One of the key differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as Mormons, and other Christian faiths, is our belief that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father strongly encourage personal prayer and revelation.
Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet of the restoration, made a very profound statement which changed the course of relationships between the children of God and their Heavenly Father:
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. (“Chapter 10: Prayer and Personal Revelation,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007),125–34)
Once this revolutionary principle was taught to the world, millions upon millions took hold of the concept and turned to their Father in Heaven for confirmation of truths or falsehoods they were being taught. It took the responsibility out of the hands of priests, preachers and ministers and placed it squarely where it belonged, on the shoulders of individuals who had the willingness to kneel and ask their Father for truth.
It is a God-given right, along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to turn to Him in times of trouble, questioning, learning, joy and sorrow. What an incredible privilege this is . . .
Some questions for God, right off the top of my head, are:
- Are you there?
- Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New Testament?
- Is the Book of Mormon true?
- Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints true?
- Is baptism by immersion correct?
It is by the utilization of this precious and simple gift from God that Joseph Smith, Jr. was able to restore the Kingdom of God, in its entirety, on the earth.
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. (Ibid)
Indeed, this is as each of us should approach our Father in Heaven, for we are His sons or daughters. (See Romans 8:16)
When we left our heavenly home, we left with great hope, anticipation and excitement knowing that our Father in Heaven would be waiting, at all times, to listen to us, answer our questions and inspire in directions which would give us the least amount of pain. As I have mentioned before: We were never meant to traverse these treacherous paths alone. He, along with Jesus Christ, focus every effort on bringing us home. Jesus Christ told Moses:
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)
To each child of God on the earth today, I urge you to kneel, and in quiet humility, pray and ask the Father anything which you desire, confirm any truth you believe you have received or pour you troubles out to Him and then listen for guidance. He awaits, I promise you. You matter, you are everything . . . else why would Jesus Christ descend from His throne on high and be born into the world to pay the ultimate price that we might live forever and attain eternal life.
Let us end with the words of Joseph:
… 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? (Ibid)