A Jensen Muse Post

A Framework for Personal Revelation

Elder Dale G. Renlund – Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

“…[Holy Ghost] will show unto you all things what ye should do.”

2 Nephi 32:5

1st framework element for personal revelation – scriptures

The scriptures also teach us how to receive personal revelation. From the footnote:

“The scriptures teach that the voice of the Holy Ghost is mild and still, like a whisper – not loud or noisy; it is simple, quiet, and plain; it can be piercing and burning; it affects both mind and heart; it brings peace, joy, and hope – not fear, anxiety, and worry; it invites us to do good – not evil; and it is enlightening and delicious – not mystifying.”

  • 1 Kings 19:11-12
  • Omni 1:25
  • Alma 32:28
  • Helaman 5:30-33
  • 3 Nephi 11:3-7 “…they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn. And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not. And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom i have glorified my name – hear ye him.”
  • Moroni 7:16-17
  • D&C 6:22-24
  • D&C 8:2-3
  • D&C 9:8-9
  • D&C 11:12-14
  • D&C 85:6

“We cannot express spiritual knowledge in words alone. We can, however, with words show another how to prepare for the reception of the Spirit. The Spirit itself will help. ‘For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.’ (2 Nephi 33:1)

We do not have the words (even the scriptures do not have words) which perfectly describe the Spirit. The scriptures generally use the word voice, which does not exactly fit. These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes, nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels, more than one hears. Once I came to understand this, one verse in the Book of Mormon took on a profound meaning, and my testimony of the book increased immeasurably. It had to do with Laman and Lemuel, who rebelled against Nephi. Nephi rebuked them and said, ‘Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words.’ (1 Nephi 17:45)

For there is that spiritual process, described by the Prophet Joseph Smith, by which pure intelligence can flow into our minds and we can know what we need to know without either the drudgery of study or the passage of time, for it is revelation.

A testimony is not thrust upon you; a testimony grows. We become taller in testimony like we grow taller in physical stature; we hardly know it happens because it comes by growth.

Nathaniel believed then seeing, whereas Thomas was seeing is believing. The Lord taught a profound lesson. ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’ (John 20:25-29)

‘Whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Nephi 9:20) Several years ago I met one of our sons in the mission field in a distant part of the world. He had been there for a year. His first question was this: ‘Dad, what can I do to grow spiritually? I have tried so hard to grow spiritually and I just haven’t made any progress.’ That was his perception: to me it was otherwise. I could hardly believe the maturity, the spiritual growth that he had gained in just one year. He ‘knew it not’ for it had come as growth, not as a startling spiritual experience.

Oh, if I could teach you this one principle. A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it! Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that ‘leap of faith,’ as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two.

The skeptic will say that to bear testimony when you may not know you possess one is to condition yourself; that the response is manufactured. Well, one thing for sure, the skeptic will never know, for he will not meet the requirement of faith, humility, and obedience to qualify him for the visitation of the Spirit. Can you not see that that is where testimony is hidden, protected perfectly from the insincere, from the intellectual, from the mere experimenter, the arrogant, the faithless, the proud? It will not come to them.

Bear testimony of the things that you hope are true, as an act of faith.

The Spirit and testimony of Christ will come to you for the most part when, and remain with you only if, you share it. In that process is the very essense of the gospel…a perfect demonstration of Christianity. You cannot find it, nor keep it, nor enlarge it unless and until you are willing to share it. It is by giving it away freely that it becomes yours.

The spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual.

The choicest pearl, the one of great price, is to learn at an early age how one is guided by the Spirit of the Lord – a supernal gift. Indeed, it is a guide and a protection.

There is so much more to say. I could speak of prayer, of fasting, of priesthood and authority, of worthiness – all essential to revelation. When they are understood, it all fits together – perfectly. But some things one must learn individually, and alone, taught by the Spirit.

The spiritual gifts are with the Church. Choice among them is the gift of the Holy Ghost!

The Candle of the Lord by Boyd K. Packer, Ensign – January 1983


Hear Him by Russell M. Nelson


Embrace the Future with Faith by Russell M. Nelson


Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives by Russell M. Nelson

2nd framework element for personal revelation

We receive personal revelation, not revelation for the church, unless we are the prophet of the church.

3rd Framework Element for Personal Revelation

The personal revelation we receive will be in harmony with the commandments of God and the covenants we have made with Him. When we ask for revelation about something for which God has already given clear direction, we open ourselves up to misinterpreting our feelings and hearing what we want to hear.

“Nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit, when they think they have the Spirit of God.”

Joseph Smith, in Times and Seasons, Apr. 1, 1842, 744, josephsmithpapers.org.

4th Framework Element for Personal Revelation

Recognize what God has already revealed to you personally, while being open to further revelation from Him. If God has answered a question and the circumstances have not changed, why would we expect the answer to be different?

“Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For…he counseleth in wisdom”

Jacob 4:10


A Framework for Personal Revelation by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


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