Why is the mind frightening to all
How to Get Spiritual Knowledge
I want to share with you something that I went through when I was not a General Authority that influenced me a lot. I sat on the plane next to an avowed atheist who made it so plain that he doesn't believe in God that I gave him my testimony. "You are wrong," I said. “There is a God. I White, that he lives! "
He contradicted: “That knowledge You don't. Nobody knows. You can't knowledge!" But when I insisted on my testimony, the atheist, who was a lawyer by profession, asked the perhaps all-important question about testimony. “Very well,” he said, mockingly and condescendingly, “so you say you know. Tell me, where from You know. "
Even though I held high degrees, I was at a loss for words when I tried to answer.
When I get the words ghost or testimony used, the atheist replied: “I don't know what you're talking about.” The terms Prayer, discernment and Faith had no meaning for him either. “You see,” he said, “you don't really know. If you knew you could also tell me where from You know. "
I felt like bearing my testimony might not have been such a good idea after all, and I didn't know what to do. Then it happened! Something occurred to me. At this point I mention something the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “There is some benefit to looking for the first signs of the spirit of revelation; For example, if someone feels that pure intelligence is flowing into them, a thought may suddenly arise in them ... And if one learns to know and understand the Spirit of God in this way, one can grow into the principle of revelation until one becomes perfect in Christ Jesus. "1
Such a thought occurred to me and I turned to the atheist: "I want to ask you if you know what salt tastes like."
"Of course I know," was the reply.
I said, “Let's say I've never tried salt. Just tell me how it tastes. "
After some thought, he said: "Well, well, it's neither sweet nor sour."
"You told me how it doesn't taste, but not how it tastes."
Of course, even after several attempts, he did not succeed. Words alone couldn't explain something as common as the taste of salt. I testified again and said, “I know that there is a God. You mocked this testimony and said that if I knew I might as well tell you where from I know exactly. My friend, spiritually I have tasted salt. I can no more explain in words how I came to this realization than you can tell me what salt tastes like. But I tell you again: There is a God! He lives! And don't try to convince me, just because you don't know, that I don't know either, because I do know! "
As we parted, I heard him mutter: “I can manage without your religion. I don not need you!"
Since that experience, I've never been ashamed of the fact that I couldn't explain everything that I knew spiritually with words alone. The apostle Paul put it this way:
“[We] speak ... not with words as human wisdom teaches them, but as the Spirit teaches them by interpreting the work of the Spirit to the spirit-filled.
But the earthly minded person does not get involved in what comes from the Spirit of God. It is foolishness for him and he cannot understand it because it can only be judged with the help of the Spirit ”(1 Corinthians 2: 13–14.)
The soft, quiet voice
The voice of the Spirit is described in the scriptures as neither loud nor harsh (see 3 Nephi 11: 3). It is "not a voice of thunder ..., not even a voice of great, violent noise", but "a quiet voice of perfect mildness, like a whisper" and it can penetrate "deep into the soul" (Helaman 5:30 ) and “burn the heart” (3 Nephi 11: 3). Remember that Elijah did not hear the Lord's voice in a storm, or in an earthquake, or in a fire, but rather as a “gentle, soft purr” (1 Kings 19:12).
The mind does not attract our attention by shouting loudly or shaking us vigorously. Instead, he whispers. It makes itself known so gently that we may not even notice it if we're too busy.
Occasionally, he will push us just enough that we should pay attention to him. Most of the time, however, if we ignore the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we seek and listen and say in our own way what Samuel said of old: “Speak, [Lord] for your servant hears. ”(1 Samuel 3:10.)
One cannot force something spiritual
There is one more lesson to be learned. A testimony does not come to you, it grows. As we grow physically, so do our testimonies; we hardly notice it because it happens step by step.
One cannot force something spiritual. Words like force, force, compel, demand or desire have nothing to do with our right to the Spirit. You cannot force the mind to respond any more than you can force a bean to drift or a chick to hatch before the time is right. You can create the conditions to encourage, nourish, and protect growth, but you cannot force anything: you must wait for it to grow.
Do not wait impatiently to gain great spiritual knowledge. Let it grow, help with it, but don't force it, otherwise you will open the door to error.
Use every tool you have
We are expected to use the light and knowledge we already have to cope with life. We do not need revelation to know and do our duty because we have been told what to do in the scriptures. Nor should we expect revelation to replace the spiritual or temporal intelligence that we have already received - it is simply intended to expand it. We must lead normal, everyday lives, following the routine, rules, and guidelines that govern it.
Rules, guidelines and commandments are valuable protection. If we need direction in the form of revelation to correct course, it will be waiting for us en route when we get to the point where we need it. The counsel "to be zealous in a good cause" is indeed wise counsel (see D&C 58:27).
Your testimony may be stronger than you think
Don't be shy or ashamed if you don't know everything. Nephi taught: “I know that [God] loves his children; but I do not know the meaning of all of them ”(1 Nephi 11:17)
There may be more power in your testimony than you realize. The Lord said to the Nephites:
"Whoever comes to me with a repentant heart and contrite spirit, I will baptize him with fire and with the Holy Spirit, like the Lamanites who were baptized with fire and with the Holy Spirit because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion. and they didn't know. " (3 Nephi 9:20; emphasis added.)
Many years ago I visited one of our sons who was serving a mission in a distant part of the world. He had been there for a year. His first question was, “Father, what can I do to grow spiritually? I've tried so hard, but I haven't made any progress. "
That was his impression, I saw it differently. I could hardly believe the maturity he had attained in a single year and how much he had grown spiritually. He himself “didn't know” because he had grown gradually and not through an impressive spiritual experience.
Get a testimony by giving it
It is not uncommon for a missionary to say, “How can I testify when I don't already have one? How can I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the gospel is true? If I don't have such a testimony, wouldn't that be dishonest? "
Oh, if only I could teach you this one principle: A testimony is obtained by giving testimony! Somewhere in your pursuit of spiritual knowledge you make a leap of faith. It is the moment when you go to the end of the ray of light and step into the darkness and notice there that the path is only lit a step or two.
For one thing, you get a testimony from what you read or what someone else tells you; this is the necessary beginning. But it is quite a different matter when the spirit in the heart confirms that what one testifies is true. Do you realize that it will be given to you when you share it with others? When you give of what you have, you get even more back!
The test of your faith is whether you are ready to open your mouth.
Bear testimony of whatever you hope to be true and show your faith. It's kind of an experiment, similar to the experiment the prophet Alma suggested to his listeners. We start with belief, not with perfect knowledge of everything. This sermon, found in chapter 32 of Alma, is one of the most important messages in the scriptures for those who are just beginning, who humbly seek the truth. And in it lies the key to a testimony of the truth.
One of the most important ways to get the spirit of Christ and a testimony of Christ is by sharing it with others, and only then does that spirit and testimony remain with you. In this process lies the essence of the gospel.
Isn't this a perfect implementation of Christian sentiments? You can only get it, keep it, and enlarge it when you are ready to share it with others. By giving it willingly, you make it your own.
You can do the Lord's work
There is great strength in this work, spiritual strength. Any ordinary member of the Church who, like you, has received the gift of the Holy Ghost through confirmation can do the Lord's work.
Years ago a friend told me the following experience. He was 17 years old and stopped with his co-worker at a house in the southern United States. It was his first day on the mission and his first door. A gray-haired woman was standing behind the screen and asked the two of them what they wanted. His assistant motioned for him to speak. Frightened and a little hesitant, he finally uttered: "Just as man is, God once was, and as God is, man can one day become."
Strangely, she was interested and asked where he got it. He replied, “It's in the Bible.” She went into the house for a moment and came back with her Bible. She said she was a pastor in a church, gave him the Bible and said, "Here, show me."
He picked up the Bible and nervously turned the pages. Finally he returned it and said, “Here, I can't find it. I'm not even sure it's in there, and even if I did, I would never find it. I'm just a poor farm boy from Cache Valley, Utah. I haven't received any special training. But I come from a family that lives the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it gave so much to my family that I accepted the call to serve two years at my own expense on a mission to tell people what the gospel means to me. "
Half a century later, he couldn't hold back tears when he told me the woman opened the door and said, “Come in, my boy. I want to hear what you have to say. "
Learn by the mind
There is a lot more to say. I could talk about prayer, fasting, the priesthood, and authority and worthiness - all essential to revelation. When all of this is understood, it fits together perfectly. But there are some things you have to learn individually and by yourself, they have to be conveyed to you by the spirit.
From an experience too sacred to speak of, I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the gift of the Holy Spirit that was given to us at confirmation is a gift from God. The Book of Mormon is true! This is the Lord's Church! Jesus is the Christ! A prophet of God presides over us! The day of miracles has not stopped, even angels have not stopped appearing to people and serving them! The gifts of the Spirit are to be found in the church. The choicest of them is the gift of the Holy Spirit!
After an address given at a seminar for new mission presidents on June 25, 1982.
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