself needing a little bit of courage—courage to continue on despite tumultuous 2020.
Just over two years ago, President Russell M. Nelson warned, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
This quote has been playing on repeat in my mind as I’ve thought about surviving spiritually through a pandemic. Do I have the guidance, the direction, the comfort, and the constant influence of the Holy Ghost?
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One of the longer footnotes of the April 2020 general conference addresses is found in President Joy D. Jones’s talk, “An Especially Noble Calling.” In the footnote, she shares a quote from President Henry B. Eyring and I can see why she chose to include it in its entirety:
Now, if you and I were visiting alone (I wish we could be), where you felt free to ask whatever you wanted to ask, I can imagine your saying something like this: "Oh, Brother Eyring, I’ve felt some of the things you have described. The Holy Ghost has touched my heart and mind from time to time. But I will need it consistently if I am not to be overcome or deceived. Is that possible? Is it possible, and, if it is, what will it take to receive that blessing?"
Well, let’s start with the first part of your question. Yes, it is possible. Whenever I need that reassurance—and I need it from time to time too—I remember two brothers. Nephi and Lehi, and the other servants of the Lord laboring with them, faced fierce opposition. They were serving in an increasingly wicked world. They had to deal with terrible deceptions. So I take courage—and so can you—from the words in this one verse of Helaman. The reassurance is tucked into the account of all that happened in an entire year, almost as if to the writer it was not surprising. Listen:
"And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year." [Helaman 11:23]
They had "many revelations daily." So, for you and for me, that answers your first question. Yes, it is possible to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost sufficiently to have many revelations daily. It will not be easy. But it is possible. What it will require will be different for each person because we start from where we are in our unique set of experiences in life.
In her general conference address, President Jones referenced this quote when she said:
Heeding personal revelation leads to personal progression. We listen and act. The Lord said, “Ask the Father in my name in faith, believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:18). Our continuing role is to receive continuing revelation.
I love the idea that “our continuing role is to receive continuing revelation.” Earlier this year, Elder David A. Bednar changed my perspective on what it means to “always have His Spirit to be with us” in a broadcast to Seminary and Institute teachers.
As we honor our covenants, we may always have the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion—but we talk about it and we treat it as if hearing the voice of the Lord through His Spirit is the rare event. . . .
It ought to be with us all of the time—not every nanosecond—but . . . . if you and I are doing our best, and we’re not committing serious transgression, then we can count on the Holy Ghost guiding us.
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Having the Spirit shouldn’t be a rare event, and perhaps we should be looking for “many revelations daily,” like Nephi and Lehi experienced. President Eyring says it is possible, but it is not easy. In general conference, President Nelson reaffirmed this fact:
As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths.
Hopefully we can find ways to be more intentional and to make that conscious and consistent effort. For the promises President Nelson shared are great:
What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life.
And to me, those promises from a prophet are worth every effort.
Lead image: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
The pages of Hear Him: A Study Guide on Personal Revelation are filled with inspirational messages, study ideas, writing prompts, journaling space and shareable cards meant to help guide a more personal study of revelation. This is perfect for carrying with your scriptures or in your bag so you can pull it out during a (sometimes rare) quiet moment and study throughout your day. Available now at DeseretBook.com.