The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that the Spirit gives light to everyone
who comes into the world and that everyone who listens to the Spirit's
voice will come to God (D&C 84:46-47).
The Book of Mormon promises that through the power of the Holy Ghost we
may know the truth of all things (Moro. 10:5).
How, then, do we recognize the Spirit's promptings?
The Spirit is often described as a feeling: a feeling of peace (D&C
6:22-23) or the feeling that something is right
(D&C 9:8). Inspired teaching is said to taste good, to be delicious
(Alma 32:28). We should be cautious, however,
about reading too much into our feelings at any one moment: emotions can
be manipulated, and we can mistake our own desires and misgivings for
spiritual promptings. The most reliable signs that we are guided by the
Spirit are the fruits our lives bear gradually, over the long term. The
Spirit's teaching edifies and brings us into progressively greater light
(D&C 50:21-24). The Spirit leads us to
do good—to practice justice, humility, patience, and love—and,
in so doing, brings us joy (D&C 11:12-13; Mosiah
Jesus taught that the Spirit blows where it wills; in one of Joseph Smith's
revelations, the Lord says he will lead those whom he calls "whithersoever
I will" (John 3:8; D&C 38:33). People
who live by the Spirit's promptings can never be certain where they will
| Thy Spirit, Lord, Has
Stirred Our Souls (Hymns 157)
|Joseph Smith: This is
good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal
life, and so can you. . . . [W]hen I tell you of these things which
were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to
receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more.
|History of the Church
Hugh Nibley: "The
Spirit bloweth where it listeth"; it does not wait upon human
convenience, nor do its manifestations comply with human expectations.
Its operations are always surprising—they always catch [people]
|"Three Shrines: Mantic,
Sophic, and Sophistic, " The Ancient State
City & Provo: Deseret Book & FARMS, 1991), 337
Glenn L. Pace: Some
truths are revealed gradually over a period of days, weeks, months,
or even years. We have to be patient and wait for the witness to
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991), 12
Dallin H. Oaks: The
Lord will speak to us through the Spirit in his own time and in
his own way. . . . Revelations from God—the teachings and
directions of the Spirit—are not constant. We believe in continuing
revelation, not continuous revelation. We are often left to work
out problems without the dictation or specific direction of the
Spirit. That is part of the experience we must have in mortality.
Fortunately, we are never out of our Savior’s sight, and if
our judgment leads us to actions beyond the limits of what is permissible
and if we are listening to the still, small voice, the Lord will
restrain us by the promptings of his Spirit.
|"Teaching and Learning
by the Spirit," Ensign, March 1997, 13
Gordon B. Hinckley:
How do we recognize the promptings of the Spirit? I don't think
that's too difficult, really. When all is said and done it is a
matter of a feeling we have in our hearts. . . . Does it persuade
one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to
be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God. . . .
You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the
Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that
which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to
better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit
|Teachings of Gordon
B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 260-61