Small Nuggets Of Spiritual Education


As a young boy, I always looked forward to General Conference weekend, and not because I was naturally “spiritual.” No, in Maryland, back in the 1960’s and 70’s, General Conference was not available via satellite transmission per today’s technology. Thus, General Conference provided for me, a free weekend from church! The Saturday night Priesthood Session was “piped” in audibly, but satellite broadcasts were a thing of the future. My only memory of those “piped” in priesthood sessions was sitting in the chapel while blankly staring at the naked pulpit as the overhead words fell from the sky. It wasn’t long before my head would begin to nod and whatever tremendous counsel and advise that was given for improvement of my life, was soon lost in foggy boyhood dreams. Certainly, my loss!

I didn’t really begin to appreciate General Conference till I came home from my mission. Now, decades later, I have continued to develop a love for hearing the live words of apostles and prophets. I have found over the years, that they provide simple and practical ways in which to enjoy life. Yet, they also provide profound spiritual counsel that can, if heeded, give direction and meaning to our lives.

Technology now brings the messages of the prophets to our own homes. If we listen closely to their words, we will gain insights and understanding that we will not find elsewhere. A few years ago in our April conference I was particularly impressed by these thoughts. Perhaps you remember:

“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” This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare…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” 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”

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” (“The Spirit of Revelation”, David A. Bednar).

It was uplifting for me to hear Elder Bednar address a subject that I have long seen as a stumbling block for many who think that somehow they are lacking because they have not had miraculous manifestations in their life. The scriptures are replete with examples of miraculous interactions between man and deity. But too often we forget that the time frame of the scriptures covers hundreds, or even thousands of years. The Book of Mormon covers a period of a thousand years. The Bible over four thousand years! Wow! Divine miracles and manifestations have occurred throughout history, but let us not forget that they are the “exception”, not the norm. I thought Elder Bednar’s talk on “The Spirit of Revelation” was a hallmark lesson in how the spirit works in our lives. There were hundreds of small nuggets of spiritual education that are offered to us each General Conference. This weekend will be no different. May we take the time to listen and study the words that are spoken. In them we will find redemptive concepts that can revolutionize the world, one person at a time. Let us be found at the feet of the prophets!


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