Answers to My Questions
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“Answers to My Questions,” New Era, November 2015, 12–15

Answers to My Questions

General Conference. 2015 October

How can I know if an impression is from the Spirit or my own thoughts?

You can know when these impressions to act for Him are from the Spirit rather than from your own desires. When the impressions square with what the Savior and His living prophets and apostles have said, you can choose to obey with confidence. Then the Lord will send His Spirit to attend you.

For example, if you receive a spiritual impression to honor the Sabbath day, especially when it seems difficult, God will send His Spirit to help.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency

I’ve sinned so much. Is it really possible for me to be forgiven?

Some may think they have failed too many times and feel too weak to change sinful acts or worldly desires of the heart. However, as covenant Israel, we don’t just try and try on our own to change. …

When we offer our broken heart to Jesus Christ, He accepts our offering. He takes us back. No matter what losses, wounds, and rejection we have suffered, His grace and healing are mightier than all.

Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency

I testify that the Savior will never turn away from us when we humbly seek Him in order to repent; will never consider us to be a lost cause; will never say, “Oh no, not you again”; will never reject us because of a failure to understand how hard it is to avoid sin. …

Elder Allen D. Haynie of the Seventy

How could I answer my friend’s question about whether Church leaders are called of God when they seem to have made mistakes?

Too many people think Church leaders and members should be perfect or nearly perfect. They forget that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to accomplish His work through mortals. Our leaders have the best intentions, but sometimes we make mistakes. …

Looking for human weakness in others is rather easy. However, we make a serious mistake by noticing only the human nature of one another and then failing to see God’s hand working through those He has called.

Focusing on how the Lord inspires His chosen leaders and how He moves the Saints to do remarkable and extraordinary things despite their humanity is one way that we hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay safely aboard the Old Ship Zion.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

How can I have courage to live the gospel when it makes me seem so different?

It is often difficult to be different and to stand alone in a crowd. It is natural to fear what others might think or say. Comforting are the words of the Psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” [Psalm 27:1]. As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.

Life is perfect for none of us, and at times the challenges and difficulties we face may become overwhelming, causing our light to dim. However, with help from our Heavenly Father, coupled with support from others, we can regain that light which will illuminate our own path once again and provide the light others may need.

President Thomas S. Monson

Why are we so strict about media?

When we are involved in watching, reading, or experiencing anything that is below our Heavenly Father’s standards, it weakens us. … If what we look at, read, listen to, or choose to do does not meet the Lord’s standards in For the Strength of Youth, turn it off, rip it up, throw it out, and slam the door.

Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency

What kind of value do I have as a woman in the Church?

The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God! …

Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly. …

… You sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God. We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence.

President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Why do I need organized religion when I can just be spiritual on my own?

Uniting ourselves to the body of Christ—the Church—is an important part of taking His name upon us. … Joined in faith, we teach and edify one another and strive to approach the full measure of discipleship. …

If one believes that all roads lead to heaven or that there are no particular requirements for salvation, he or she will see no need for proclaiming the gospel or for ordinances and covenants in redeeming either the living or the dead. But we speak not just of immortality but also of eternal life, and for that the gospel path and gospel covenants are essential. And the Savior needs a church to make them available to all of God’s children—both the living and the dead.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I’ve come across challenging questions about Joseph Smith. How should I deal with them?

Questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly question events or statements of the Prophet Joseph from nearly 200 years ago, may I share some friendly advice: For now, give Brother Joseph a break! In a future day, you will have 100 times more information than all of today’s search engines combined, and it will come from our all-knowing Father in Heaven. Consider the totality of Joseph’s life—born in poverty and given little formal education, he translated the Book of Mormon in less than 90 days. Tens of thousands of honest, devoted men and women embraced the cause of the Restoration. At age 38, Joseph sealed his witness with his blood. I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Settle this in your mind, and move forward!

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

How do I keep the Spirit with me when I keep making mistakes?

For those who are struggling with the high standard needed to qualify for the gift of the Spirit’s companionship, I offer this encouragement. You have had times when you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost. It may have happened today for you.

You can treat those moments of inspiration like the seed of faith that Alma described (see Alma 32:28). Plant each one. You can do that by acting on the prompting you felt. The most valuable inspiration will be for you to know what God would have you do. … Whatever it is, do it. When you demonstrate your willingness to obey, the Spirit will send you more impressions of what God would have you do for Him.

As you obey, the impressions from the Spirit will come more frequently, becoming closer and closer to constant companionship. Your power to choose the right will increase.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency