Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Elder David A. Bednar on gradual personal revelation

Elder David A. Bednar (1952- ) was sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2004.
"The gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God 'line upon line, precept upon precept' (2 Nephi 28:30). Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation. Such communications from Heavenly Father gradually and gently 'distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven' (D&C 121:45). This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare...
"Both the history of the Church and our personal lives are replete with examples of the Lord's pattern for receiving revelation 'line upon line, precept upon precept.' For example, the fundamental truths of the restored gospel were not delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith all at once in the Sacred Grove. These priceless treasures were revealed as circumstances warranted and as the timing was right....
"We as members of the Church tend to emphasize marvelous and dramatic spiritual manifestations so much that we may fail to appreciate and may even overlook the customary pattern by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work. The very 'simpleness of the way' (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look 'beyond the mark' (Jacob 4:14).
 "I have talked with many individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions. Perhaps as we consider the experiences of Joseph in the Sacred Grove, of Saul on the road to Damascus, and of Alma the Younger, we come to believe something is wrong with or lacking in us if we fall short in our lives of these well-known and spiritually striking examples. If you have had similar thoughts or doubts, please know that you are quite normal. Just keep pressing forward obediently and with faith in the Savior. As you do so, you 'cannot go amiss' (D&C 80:3)."
- David A. Bednar, "The Spirit of Revelation," Ensign, May 2011, pp. 87-90
Click here to read the full talk

Most of us appreciate quick solutions to problems, neat and complete answers, concerns relieved soon after they are identified. But Elder Bednar points out that more often, our communications with God or our spiritual learning happen more gradually and incrementally.

We have to learn to be patient! We have to trust that the sun will indeed rise. We know from experience in seeing the first early glow of morning light that full daylight is not far away; and just so, we should know from experience in feeling the first spiritual promptings that more complete understanding will eventually follow. It's not often that the dramatic, soul-wrenching, life-changing manifestations occur; more often, it's just a gradual, continual building over time. Remembering that should encourage us to look for the small steps as eagerly as we would the big jumps, and be grateful as we note their accumulation.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
July 30, 2015

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