For more information on this topic read "The Holy Ghost and Revelation," by Jay E. Jensen, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 77–79.
As Latter-day Saints, we have testimonies . . . given to us by revelation, assuring us that this religion and its doctrines are true (Jay E. Jensen, "The Holy Ghost and Revelation," Ensign, Nov. 2010, 77–79).
“Tell Me Dear Lord,” Children’s Songbook, p. 176.
"Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground" (Doctrine and Covenants 8:3).
Share the following case studies with your family. After you read each case study, ask your family if they think it is necessary to pray for guidance in this situation:
• Your family is going to repaint the trim on your home. Someone suggests you pray about what color of paint you should purchase.
• You are choosing a counselor to serve with you in the deacons quorum presidency. Your bishop suggests that you pray for direction.
• Your parents ask you to fix dinner. You have many options and are not sure what to choose.
• You have just finished reading the Book of Mormon and want to know if it is true.
• A friend at school asks you a question about the Church, and you are not sure what to say.
Talk about why prayer is appropriate in some situations and not always necessary in others.
Read D&C 62:4–9 together. Ask your family to note which things the Lord specifically commands these missionaries to do and the things he leaves to their choice. Ask:
• What does this teach us about receiving guidance from the Lord?
• Why doesn’t God give a revelation about every decision?
• On the other hand, how can we make sure we will have God’s Spirit to direct us when we need it? (See verse 9.)
Share the following counsel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
“The Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial. I once heard a young woman in a testimony meeting praise the spirituality of her husband, indicating that he submitted every question to the Lord. She told how he accompanied her shopping and would not even choose between different brands of canned vegetables without making his selection a matter of prayer. I think that is improper. I believe the Lord expects us to make most of our decisions by using the intelligence and experience he has given us’” (The Lord’s Way, 37).
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004], p. 128.)
Although a testimony of [the] plan is of crucial importance to us, we must not count on winning many debates on the plan of redemption versus the prevailing theories and philosophies of men.
I learned a long time ago that spiritual knowledge is described in a different language than is secular knowledge.
On this I had a valuable experience before I was a General Authority. It affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who ridiculed my belief in God. I bore my testimony to him: "There is a God. I know He lives!"
He said: "You don't know. Nobody knows that. You can't know it." When I would not yield, the atheist posed perhaps the ultimate challenge to testimony. "All right," he said in a sneering, condescending way, "you say you know." Then, "Tell me how you know."
I could not do it. I was helpless to communicate. When I used the words spirit and witness, the atheist responded, "I don't know what you are talking about." The words prayer, discernment, and faith also were meaningless to him.
"You see," he said, "you don't really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know."
Perhaps, I thought, I had borne my testimony to him unwisely, and I was at a loss as to what to do.
Then came the experience. A thought, a revelation, came into my mind, and I said to the atheist: "Let me ask you a question. Do you know what salt tastes like?"
"Of course I do," was his reply.
"When did you taste salt last?"
"I just had dinner on the plane."
"You just think you know what salt tastes like," I said.
He insisted, "I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything."
"If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar, could you tell the salt from the sugar if I let you taste them both?"
"Now you are getting juvenile," he said. "Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. I know it as well as I know anything."
"Then," I said, "assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like."
After some thought, he ventured, "Well-I-uh, it is not sweet, and it is not sour."
"You've told me what it isn't, not what it is."
After several attempts, of course he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said: "I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words alone how this knowledge has come than you are able to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He lives! And just because you don't know, don't try to tell me that I don't know, for I do!"
As we parted, I heard him mutter: "I don't need your religion for a crutch. I don't need it."
That to me was a great lesson on personal revelation. From it I learned about prompting and the truth of the scripture which says, "Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man" (D&C 84:85).
Since then I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually, or tell just how I received it. From such experiences we will surely suffer some humiliation, but that is good for our faith. And we have an ever-present guide. We will be tested, but we will never be left without help.
(Boyd K. Packer, Memorable Stories and Parables, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997], p. 57.)
Print a gospel picture (such as the First Vision) and cut the picture into twenty-four squares. Number the backs of the squares from one to twelve, repeating the numbers so that there are two sets, numbering one to twelve. Mix up the pieces and place them with the number side down, so that you see a scrambled picture. Turn over tow pieces at a time, trying to match numbers. When the numbers match, keep those two pieces to build the picture. If they don’t match, turn them back over, leaving them in their original spot. The game continues until all the pieces are matched and the picture is complete.
(Mina S. Coletti and Roberta Kling Giesea, The Family Idea Book Two, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982], p. 217.)
Sour Cream Poundcake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon soda
- 1 cup dairy sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Cream butter until soft. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each. Sift together flour, salt, and soda; add to batter alternately with sour cream, beating until smooth. Add flavorings. Prepare fluted (bundt) cake pan by coating generously with vegetable oil spray, then sprinkling with granulated sugar; or grease pan heavily. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour or until done. Cool cake for 10 minutes; remove from pan.
(Winnifred C. Jardine, Mormon Country Cooking, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980] p. 269.)
*For a printable pdf, click here.