God Speaks to His Children through Personal Revelation

    “God Speaks to His Children through Personal Revelation,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 59

    The Visiting Teacher:

    God Speaks to His Children through Personal Revelation

    President Brigham Young taught that our “first and foremost duty [is] to seek the Lord until we open the path of communication from God to our own soul” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 41). Moses promised, “If … thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deut. 4:29).

    Sister Paula Thomas of Sandy, Utah, discovered as a child that Heavenly Father does indeed speak to us. She remembers:

    “I was raised in a less-active home. Because of the influence of friends, I began attending Primary. When I was nine years old, my Primary teacher gave a lesson on personal prayer. I knew that I could pray at mealtimes and in meetings, but I had never thought of praying to Heavenly Father on my own.

    “After the teacher dismissed our class, I approached her and asked her to teach me to pray. Kindly, she pulled out a piece of paper and began to write and talk at the same time. ‘You always begin by thanking Heavenly Father for all you have,’ she said, ‘and then you tell Him the desires of your heart. Is there something special you want to ask for, Paula?’

    “I knew exactly what I wanted—I wanted to make my mother happy. I did not recall ever seeing her smile or laugh. Life was hard, and Mother cried often. I loved her so much that I would write poems, put on programs for her on Mother’s Day, and buy her gifts with my baby-sitting money. She was always grateful, but I knew her burdens were heavy.

    “I left Primary that afternoon with those written instructions from my teacher. That night, when the house was quiet, I knelt at my bed and began my very first personal prayer. I prayed that I would be able to make my mother happy. I continued to pray for this every night for seven years.

    “When I was 16, I received my patriarchal blessing from a patriarch whom I had never met. In my blessing he said, ‘Paula, the Lord has heard the prayers of your heart. A time will come in your life when you will be able to return, with a deep feeling of love, the gifts that have been so graciously given unto you by your mother. You will not only bring your mother happiness, you will give her the gift of joy.’

    “As he was giving me the blessing, I received a powerful witness of God’s desire to communicate with us through personal revelation. Heavenly Father had heard my prayers, and he let me know he was aware of me.

    “Years later, after my mother’s death, I went to the temple to receive sacred ordinances in her behalf. While there, I received an impression that I had truly given my mother the gift of joy—that day and on many other occasions.”

    Each of us has access to the blessings of personal revelation. The Lord promised, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. … This is the spirit of revelation” (D&C 8:2–3).

    Illustrated by Sheri Lynn Boyer Doty