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10/5/2023 A ministering message: Think Celestial






Dear Family and Friends. It is so good to have the opportunity to write a little in this blog today. A few weeks ago, I was very strongly impressed to start this blog with the following song. For it is a “Firm” or solid foundation that we must build our testimony of not only the church, but more importantly of Jesus Christ.


How Firm A foundation

How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in his excellent Word! What more can he say than to you he has said Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In ev'ry condition, in sickness, in health, In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth, At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea — The Lord, the Almighty, your strength e'er shall be.

Fear not, I am with you. Oh, be not dismayed, For I am your God and will still give you aid; I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call you to go, The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow, For I will be with you your troubles to bless And sanctify to you your deepest distress.

Throughout all their lifetime my people shall prove My sov'reign, eternal, unchangeable love, And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn, Like lambs they shall still on my shoulders be borne.


This last general conference our dear prophet gave such a powerful talk. I have tried to follow all of the footnotes to scriptures, lessons, other talks so that one could truly feast upon these word of Christ from a living prophet.


I am sure that I missed some, if so please take the time to look them up, hopefully I didn’t miss too many. I’m looking forward to spending the next days (weeks) going through this talk and all footnotes to hopefully open my heart to let the spirit teach and to get to know my Savior Jesus Christ better.


Warning this will take time.




Now my prayers are with you that this might be inspirational for one of you.



Think Celestial!

By President Russell M. Nelson

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Your choices will determine where you will live throughout eternity, the kind of body with which you will be resurrected, and those with whom you will live forever.

My dear brothers and sisters, I am deeply grateful to speak with you today. At my age, each new day brings wonderful as well as challenging surprises. Three weeks ago, I injured the muscles of my back. So, while I have delivered more than 100 general conference addresses standing, today I thought I would do so sitting. I pray that the Spirit will carry my message into your hearts today.

I recently celebrated my 99th birthday and thus commenced my 100th year of living. I am often asked the secret to living so long. A better question would be “What have I learned in nearly a century of living?”

Time today does not allow me to answer that question fully, but may I share one of the most crucial lessons I have learned.

I have learned that Heavenly Father’s plan for us is fabulous, that what we do in this life really matters, and that the Savior’s Atonement is what makes our Father’s plan possible.1 John 6:38 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.


As I have wrestled with the intense pain caused by my recent injury, I have felt even deeper appreciation for Jesus Christ and the incomprehensible gift of His Atonement. Think of it! The Savior suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind”2 Alma 7:1111 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. so that He can comfort us, heal us, rescue us in times of need.3 Alma 7:12 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Jesus Christ described His experience in Gethsemane and on Calvary: “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore.”4 4 Doctrine and Covenants 19:18 18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—


My injury has caused me to reflect again and again on “the greatness of the Holy One of Israel.”5 2 Nephi 9:40. 40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.

During my healing, the Lord has manifested His divine power in peaceful and unmistakable ways.


Because of Jesus Christ’s infinite Atonement, our Heavenly Father’s plan is a perfect plan! An understanding of God’s fabulous plan takes the mystery out of life and the uncertainty out of our future. It allows each of us to choose how we will live here on earth and where we will live forever. The baseless notion that we should “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us”6 2 Nephi 28:7. 7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

is one of the most absurd lies in the universe.


Here is the great news of God’s plan: the very things that will make your mortal life the best it can be are exactly the same things that will make your life throughout all eternity the best it can be! Today, to assist you to qualify for the rich blessings Heavenly Father has for you, I invite you to adopt the practice of “thinking celestial”!7 It may prove to be easier to repent and progress spiritually here, while our spirit is united with our body, than in the next world between the time we die and are resurrected. As Amulek taught the apostate Zoramites, “This life is the time … to prepare to meet God” (see Alma 34:32–35).


32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.


Thinking celestial means being spiritually minded. We learn from the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob that “to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.”8 2 Nephi 9:39

39 O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.


Mortality is a master class in learning to choose the things of greatest eternal import. Far too many people live as though this life is all there is. However, your choices today will determine three things: where you will live throughout all eternity, the kind of body with which you will be resurrected, and those with whom you will live forever. So, think celestial.

In my first message as President of the Church, I encouraged you to begin with the end in mind. This means making the celestial kingdom your eternal goal and then carefully considering where each of your decisions while here on earth will place you in the next world.9 See Mosiah 4:30, where King Benjamin admonishes his people, “If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith … , ye must perish.”

30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.


The Lord has clearly taught that only men and women who are sealed as husband and wife in the temple, and who keep their covenants, will be together throughout the eternities. He said, “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise … have an end when men are dead.”10

7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.


Thus, if we unwisely choose to live telestial laws now, we are choosing to be resurrected with a telestial body. We are choosing not to live with our families forever.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, how and where and with whom do you want to live forever? You get to choose.11 Of course, your agency cannot override another’s agency and the attendant consequences. I was desperate to be sealed to my parents. However, I had to wait until they chose to be endowed, when they were more than 80 years of age. Then they were sealed as husband and wife, and we children were sealed to them.

When you make choices, I invite you to take the long view—an eternal view. Put Jesus Christ first, because your eternal life is dependent upon your faith in Him and in His Atonement.12I. The scriptures repeatedly testify that the gift of eternal life is only possible through the merits, mercy, and grace of the Savior Jesus Christ (see, for example, Moroni 7:41; see also 2 Nephi 2:6–8, 27).


41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.



6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.


It is also dependent upon your obedience to His laws. Obedience paves the way for a joyful life for you today and a grand, eternal reward tomorrow.


When you are confronted with a dilemma, think celestial! When tested by temptation, think celestial! When life or loved ones let you down, think celestial! When someone dies prematurely, think celestial. When someone lingers with a devastating illness, think celestial. When the pressures of life crowd in upon you, think celestial! As you recover from an accident or injury, as I am doing now, think celestial!

As you focus on thinking celestial, expect to encounter opposition.13

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.


Decades ago, a professional colleague criticized me for having “too much temple” in me, and more than one supervisor penalized me because of my faith. I am convinced, however, that thinking celestial enhanced my career.


As you think celestial, your heart will gradually change. You will want to pray more often and more sincerely. Please don’t let your prayers sound like a shopping list. The Lord’s perspective transcends your mortal wisdom. His response to your prayers may surprise you and will help you to think celestial.

Consider the Lord’s response to Joseph Smith when he pleaded for relief in Liberty Jail. The Lord taught the Prophet that his inhumane treatment would give him experience and be for his good.14

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

“If thou endure it well,” the Lord promised, “God shall exalt thee on high.”15

8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

The Lord was teaching Joseph to think celestial and to envision an eternal reward rather than focus on the excruciating difficulties of the day. Our prayers can be—and should be—living discussions with our Heavenly Father.


As you think celestial, you will find yourself avoiding anything that robs you of your agency. Any addiction—be it gaming, gambling, debt, drugs, alcohol, anger, pornography, sex, or even food—offends God. Why? Because your obsession becomes your god. You look to it rather than to Him for solace. If you struggle with an addiction, seek the spiritual and professional help you need. Please do not let an obsession rob you of your freedom to follow God’s fabulous plan.


Thinking celestial will also help you obey the law of chastity. Few things will complicate your life more quickly than violating this divine law. For those who have made covenants with God, immorality is one of the quickest ways to lose your testimony.

Many of the adversary’s most relentless temptations involve violations of moral purity. The power to create life is the one privilege of godhood that Heavenly Father allows His mortal children to exercise. Thus, God set clear guidelines for the use of this living, divine power. Physical intimacy is only for a man and a woman who are married to each other.


Much of the world does not believe this, but public opinion is not the arbiter of truth. The Lord has declared that no unchaste person will attain the celestial kingdom. So when you make decisions regarding morality, please think celestial. And if you have been unchaste, I plead with you to repent. Come unto Christ and receive His promise of complete forgiveness as you fully repent of your sins.16 See Isaiah 1:16–18; Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43.


16 ¶ Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.


42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.


As you think celestial, you will view trials and opposition in a new light. When someone you love attacks truth, think celestial, and don’t question your testimony. The Apostle Paul prophesied that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”17

1 Timothy 4:1. The next verse continues, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (verse 2). Paul also declared that all who “live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).


1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;


2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;


12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.


There is no end to the adversary’s deceptions. Please be prepared. Never take counsel from those who do not believe. Seek guidance from voices you can trust—from prophets, seers, and revelators and from the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, who “will show unto you all things what ye should do.”18


At this point I will let you have the joy of following all the footnotes mentioned (At least all the ones that I probably missed. One set of old eyes is not good enough)that come from different talks and lessons that have been pointed out in the original talk of thinking Celestial. President Nelsons talk is still finished at the end of these references.


2 Nephi 32:5; emphasis added. If we will ask, we may “receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61). See Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 96.



April 2018 general conference

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives

By President Russell M. Nelson

President of the Church

In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.

What a glorious privilege it has been to celebrate Easter with you on this Sunday of general conference! Nothing could be more fitting than to commemorate the most important event that ever occurred on this earth by worshipping the most important being who ever walked this earth. In this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we worship Him who commenced His infinite Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was willing to suffer for the sins and weaknesses of each of us, which suffering caused Him “to bleed at every pore.”1

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

He was crucified on Calvary’s cross2

33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

and rose the third day as the first resurrected being of our Heavenly Father’s children. I love Him and testify that He lives! It is He who leads and guides His Church.

Without our Redeemer’s infinite Atonement, not one of us would have hope of ever returning to our Heavenly Father. Without His Resurrection, death would be the end. Our Savior’s Atonement made eternal life a possibility and immortality a reality for all.

It is because of His transcendent mission and the peace He grants His followers that my wife, Wendy, and I felt comfort late on January 2, 2018, when we were awakened by a phone call telling us that President Thomas S. Monson had stepped through the veil.


How we miss President Monson! We honor his life and his legacy. A spiritual giant, he left an indelible imprint upon all who knew him and upon the Church that he loved.

On Sunday, January 14, 2018, in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple, the First Presidency was reorganized in the simple yet sacred pattern established by the Lord. Then, at yesterday morning’s solemn assembly, members of the Church throughout the world raised their hands to confirm the earlier action taken by the Apostles. I am humbly grateful for your sustaining support.

I am also grateful for those upon whose shoulders I stand. It has been my privilege to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for 34 years and to know personally 10 of the 16 previous Presidents of the Church. I learned much from each of them.

I also owe much to my forebears. All eight of my great-grandparents were converts to the Church in Europe. Each of these stalwart souls sacrificed everything to come to Zion. During subsequent generations, however, not all my ancestors remained so committed. As a result, I was not raised in a gospel-centered home.



I adored my parents. They meant the world to me and taught me crucial lessons. I cannot thank them enough for the happy homelife they created for me and my siblings. And yet, even as a boy, I knew I was missing something. One day I jumped on the streetcar and went to an LDS bookstore to find a book about the Church. I loved learning about the gospel.

As I came to understand the Word of Wisdom, I wanted my parents to live that law. So, one day when I was very young, I went to our basement and smashed on the concrete floor every bottle of liquor! I expected my father to punish me, but he never said a word.


As I matured and began to understand the magnificence of Heavenly Father’s plan, I often said to myself, “I don’t want one more Christmas present! I just want to be sealed to my parents.” That longed-for event did not happen until my parents were past 80, and then it did happen. I cannot fully express the joy that I felt that day,3

16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

and each day I feel that joy of their sealing and my being sealed to them.


In 1945, while I was in medical school, I married Dantzel White in the Salt Lake Temple. She and I were blessed with nine splendid daughters and one precious son. Today our ever-growing family is one of the greatest joys of my life.



In 2005, after nearly 60 years of marriage, my dear Dantzel was unexpectedly called home. For a season, my grief was almost immobilizing. But the message of Easter and the promise of resurrection sustained me.


Then the Lord brought Wendy Watson to my side. We were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 2006. How I love her! She is an extraordinary woman—a great blessing to me, to our family, and to the entire Church.

Each of these blessings has come as a result of seeking and heeding the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Said President Lorenzo Snow, “This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint … that it is our right to have the manifestations of the Spirit every day of our lives.”4 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow (2012), 76.






Chapter 4


Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost

“Make up your minds to live humbly and in such a way that you will always have the Spirit of the Lord to be your friend.”


From the Life of Lorenzo Snow


In his first general conference address as President of the Church, Lorenzo Snow taught, “We are dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord to aid us and to manifest to us from time to time what is necessary for us to accomplish under the peculiar circumstances that may surround us.”1President Snow might not have been alive to make that statement if two of his friends had not depended upon the Spirit of the Lord in a peculiar circumstance 34 years earlier.


In 1864, Elders Lorenzo Snow and Ezra T. Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles went on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands. They were accompanied by three other missionaries: Elders Joseph F. Smith, William Cluff, and Alma L. Smith. When their ship anchored off the coast of the island of Maui, all but Joseph F. Smith boarded a smaller boat to go ashore. As they approached the island, high waves struck, causing the steersman to lose control of the boat. The boat capsized, and all the occupants were thrown into the water. Soon everyone surfaced except Elder Snow. A group of islanders rushed to help, taking William Cluff and Alma L. Smith in a lifeboat to search for their friend. Elder Cluff related:

“The first I saw of Brother Snow was his hair floating upon the water around one end of the capsized boat. As soon as we got him into our boat, we told the boatmen to pull for the shore with all possible speed. His body was stiff, and life apparently extinct.

“Brother A. L. Smith and I were sitting side by side. We laid Brother Snow across our laps, and, on the way to shore, we quietly administered to him and asked the Lord to spare his life, that he might return to his family and home.

“On reaching the shore, we carried him a little way to some large barrels that were lying on the sandy beach. We laid him face downwards on one of them, and rolled him back and forth until we succeeded in getting the water he had swallowed out of him. …

“After working over him for some time, without any indications of returning life, the by-standers said that nothing more could be done for him. But we did not feel like giving him up, and still prayed and worked over him, with an assurance that the Lord would hear and answer our prayers.

“Finally we were impressed to place our mouth over his and make an effort to inflate his lungs, alternately blowing in and drawing out the air, imitating, as far as possible, the natural process of breathing. This we persevered in until we succeeded in inflating his lungs. After a little, we perceived very faint indications of returning life. A slight wink of the eye, which, until then, had been open and death-like, and a very faint rattle in the throat, were the first symptoms of returning vitality. These grew more and more distinct, until consciousness was fully restored.”

Looking back on this experience, Elder William Cluff knew why he and Elder Alma L. Smith were able to save Elder Snow’s life. “We did not only what was customary in such cases,” he said, “but also what the Spirit seemed to whisper to us.”2 [See suggestion 1 on page 80.]


Teachings of Lorenzo Snow


Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are led to all truth and strengthened in our faith.


There [is] a certain blessing connected only with obedience to the gospel, that [is] the gift of the Holy Ghost. … The Savior, who undoubtedly knew best about the nature and character of this gift, said it should lead those who received it into all truth and show them things to come [seeJohn 16:13]13 Howbeit when he, the aSpirit of truth, is come, he will bguide you into all ctruth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will dshew you things to come.. It should be more than that spirit which proceeds from God, filling the immensity of space and enlightening every man that comes into the world [seeD&C 84:46]13Howbeit when he, theaSpirit of truth, is come, he willbguideyou into allctruth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear,thatshall he speak: and he willdshewyou things to come.; the gift of the Holy Ghost should lead into all truth, and show them things to come.


Furthermore, in speaking of its effects, the Apostle [Paul] says: “The spirit is given to every man to profit withal. To one is given faith.” [See 1 Corinthians 12:7, 9.] 7 But the manifestation of the aSpirit is given to every man to profit withal. 9 To another afaith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of bhealing by the same Spirit;

Not a common, ordinary faith, which some people pretend to at the present day; but a faith which enabled its possessors to be sawn asunder, to be cast into dens of lions, fiery furnaces, and to undergo tortures of every description. This was the kind of faith that the Holy Ghost conferred upon those who possessed it, enabling its possessor to stand in the midst of every difficulty, defy every opposition and lay down his life, if necessary, for the cause that he had espoused. There was an almighty inspiring power in this faith, given by the Lord through the Holy Ghost, which no other principle could communicate. To one was given faith, to another knowledge [see 1 Corinthians 12:8], 8 For to one is agiven by the bSpirit the cword of dwisdom; to another the word of eknowledge by the same Spirit; not that which is gained by reading books merely, but knowledge from the Almighty. A self-inspiring principle was upon them, which was tangible, giving them a knowledge of the cause they had espoused. They knew by revelation from God that the cause they had obeyed was true, it was revealed to them in a manner they could not dispute, and they knew for themselves. They were then established … upon the rock of revelation.3 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy ghost


Peter in preaching to the people said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For this promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” [Acts 2:38–39.] 38 Then Peter asaid unto them, bRepent, and be cbaptizedevery one of you in the dname of Jesus Christ for the eremission of sins, and ye shall receive the fgift of the gHoly Ghost.

39 For the apromise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are bafar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.


This gift of the Holy Ghost is a different principle from anything that we see manifested in the sectarian world. It is a principle of intelligence, and revelation. It is a principle that reveals things past, present and to come, and these gifts of the Holy Ghost were to be received through obedience to the requirements of the gospel as proclaimed in those days and as proclaimed by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in these days. It was upon this rock that their faith should be grounded; from this quarter they should receive a knowledge of the doctrine they had espoused, and we are told by the Savior “that the gates of hell should not prevail against them.” [See 3 Nephi 11:39.] 39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my adoctrine, and whoso bbuildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the cgates of hell shall not prevail against them.

… The foundation upon which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is built is the rock of revelation—upon the rock that Jesus said He would build His church, and the gates of hell should not prevail against it [see Matthew 16:17–18]. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon aBar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not brevealed itunto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this arock I will build my bchurch; and the gates of chell shall not dprevail against it.


1. We have not received this knowledge through flesh and blood, we have not received this testimony from man, we have not received it through the reading of the Bible … or Book of Mormon, but we have received it through the operations of the Holy Ghost, that teaches of the things of God, things past, present and to come, and that takes of the things of God, making them clearly manifest unto us. You cannot take this knowledge from us by imprisonment or any kind of persecution. We will stand by it unto death.4 [See suggestion 2 on page 80.] Read the section that begins on page 73. What do you think it means to be “established … upon the rock of revelation”? (For some examples, see pages 73–75.) How can personal revelation give us strength to “stand in the midst of every difficulty” and “defy every opposition”?



Every Latter-day Saint can have the Holy Ghost as a friend to give counsel.


There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the Spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman. It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, whatthey shall do, by making suggestions to them. We should try to learn the nature of this Spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. We know that it is our right to have the manifestations of the Spirit every day of our lives.



1. Persons come to me very anxious to receive counsel upon some subject or other. They need not come to me always (under some circumstances, of course, it would be highly proper), for the Spirit is within them to bring about good and to accomplish the purposes of God. … It is not always necessary for them to come to the President of the Church, or to the Twelve, or to the Elders of Israel, to get counsel; they have it within them; there is a friend that knows just exactly what to say to them. From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light, and not be groveling continually in the dark.5 [See suggestion 5 on page 80.] This chapter includes two references to the Holy Ghost as a friend (pages 76 and 79). Why do you think we need humility and simplicity to have the Holy Ghost as our friend?



The Holy Ghost can bring us happiness and peace of mind.


The Lord has established certain constitutional desires and feelings in our bosoms, and it is so with all mankind, with the whole human family. There are implanted and interwoven in their constitutions certain desires and capacities for enjoyment, desires for certain things that are in their nature calculated to promote our peace and well-being, that answer their feelings and promote their happiness, but how to obtain the gratification of those capacities and desires the world [does] not know nor understand, but the Lord has seen fit to put us in the channel and in the way of understanding those things by being faithful and walking in the light of the Holy Spirit and receiving truth.6Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost


It is the privilege of the Latter-day Saints to live in the Gospel in such a way that they will feel approved of God. Of course, we do things sometimes that we are ashamed of when we come to consider them, but we repent of them in our hearts and determine to do them no more. That is all the Lord asks of us; and men and women who so live, live without condemnation. They have righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost.7 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost

1. If we keep the light of the Spirit within us, we can so walk in the gospel that we can measurably enjoy peace and happiness in this world; and while we are traveling onward, striving for peace and happiness that lies in our path, in the distance, we shall have a peace of mind that none can enjoy but those who are filled with the Holy Spirit.8 [See suggestion 3 on page 80.] President Snow said that the Holy Ghost can help us “enjoy peace and happiness in this world” (page 77). When has the Holy Ghost helped you be happy and feel peace? What are some other ways the Holy Ghost can help us? (For some examples, see pages 77–80.)



We need the assistance of the Holy Ghost as we endure trials, fulfill our duties, and prepare for celestial glory.


There are many important things required at our hands, and many things which we can do, when assisted by the Spirit of the Lord, which may at times seem almost impossible to accomplish.9 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost I wish to remind my brethren and sisters … that we are dependent for our information and intelligence upon the Spirit of God, which may be in us, if properly cultivated, a spirit of inspiration, of revelation, to make manifest clearly to our understanding the mind and will of God, teaching our duties and obligations, and what is required at our hands. … We need assistance. We are liable to do that which will lead us into trouble and darkness, and those things which will not tend to our good, but with the assistance of that comforter which the Lord has promised his Saints, if we are careful to listen to its whisperings, and understand the nature of its language, we may avoid much trouble and serious difficulty.10 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost



We are entirely dependent upon the spirit of inspiration, and if there ever was a time, since Adam occupied the Garden of Eden, when the Spirit of God was more needed than at the present time, I am not aware of it. The signs of the times, and the rapid approach of scenes that will try the hearts of the Latter-day Saints and their integrity, demand that we now seek earnestly the Spirit of God, and Divine assistance, for it will certainly be needed in the scenes now rapidly approaching. We know that we have needed it in the past. We can easily see that if we had not been in the possession of the Spirit of God to direct us through many of the scenes through which we have passed, we should not have been in the enjoyment of our present prospects of exaltation and glory, and our circumstances would have been much less favorable. And if we have needed the Holy Spirit in the past, we may truly understand that it will be needed in the future.11

We ought to understand—and I presume that we do generally—that the work which we have come into this life to perform cannot be done to the glory of God or to the satisfaction of ourselves merely by our own natural intelligence. We are dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord to aid us and to manifest to us from time to time what is necessary for us to accomplish under the peculiar circumstances that may surround us.12 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost


It would be simply foolish indeed to expect the Latter-day Saints in these days to comply with the celestial law, with the law that proceeds from God, and with his designs to elevate the people into his presence, except they were sustained by a supernatural [heavenly] power. The gospel promises this. It promises the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is divine in its character, and which is not enjoyed by any other class of people, and which we are told by the Saviour, should lead into all truth, and inspire those who possessed it, and give them a knowledge of Jesus, a knowledge of the Father, and of things pertaining to the celestial world; that it should inspire those who possessed it with a knowledge of things to come, and things that were past; and inspire them to an extent that they should enjoy supernatural gifts—the gift of tongues and prophecy, to lay hands upon the sick, by which they should be healed.

Those who received this gospel were promised these supernatural power[s] and gifts, and a knowledge for themselves, that they might not depend upon any man or set of men, in regard to the truth of the religion that they had received; but that they should receive a knowledge from the Father that the religion came from him, that the gospel came from him, and that his servant had the right and authority to administer those ordinances, so that no wind of doctrine should shake them or remove them from the path in which they were walking; so that they might be prepared for the glory that should be revealed, and be made participators therein; so that they might endure any trial or affliction that it should be the will of God to be brought upon them, to prepare them more fully for celestial glory; so that they should walk not in darkness, but in the light and power of God, and be raised above the things of the world, and be superior to the things around them, so that they might walk independently beneath the celestial world, and in the sight of God and heaven, as free men, pursuing that course that should be marked out to them by the Holy Ghost, that course by which they could elevate themselves to knowledge and power, and thus prepare themselves to receive the glory that God proposed to confer upon them, and to occupy the exalted position to which God designed to raise them.13 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost


1. We should so live that we shall know that our course of life is acceptable to God. We should understand the voice and whisperings of the Holy Spirit. In the day when the sky is not obscured by clouds, we discover surrounding objects, their beauty and purpose. So are we dependent on the Spirit of God for light upon the principles of truth and salvation. No professing Latter-day Saint can enjoy any great degree of happiness unless he thus lives, and thus places himself under divine guidance.14 [See suggestion 4 on page 80.] As you study the section beginning on page 77, think about how you have learned to recognize promptings from the Holy Ghost. How might you help a family member or friend learn to recognize the Spirit’s promptings?



When we live humbly, the Holy Ghost helps us in our onward path.


Make up your minds to live humbly and in such a way that you will always have the Spirit of the Lord to be your friend, to make such suggestions to you from time to time as shall be needed under the peculiar circumstances in which you may be placed. …


… How much longer I may live, I know nothing about, and I do not worry about it. I do desire, and it is something that you should desire, to have that humility, and that meekness, and that simplicity to enjoy the spirit of revelation. It is your privilege, every one of you, to have enough of the spirit of revelation to know exactly what is proper for you to do. It is your privilege to have it just as much as it is my privilege to know what to do tomorrow, when tomorrow comes, for the best interests of the Church in general.15 Read the current article Strengthened by the Power of the Holy Ghost


We should endeavor, as far as possible, to forget all worldly matters which grieve and vex us, and fix our minds upon the Lord, having a sufficiency of His Holy Spirit that we may be enabled to receive such knowledge and suggestions as will help us in our onward path.16 [See suggestion 5 below.]


Suggestions for Study and Teaching


Consider these ideas as you study the chapter or as you prepare to teach. For additional help, see pages v–vii.


1. As you review the account on pages 71–73, think about times when you have been blessed because someone else has followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Also think about times when you have followed a prompting to help someone else.

2. Read the section that begins on page 73. What do you think it means to be “established … upon the rock of revelation”? (For some examples, see pages 73–75.) How can personal revelation give us strength to “stand in the midst of every difficulty” and “defy every opposition”?

3. President Snow said that the Holy Ghost can help us “enjoy peace and happiness in this world” (page 77). When has the Holy Ghost helped you be happy and feel peace? What are some other ways the Holy Ghost can help us? (For some examples, see pages 77–80.)

4. As you study the section beginning on page 77, think about how you have learned to recognize promptings from the Holy Ghost. How might you help a family member or friend learn to recognize the Spirit’s promptings?

5. This chapter includes two references to the Holy Ghost as a friend (pages 76 and 79). Why do you think we need humility and simplicity to have the Holy Ghost as our friend?

Related Scriptures: Luke 12:12 12 For the aHoly Ghost shall bteach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.; John 14:26–27; 26 But the aComforter, which is the bHoly Ghost, whom the Father will send in my cname, he shall dteach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 aPeace I leave with you, my bpeace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be ctroubled, neither let it be afraid.


Romans 14:17 17 For the kingdom of God is not ameat and drink; but brighteousness, and cpeace, and djoy in the Holy Ghost.

; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; 4 Now there are diversities of agifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the aSpirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is agiven by the bSpirit the cword of dwisdom; to another the word of eknowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another afaith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of bhealing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of amiracles; to another bprophecy; to another cdiscerning of spirits; to another diverskinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of dtongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

23 aMeekness, btemperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the aaffections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.


1 Nephi 10:17–19; 17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the awords of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a bvision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the cMessiah who should come—I, Nephi, was ddesirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the eHoly Ghost, which is the fgift of God unto gall those who diligently seek him, as well in times of hold as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

18 For he is the asame yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

19 For he that diligently aseeketh shall find; and the bmysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the cHoly Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the dcourse of the Lord is one eternal round.


2 Nephi 32:5 5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will ashow unto you all things what ye should do.



Teaching Help:“To encourage discussion, use the questions in each chapter. … You may also develop your own questions especially for those you are teaching” (from page vi of this book).



President Snow might not have been alive to make that statement if two of his friends had not depended upon the Spirit of the Lord in a peculiar circumstance 34 years earlier.


In 1864, Elders Lorenzo Snow and Ezra T. Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles went on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands. They were accompanied by three other missionaries: Elders Joseph F. Smith, William Cluff, and Alma L. Smith. When their ship anchored off the coast of the island of Maui, all but Joseph F. Smith boarded a smaller boat to go ashore. As they approached the island, high waves struck, causing the steersman to lose control of the boat. The boat capsized, and all the occupants were thrown into the water. Soon everyone surfaced except Elder Snow. A group of islanders rushed to help, taking William Cluff and Alma L. Smith in a lifeboat to search for their friend. Elder Cluff related:

“The first I saw of Brother Snow was his hair floating upon the water around one end of the capsized boat. As soon as we got him into our boat, we told the boatmen to pull for the shore with all possible speed. His body was stiff, and life apparently extinct.

“Brother A. L. Smith and I were sitting side by side. We laid Brother Snow across our laps, and, on the way to shore, we quietly administered to him and asked the Lord to spare his life, that he might return to his family and home.

“On reaching the shore, we carried him a little way to some large barrels that were lying on the sandy beach. We laid him face downwards on one of them, and rolled him back and forth until we succeeded in getting the water he had swallowed out of him. …

“After working over him for some time, without any indications of returning life, the by-standers said that nothing more could be done for him. But we did not feel like giving him up, and still prayed and worked over him, with an assurance that the Lord would hear and answer our prayers.


“Finally we were impressed to place our mouth over his and make an effort to inflate his lungs, alternately blowing in and drawing out the air, imitating, as far as possible, the natural process of breathing. This we persevered in until we succeeded in inflating his lungs. After a little, we perceived very faint indications of returning life. A slight wink of the eye, which, until then, had been open and death-like, and a very faint rattle in the throat, were the first symptoms of returning vitality. These grew more and more distinct, until consciousness was fully restored.”

1. Looking back on this experience, Elder William Cluff knew why he and Elder Alma L. Smith were able to save Elder Snow’s life. “We did not only what was customary in such cases,” he said, “but also what the Spirit seemed to whisper to us.”2 [See suggestion 1 on page 80.] As you review the account on pages 71–73, think about times when you have been blessed because someone else has followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Also think about times when you have followed a prompting to help someone else.



One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children.

Through the manifestations of the Holy Ghost, the Lord will assist us in all our righteous pursuits. I remember in an operating room, I have stood over a patient—unsure how to perform an unprecedented procedure—and experienced the Holy Ghost diagramming the technique in my mind.5 See Russell M. Nelson, “Sweet Power of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 7–8.



April 2003 general conference


Sweet Power of Prayer

By Elder Russell M. Nelson

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

We should pray in accord with the will of our Heavenly Father. He wants to test us, to strengthen us, and to help us achieve our full potential.

In this day of computers, phones, and pagers, people communicate with one another better than ever before. Even so, good communication is often lacking. Recently while visiting a nursing care facility, I spoke with a woman about her family. She told me that she had three sons, two of whom visit her regularly.

“What about your third son?” I asked.

“I don’t know where he is,” she replied tearfully. “I haven’t heard from him for years. I don’t even know how many grandchildren I have.”

Why We Pray

If such a mother yearns to hear from her sons, it is easy to see why a loving Father in Heaven wants to hear from His children.1 Read this current talk


Through prayer, we can show our love for God. And He has made it so easy. We may pray to Him any time. No special equipment is needed. We don’t even need to charge batteries or pay a monthly service fee.


Some people pray only when confronted with personal problems. Others don’t pray at all. A scripture makes this observation: “Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord … for them.”2 Read this current talk


Prophets have long told us to pray humbly and frequently.3 Read this current talk


How to Pray

Jesus taught us how.4 Read this current talk We pray to our Heavenly Father,5 Read this current talk in the name of Jesus Christ,6 by the power of the Holy Ghost.7 Read this current talk


This is the “true order of prayer,”8 Read this current talk

in contrast to “vain repetitions”9 Read this current talk or recitations given to “be seen of men.”10 Read this current talk

Jesus revealed that we pray to a wise Father who knows what things we have need of, before we ask Him.11 Read this current talk

Mormon taught his son, Moroni, that we should pray “with all the energy of heart.”12 Read this current talk

Nephi exclaimed, “I pray continually for [my people] by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, … and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.”13 Read this current talk


The sweet power of prayer can be intensified by fasting, on occasion, when appropriate to a particular need.14 Read this current talk


Prayers can be offered even in silence. One can think a prayer, especially when words would interfere.15 Read this current talk We often kneel to pray; we may stand or be seated.16 Read this current talk Physical position is less important than is spiritual submission to God.


We close our prayer “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”17 Read this current talk When we hear another’s prayer, we audibly add our “amen,” meaning, “That is my prayer, too.”18 Read this current talk

When to Pray

When should we pray? The Lord said, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.”19 Read this current talk

Alma said, “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.”20 Read this current talk


We pray privately, with our families regularly, at mealtime, and in daily activities. Simply summarized, we are a praying people.

Personal Experience with Prayer

Many of us have had experiences with the sweet power of prayer. One of mine was shared with a stake patriarch from southern Utah. I first met him in my medical office more than 40 years ago, during the early pioneering days of surgery of the heart. This saintly soul suffered much because of a failing heart. He pleaded for help, thinking that his condition resulted from a damaged but repairable valve in his heart.

Extensive evaluation revealed that he had two faulty valves. While one could be helped surgically, the other could not. Thus, an operation was not advised. He received this news with deep disappointment.

Subsequent visits ended with the same advice. Finally, in desperation, he spoke to me with considerable emotion: “Dr. Nelson, I have prayed for help and have been directed to you. The Lord will not reveal to me how to repair that second valve, but He can reveal it to you. Your mind is so prepared. If you will operate upon me, the Lord will make it known to you what to do. Please perform the operation that I need, and pray for the help that you need.”21 Read this current talk

His great faith had a profound effect upon me. How could I turn him away again? Following a fervent prayer together, I agreed to try. In preparing for that fateful day, I prayed over and over again, but still did not know what to do for his leaking tricuspid valve. Even as the operation commenced,22 Read this current talk my assistant asked, “What are you going to do for that?”

I said, “I do not know.”

We began the operation. After relieving the obstruction of the first valve,23 Read this current talk 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.”

The patient’s recovery was rapid and his relief gratifying. Not only was he helped in a marvelous way, but surgical help for other people with similar problems had become a possibility. I take no credit. Praise goes to this faithful patriarch and to God, who answered our prayers. This faithful man lived for many more years and has since gone to his eternal glory.

Inquire of the Lord

When we pray, we should not presume to give counsel but should inquire of the Lord24 Read this current talk and hearken to His counsel.25 Read this current talk Joseph Smith’s first prayer ushered in the Restoration of the gospel.26 Read this current talk In 1833, he received the Word of Wisdom after asking the Lord for counsel.27 Read this current talk The revelation on the priesthood received in 1978 by President Spencer W. Kimball came after intense inquiry.28 Read this current talk Inspiration regarding the construction of smaller temples came after the pondering of President Gordon B. Hinckley.29 Read this current talk

Answers to Prayers

Not all of our prayers will be answered as we might wish. Occasionally the answer will be no. We should not be surprised. Loving mortal parents do not say yes to every request of their children.30 Read this current talk


At a recent extended family home evening, our grandchildren were having a wonderful time. A six-year-old grandson became very upset when his father said it was time to go home. So what did this dear boy do? He came to me and said, “Grandfather, may I have your permission to disobey my father?”

I said, “No, sweetheart. One of life’s great lessons is to learn that happiness comes through obedience.31 Go home with your family, and you will be happy.” Though disappointed, he dutifully obeyed.

We should pray in accord with the will of our Heavenly Father.32 He wants to test us, to strengthen us, and to help us achieve our full potential. When the Prophet Joseph Smith was held in Liberty Jail, he pled for relief. His prayers were answered with an explanation: “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”33 Read this current talk

Song of Prayer

I have felt impressed to conclude this message on prayer with a prayer—presented as a hymn. The Lord has said that “the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.”34 Read this current talk The music comes from our book of Hymns,35 Read this current talk for which I have written new words. With thanks to Craig Jessop, Mack Wilberg, and other dear friends in the Tabernacle Choir, we may hear that song of prayer. Brother Jessop, please:


Our Prayer to Thee

We pray to Thee, our Heavenly Father,

With grateful hearts and fond emotion.

We thank Thee for our great Exemplar—

Thy beloved and atoning Son—

Who gave Himself as sacred ransom,

That we could live again with Thee!

Our joy is full, our song so gladsome;

Renew our faith and hope in Thee.

We pray to Thee, our Heavenly Father,

With thankful hearts and adoration.

We thank Thee for our loving Savior,

Who redeemed us from death and sin;

He gave to us His truth to brighten

Our path, to help us walk His way,

To love and serve, to lift and lighten

The lives of all who will obey.

We pray to Thee, our Heavenly Father,

With gratitude and deep devotion

For loving faith and endless splendor—

Eternal glory—bound as one!

We pray for mercy and forgiveness

And hope to know Thy holy will.

We yearn for Thee, we plead in meekness,

Thy trust in us may we fulfill.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

For an arrangement of Elder Russell M. Nelson’s hymn text, see the inside back cover of this magazine.



To strengthen my proposal to Wendy, I said to her, “I know about revelation and how to receive it.” To her credit—and, as I have come to learn, typical of her—she had already sought and received her own revelation about us, which gave her the courage to say yes.

As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I prayed daily for revelation and gave thanks to the Lord every time He spoke to my heart and mind.

Imagine the miracle of it! Whatever our Church calling, we can pray to our Heavenly Father and receive guidance and direction, be warned about dangers and distractions, and be enabled to accomplish things we simply could not do on our own. If we will truly receive the Holy Ghost and learn to discern and understand His promptings, we will be guided in matters large and small.

When I recently faced the daunting task of choosing two counselors, I wondered how I could possibly choose just two from twelve men whom I love and respect.

Because I know that good inspiration is based upon good information, I prayerfully met one-on-one with each Apostle.6


1 And it came to pass when Jesus had said these words, he spake unto his disciples, one by one, saying unto them: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?


I then sequestered myself in a private room in the temple and sought the Lord’s will. I testify that the Lord instructed me to select President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring to serve as my counselors in the First Presidency.

In like manner, I testify that the Lord inspired the call of Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares to be ordained as His Apostles. I and we welcome them to this unique brotherhood of service.

When we convene as a Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, our meeting rooms become rooms of revelation. The Spirit is palpably present. As we wrestle with complex matters, a thrilling process unfolds as each Apostle freely expresses his thoughts and point of view. Though we may differ in our initial perspectives, the love we feel for each other is constant. Our unity helps us to discern the Lord’s will for His Church.

In our meetings, the majority never rules! We listen prayerfully to one another and talk with each other until we are united. Then when we have reached complete accord, the unifying influence of the Holy Ghost is spine-tingling! We experience what the Prophet Joseph Smith knew when he taught, “By union of feeling we obtain power with God.”7 Read Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our lives posted earlier in this article


No member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve would ever leave decisions for the Lord’s Church to his own best judgment!


Brothers and sisters, how can we become the men and women—the Christlike servants—the Lord needs us to be? How can we find answers to questions that perplex us? If Joseph Smith’s transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.

The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God,8 James 1:5

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.


the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.


In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.

Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”9 Teachings: Joseph Smith, 132.


Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire


Prayer is the soul's sincere desire Uttered or unexpressed The motion of a hidden fire That trembles in the breast

Prayer is the burden of a sigh The falling of a tear The upward glancing of an eye When none but God is near

Prayer is the simplest form of speech That infant lips can try Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach The Majesty on high

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath The Christian's native air His watchword at the gates of death He enters heav'n with prayer

Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice Returning from his ways While angels in their songs rejoice And cry, "Behold! He prays!"

Nor prayer is made on earth alone The Holy Spirit pleads And Jesus at the Father's throne For sinners intercedes

O thou by whom we come to God The Life, the Truth, the Way The path of prayer thyself hast trod Lord, teach us how to pray





Chapter 10

Prayer and Personal Revelation

“It is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation.”

From the Life of Joseph Smith

By June 1829, many important events in the unfolding restoration of the gospel had already occurred. The heavens had been opened at the time of the First Vision and God had again spoken to men on earth. The Prophet Joseph Smith had received the Book of Mormon plates and was translating their sacred message. The holy priesthood had been restored, and the ordinance of baptism had been made available to God’s children. Each of these events had occurred in answer to prayer as the Prophet sought guidance from the Lord.

As the work of translation drew to a close, the Prophet once again sought direction from the Lord. Because Moroni had instructed Joseph not to show the plates to anyone unless he was commanded to do so, Joseph had felt very much alone and heavily burdened with his responsibility as he translated the plates. However, he had discovered from the record itself that the Lord would provide three special witnesses who would testify to the world that the Book of Mormon was true

(see 2 Nephi 11:3; 3 And my brother, Jacob, also has aseen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of bthree, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more cwitnesses, and he proveth all his words.


Ether 5:2–4). 2 And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto athose who shall assist to bring forth this work;

3 And unto athree shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall bknow of a surety that these things are ctrue.

4 And in the mouth of three awitnesses shall these things be established; and the btestimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.


“Almost immediately after we had made this discovery,” Joseph Smith recalled, “it occurred to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and … Martin Harris (who had come to inquire after our progress in the work) that they would have me inquire of the Lord to know if they might not obtain of him the privilege to be these three special witnesses.”1 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation


The Prophet prayed for direction and received a revelation declaring that the three men would be permitted to see the plates, as well as the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, and the Liahona (see D&C 17).


Doctrine and Covenants 17





SECTION 17


Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, at Fayette, New York, June 1829, prior to their viewing the engraved plates that contained the Book of Mormon record. Joseph and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, had learned from the translation of the Book of Mormon plates that three special witnesses would be designated (see Ether 5:2–4 you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God.

2 And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto athose who shall assist to bring forth this work;

3 And unto athree shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall bknow of a surety that these things are ctrue.

4 And in the mouth of three awitnesses shall these things be established; and the btestimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.

; 2 Nephi 11:3 3 And my brother, Jacob, also has aseen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of bthree, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more cwitnesses, and he proveth all his words.

27:12 12 Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that athree bwitnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.).

Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris were moved upon by an inspired desire to be the three special witnesses. The Prophet inquired of the Lord, and this revelation was given in answer through the Urim and Thummim.

1–4, By faith the Three Witnesses will see the plates and other sacred items; 5–9, Christ bears testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.


1Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have aaviewof thebplates, and also of thecbreastplate, thedswordof Laban, theeUrim and Thummim, which were given to thefbrother of Jaredupon the mount, when he talked with the Lordgface to face, and thehmiraculousdirectors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of theiRed Sea.


2 And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

3 And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall atestify of them, by the power of God;

4 And this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work.

5 And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., has seen them; for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith.

6 And he has translated the abook, even that bpart which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.

7 Wherefore, you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him;

8 And if you do these last acommandments of mine, which I have given you, the bgates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my cgrace is sufficient for you, and you shall be dlifted up at the last day.

9 And I, Jesus Christ, your aLord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. Amen.



A few days later, the Prophet and the three men went into the woods near the Whitmer home in Fayette, New York, and began to pray for this great privilege to be granted to them. Martin withdrew, feeling unworthy. The Prophet recorded what then occurred: “We … had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, an angel [Moroni] stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereon distinctly.”2 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation

The men also heard the voice of God testifying of the truthfulness of the translation and commanding them to bear record of what they had seen and heard. Joseph then went to find Martin, who was praying elsewhere in the woods. They prayed together and saw the same vision and heard the same voice. Joseph Smith’s mother, who was visiting the Prophet in Fayette at this time, recalled her son’s joy and relief after this manifestation: “When Joseph came in [to the Whitmer home], he threw himself down beside me. ‘Father! Mother!’ said he, ‘you do not know how happy I am. The Lord has caused the plates to be shown to three more besides me, who have also seen an angel and will have to testify to the truth of what I have said, for they know for themselves that I do not go about to deceive the people. And I do feel as though I was relieved of a dreadful burden which was almost too much for me to endure. But they will now have to bear a part, and it does rejoice my soul that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world.’”3 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation Throughout his life, Joseph Smith would turn to God in prayer to seek the help and guidance he needed. A Church member recalled hearing him pray in Kirtland, Ohio, at a time of great personal difficulty: “Never until then had I heard a man address his Maker as though He was present listening as a kind father would listen to the sorrows of a dutiful child. … There was no ostentation, no raising of the voice as by enthusiasm, but a plain conversational tone, as a man would address a present friend. It appeared to me as though, in case the veil were taken away, I could see the Lord standing facing His humblest of all servants I had ever seen.”4 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation Teachings of Joseph Smith God will hear our prayers and speak to us today, just as He spoke to the ancient Saints. “Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation? “Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion, that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word which he has previously given. But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient for Abraham, or it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but for himself he obtained promises at the hand of the Lord and walked in that perfection that he was called the friend of God. Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest his hope upon the promises made to his father, Abraham, but was privileged with the assurance of his approbation in the sight of heaven by the direct voice of the Lord to him. “If one man can live upon the revelations given to another, might not I with propriety ask, why the necessity, then, of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the 26th chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather promises again, to perform the oath which he had previously sworn unto Abraham. And why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham’s son? And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God? Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and different from men in these last days; consequently, the Lord favored him with blessings peculiar and different, as he was different from men in this age. I admit that he was a peculiar man and was not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the difference between him and men in this age, is that he was more holy and more perfect before God and came to him with a purer heart and more faith than men in this day. “The same might be said on the subject of Jacob’s history. Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise after he had made it once to Abraham and renewed it to Isaac? Why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers? “When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them? The promise or word to Abraham was that his seed should serve in bondage and be afflicted four hundred years, and after that they should come out with great substance. Why did they not rely upon this promise and, when they had remained in Egypt in bondage four hundred years, come out without waiting for further revelation, but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham that they should come out? … “… I may believe that Enoch walked with God. I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker, that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a blessing. I may believe that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses. I may believe that the saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face after his resurrection. I may believe that the Hebrew church came to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. “But will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself? And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers and listen to my cries as soon as he ever did to theirs if I come to him in the manner they did?”5 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation We can make everything we undertake a subject of prayer. Sarah Granger Kimball reported: “In the School of the Prophets … , when Joseph Smith was giving instruction to the brethren, he told them to make everything they undertook a subject of prayer.”6 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “Seek to know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields. Follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess [see Alma 34:18–27]; ask the blessing of God upon all your labors, and everything that you engage in.”7 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “Slack not your duties in your families, but call upon God for his blessings upon you, and your families, upon your flocks and herds, and all that pertains to you—that you may have peace and prosperity—and while you are doing this, ‘pray for the peace of Zion, for they shall prosper that love her.’ [See Psalm 122:6.]”8 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation A prayer the Prophet recorded in August 1842 shows his desire for wisdom from God: “O Thou, who seest and knowest the hearts of all men … , look down upon Thy servant Joseph at this time; and let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, to a greater degree than Thy servant ever yet has enjoyed, be conferred upon him, even the faith of Elijah; and let the lamp of eternal life be lit up in his heart, never to be taken away; and let the words of eternal life be poured upon the soul of Thy servant, that he may know Thy will, Thy statutes, and Thy commandments, and Thy judgments, to do them. As the dews upon Mount Hermon, may the distillations of Thy divine grace, glory, and honor, in the plenitude of Thy mercy, and power, and goodness, be poured down upon the head of Thy servant.”9 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation When we pray in faith and simplicity, we receive the blessings God sees fit to bestow upon us. “Supplicate at the throne of grace, that the Spirit of the Lord may always rest upon you. Remember that without asking we can receive nothing; therefore, ask in faith, and ye shall receive such blessings as God sees fit to bestow upon you. Pray not with covetous hearts that ye may consume it upon your lusts, but pray earnestly for the best gifts [see D&C 46:8–9]. 8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived aseek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; 9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a asign that they may bconsume it upon their lusts. 10 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “Virtue is one of the most prominent principles that enables us to have confidence in approaching our Father who is in heaven in order to ask wisdom at his hand. Therefore, if thou wilt cherish this principle in thine heart, thou mayest ask with all confidence before him and it shall be poured out upon thine head [see D&C 121:45–46] 45 Let thy abowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let bvirtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy cconfidence wax strong in the dpresence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the edews from heaven. 46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant acompanion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of brighteousness and truth; and thy cdominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. .”11 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “Let the prayers of the Saints to heaven appear, that they may enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, for the effectual prayers of the righteous avail much [see James 5:16] 16 aConfess your faults one to another, and bpray one for another, that ye may be healed. cThe effectual dfervent eprayerof a righteous man availeth much..”12 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation Henry W. Bigler recalled: “Speaking about praying to our Father in heaven, I once heard Joseph Smith remark, ‘Be plain and simple and ask for what you want, just like you would go to a neighbor and say, I want to borrow your horse to go to [the] mill.’”13 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation We can receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. “It is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation. … God is not a respecter of persons; we all have the same privilege.”14 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “We believe that we have a right to revelations, visions, and dreams from God, our heavenly Father; and light and intelligence, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus Christ, on all subjects pertaining to our spiritual welfare; if it so be that we keep his commandments, so as to render ourselves worthy in his sight.”15 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.”16 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “I have an old edition of the New Testament in the Latin, Hebrew, German and Greek languages. … I thank God that I have got this old book; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world; but I have got the oldest book in my heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost. … The Holy Ghost … is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him.”17 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.”18 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation John Taylor, while serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, reported: “I well remember a remark that Joseph Smith made to me upwards of forty years ago. Said he, ‘Elder Taylor, you have been baptized, you have had hands laid upon your head for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and you have been ordained to the holy priesthood. Now, if you will continue to follow the leadings of that spirit, it will always lead you right. Sometimes it might be contrary to your judgment; never mind that, follow its dictates; and if you be true to its whisperings it will in time become in you a principle of revelation so that you will know all things.’”19 Read this current lesson Prayer and Personal Revelation Suggestions for Study and Teaching Consider these ideas as you study the chapter or as you prepare to teach. For additional help, see pages vii–xii. · Note the importance of prayer in the experience of Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon (pages 125–27). How has prayer influenced your own experiences with the Book of Mormon? What other aspects of your life are influenced by prayer? · What are your thoughts as you read the paragraph at the bottom of page 127? As you ponder this statement, consider what you might do to improve the way you “address [your] Maker.” · Why can’t we rely solely on revelations from the past? (For some examples, see pages 128–30.) Why do we need continuing, personal revelation? · Review the section that begins on page 130. Identify the Prophet’s teachings concerning when we should pray and what we should pray about. How might these teachings help you in your personal prayers? How might they help families with family prayer? · Study the Prophet’s teachings on pages 131–32 about how we should pray. What is the value of using “plain and simple” language when we pray? How does living righteously give us confidence in approaching our Heavenly Father in prayer? What has helped you gain a testimony that God hears and answers prayers? · Read the third full paragraph on page 132. When have you profited from noticing “the first intimation” of the Spirit prompting you? How can we learn to immediately recognize the whisperings of the Spirit when they come? Related Scriptures: 1 Kings 19:11–12; 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a astill small bvoice. James 1:5–6; 5 aIf any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that cgivethto all men liberally, and dupbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him aask in bfaith, nothing cwavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Helaman 5:30; 30 And it came to pass when they heard this avoice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a bstill voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul 3 Nephi 18:18–21; 18 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for aSatan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. 19 Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; 20 And awhatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. 21 aPray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.


D&C 6:22–23; 22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might aknow concerning the truth of these things.

23 Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater bwitness can you have than from God?


8:2–3; 2 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.

3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses abrought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.


88:63–65 63 aDraw bnear unto me and I will draw near unto you; cseekme diligently and ye shall dfind me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

64 Whatsoever ye aask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is bexpedient for you;

65 And if ye ask anything that is not aexpedient for you, it shall turn unto your bcondemnation.



In June 1829, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Joseph Smith were privileged to see Moroni and the gold plates. A short time later on the same day, Martin Harris also saw the angel and the plates.


“Slack not your duties in your families, but call upon God for his blessings upon you, and your families.”


Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”10 See Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives Printed earlier

You don’t have to wonder about what is true.11 See Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives Printed earlier

You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.


I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”12 See Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives Printed earlier


Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”13 See Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives Printed earlier


Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon,14 and regular time committed to temple and family history work.

To be sure, there may be times when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you.

I am optimistic about the future. It will be filled with opportunities for each of us to progress, contribute, and take the gospel to every corner of the earth. But I am also not naive about the days ahead. We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious. The constant availability of social media and a 24-hour news cycle bombard us with relentless messages. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.

Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.

My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. Let this Easter Sunday be a defining moment in your life. Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.

With Moroni, I exhort you on this Easter Sabbath to “come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift,”15 See Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives Printed earlier

beginning with the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift can and will change your life.

We are followers of Jesus Christ. The most important truth the Holy Ghost will ever witness to you is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He lives! He is our Advocate with the Father, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer. On this Easter Sunday, we commemorate His atoning sacrifice, His literal Resurrection, and His divinity.


This is His Church, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I so testify, with my expression of love for each of you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Now back to Thinking Celestial Talk


5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.


61 If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

Please do the spiritual work to increase your capacity to receive personal revelation.19


As you think celestial, your faith will increase. When I was a young intern, my income was $15 a month. One night, my wife Dantzel asked if I was paying tithing on that meager stipend. I was not. I quickly repented and began paying the additional $1.50 in monthly tithing.

Was the Church any different because we increased our tithing? Of course not. However, becoming a full-tithe payer changed me. That is when I learned that paying tithing is all about faith, not money. As I became a full-tithe payer, the windows of heaven began to open for me. I attribute several subsequent professional opportunities to our faithful payment of tithes.20

This is not to imply a cause-and-effect relationship. Some who never pay tithing attain professional opportunities, while some who pay tithing do not. The promise is that the windows of heaven will be opened to the tithe payer. The nature of the blessings will vary.


Paying tithing requires faith, and it also builds faith in God and His Beloved Son.

Choosing to live a virtuous life in a sexualized, politicized world builds faith.

Spending more time in the temple builds faith. And your service and worship in the temple will help you to think celestial. The temple is a place of revelation. There you are shown how to progress toward a celestial life. There you are drawn closer to the Savior and given greater access to His power. There you are guided in solving the problems in your life, even your most perplexing problems.

The ordinances and covenants of the temple are of eternal significance. We continue to build more temples to make these sacred possibilities become a reality in each of your lives. We are grateful to announce our plans to build a temple in each of the following 20 locations:

  • Savai’i, Samoa

  • Cancún, Mexico

  • Piura, Peru

  • Huancayo, Peru

  • Viña del Mar, Chile

  • Goiânia, Brazil

  • João Pessoa, Brazil

  • Calabar, Nigeria

  • Cape Coast, Ghana

  • Luanda, Angola

  • Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Laoag, Philippines

  • Osaka, Japan

  • Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

  • Fairbanks, Alaska

  • Vancouver, Washington

  • Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Roanoke, Virginia

  • Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The Lord is directing us to build these temples to help us think celestial. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. His Church has been restored to bless all of God’s children. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.


This is the Christ


We leave our witness that Jesus is the Christ. The Son of God. He Lives! He loves each of us. We express our love to each of you.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Steve and Debbie


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