Personal Revelation

SISTER CRISTINA B. FRANCO

Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
Devotional given at BYU Idaho on 9 Mar 2021

It is an honor to be with you sisters and friends at BYU–I! I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will be here with us for He is the true teacher and the one who testifies of all truth!

In the April 2020 general conference, our dear prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, invited us again to increase our personal capacity to receive personal revelation as we “hear Him.” [1] 

All of us who have been baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are entitled to receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. What is personal revelation?

President Marion G. Romney taught: “Just as prayer is the means by which men address the Lord, so revelation is the means by which God communicates to men. In doing so, He uses various means. The spoken word, for example, was the method He used to answer Adam’s prayer. Adam and Eve ‘ heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them.’” [2]

In addition to the spoken word, the Lord at times appears personally—for example, when He appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and other prophets throughout history. On other occasions, the Lord has communicated through dreams, angelic messengers, and visions—for example, to Mary, the mother of Jesus; Daniel; Lehi and Nephi; and others.

 

Elijah teaches us about the still, small voice of the Spirit:

 

And he [the Lord] 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:

 

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. [3]

I can personally testify of this way of revelation because I have experienced it many times in my life. This still, small voice is often associated with a feeling. I always pay close attention to these feelings.

The main role of the Holy Ghost is to testify of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. In addition, in 2 Nephi 32:5 it says, “If ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”

 

The still, small voice is often accompanied by a feeling of peace, warmth, comfort, and love. The Holy Ghost gives us thoughts in our minds and feelings in our hearts. Sometimes the Holy Ghost comes to teach us when we least expect it and to bring all things to remembrance with a voice of conviction and awe. Other times the Spirit has a voice of warning, causing feelings of uneasiness and discomfort.

I would like to share three simple personal experiences I’ve had with revelation.

 

1. The voice of the Spirit testifying of all truth.

As a child, I loved going to Primary. I remember being 10 or 11 years old, riding the bus back home from Primary and thinking about what I had just learned. I have always enjoyed learning about Jesus and His gospel, and that day I had a question. My mom was very smart and, in my mind, knew the answer to all things, so when I got home, I asked my question to her. To this day, I do not remember my question, but I do remember what my mother taught me. 

 

After she answered my question, she said, “Cris, you don’t have to take my word for it.” And then she gave me the key: “You can ask your questions directly to our Father in Heaven, and He will let you know if it’s true through the Holy Ghost.”

 

I wanted to put this to the test, so I went to my room and knelt down in prayer, asking my Heavenly Father to tell me if this Church and the things I was learning in Primary were true.

 

A few minutes later, I heard the softest voice telling me it was true, and then the feeling of warmth and happiness came to my heart, as well as a comprehension of the love my Father in Heaven has for me. He knew me then and He knows me now.

 

Since that day, I have taken my questions to my Heavenly Father, who, throughout my life, has heard and answered my questions and my prayers.

 

In John 14:26 the Lord said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

 

2. The voice of the Spirit bringing all things to remembrance.

 

When my husband was an Area Seventy, one of his assignments was to attend different stake conferences. Saturdays were always busy with leadership meetings, adult sessions, and dinner with members of the stake he was attending. I would always be invited to attend with my husband for the dinner and the following session.

 

On one occasion I was working on a Saturday until 5:00 p.m., and since I can do all things with the Lord’s help, I had promised my husband that I would be at the church at 6:00 p.m. for dinner and the meeting.

I remember driving home thinking, “I can do this. I have 10 minutes to change my clothes, and then I can drive myself from South Jordan to the Holladay area and be there right on time.”

 

Everything was going as planned. I got home, quickly changed into a skirt, put on a pair of my very cute shoes, and reapplied lipstick—all in seven minutes. And then it happened: when I grabbed my purse and looked for the keys to the car, they were not there. 

 

I checked on top of the counter; they weren’t there. I checked in my closet; they were not there. I checked by the shoes; they were not there. By then my time was running out; I had already spent an extra seven minutes. If I did not find my car keys immediately, I would not make it to the dinner and maybe not even to the meeting. 

In frantic desperation I knelt down, almost crying, and asked our Father in Heaven to help me find the keys. I explained my situation and apologized for asking Him to please hurry and answer my prayer now.

When I said “amen,” I heard a soft voice whisper, “Have you checked in the bathroom?” It was so clear that I heard myself questioning back, “In the bathroom?” 

As soon as I opened the bathroom door, I saw my keys lying next to the sink where I had washed my hands. My gratitude was so great that I had to take an extra minute to kneel down again and sincerely thank my Heavenly Father for answering my prayer so quickly. He knew me. Isn’t it remarkable that He is ready and waiting to help and bless us? He is always available, 24/7. We are His children. He knows and loves each of us individually. 

 

In Luke 11:9–10 we read:

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Moroni 10:4 is one of my favorite scriptures, as it tells us how to receive truth and revelation:

 

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

These scriptures apply to those seeking spiritual truths and gospel truths, and I believe they also apply to the little things in life, like promising to be to a meeting and needing help finding car keys. Ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, and He will make known to your mind where your car keys are by the power of the Holy Ghost.

 

3. The voice of the Spirit as a voice of warning.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, all our meetings were held downtown in the Relief Society Building where we each have our individual offices. During rush hour, I have about an hour commute from my home to the office.  

One morning I woke up, looked outside, and saw there were several inches of new snow. I really don’t like driving in the snow, so I decided I would ride the train. It would also take me about an hour, but I wouldn’t have to worry about slick roads and other snow-related delays, including nutty drivers. (Notice I took myself off the road that day so I wouldn’t be one of them.)

 

I remember this day with clarity. While on the train, I took the opportunity to read and mark my scriptures. I also had a stack of papers in my hand that needed my attention.

 

When I was getting closer to my destination, I heard a soft voice in my mind say, “Do not take the paper.”

Sometimes when I hear directions like that, I want a little more clarification, so I asked in my mind, “What paper?” Nothing came to my mind, so I put away all my papers and scriptures.

 

Immediately, I heard the same voice with the same direction: “Do not take the paper,” to which I responded, “I wish I knew what paper I’m not supposed to take.” I kind of waited for an answer, but the voice was very quiet. 

I stood up to walk to the door, and after my second step, I heard the voice again, but this time my heart started to pound and the feeling accompanying the voice of warning was of uneasiness to the point I thought in my mind “Okay, I won’t take whatever paper.”

 

As soon as the train stopped, I pushed the button and the doors opened. A man stretched out his hand as I was descending the stair to hand me a paper. I looked at him and promptly said, “No, thank you!”

To this day, I have no idea what was in that paper. But the Holy Ghost knew, and it was something I didn’t need to see, I didn’t need to read, and I didn’t need to touch, and that was sufficient for me.

I am so very thankful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost in my life!

 

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.” [4] 

 

In the April 2020 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson explained: “The very first word in the Doctrine and Covenants is hearken [see Doctrine and Covenants 1:1]. It means ‘to listen with the intent to obey.’ To hearken means to ‘hear Him’—to hear what the Savior says and then to heed His counsel. In those two words—‘Hear Him’—God gives us the pattern for success, happiness, and joy in this life. We are to hear the words of the Lord, hearken to them, and heed what He has told us!” [5]

 

We know Joseph Smith received constant revelation. Listen to his words: 

 

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. [6]

 

President Nelson’s April 2020 message continues:

 

As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths. . . .

 

We can go to the scriptures. They teach us about Jesus Christ and His gospel, the magnitude of His Atonement, and our Father’s great plan of happiness and redemption. Daily immersion in the word of God is crucial for spiritual survival, especially in these days of increasing upheaval. . . .We can also hear Him in the temple. . . .

 

When these temporary COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, please schedule regular time to worship and serve in the temple. Every minute of that time will bless you and your family in ways nothing else can. Take time to ponder what you hear and feel when you are there. . . .

 

We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.

I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.

Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary.

 

And, finally, we hear Him as we heed the words of prophets, seers, and revelators. Ordained Apostles of Jesus Christ always testify of Him. They point the way as we make our way through the heart-wrenching maze of our mortal experiences.

 

Now please listen carefully to this next statement from our beloved President Nelson, our prophet for this day:

 

What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life. [7] 

 

Sisters, I testify that as we listen to the still, small voice our lives will be easier. Our decisions will be better and our lives will be happier. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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This Speech has been Translated by
Katherin Sandoval & Natalia del
Villar