D&C 6-9 Recognizing and Following the Spirit

Have you ever received an impression?

If you were the Lord, what is one of the first things you would want to teach this newly restored church?

2 Nephi 32:5 –WHAT does this basically say?  You get the Holy Ghost, and it will guide you in what you need to do in your life.

How to get it, and how to recognize it.  Sections 6,8 and 9 all teach this lesson.

What about section 6- Oliver- he has had some spiritual experiences, but he doesn’t recognize them

8,9- Oliver tries to translate

How do you get the Holy Ghost into your life?

How do you hear Him?  Just because He speaks to you, doesn’t mean you will hear/recognize the voice of the Lord.

Sometimes when I ask high school students if they have received revelation, they are hesitant to share that they have.  Some would say they that they don’t know if they hear the voice of the Holy Ghost.  It can be a challenge to recognize the voice of the Spirit in our lives, especially when we are new to the process.  D&C 8:2 says that the Lord speaks to your heart, and also to your mind- “Yea, behold, I will atell you in your mind and in your bheart, by the cHoly Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.”

The Holy Ghost will communicate general feelings to our hearts and more specific messages to our minds.

Heart and Mind

The Savior said, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 8:2; italics added).  I would explain to the students that an impression to the mind is very specific.  Detailed words can be heard or felt and written as though the instruction were being dictated.  A communication to the heart is a more general impression. The Lord often begins by giving impressions. Where there is a recognition of their importance and they are obeyed, one gains more capacity to receive more detailed instruction to the mind. An impression to the heart, if followed, is fortified by a more specific instruction to the mind. In a moment I will use the example of Enos to illustrate how communication can come in cycles. (Richard G. Scott, Helping others to be spiritually led, CES Symposium, August 11, 1998)

For example, someone might have the idea to immediately pull over to the side of the road and stop the car.  Which type of impression is this one?  This would be a mind type of impression from the Holy Ghost.

Let’s go through a few scriptures and find examples of when God speaks to our hearts.  Go to section 11:12:  “And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your atrust in that bSpirit which cleadeth to do dgood—yea, to do ejustly, to walk fhumbly, to gjudge righteously; and this is my Spirit.”

Give an example of what the Holy Ghost does in D&C 11:12- what is perhaps the most common example of the Holy Ghost- a general feeling of “I want to do good… I want to be a better person.”  “I want to be the kind of person that miracles happen to.”

Is that revelation?  You better believe it.

Have there been times when you have been impressed with the desire to just be a good person?  Have you ever been in the presence of someone remarkable and felt the desire to be good?

Have the students share experiences where they have had a general impression to be a good or to do good in their lives.  What were they doing at the time?  Where were they?

The Spirit invites us to walk humbly, to judge righteously –these are general feelings from the Spirit.

When He speaks general feelings, what do you feel?

In Mosiah 24:9 we read of a circumstance where Alma and his people are in subjection to Amulon, a wicked man who has made the righteous people of Alma his slaves.

Notice what the Holy Ghost will bring into their lives- general feelings of the Holy Ghost during their times of tribulation

Mosiah 24:13-15 –find things that the Lord does for these people

Their burdens were lifted, eased, their pains- “cannot feel them upon your backs”

They were comforted- One of my students shared a story how she was hanging with the wrong crowd and her mom encouraged her to receive her patriarchial blessing.  She received her blessing and afterwards had continual reminders/promptings to read her blessing.  She kept putting these off until one day she finally read it and had one of the greatest spiritual experiences of her entire life- it changed her life.  She felt an overwhelming feeling of God’s love for her and it changed her feelings about who she spends her time with and the kind of person she wants to become.  That single experience changed her desires.

By teaching principles of the gospel by illustrating when that principle is true – using the scriptures to do so- will bring the power of the word into the lives of the students.  The more a teacher can illustrate the principle using the scriptures, the more students will turn to the scriptures to solve their real life problems.

The following experience illustrates how the Spirit brings comfort in our lives:

Arms of Peace

The greatest affirmation of that promise ever given in this world was the gift of God’s perfect and precious Firstborn Son, a gift given not in condemnation of the world, but to soothe and save and make the world secure: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; emphasis added).

Katie Lewis is my neighbor. Her father, Randy, is my bishop; her mother, Melanie, is a saint. And her older brother, Jimmie, is battling leukemia.

Sister Lewis recently recounted for me the unspeakable fear and grief that came to their family when Jimmie’s illness was diagnosed. She spoke of the tears and the waves of sorrow that any mother would experience with a prognosis as grim as Jimmie’s was. But like the faithful Latter-day Saints they are, the Lewises turned to God with urgency and with faith and with hope. They fasted and prayed, prayed and fasted. And they went again and again to the temple.

One day Sister Lewis came home from a temple session weary and worried, feeling the impact of so many days—and nights—of fear being held at bay only by monumental faith.

As she entered her home, four-year-old Katie ran up to her with love in her eyes and a crumpled sheaf of papers in her hand. Holding the papers out to her mother, she said enthusiastically, “Mommy, do you know what these are?”

Sister Lewis said frankly her first impulse was to deflect Katie’s zeal and say she didn’t feel like playing just then. But she thought of her children—all her children—and the possible regret of missed opportunities and little lives that pass too swiftly. So she smiled through her sorrow and said, “No, Katie. I don’t know what they are. Please tell me.”

“They are the scriptures,” Katie beamed back, “and do you know what they say?”

Sister Lewis stopped smiling, gazed deeply at this little child, knelt down to her level, and said, “Tell me, Katie. What do the scriptures say?”

“They say, ‘Trust Jesus.’ ” And then she was gone.

Sister Lewis said that as she stood back up, holding a fistful of her four-year-old’s scribbling, she felt near-tangible arms of peace encircle her weary soul and a divine stillness calm her troubled heart. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “‘Look to God and Live’,” Ensign, Nov 1993, 13)

Is that revelation?

Alma 17:10 – “And it came to pass that the Lord did avisit them with his bSpirit, and said unto them: Be ccomforted. And they were comforted.”  It’s okay, be comforted- this is an impression from the Holy Ghost.

I asked the students, “Anyone want to share an experience where you have had this happen?”  When we shared this scripture and invited others to share, there was a willingness in the class to talk about these kinds of experiences.  It was truly marvelous.

Alma 34:16 –encircles them in the arms of safety- hey, everything is going to be okay

D&C 121:45 –what grows, what waxes strong?  Confidence- has the Spirit ever given you confidence to do some difficult task

Isaiah 40:28-29 –he giveth power to the faint, he increases strength.  I need this strength to do what I need to do.  This is revelation.

Now let’s look at some specific messages, not general feelings

Enos 1:10 –the voice came into my mind

Section 9:8-9 feel that it is right, you will also know when you are going the wrong way.

John 14:26 –he just reminds you of things that you once knew long ago.

The Comforter

So then the Holy Spirit is the person through whom there comes to us the strength and grace of God to enable us to cope with life.  Certainly, part of this work is to comfort, but only part.  To call the Holy Spirit the Comforter, and to stop there, is to have a limited and rather sentimental view of the Spirit, whereas in the Greek the word is full of power and of the promise of the God-given ability to face and to master any situation in life.

How then did this word Comforter get into the English translation of the Bible?  It came in with Wycliffe about 1386, and it has stayed ever since.  But in the days of Wycliffe it was a perfect translation.  The word comfort is derived from the Latin word fortis, which means brave, and originally the word meant someone who puts courage into you.  Let us take two other examples of it in Wycliffe.  Wycliffe translates Ephesians 6:10 as, “Be ye comforted in the Lord.”  And he translates 1 Timothy 1:12, “I do thanksgiving to him who comforted me.”  In both cases the word in the Greek is endunamoun, whose root word is dunamis, power, from which the word dynamite comes.  In Wycliffe’s day to comfort a person was to fill that person with a power like spiritual dynamite.  The Holy Spirit does not simply come and wipe our tears away; he gives us a dynamic power to cope with life. [(Introducing the Bible, 117) as quoted in Nielsen, Donna, Beloved Bridegroom, p.123-124.]

In your mind –specific instruction

We began the operation. After relieving the obstruction of the first valve, we exposed the second valve. We found it to be intact but so badly dilated that it could no longer function as it should. While examining this valve, a message was distinctly impressed upon my mind: Reduce the circumference of the ring. I announced that message to my assistant. “The valve tissue will be sufficient if we can effectively reduce the ring toward its normal size.”

But how? We could not apply a belt as one would use to tighten the waist of oversized trousers. We could not squeeze with a strap as one would cinch a saddle on a horse. Then a picture came vividly to my mind, showing how stitches could be placed—to make a pleat here and a tuck there—to accomplish the desired objective. I still remember that mental image—complete with dotted lines where sutures should be placed. The repair was completed as diagrammed in my mind. We tested the valve and found the leak to be reduced remarkably. My assistant said, “It’s a miracle.”

I responded, “It’s an answer to prayer.”  Elder Nelson- (Sweet Power of Prayer, Elder Russell M. Nelson, April 2003 conference, or May Ensign 2003, p.7)

How do you make this happen?  In this case, Elder Nelson had a mind that was prepared to receive the message.  Any other untrained mind would not have been able to hear or understand this delicate message.  He needed to know two languages: the language of fixing broken hearts and the delicate voice of the Spirit.  In this and other instances, the Holy Ghost sends a specific message along with a mental picture of how to do something.

D&C 6:14, 22

Cast your mind on the revelation I have already sent unto you.  Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?

Oliver wants another witness that what he is doing is right.  If you want more revelation, what is it that you have to do?

Great principle: if you want more, remember what I have already given you!

I have a strong belief that talking about times when we have been influenced by the Holy Ghost invites further revelation.  This is what the Lord told Oliver- if you want more knowledge, more light, then remember the time I answered you before.  This could be one of the reasons prophets have invited us to write down experiences from our lives- in so doing we invite the Spirit to guide us to do good.  We remember how much the Lord has blessed us already, and from that we are strengthened to face new challenges with the help of Jesus Christ.

Students can relate to this principle by likening it to things in their world.  A classic example is the very car that they drive.  Young people notice something more once they think about it in the first place- example- once you bought a car, you see how many of them are around town.  So many students related to this example.

As we recognize the general impressions in our lives and follow them, we will have more specific impressions sent from our Heavenly Father to our minds.  As we remember our past experiences with revelation, we open ourselves to more communication from heaven.

For further study


About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
This entry was posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gifts, Holy Ghost, Principles, Receiving Revelation, Student questions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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