A purpose of the new LDS Relief Society and priesthood quorum first Sunday council meetings is to provide a set apart time and place for participants to have a revelatory experience.
The first week allows an opportunity to receive collective inspiration by truly counseling together and understanding multiple perspectives from which the Holy Ghost can introduce a revelatory experience.
“What Is a Revelatory Experience?”
To me, a revelatory experience is a time when I feel the Holy Ghost through receiving a prompting to action, an answer to prayer, or His testifying of truth.
When Jesus visited the Nephites after His resurrection, He taught them, and us, how to have revelatory experiences!
I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.
Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.
- Recognize our weakness in understanding. If we think we know everything, we can’t receive anything new the Holy Ghost could share.
- Go to our personal space. Finding stillness in our personal spaces sets the foundation for the next steps.
- Ponder what the Savior’s taught. His words are so available to us through temple, scriptures, General Conferences, music, patriarchal blessings, prior revelations. Identifying holes or weakness in our understanding of His doctrine creates space in our minds and hearts to receive be taught the revelation and insight to sure up our understanding.
- Ask the Father. The most simple of Primary answers really provides the key to revelatory experiences. The Bible Dictionary’s “Prayer” sections teach that “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessing that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them.” Revelation is one of the blessings God is willing to grant, but we need to ask for. It’s as simple as asking, “Father, please teach me something new today” or “I don’t understand this doctrine, please show me how to apply it in my life.”
- Prepare our minds for tomorrow. Often, the Holy Ghost’s revelation inspires action. The Savior asked the people to ponder, ask for understanding, and internalize that information and get ready for more (that’s “prepare your minds” to me). When we receive revelation and have sought the understanding necessary to be settled without concern and worry, we are prepared to receive more. If we’re still mulling over the first lesson, we cannot easily move on to the next.
- Expect Him to come again!!! Expect revelation again!! There’s no set time for the Holy Ghost’s revelation! We can expect the Holy Ghost will reveal things to us again and again! Joseph Smith said “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.” Therefore, if we are not receiving revelations, we have not received the Holy Ghost.
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.” Joseph Smith
The next day, the Nephites gathered in droves. The 12 disciples prayed unto the Father in the name of Jesus. They ministered to the people. They taught all of the words of Jesus.
And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.
After their prayers were answered through some heavenly ministrations, “…behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.”
And Jesus prayed for them and taught them and answered their prayers. What a spectacularly amazing revelatory experience!
“Well, if Jesus Was the Facilitator for Sunday Meetings, They Would Be More Revelatory!”
I remember hearing an anecdotal account of President Spencer W. Kimball where someone asked how he dealt with boring Sacrament meetings. Purportedly, President Kimball responded, “I don’t know. I’ve never been to a boring Sacrament meeting.”
He taught that we each needed to take responsibility for our personal learning. If a meeting is boring, it is essentially our fault because we haven’t adequately prepared ourselves to be there.
I’ve taken that counsel to heart and it’s made a difference! Because if I show up expecting someone to teach me, I’m in an attitude of “prove it.” And I’m not easily swayed in that mode. But when I show up asking the Lord to send the Holy Ghost to teach me, He always does. I learn things that may have nothing to do with the talk or lesson, but something they say spark a train of thought in my mind that teaches me something I want or need to know.
“I Don’t Have To Know That” AKA “Everyone Receives Revelation Except Me!”
After Lehi shared his vision of the Tree of Life with his family, his sons reacted very differently. Nephi immediately realized his knowledge lacked this new revelation, found some personal space in the mountain, pondered on the words his father shared, asked God for understanding, and received a comparable vision from the Lord.
When he returned back to camp from his revelatory experience, he found his brothers bickering about what Lehi’s vision meant.
And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?
And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.
Nephi chastised their lack of faith and taught them from his own revelatory experience.
Can we receive personal revelation? Yes!
Below are three quotations from Joseph Smith about our ability to ask for and receive revelatory experiences.
“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.”
“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.”
“… 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?”
Make Every Class a Revelatory Experience
The greatest waster of my time has been when I’ve attended church in numb-mode and left in the same numb-mode. I was there in body, but not heart, mind, or soul. If I’m going to a space set aside for holiness, light, and knowledge, why not receive that as intended!!
I challenge you to test the pattern above. It’s worked for me. I feel like I’ve personally only scratched the surface of what’s possible, but I know it is possible!
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.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.