I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is sometimes mistakenly called the Mormon Church). As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, I believe in a larger canon than other Christians do. I believe the Bible is the word of God, but also believe the Book of Mormon is another testament that Jesus is the Christ. I also believe that the Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of modern revelations given mostly to Joseph Smith, who was a prophet called of God in our day. Another book of scripture I believe in is the Pearl of Great Price, but here I mostly want to talk about things I have learned from the Doctrine and Covenants.
I received insight in my studies that couples with reading the Doctrine and Covenants, but didn’t actually come from reading this book of scripture. I learned how important it is that I read on a regular basis from the scriptures, especially from the Book of Mormon. This lesson, I presume will be re-learned over and over as long as I live. The insight I refer to came to me as I sat trying to begin reading the Doctrine and Covenants with my mind in a position to receive revelation. I felt blocked and disturbed in my mind, worried about deadlines with school, and I was trying to get my studying done as quickly as possible.
After struggling for a while, the Holy Spirit whispered that I needed to relax. I was reminded that I can’t force revelation. I was surprised that I was finding it difficult to read the scriptures, and I realized that if I don’t study on a regular basis, that it will get increasingly harder to learn from them. However, if I read them regularly, I will always be on the right wavelength with the Holy Ghost to immerse myself in His influence daily. I pled with the Lord to teach me in His way. It came to me again that as I read on a regular basis, I will be closer to the Spirit to receive the revelation that I need each day. I learned that to work with the Lord, I must do things His way and in His time. He knows all and will give me what is most expedient to my growth. My resolve to study daily has increased. My desire to be faithful and not fearful has been strengthened.
I pondered over what it means to stand in holy places: “But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die” (D&C 45:32). I learned from the scriptures and revelation received in the temple that standing in holy places is a continual renewal rather than an event. In the temple, I pondered why my experience there didn’t feel so incredibly special all the time. I asked, perhaps implicitly, why it was so hard to understand the covenants I made there and why revelation didn’t seem to flow as well sometimes as it did other times, both in and out of the temple. I remembered how often the prophet and general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ have counseled us to live our lives worthy of the temple.
I connected my desire to receive light and knowledge with the prerequisite of living worthy to enter the temple and the constant striving to keep temple covenants, filling my heart and mind with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. I can’t expect to receive the mysteries of the kingdom just for the asking if I don’t put them to practice in my life. I will receive what I am ready to act on. The way I read the verse in the Doctrine and Covenants is that Christ said that the ones who are His disciples will be the ones who stand in holy places, firm and unshaken by the winds of the world. The Holy Spirit connected this thought with what I had learned at the temple. I now have a clearer expectation of how to progress and grow in knowledge and wisdom before God. The Holy Spirit communicated to me by connecting these three concepts of standing in holy places; constantly preparing, as admonished by our leaders; and receiving light and knowledge in the temple, that I am to grow each day in order to be able to receive more light and knowledge. I am committed to living this way.
Perhaps the strongest impression I received recently was in reading a work that is supplemental to the Doctrine and Covenants. l learned a powerful lesson on discerning good and evil spirits. I am also under greater accountability for my actions as a result. I feel the Holy Spirit very strongly as I record this experience. I have been searching in all I hear and read about how to detect the difference between these two entities. Perhaps I didn’t know how much I was searching. It has been a trial to keep my head on straight when Satan comes knocking to ruin my peace. I have asked directly and in my heart, “How do I keep the Spirit in these hard times of trial?” I feel like I have been banging my head on the wall for a long time.
Joseph Smith spoke of his experience finding the gold plates for the first time. He describes in detail how Satan clouded his thoughts to get him to desire the plates for their monetary value. Moroni taught Joseph specifically how the devil would make things hard for him. He said, “An evil spirit will try to crowd your mind with every evil and wicked thing to keep every good thought and feeling out of your mind, but you must keep your mind always staid upon God, that no evil may come into your heart” (Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants, by Steven Harper, p. 175).
This quote sank deep into my soul and filled a place that has been empty. There are no words to describe how I feel now as I record this experience. The Lord has guided me to this moment and looking back over the last few minutes, hours, days, and weeks, I see how He built me up for this moment to receive this revelation. I know this is real. Now that I have received this spiritual witness and have accepted it, I am more accountable for my actions. I must put this lesson to task and seek more earnestly to keep the Holy Spirit with me. I feel empowered by its truth and light and humbled as greater responsibility rests on my shoulders. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.