Disclaimers | Links | Search | Contact
Faith and Testimony
Recognizing the Spirit
Prayer and Meditation
The Scriptures
Living Prophets
Inspired Blessings
Personal Revelation
Continuing Revelation
Learning from Others
Embracing All Truth

Personal Revelation

The Book of Mormon exhorts us to "counsel with the Lord in all [our] doings, and he will direct [us] for good" (Alma 37:37). God provides individual guidance in many ways. Everyone on earth receives light from the Spirit (D&C 84:46-47). In the ordinance of confirmation, we commit to a life of tutelage by the Holy Ghost, who will teach us all things (John 14:26). Personal revelation may come through prayer; through the scriptures, the words of living prophets, a patriarchal blessing, or other inspired teaching; through flashes of insight; or through a process so gradual that we may not recognize until after the fact how God has led us along (D&C 78:17-18).

We are told that we should not live on borrowed light—that we should know the truth for ourselves (Alma 5:46). This means that our own conscience or testimony must be our ultimate authority. Living in community requires compromise, of course, and respect for authorities outside ourselves. But when we compromise or submit, we should do so because personal revelation tells us to.

Because God adapts to our understanding, and because we are each at different places in our life journeys, we should expect that one individual's personal revelation will differ from another's (2 Ne. 31:3; D&C 1:24). Maintaining oneness in essentials while accommodating diverse understandings and dissenting consciences remains a challenge for the community of Saints.

Related Topics:
A Spirit of Discernment One in Christ  

Brigham Young: What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation . . . Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not.
Journal of Discourses 9:150

Heber C. Kimball: The time is coming when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself.

Life of Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992), 450

George Q. Cannon: Our Father does not ask you to walk in darkness nor by another's light, but it is His good pleasure to give each one of you the light of His Holy Spirit in your own souls. By this light you have a right to examine all things that you may hold fast to that which is good.

Gospel Truth (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987, 248

Joseph Fielding Smith: If I do my duty, according to my understanding of the requirements that the Lord has made of me, then I ought to have a conscience void of offense. I ought to have satisfaction in my soul that I have simply done my duty as I understand it, and I will accept the consequences. With me, it is a matter between me and the Lord; so it is with every one of us.

Conference Report, October 1969, 108

Hugh B. Brown: While all members should respect, support, and heed the teachings of the authorities of the church, no one should accept a statement and base his or her testimony upon it, no matter who makes it, until he or she has, under mature examination, found it to be true and worthwhile.

"Final Testimony," An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown
(Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999)

Chieko N. Okazaki: We have a responsibility to take our questions to God and struggle with those questions in the process of receiving revelation. Will my personal direction from God be the same as yours? I don't think so. We're individuals. God deals with us as individuals. This is the same God who made not just apples but pears and apricots and persimmons and grapes. He likes diversity. He invented it.

Disciples (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998), 52

This website is an independent effort to discern the Spirit's voice in LDS teaching. The site is not sponsored by the LDS Church. Quotations from the teachings of any individual should not be taken to imply that the individual does or would endorse this website or other statements made here.