Sunday, March 14, 2010

Whisperings of the Spirit

When I was asked to speak on the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, I asked them why these whisperings hadn't told me that day, as I walked up to and down from the organ, that my skirt had been left unzipped. There are conditions that must exist first, to receive these promptings.

Recently we were returning home from out of state and while traveling got off the interstate for lunch. When we returned to the interstate, we did not realize we were going the wrong way. We traveled in this direction for a mile or two, when we saw a sign for Hagerstown, MD. Wondering why this would be in front of him when clearly it was suppose to be behind us, he began to look very seriously for clues as to the direction in which we were traveling. Jarrod was looking for an interstate sign that would show him whether or not we were going east or west. We tried finding the names from other signs we passed, on the map to determine where we were. We were even wondering about the position of the sun. Then we remembered the car's internal compass. When we realized we were headed in the wrong direction we began to look for a way to turn our car around. It seemed like miles! that we had traveled in the wrong way and back to where we made the original mistake. The Holy Ghost works in a similar way. There are warnings and promptings that are given to help us travel in the right direction and travel aids in the way of scriptures and the temple that work like today's GPS, or yesterday's road map. If we fail to heed to or not even notice the influence of the Holy Spirit, or have lost control over our body through bodily appetites or addictions, we will not be able to make the necessary course corrections. We need to be in a quiet place, in the right frame of mind, in a worthy state to receive promptings. There are places where it is easier to feel the Spirit. General Conference and the temples are some, as is being in our homes while praying and reading the scriptures.

We also know that "while the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil," the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost comes as members are given the gift by the laying on of hands by those who have the proper authority (Moroni 7:16).

I believe that because this power and gift comes from Christ, it resembles the voice of Christ. In Helaman 5:30 it describes the voice of Christ as a "still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul." Other scriptures as well as prophets teach what this constant companionship feels like. The Lord tells us "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost (DC 8:2). Enos stated that "the voice of the Lord came into [his] mind again (1:10). Joseph Smith said, "When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas." President Eyring described the influence of the Holy Ghost as "peace, hope and joy." But, the Holy Ghost is not always easy to discern. The Book of Mormon tells of faithful Lamanites, "because of their faith at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not (3 Nephi 9:20).

My son Hunter, as we were all headed out the door to an outing in Austin, asked me if he could bring one dollar. I reassured him we'd have all the costs covered, but asked why he wanted to bring a dollar. He said, "I don't know." Later in the day, we were walking back to our car and Hunter found a dollar bill on the sidewalk. As we were talking about what to do, whether or not to pick it up, we were approached by a man, obviously poor, very parched, asking for a dollar to get a bus ride back home. Hunter handed him the dollar, looked at me, and said, "Mom, I knew I needed to bring a dollar." We both knew Heavenly Father had provided Hunter with that dollar bill so he could serve this man. Even after I said no. How often do we prevent our family from these kinds of teaching moments, or spirit strengthening experiences because we fail to recognize the promptings of the spirit? "Verily, verily, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good - yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit (DC 11:12). This was Hunter.

John 14:26 says, "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." Because I don't remember Heaven, Heavenly beings, or actually much from last year, it's hard for me to understand the atonement, Christ's sacrifice, his suffering. The sacrament becomes a time and place for me to reflect on this, and as it says in the sacrament prayer, "to always remember Him." Participating in the sacrament ordinance helps keep us worthy of receiving the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I feel Heavenly Father blesses me with a drop or two of oil, or understanding, each week, if I fully participate in this sacred, weekly ordinance. This is similar also to participating in the ordinances of the temple, and being taught there. As I was reflecting on all of these things, and trying to understand how and why Heavenly Father, could and would allow these things to happen to His Son, I realized in a very small way I was giving up, sharing, sacrificing my son Tanner, in a short time, to serve for two years on a mission. While this thought caused the fabric of my heart to tear in a small way, it helped me not only understand how Heavenly Father could allow His Son to be our Savior, it also allowed me to share a miniscule amount of the pain Heavenly Father felt as well. These teachings, sacred to me, were possible through the sweet whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

Vicki Matsumori, in the General Primary Presidency, testified that, "When we come to understand the whisperings of the Spirit, we will be able to hear Him teach us the peaceable things of the Kingdom and all things what we should do. We will recognize answers to our prayers and know how to live the gospel more fully each day. Most importantly, we will feel Him witness to us of the Father and the Son."


Becky said...

Great talk Amy Jo. I loved the story about Hunter and the dollar bill.

The Mormon Monk said...

Love the stories--they really bring the point home.

Amy M. said...

The zipper story made me laugh- I have a similar one. Great talk Amy. Thanks for sharing and reminding us all about how valuable a gift we have been blessed with.

LL said...

your opening story about the zipper made me LAUGH. Hilarious!!!

Wiggles said...

Excellent talk Amy. I take in so much more when I am able to read information and in this case so eloquently written. Thanks for sharing with those who could not be with you in person.