Richard G. Scott is an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His words are taken from his recent talk To Acquire Spiritual Guidance.
Theric: So sometimes I'm not sure what my goal is with all this svithery stuff. It's a little presumptuous to put myself up as some sort of spiritual guide. But if I'm doing it only for myself, why do it at all? Besides, some of these things are born more of desperation than anything else.
Elder Scott:I share an experience that taught me a way to gain spiritual guidance.
Elder Scott: One Sunday I attended the priesthood meeting of a Spanish branch in Mexico City. I vividly recall how a humble Mexican priesthood leader struggled to communicate the truths of the gospel in his lesson material. I noted the intense desire he had to share those principles he strongly valued with his quorum members. He recognized that they were of great worth to the brethren present. In his manner, there was an evidence of a pure love of the Savior and love of those he taught.
Theric: I assume it turned out well?
Elder Scott: His sincerity, purity of intent, and love permitted a spiritual strength to envelop the room. I was deeply touched. Then I began to receive personal impressions as an extension of the principles taught by that humble instructor. They were personal and related to my assignments in the area. They came in answer to my prolonged, prayerful efforts to learn.
Theric: Right. Ultimately, we all find out own way to commune with God.
Elder Scott: As each impression came, I carefully wrote it down. In the process, I was given precious truths that I greatly needed in order to be a more effective servant of the Lord. The details of the communication are sacred and, like a patriarchal blessing, were for my individual benefit. I was given specific directions, instructions, and conditioned promises that have beneficially altered the course of my life.
Theric: I can believe it. Really, the schmuck talking matters a lot less. Listening to, say, me, should be no more than a catalyst. That's a chemistry term. I'm not sure if you know it, being a nuclear physicist? But anyway, what I was originally talking about is that I worry that my motivations might not be purely, ah, pure. But you probably have a story for that as well?
Elder Scott: Subsequently, I visited the Sunday School class in our ward, where a very well-educated teacher presented his lesson. That experience was in striking contrast to the one enjoyed in the priesthood meeting. It seemed to me that the instructor had purposely chosen obscure references and unusual examples to illustrate the principles of the lesson. I had the distinct impression that this instructor was using the teaching opportunity to impress the class with his vast store of knowledge. At any rate, he certainly did not seem as intent on communicating principles as had the humble priesthood leader.
Theric: Oo. Yeah.
Elder Scott: In that environment, strong impressions began to flow to me again.
Elder Scott: I wrote them down. The message included specific counsel on how to become more effective as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I received such an outpouring of impressions that were so personal that I felt it was not appropriate to record them in the midst of a Sunday School class. I sought a more private location, where I continued to write the feelings that flooded into my mind and heart as faithfully as possible. After each powerful impression was recorded, I pondered the feelings I had received to determine if I had accurately expressed them in writing. As a result, I made a few minor changes to what had been written. Then I studied their meaning and application in my own life.
Elder Scott: Subsequently I prayed, reviewing with the Lord what I thought I had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, I thanked Him for the guidance given. I was then impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.
Theric: I don't even know how to reply to that.
Elder Scott: What I have described is not an isolated experience. It embodies several true principles regarding communication from the Lord to His children here on earth. I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you.
Theric: I---could certainly do better at that. May I pull out the I-have-small-children excuse here? Or is this just a matter of me not asking sincerely enough?
Elder Scott: Impressions of the Spirit can come in response to urgent prayer or unsolicited when needed. Sometimes the Lord reveals truth to you when you are not actively seeking it.... However, the Lord will not force you to learn. You must exercise your agency to authorize the Spirit to teach you. As you make this a practice in your life, you will be more perceptive to the feelings that come with spiritual guidance. Then, when that guidance comes, sometimes when you least expect it, you will recognize it more easily.
Theric: Well, thank you, Elder Scott for stopping by. You're welcome in Thutopia anytime. Just stop staring at me. Please. Any closing thought?
Elder Scott: I testify that you can personally learn to master the principles of being guided by the Spirit.
ThericL Elder Richard G. Scott, ladies and gentlemen!