Personal Revelation has been an integral part of my conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the beginning. Having indefinite “feelings” about things in my and my children’s lives is not new for me…or for them. Knowing where those feelings come from, is.
Since my pre-Baptism lessons four and a half years ago, I have been learning about The Holy Spirit, or The Holy Ghost. I LOVE the Holy Spirit. He is the third part of the Godhead, the only part of the three that does not have a body of His own, He resides in US!
It is through The Holy Spirit that we feel comfort, a confirmation of truth of the Gospel. IF we are listening closely, He will help guide us in our choices throughout our lives. When we receive revelation about our lives, it is through The Holy Spirit.
I LOVE personal revelation. The fact that our Heavenly Father cares so much about each and every one of us that He WANTS to communicate with us, to HELP us to make important decisions and prepare for important events. He knows each of our names, has numbered each of the hairs on each of our heads, and wants us to succeed in those things we desire. He is our Father and communicates with us as often as we will listen.
Many times in my life I have not listened well. I’m sure my earthly parents were overheard saying just that during much of my youth. But, in this respect, I mean not listening to my Heavenly Father very well.
When I did learn to pray, study my scriptures and ponder to listen, I found myself craving silence. That time when just between Heavenly Father and myself when that still small voice would speak to my heart. Little hints, here and there, but enough to let me know if I was on the right track. Those little words when I needed to keep me going. Those little things that Heavenly Father wanted me to know, not meant for anyone else.
Each and every time that I acted on the information received in personal revelation, I experimented on the Word of God. When the information proved correct, and my actions were those I needed to do to prepare for that future, my faith was strengthened. Each and every time this happens.
Like everyone else with a strong testimony, at times I forget or lessen the importance of these small and large events. Each time personal revelation reveals future events and actions I should take, I am taken aback. I don’t reveal the details to many, but those who have shared the knowledge have had their testimonies strengthened as well. I need to keep a better record in my journals of these events.
As I look around this apartment that God impressed me to apply for, I smile when I remember a phone call I received this week. Only God could know what I needed to do to get into this place. Only He could move the mountains that stood between me and this home. Only He could tell me exactly what to do and when. But I had to listen. I am glad that I was listening this time.
One of the most precious gifts we can receive is that of the Holy Spirit. It is through our relationship with this part of the Godhead that can help lead us to a much more revealed life.
What does it mean to have a Testimony of Jesus Christ?
My own relationship with that word, not necessarily the feeling, began shortly after I knelt to pray and asked how to become closer to Jesus Christ on March 6, 2013.
I was immediately impressed that I needed to be Baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which I had never attended (except once as a guest while a small child).
When I called my granddaughter’s other grandma to ask her how to get the Missionaries to come to your house (so that I could ask them about this impression I received); she responded, “WOW, what a Testimony!!!”
To which I answered, “What’s a Testimony?”
Since that moment, The Holy Spirit has been teaching me what a Testimony is.
I KNOW my Heavenly Father, Christ’s Father, Lives.
I KNOW that His Spirit is The Holy Ghost which He has given me to guide me in using the other gift, my agency.
What is the result, the constant gift of having a Testimony? I believe it increases your Faith. If you KNOW The Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father live, and guide you each and every day, it is harder to worry as much. It is easier to know that whatever may come, it is for a higher reason and there is a blessing to be had.
This last winter was a hard one. Constant illnesses combined with my disabilities served to make me feel like there was no way I would survive the season. So, I prayed. Then I listened.
The Holy Spirit witnessed to me that my physical and emotional trials may have been difficult, but they would not be the end of me. It also witnessed that my experiences weren’t only for me, but there were others who would benefit from my trials. I don’t know why, but when He says that, I always feel better. Why would I go through the depths of hell for others, but not for my own progression? Something for me to think about.
As we progressed through the spring, I got physically stronger and with that, my emotional stability increased as well. Finally, I began to feel like myself again. However, I was left with the memories of the prayers in desperation. “God, am I going to live through this?” Isn’t a conversation easily started with one’s Heavenly Father.
In order to start that conversation, I had to have a Testimony. I had to KNOW that He lives. I also had to TRUST His answers. But, I wouldn’t have His answers if I hadn’t listened.
I have found that if I take an assortment of talks and save them to a playlist on my phone, then I put that playlist on “random” and ask in prayer for the Holy Spirit to help me listen to what I need to learn in that moment, I am richly rewarded.
The answers that I crave in prayer, are delivered in talks given by our Prophet, Apostles & Auxiliary Leaders.
Heavenly Father has guided the wonderful programmers that have built this site and those apps, to make our modern scriptures available to us in many ways. Most of us carry our “smart” phone with us wherever we go. These devices can be used to study and share His Gospel. They can also be used to increase our Testimony.
The Twin Falls Temple in Idaho was the site of my “wrong turn” at the very start of the softening of my heart. Where I stopped and “felt” the building radiate out into the street.
April 20, 2013: I went on my first proxy Baptism trip to the Seattle Temple just shy of a month after my own baptism. It was that day when I started my father’s work and my forgiveness of him.
October 19, 2013: I spent my first birthday after my baptism, performing proxy baptisms for my family in the Salt Lake City Temple. Afterwards, I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with the first and only Priesthood Holder who ever asked me out on a date. They served spaghetti at the Salt Lake Temple cafeteria. That’s something you don’t forget. Fortunately, since I was not yet endowed I was in my street clothes, not a white Temple dress. That was the last date Hyrum and I had, but we remain friends and he has since developed a friendship with my husband.
May 13, 2014: I received my Endowments at the Seattle Temple, with 3 friends from 2 different Wards. Later that year, I went through Mt. Timpanogos Temple with one of my Sister Missionaries for the proxy Endowments of both my grandmothers.
Since May of 2014, I have befriended many Temple workers in many Wards and Branches. I have even roomed with one while I was needing a place to stay in close proximity to my grandchildren for a holiday season. She helped bolster my Testimony on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Marian helped me understand Personal Revelation. A Returned Missionary, she helped me trust God. That is a gift I don’t know how to ever repay.
When I visit a Ward, I find myself looking around. The Temple Workers seem to “glow” with light. I went up to an older, beautiful lady one day in the Lacey, Washington Stake Center that I was visiting. I felt I HAD to know; “Did she work at the Temple?” Yes, in fact, she confirmed that she did. The “Glow” had been apparent across the room.
My Patriarchal Blessing explicitly states that I will bless my family on both sides of the veil with the work I perform in the Temple. In the past two years, I have been blessed to catch rides with Temple Workers on many occasions, giving me the opportunity to perform an entire shift’s worth of Proxy Ordinances while I was there.
I look at the Temple Ordinance workers with gratitude and amazement. Even though sometimes rather elderly, they seem almost spry. Their minds are clear and their memories amazingly retentive.
This spring, just short of my Temple Recommend needing renewed; I felt an overwhelming compulsion. My best friend (and Visiting Teacher), Anne, had been urging me to not only go to the Temple to perform Proxy Ordinances while she and my other friends worked; she wanted me to volunteer to work there too!
Anne works in the Laundry of the Snowflake Temple, she suggested that I volunteer to work there also. I hesitated, because doing my own laundry is difficult enough for me with a broken back and other chronic pain. But that didn’t deter her. She was convinced I should be working in the Temple with her and several of our friends in our Branch.
In early March, as I was speaking to our Branch President about another matter, the compulsion felt overwhelming. I was attempting to open his office door to leave. The Holy Spirit whispered, “Turn around and ask him…” I knew what the Spirit was speaking to me about. The compulsion was incredibly strong; it was if I could not turn the doorknob I was attempting to reach. “Turn around and ask him,” the Spirit continued to whisper, but I hesitated. I didn’t want to appear too eager, feeling there must be some requirement I didn’t meet. There is no way I felt qualified to work at the Temple. But the Spirit would not cease, so I turned around.
After asking my Branch President if there was some way I could help in the Temple, some place I could volunteer, and if my services would be adequate, I felt relieved of the compulsion for a few days. That Friday when I visited the Snowflake Temple during Anne’s shift, it returned in the Celestial Room.
“Go talk to the Matron,” the whispering Holy Spirit urged. “Why would I want to do that?!” In shock I answered in my thoughts.
“Tell her you want to work here, tell her your experience.” The Spirit would not let up.
I entered the dressing room to ready (and steady) myself. It was crowded, more crowded than I had ever seen. I sought refuge in the lavatory, but even that room seemed overwhelmingly crowded. I prayed for courage in the stall.
Sitting in the Matron’s office, I felt silly to have been so nervous. The Assistant Matron was on duty that night and was a genteel lady with a radiant countenance. She glowed. As I explained the Spirit’s (and Anne’s) urgings, and my experience as a retired computer programmer; she shared with me that there was a spot opening up in the Temple Office. A elderly couple that had been with the office since the opening of the Snowflake Temple in 2002 was retiring. Their shifts would not be easy to fill and they would be missed.
I felt a reassurance from my Heavenly Father. There was a service I felt confident I could perform. To be able to share my skills on computers and office work with the Snowflake Temple and help perform the work that needs to be done, felt like an incredible blessing. The Matron seemed happy to be placing my name on the lists to be approved by my Branch and Stake Presidents.
Over the next couple of weeks, during my Fridays at the Temple, I got to know the Temple Presidency through a couple of very informal interviews. By the time my volunteering in the office was approved by the Stake President, my Temple Recommend was up for renewal for the first time. I had to go in for my interviews again
Then it happened, I received a call asking me to come in for an interview at the beginning of my regular Friday visit. That is a day I will NEVER forget. As my friend Anne escorted me into the Temple President’s office, Elder Bradley Foster of the Seventy appeared to be looking for something on the President’s desk. He engaged me in a brief conversation before the Temple President entered. I wish I remembered that he was the one who gave the talk, “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late,” in the October 2015 General Conference that spoke to my heart, but I was too overwhelmed by the situation. When the Temple President entered, I was surprised when I wasn’t to be interviewed, but quickly set apart as an Office Worker, and sent off to meet the rest of the office staff, Recorder and the Assistant Recorder.
I made quick friends with the other new worker and briefly met the retiring couple. My life in the weeks since has been blessed as, among other things, I’ve been able to learn my tasks at the Temple Office very quickly and life at home seems easier too. I look forward to my Friday Evenings in the Temple every week.
Apparently last week was “International Siblings Day” Facebook. After looking it up on Wikipedia, I discovered that it wasn’t invented by Facebook, and I felt bad that I had missed the opportunity to tell the world about my amazing relationship with my brother. My one and only sibling.
The Book of Mormon works in mysterious ways. So does our Heavenly Father. When I was learning the lessons getting ready to be baptized, my brother was also undergoing an immense amount of repentance and pain. Heavenly Father began to soften my heart towards my family again. In particular, towards my brother who I had shut out of my life during his involvement in drugs and then prison.
When I was repenting and contrite upon my knees asking my Heavenly Father for forgiveness, I was also asking Him to bless my family, especially my little brother who was suffering the worse loss a person could imagine. Not only the loss of his child; but the loss of a child, barely an adult, for whom he already felt guilt in regards to his absence while that child was younger. I could not imagine his pain.
The other items I included with my letter were a book of stamps so that he could write anyone he wanted to, as well as one self-addressed stamped envelope. I wanted a reply.
The letter with the Book of Mormon reached his residence at an inpatient facility that was mandated by his probation. His return letter indicated that he was also on the path to a baptism. His, by a church near his treatment home.
My brother and I continued to correspond for his remaining time in treatment. When he returned to the area, against the advice of many who remembered the demonic influences in his life and how he embraced them, I decided to meet with him and get to know my little brother again. It had been decades since we had spent a good amount of time alone. The last time we spent time together at all was during a holiday and it ended in disaster and drama.
My little brother was born to our mother and father when we were living in Port Townsend. It was 1970, and I was almost 4 years old. When our parents divorced almost a year after his birth, we remained with mom. It was the two of us against the world. Usually also against our parents, using one against the other like typical children of divorced parents in the 1970s. Only I was allowed to beat up my brother, and I would beat up anyone else who tried. Yes, I was the type of big sister who volunteers in her baby brother’s kindergarten class. I loved that kid.
Life in our lives wasn’t easy. An angry, abusive step father as well as a biological father who vacillated between being absent and being the worse types of abusive were the father figures we had. Our mother loved us and loved God. She tried to expose us to many different churches so that we could choose for ourselves. This was quite a difficult task, when if we mentioned to dad that we had attended one, we could end up with not only a spanking, but a ring-side seat at a yelling match from hell between our parents. But we attended anyway. As many times as dad asked each of us to deny our God, it was only with a wink to each other and our fingers crossed. Me saying my prayers for forgiveness as well.
Through the typical drama of abusive homes of divorce in the 1970s and 1980s, my brother and I had each other. We could talk about anything. Satan had his way, in many ways in our homes. Finally, a fog of drugs and abuse took my brother from me.
As he furthered his way into the drug world, I separated my young family from his. As his family was being raised by other people, I kept him in my prayers. Then there would come short times when he would sober up, or attempt to hide the fact that he wasn’t; and seek to come around. It broke my heart every time I was forced to shut him out of our lives. For my children’s sake, it was all I knew how to do.
It was my little brother who called me on an August 2000 morning, to inform me of our father’s suicide. Neither one of us had been informed officially, our father’s only children, and we were not informed until 10 months after his death on the weekend of my birthday in 1999. After tearful hours on the phone with his widow, I learned that the timing was not coincidental. In the 15 years that I had not seen or spoken to our father, his abusive obsession with me had not wavered. Our father’s suicide was 50 years after his own father had taken his life when our father was 4.
Major Depressive Disorder, among other challenges, run in our family. Both my brother and I have dealt with this challenge ourselves. After our father’s death, my brother and I saw each other a few times. He was in and out of prison, and I was raising a family. Our mother kept on me to get in contact with him through the years, but it wasn’t until that Book of Mormon that I was impressed to do my best to fix what Satan and our temporal father had attempted through his abuse to tear apart.
Through the summer after I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my brother and I began to spend a lot of time together. It was the first time since childhood that we had really had the opportunity to get to know one another. I, for one, found in my little brother a friend I never imagined. Someone who knew me, as I knew him. Someone I could give another chance to. Someone I wanted around me.
After a summer full of blessings of the new friendship of siblings, we were put to the test. In October I had been impressed that I had $300 put aside to spend on transportation and I had been frustrated at my lack of a car. I asked my brother to come with me to see if I could find a car to finance. I had the afternoon before an evening meeting at the Family History Center for my new calling.
As we walked, we crossed a double train track. There was clear visibility both directions for at least a quarter mile. We crossed without hesitation. The Holy Ghost was a wonderful companion while car shopping, and amazed my brother by witnessing to us certain flaws to watch out for in each car. I was happy I had prayed that morning. Everything was wonderfully clear.
On our return trip, after having no luck in the auto venture, we came back the same way. Only this time, there was a train stopped on the tracks closest to us. We looked down each way, the train was at least a quarter mile long in both directions; I thought to myself it was going to be a long walk.
While I was thinking this to myself, my little brother did what he had always done while I was in charge of watching him while we were kids: embraced his impulsivity. He said “let’s go” and proceeded to go under the train, stopping to get up between the train tracks before leaning under the train, to beckon me towards him.
I was in absolute shock. I don’t remember speaking at all. I do remember how wide my eyes got when I felt Satan attempt to take my brother. I heard a witness by the Holy Ghost: Come BACK NOW!!!! I frantically motioned for him to come back.
For one of the first time in our lives, my baby brother actually listened to me. As he ducked and went back under the train, we felt the ground begin to rumble; before he was standing upright on my side of the tracks, a train was passing at an extremely rapid pace on the track that my brother was nearly standing upon seconds before.
If I had followed him, and not acknowledged and obeyed The Holy Spirit, neither my brother nor I would be alive today. We were so blessed to spend the holidays together for the first time in years as a family with our only living parent, one of my children, and two of my grandchildren. We are a family and we are blessed.
I did end up spending that $300 on transportation, but that’s another story on the pile for another time.
When I did, I was MUCH less than polite, let alone hospitable.
If anyone had told me then, that I would now delight in the company of Missionaries, being overjoyed when I had the opportunity to invite them to join me for a meal; I would have called them a liar. Not a chance!!
I never listened long enough to hear their messages, until it was the right time for me. AND the right Missionaries.
During the past three years, I have often stayed in the homes of friends who were both inactive and active members of The Church. On many occasions they have invited Missionaries to visit while I was present.
Even in the month before my baptism, only weeks before I downloaded the Book of Mormon and began reading it; when the Elders appeared at the door, I ran to my room and hid.
It was only last February when came to the point that I found myself HIDING from the Missionaries!
I had no idea why. But God KNOWS His children. He knew me better than I knew myself.
After 46 years of being treated in a certain way by the male gender, and having had NO exposure to righteous priesthood holders; I didn’t have a clue as to what to feel around them. They were just men. Right?
There is no such thing as coincidence, happenstance or kismet. Call it “fate” or by any other name you wish; but it is ALL part of God’s Divine Plan. Everything.
When I experienced my personal revelation on 6 March 2013, and requested that Missionaries be sent to my home to teach me; I didn’t even KNOW Sister Missionaries EXISTED!!!!
Before I met Sisters Lloyd & Johnson, I hadn’t even formulated the idea that Sisters COULD be Missionaries. I had never seen any, it had never even crossed my mind. “Strangely enough” (#HolyHighFive), my area had very recently been assigned their first Sister Missionary pair!
When the Sisters placed my first “hard copy” of The Book of Mormon into my hands; I felt my spiritual eyes open.
In their presence I was finally able to relax and feel the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, and KNOW what that feeling WAS!!! I wanted Sisters Johnson and Lloyd to tarry forever.
The very next day, they were impressed to introduce me to a woman who would become my guide and angel through my baptism and new member period of time; as well as a friend for life.
When they asked me about baptism (it felt like forever, but it was probably only days after they met me); I was over-anxious. They mentioned the 30th of March, and I reluctantly agreed. In retrospect, they probably thought I was being hesitant, but I wanted it to happen sooner. I just knew that wasn’t my baptismal date.
Sure enough, a few days later, they asked me if I wanted to get baptized a week sooner; on the 23rd. I was elated, and agreed. God had heard my unstated prayer.
Thanks to a few pairs of Sisters who have been VERY instructive and loving, I am learning about Missionaries. Sisters Lloyd & Johnson have moved on to other areas, and I had the blessing to meet Sisters Frandsen and Langi; wonderful young women. I love each and every one of the Missionaries.