Follow the Prophets

I followed a prompting that didn’t work out. How can I trust God? Elder Bednar answers

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Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Susan K. Bednar, meet with missionaries from the Philippines Manila, Quezon City, Quezon City North and Antipolo missions at the Buendia Chapel on Feb. 21, 2023.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder David A. Bednar recently hosted a live question-and-answer session on Instagram. He said he received thousands of questions from young adults.

The first question Elder Bednar addressed was: “Sometimes things don’t work out when I follow a prompting. How can I keep trusting God?”

Elder Bednar’s answer highlighted several important principles.

“This question suggests there is a prompting. ‘I had a prompting, and it didn’t work out.’ Very rarely does one prompting bring an answer. There’s almost always a sequence, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept.’ So to have just one spiritual indication is not the whole story,” he said.

He gave an example of a young person who has the impression to date a particular person. That impression may lead that young person to assume they have found the one they are going to marry. But what if the relationship ends? Elder Bednar suggests that in that case, it may not be that the young person’s impression was wrong, but that their conclusion about what the impression meant might’ve been inaccurate.

“Maybe your conclusion was wrong, maybe it wasn’t, ‘This is the one.’ Maybe it was, ‘Date this person, learn some things that will help you as you either develop this relationship or a relationship with somebody else,” he says. “It’s necessary to view the whole sequence of promptings, not just one in isolation.”

Then Elder Bednar addressed the second half of the question: “How can I keep trusting God?”

“We would be foolish to ever stop trusting Him. He’s not the problem. We may give ourselves our own promptings and somehow think it came from God. We mix our emotions with an impression from God.”

He continued, “The other thing, too, is that sometimes we act like receiving an impression is a rare event. We're promised that we can always have the Holy Ghost as our companion—always. Now, obviously, there are occasions where we think or say or do things, and the Holy Ghost won’t be so close.

“But if we always have his companionship, then we ought to quit worrying about, ‘Well, is this me? Or is this the Holy Ghost?’ If it’s good, it came from the Holy Ghost. If it's not good, it came from a different source.”

Elder Bednar wrapped up the discussion with this thought:

“The other thing I think that's really very important is that as we press forward in faith, then we're guided—always. But that doesn't mean it's always going to work out the first time, because there's a sequence and a series of prompting, that are helping us to get to where we need to be.”

Learn more from Elder Bednar in the links and book below:

Elder Bednar’s 3 tips for having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion (rather than an occasional visitor)

Elder Bednar’s recent explanation of perfection will help set your mind at ease

The Spirit of Revelation

In this landmark book, Elder David A. Bednar outlines several principles of revelation, then provides a host of examples in which we can observe these principles in action for ourselves. As we come to recognize the role of revelation in our lives, we can move forward in confidence that the Lord is guiding our steps. Elder Bednar writes, "If we are striving to be and become good—not perfect right now, but gradually getting better, ... then indeed we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We are not 'preparing to receive revelation'; we are 'living in revelation.'"

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