Friday, January 20, 2012

Personal Revelation and Testimony

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Personal Revelation and Testimony, by Barbara Thompson
Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency

Growing up, my family had a general conference story that was sometimes shared. We were watching conference at home on the television, the story goes, when one of my then-young sisters suddenly stood up, walked to the TV, and turned it off. After asking why she had done that, we learned that she had felt something very strongly inside, didn't know what it was, determined it was because of what we were watching, and decided to turn off the TV.

This is an interesting story that demonstrates how the feelings of the Spirit need in order to be understood to be benefited from.

Sister Thompson shared a related story, but she was older—in college—and knew what the Spirit was telling her:

The Holy Spirit confirmed to my soul that he had spoken the truth. At that moment I had no doubt that the Savior lives. I also had no doubt that I was experiencing personal revelation.

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately. My eldest son just turned eight and is eligible for baptism! Here's a picture of our dapper eight-year-old.

I can remember my own baptism, and have interesting memories: I remember being excited because I would get to pull the plug in the font after I was baptized because I was last in a list of children, but then was a bit sad when I learned that someone had arrived late, so they would get that chance. On the other hand, I remember receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and feeling so light and almost disconnected from gravity during the ordinance.

As I help my son prepare for baptism, I want him to have memories that he will recall with fondness, but even more, I want him to know more than I knew—so he's not surprised by the feelings of the Spirit that will be there, and that he will experience at other times in life.

I want my son to know that the Spirit does speak, but I also want him to know, as Sister Thompson shared, that "the Spirit speaks in many ways."

Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (D&C 8:2).

This is a fun time for me to be a parent. At this important stage of life, my son frequently reminds me by his actions that he is kind, loving, and trying in so many ways to be like Jesus. It's true that I want him to be better than I was when I was baptized—also better than I am now—but most of all, I want him to have the personal revelation experiences and testimony that he will need to grow, to be an example, and to be happy.

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