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Hear, see and feel

Growth comes with the struggle to learn how to be led by Spirit

"You can learn vitally important things by what you hear and see and, even more, by what you feel, as prompted by the Holy Ghost," said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve.

As the featured speaker of the 85th Annual BYU Campus Education Week Devotional held Aug. 21, Elder Scott detailed how "To Learn and to Teach More Effectively."

"Many individuals limit their learning primarily to what they hear or read. Be wise," he counseled. "Develop the skill of also learning by what you see and particularly by what the Holy Ghost prompts you to feel.

"Consciously and consistently seek to learn by what you feel. Your capacity to do so will expand through repeated practice. Significant faith and effort are required to learn by what you feel from the Spirit. Ask in faith for such help. Live to be worthy of such guidance."

Elder Scott urged participants to write down, in a secure place, the important things learned from the Spirit. "You will find that as you record a precious impression, often others will come."

Spiritual guidance is a gift of incomparable worth bestowed upon those who seek it, live worthy of it and express gratitude for it, he continued.

To acquire spiritual guidance, one must:

  • Seek divine light in humility
  • Exercise faith, especially in Jesus Christ
  • Strive diligently to keep God's commandments
  • Repent constantly
  • Pray continually
  • Hearken to spiritual guidance
  • Express gratitude for guidance received

Teachers in the Church can play a vital role in the process of helping students learn how to be guided by the Spirit, Elder Scott said.

"As you teach the appropriate doctrine and help explain how the Lord communicates through the Spirit, your students will experience being led by the Spirit," he said. "They will learn the principles upon which such communication is based. As they apply those principles, they will make the correct choices in life.

"All too often a teacher's relation to a student is one of giving counsel with little or no interaction. Often there is no explanation of the reasons why there are commandments, rules, and standards. The teacher is just a talking head."

When students raise hands to respond to a question, said Elder Scott, they signify to the Holy Ghost their willingness to learn.

"That use of moral agency will allow the Spirit to motivate and give them more powerful guidance during your time together. Participation allows individuals to experience being led by the Spirit."

Turning his thoughts to the struggle that accompanies any effort to be guided by the Spirit, Elder Scott said, "We grow when we labor to recognize the guidance of the Holy Ghost as we struggle to communicate our needs to Our Father in Heaven in moments of dire need or overflowing gratitude. Each time we do that we are taking another step in fulfilling the purpose of our being here on earth.

"Our Father expects us to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son. Were we to receive inspired guidance just for the asking, we would become weak and ever more dependent on Him.

"He knows that essential personal growth will come as we struggle to learn how to be led by the Spirit. That struggle develops our immortal character as we perfect our capacity to identify His will through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

"What may appear initially to be a daunting task will be much easier over time as we consistently strive to recognize the feelings awakened by the Spirit. Our confidence in the direction we receive through the Holy Ghost will also become stronger.

"Easy things never produce much beneficial fruit," he continued. "Neither our Father in Heaven nor His Holy Son take delight in seeing you struggle to overcome obstacles, resolve questions or find solutions to complex and challenging problems.

"However, they do rejoice when you willingly recognize that these are steps to growth which lead to action that molds your character," he said.

Priceless truths I have learned through spiritual guidance over many years.

  • We will never be prompted by the Holy Ghost to do something we cannot do. It may require extraordinary effort and much time, patience, prayer and obedience, but we can do it.
  • To reach a goal never before attained one must do things never before done.
  • We can make many choices in life, but we cannot determine our final destiny. Our actions do that.
  • It is important not to judge ourselves by what we think we know of our own potential. We should trust the Lord and what He can do with our dedicated heart and willing mind.
  • The Lord has a consummate capacity to judge our intent. He is concerned about what we are becoming by the choices we make. He has a plan for each of us.
  • Satan has absolutely no power to force a determined righteous individual because the Lord protects that person from him. He can tempt; he can threaten; he can attempt to appear to have such power; but he does not possess it.
  • In a quiet moment of pondering I learned that there is a relationship between faith and character. The greater our faith in Jesus Christ, the stronger our character, and increased character enhances our ability to exercise even greater faith.

— Elder Richard G. Scott

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