Talking With God: Divine Conversations That Transform Daily Life by Robert L. Millet
Hearing the Voice of the Lord: Principles and Patterns of Personal Revelation by Gerald N. Lund
D&C Lesson 6
Section 6 verse 2
—give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged swear, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word
quick—Greek zao—to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to enjoy real life (1. to have true life and worthy of the name 2 active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God); living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul; metaph. to be in full vigour (1. to be fresh, strong, efficient, 2. as adj. active, powerful, efficacious)
Hebrews 4:12-For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The author of Hebrews describes it as a living power, penetrating a person’s innermost being—soul and spirit, joints and marrow—the totality and depth of one’s being
Isaiah 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
Rev1:16 & 2:12-17
How is God’s word alive? How is it powerful? How does it penetrate to the very depth of our being?
How do we receive revelation and how does Satan try to interrupt that communication?
What is the purpose of revelation?
D&C 42:61 If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
What is the purpose of revelation?
It is to show us what heaven is like and how to get there and what God is like and how to be like him.
What does the voice of revelation sound like?
1 Kings 19:11-12
What is a still voice? The Spirit speaks to us and suddenly we have a feeling. There is no other way to describe it. Later we may try to put those feelings into words, but when it first comes it does not come as words but as a feeling. This may be the answer. It is not audible. It speaks to us through a different medium than sound waves.
What is a small voice? Hellman 5:30, 46-47 The voice is the Lord is not only low in volume but it is not strident in any way. Sometimes a soft voice can be filled with anger, malice or threat. But this voice was mild and pleasant. There was no fear, no discord. It brought peace, joy, conversion—it brings conversation.
D&C 8:2—Mind & Heart—thoughts and feelings
How are we to distinguish between the Lord’s thoughts and feelings and our own?
“What is revelation? It is the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to man. Joseph Smith said to Brother John Taylor in his day: ‘Brother Taylor, you watch the impression of the Spirit of God; you watch the whisperings of the Spirit to you; you carry them out in your life, and [this] will become a principle of revelation in you, and you will know and understand this spirit and power.’ This is the key, the foundation stone of all revelation…In my own experience I have endeavored to get acquainted with that Spirit, and to learn its operations. “
Sheri Dew quote:
Because the Holy Ghost will show us everything we should do, it only makes sense to learn how He communicates—or to learn the language of revelation. Our challenge is not getting the Lord to speak to us; our challenge is understanding what He has to say (see D&C 6:14).
I remember a time when I was desperate for guidance on a crucial decision. I had fasted and prayed and been to the temple, but the answer wasn’t clear. In frustration I told a friend that I just couldn’t get an answer. He responded, simply: “Have you asked the Lord to teach you how He communicates with you?” I hadn’t, so I began to pray daily that He would.
Not long thereafter, while reading about Nephi building the ship, I couldn’t help but notice how clearly he understood the Lord’s instructions. With that, I began to hunt for scriptural evidences of direct communication between God and man. At each one I made a little red x in the margin of my scriptures. Now, many years later, my scriptures are littered with little red x’s, each an indication that the Lord does communicate with His people—and often. The scriptures are the handbook for the language of revelation. They are our personal Liahona. If you will regularly immerse yourself in the scriptures, you’ll get clearer, more frequent answers to your prayers.
Learning this language takes time. As a young captain charged with leading the Nephite armies, Moroni sent messengers to the prophet Alma, asking him to inquire of the Lord where the armies should go. But in time Moroni received inspiration for his stewardship himself, for he became “a man of a perfect understanding” (Alma 48:11)—suggesting that he learned to speak the language of revelation, perhaps even perfectly.
What a gift to have access to a pure source of information, a source devoid of flattery or spin-doctoring, “for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not” (Jacob 4:13). The Lord will teach us directly as much truth as we are worthy and willing to learn. As Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught, “There is no limit to the revelations [we] may receive” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985], 490; emphasis added).
Having the Holy Ghost as our constant guide and protector is essential to latter-day leadership, for the gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift of power.
Knowing what to pray for:
“We do not realize the implications of what we ask. We ask amiss and then wonder why such petitions are not granted precisely as submitted…Those who are meek, experience on occasion, not knowing what to “pray for as [they] ought”. Instead they let the Spirit itself make intercession (Romans 8:26)…”And they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.’ (3 Nephi 19:24) ‘He that asketh in the Spirit according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.’ (D&C 46:30)
**Revelation by the Holy Ghost of what we need to pray for. pg 83 & 84—“In other words, often we pray for our wants, when in truth it would be wise to pray for our needs. But we generally are unable to discern what is most critical in our lives, what thoughts and feelings and yearnings lie deep within our soul and are not readily accessible to our conscious mind. We need help. We need mediation. And that is where the Comforter, the Revelator, comes in. The Holy Ghost can, if we are open and teachable and patient, make known to us the things of great import, the things upon which God would have us ponder and reflect and pray over. If we will be still, if we will be quiet, if we will be attentive, if we will be sensitive during and after our prayer, we may find our words reaching beyond our thoughts (3 Ne 19:24) Prayer thereby becomes not only petitionary but marvelously instructive, for we often learn something from what we find ourselves saying. Can we see that in this way prayer becomes a major avenue of revelation? Can we see how prayer can open us to the mind of God? Can we fathom the abiding joy that settles on our heart as our Lord and God reveals himself to us and reveals us to ourselves?
Revelation through Dreams—an experience in the mind that occurs while we are sleeping.
Harold B Lee:
“There’s one more way by which revelation may come, and that is by dreams. Oh, I’m not going to tell you that every dream that you have is a direct revelation from the Lord—it may be fried liver and onions that have been responsible for an upset or disorder. But I fear that in this age of sophistication there are those of us who are prone to rule out all our dreams as of no purpose, and of no moment…We too may have a dream that may direct us as a revelation.”
Tell about dream of Dad. Ask class for experiences.
D&C 6:11 (just the first part),14-15
cf D&C11:11, 13-14 “I am the light which shineth in darkness…
cf D&C 93:8-9
Frequently the idea of enlightenment is found in tandem with the concept of understanding Alma 32:28 & 34 “the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding,..your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.”
Two additional concepts are also linked closely with enlightenment and those are knowledge and wisdom.
11 For, behold, it is I that speak; behold, I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee.
12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, 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.
13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
Enlightenment is different from just having thoughts come into our minds. Enlightenment and understanding are more complex, more comprehensive, more profound and have much greater influence than mere thoughts.
Two quotes from Gerald Lund book
Elder David A Bednar “Seek Learning by Faith”
Nephi teaches us, “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth [the message] unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1). Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. A teacher can explain, demonstrate, persuade, and testify and do so with great spiritual power and effectiveness. Ultimately, however, the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter.
Brothers and sisters, learning by faith opens the pathway into the heart. We will focus upon the individual responsibility each of us has to seek learning by faith.
The learning I am describing reaches far beyond mere cognitive comprehension and the retaining and recalling of information. The type of learning to which I am referring causes us to put off the natural man (see Mosiah 3:19), to change our hearts (see Mosiah 5:2), to be converted unto the Lord, and to never fall away (see Alma 23:6). Learning by faith requires both “the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34). Learning by faith is the result of the Holy Ghost carrying the power of the word of God both unto and into the heart….
—quote from Gerald Lund book
How does Satan disrupt communication?
Satan and countermeasures
1. jamming—Russo/Japan war in April 1904 first electronic jamming occurrence at Port Arthur
2. disrupting the decision cycle—The OODA Loop developed by Colonel John Boyd
According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act.
Colonel Boyd viewed the enemy (and ourselves) as a system that is acting through a decision making process based on observations of the world around it. We observe unfolding circumstances and gather outside information in order to orient the system to perceived threats, Boyd states that the orientation phase of the loop is the most important step, because if we or the enemy perceive the wrong threats, or misunderstands what is happening in the environment around us, then we will orient our thinking (and forces) in wrong directions and ultimately make incorrect decisions..the goal should be to complete your OODA process at faster tempo than your enemy’s and to take action to lengthen the enemy’s loop. Warfare is a constant process of evaluation and action, and the side that passes through each cycle faster will be in better consonance with reality. The goal, contends Boyd, is to “collapse [the] adversary’s system into confusion and disorder by causing him to over and under react to activity that appears simultaneously menacing as well as ambiguous, chaotic, or misleading.”
Colonel Boyd and his pilots were flying F-86’s and although they were slower and less maneuverable than the Mig 15’s they were flying against, The F-86 was fully hydraulically controlled and the Mig 15 was only hydraulically assisted. This meant that Boyd’s pilots could operate their aircraft with easy and gentle manipulation of the controls, while the Mig pilots had to work harder to maneuver their aircraft. Boyd found that the more his pilots maneuvered and the longer a dogfight persisted the more fatigued the Mig pilots became and the slower their reaction time became until the F-86 pilots were able to maneuver their aircraft into a position of dominance.
Satan sometimes throws so many new things at us so fast that we are unable to react quickly. Marion G Romney “President Marion G. Romney declared: “During these closing years of Satan’s power, he is frantically using every conceivable means to deceive and corrupt us.
We become tired
3. spoofing—by spoofing we send a stronger signal back—fortify children with the spirit so much that the noise of the high school doesn’t penetrate
In 2010, Israeli fighters bombed a suspected nuclear materials site in Syria. Here’s the million dollar question: How did they do it without tipping off Syria’s Russian-bought air defense radar?
Suter is a military computer program developed by BAE Systems that attacks computer networks and communications systems belonging to an enemy. Not only can the system Spoof location, bearing, heading, and target size, but it can also project misleading information on aircraft in the vicinity.
For example, let’s say for sake of discussion that a fighter jet was flying missions in the Ukraine against Russian Separatists. Separatists missile defense systems would readily detect such flights, identify it as a foe via the ground radar systems, and lock on in preparation for launch. The Suter software, however, could forward project data showing their aircraft in another location.
mark—Greek skopós, skop-os’; from σκέπτομαι sképtomai (to peer about (“skeptic”); perhaps akin to G4626 through the idea of concealment; compare G4629); a watch (sentry or scout), i.e. (by implication) a goal:—mark.
Looking beyond the mark—Jacob 4:14
What if we are looking at the wrong watchman? What if we are looking at the wrong goal, the wrong end?
4. Paul’s story about being in Berlin and the Morse code listener who recognized the signature of a Russian Morse code transmitter who he had last heard transmit in Siberia. Thus they were able to figure out that Russia had moved an entire unit into Ukraine.
Sometimes we need to make big decisions based on small packets of information.
Elder Scott “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer” April 2007
I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust. Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father’s capacity to respond. While sometimes it’s very hard, it results in significant personal growth.