In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are taught to seek personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. We pray to God and He answers us through the Holy Ghost. (1) Even for the first ordinance—baptism– we urge investigators to do this also, and find out for themselves. They can receive their own witness by praying with “real intent.” We know this is possible, and often testify of how we gained our own witness. Answers from the Holy Ghost are always right. They feel indelible and unforgettable. They will never lead us astray.
When we encounter a trial or confusion, we’ve been told to “study it out in our minds” (D & C 9:8) before presenting our plan to Heavenly Father in prayer. This “due diligence” can include research, consultations with experts, and even the loving guidance of a close friend. Then, such earnest prayers can be the source of great joy as we sense God’s will and commit to follow it.
Through it all, we’re seeking help that can lead us to a stronger connection with Him. This is part of “studying it out.”
If our problem is an emotional, marriage, or family one, we can seek counsel from inspired therapists—sometimes it takes several attempts to find someone who guides you towards growth.
Likewise, if it’s a financial crisis, we can approach experts in that field who know more than we do, and can help us avoid catastrophe. After consulting with professionals, we still need to pray about their suggestions.
Often answers come from the words of our leaders—from General Conference talks, recorded speeches, and their books and articles. These sources can also open our hearts to the Spirit, and make us more receptive to revelation.
Studying the scriptures can yield amazing results. Even if we’re reading about something completely unrelated to our problem at hand, we find that we have opened a conduit of inspiration, and sometimes the exact words we needed to guide us will come into our minds.
Another important source of help is to get a Priesthood blessing. I feel this incredible gift is underused, and can shed great light at times of great discouragement. Such blessings can give us an eternal perspective, and even specifically address the trial at hand.
I like to learn about heroes. There are many in our faith, and many outside it as well. By discovering how they conquered their challenges, we may hit upon the very way to conquer our own. Biographies of prophets are particularly good in this way.
As we seek solutions, we also need to remember that some sources actually block the Holy Ghost. Think of the angry opinions we hear spouted in the media, the passionate but furious neighbor, the family member who won’t let up until you agree.
Some people have a hard time reaching outside of themselves for inspiration. But even with great knowledge and a lifetime of experience, we cannot match the wisdom of the Holy Ghost. We’ve been told to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes…” (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon said, “When we physically lean toward one side or another, we move off center, we are off balance, and we tip. When we spiritually lean to our own understanding, we lean away from our Savior. If we lean, we are not centered; we are not balanced; and we are not focused on Christ.”
Part of leaning toward our Savior is being obedient to His commandments. When we do all we can to repent and commit to following Him, we’ll feel more promptings from the Holy Ghost.
I don’t need to enumerate for you the many reasons why we see fear, panic, and loneliness escalating. But every one of these can be helped with the Holy Ghost’s still, small voice. It penetrates your heart with warmth and feelings of peace. He can give you the assurance that you’re on the right track as you live deliberately, taking steps every day to solve the issue. We are children of God and He wants every one of us to succeed. He will rush in with help at even our smallest effort to sincerely change.
Remember, man is that he might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25). We cannot adequately help with the gathering of Israel, bringing others to Christ, if we’re always frantic or gloomy. Take a look at your outlook on life and see if you need some help from the Holy Ghost. This is truly where to find solid footing.
Hilton is an award-winning playwright and the author of many best-selling Latter-day Saint books. Those, her humor blog, and YouTube Mom videos can be found on her website.