“Receiving Personal Revelation,” Ensign, Sept. 2000, 51
The prophet Nephi promised, “If ye will … receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:5). As members of the Lord’s Church, we are blessed to receive the personal revelation that attends the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
How does personal revelation come? “Draw near unto me,” the Lord says, “and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me” (D&C 88:63). Sincere prayer, offered in faith and in the name of Jesus Christ, opens the heavens. Hearts softened by repentance and minds disciplined by study are ready vessels for inspiration (see D&C 8:2; D&C 9:7–9).
How do we recognize personal revelation when it comes? Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed that “God teaches his sons and daughters by the power of his Spirit, which enlightens their minds and speaks peace to them concerning the questions they have asked” (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 13; emphasis in original). Revelation often comes in the form of feelings. Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described personal revelation as “delicate, refined spiritual communications … that one feels, more than one hears. … The Spirit … whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 52–53).
Sister Sveinbjörg Gudmundsdóttir of Reykjavík, Iceland, endured a most difficult experience. One morning, two of her sons and a friend hiked up a nearby snow-encrusted mountain. During the hike, two of them—her oldest son and the friend, their branch president—lost their lives. Sorrow pierced Sister Gudmundsdóttir’s heart like a sharp knife. She could not understand why the Lord had allowed this tragedy to happen.
As she did each evening, Sister Gudmundsdóttir knelt to thank the Lord for the day that had passed. But she could not utter a word. She asked herself, “How could I thank Him for this terrible day?” And then she remembered the son who had come back alive. She thanked the Lord for protecting him and for the goodness of the two men who had died. She then expressed gratitude for her four remaining children and other family members. “With each word of thanks,” she writes, “the burden on my chest lightened, and a warm, life-giving feeling started flowing through my body. My mind was filled with peace, and my heart with joy.” She wondered, How could I feel joy after what had happened? The ministrations of the Spirit taught her that “even in deepest sorrow our Father in Heaven can bless us with peace and joy” (“Even in Deepest Sorrow,” Liahona, Dec. 1997, 44).
Sheri L. Dew, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, reminds us that “a woman led by the Lord knows where to turn for answers and for peace. She can make difficult decisions and face problems with confidence because she takes her counsel from the Spirit” (“We Are Not Alone,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 95–96).