"Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter. It is a sacred privilege," Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve said during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference.
"The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey," he said. "When it is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation. When it is a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective, for the purpose of this message, it is inspiration."
Sharing principles that lead to personal revelation and inspiration, Elder Scott said that one of the great lessons everyone needs to learn is to ask, "Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him?" He answered saying, "Because that is how revelation is received."
"When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do," he said. "I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture, I ponder what the verse means, and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures."
Elder Scott said that yielding to emotions such as anger, hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost, and the chance for revelation is slight. He also told the congregation to be cautious with humor.
"Loud inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit," he said. "A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.
"Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation."
He said communication can be enhanced by good health practices. "Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. We will live for our appointed life span. However, we can improve both the quality of our service and our well-being by making careful, appropriate choices."
Another avenue for revelation is dreams, he said.
"When it is for the Lord's purposes He can bring anything to our remembrance. That should not weaken our determination to record impressions of the Spirit. Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation. Such recording of direction of the Spirit should be protected from loss or intrusion by others."
Looking to the scriptures, being humble, being mentally and physically clean and seeking revelation with the purpose of helping others are additional ways individuals are able to receive divine direction, Elder Scott noted.
"Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously, he said.
Further, he said, "As you continue to live righteously you will always be prompted to know what to do. Sometimes the discovery of what action to take may require significant effort and trust on your part. Yet you will be prompted to know what to do as you meet the conditions for such divine guidance in your life, namely: obedience to the commandments of the Lord, trust in His divine plan of happiness, and the avoidance of anything that is contrary to it."