Today, with a church membership approaching 13 million members and more than half of those living outside the United States, one is fortunate to be in the same venue where the prophet is speaking, much less have a private conversation with him. But that doesn’t mean that church members cannot receive specific direction for their lives when needed. The Lord guides His children primarily in three ways:
First, He has given every baptized member of the church the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Gift of the Holy Ghost entitles the recipient to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost provided they are living worthily. The Holy Ghost knows all things. He can guide us not only the way we should go, but also warn us against taking a path that might be dangerous.
Secondly, He has given worthy men the Priesthood, the authority to act and bless others in His name. Priesthood holders can not only bless the sick, as Christ blessed the sick, they can give blessings of comfort and direction in times of need. Typically a blessing is sought out by a close relative: a husband, father, or brother. If a relative is not able to give the blessing, families can seek out the assistance of priesthood holders in their ward (congregation). They place their hands on the head of the individual in need of a blessing and through the power of Christ utter words of divine counsel and reassurance.
In the Bible it records the blessings of fathers to their sons, to pass on the birthright, as well as give counsel and direction to those who would be responsible for protecting and maintaining the family. Today in a somewhat similar fashion, worthy members of the church may receive what is known as a Patriarchal blessing. In this blessing they receive counsel and direction regarding their individual life’s mission. They also learn through which lineage of the twelve tribes of Israel they inherit their spiritual birthright. The Lord made certain promises to Abraham which are still valid for all his righteous descendants. Through a Patriarchal blessing church members learn through which tribe of Israel they receive these promised blessings. Patriarchal blessings are administered through one ordained specially to administer them, and unlike regular priesthood blessings which may be sought at any time of need, are only given once in a person’s life.
We can receive divine revelation specific to our individual needs. As long as we are doing our best to live our lives in accordance with God’s commandments, He is eager and willing to speak directly to us through His appointed channels.