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Question: Why might someone not be able to see their spiritual impressions come to successful, obvious, and/or beautiful fruition?
Question: Why might someone not be able to see their spiritual impressions come to successful, obvious, and/or beautiful fruition?
Introduction to Question
It is sometimes wondered how one might respond to a situation in which an impression to do or believe something doesn’t come to fruition—whether that be in an immediate, obvious, or good way.
This article will offer a number of things to consider when in this type of a situation. They are not things we have to constantly be worrying about when trying to receive inspiration nor are they set possibilities. These are simply all the logical possibilities as the author sees them that you can consider when confronted with this type of a situation. One is free to reject or embrace these possibilities as they feel best fits their circumstances and/or they feel comfortable with. These possibilities are not all mutually exclusive and two or more may be true of one's particular situation at the same time.
Response to Question
1. Consider that the impression is brought to fruition without you immediately recognizing the benefit
The first thing we can always consider is that the impression has brought fruit but that it won’t be immediately obvious to us how those experiences benefit us or the life of someone else right now or in the future.
2. The Lord may have wanted to see if you'd merely follow through with the revelation
Many faithful members have reconciled such situations by seeing that the Lord may have simply wanted them to follow the impression so that he knows that you are faithful enough to at the very least follow through with the impressions he wants you to have.
3. Continuing in light until the perfect day (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)
One woman has told the author that she received a spiritual impression at one point that Joseph Smith absolutely did not practice polygamy and that she was devastated when, at a later time, she found out that he did.
Just as the Lord has given his will for the entire human family "line upon line", could it be that the Lord accommodates our understanding of something until a later time when he's ready to give us further knowledge? Could it be that we are not ready for some knowledge at a particular time but that the Lord intends to reveal something to us later when we are more mature and able to receive it? Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 tells us that "[t]hat which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." It could be that our incomplete or even false understanding now will be added on with the light of experience or even further revelation from the Holy Ghost.
Consider what any parent has to do when their young children ask them where babies come from. They have to accommodate their understanding until a later time when they are spiritually and emotionally mature enough to know the whole truth. Could it be that God, in a similar way, allows us to hold onto one narrative about what is true and maybe even gives/confirms that to us by revelation until a later time when we are mature enough to know the whole truth? As Paul reminds us, milk before meat is a true principle.
4. Dallin H. Oaks: "[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but . . . unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things."
Dallin H. Oaks teaches that we can be led by false revelation if we extend our desire to receive revelation into praying about unnecessary things:
[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but . . . unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don't receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable. We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of "false revelation"
The scriptures confirm his teaching. We are told in Doctrine & Covenants 58:26–28 to not be commanded in all things and bring about righteousness through our own agency.
5. There is some other greater good that you are not aware of right now but will be in the future
If you miss the fruition of an impression, it may bring about a greater good as when Joseph was sold into Egypt. Sometimes the greater good is not immediately forthcoming or obvious to us.
6. The Lord is chastening you
The Lord tells us that he chastens us and scourges us because he loves us in Proverbs, Hebrews, and Helaman. We have to be faithful to receive blessings. When we are humble we are more likely to be faithful and turn to him for assistance. King Limhi in the Book of Mormon taught his people that "if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."
7. The Lord is providing you an Abrahamic test of faith
Maybe, instead of chastening (punishing) you, the Lord is providing you an Abrahamic test of faith. The prophet Joseph Smith is canonized saying “deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become second nature to me, and I feel like Paul, to glory in tribulation”. The Lord isn’t going to spare us any test of faith in life. He told Brigham Young that "[m]y people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom." The Lord told the Saints in August 1833 that "I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me." In December 1833 he said that "they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son." King Benjamin taught us that "the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." Joseph Smith told the original 12 apostles that "You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God. . . . God will feel after you, and he will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God." He will actively test us to prepare us for greater things. Trying to learn how to receive and follow inspiration and trust in God is not an exception. As BYU professor Larry E. Dahl declared, "[e]veryone who achieves exaltation must successfully pass through an Abrahamic test. Let me repeat. Everyone who achieves exaltation must successfully pass through an Abrahamic test."
8. Confusing an emotion for the Spirit
It is possible to confuse emotion for a spiritual impression. Sometimes a warm feeling or heart murmur may be over-interpreted as coming from a spiritual stimulus. We should take time when trying to receive inspiration to ponder what we are feeling and seek to counsel long with the Lord if wanting to receive an answer to prayer.
9. You received a true revelation, but didn't interpret it correctly
Some people do receive an impression, but don’t interpret them correctly. Oftentimes we are receiving inspiration from the Spirit to confirm a thought but perhaps we aren’t still enough to capture its still small voice and we may get distracted from what it is trying to communicate to us. Some revelation requires conscious thought to interpret correctly. The Doctrine & Covenants records Joseph Smith having to be left to wonder as to the proper meaning of revelation that he received relative to the Second Coming of the Savior (Doctrine & Covenants 130: 12–17). We may have to do the same at different points of our lives. As a word of caution: it may be only while looking back on that revelation in retrospect that we’ll recognize exactly why we were inspired to do, say, and or/believe.
It is important to be still and focus so that we can carefully discern what exactly the spirit is prompting us to do and/or believe. Oftentimes we haven’t studied an issue out in our minds thoroughly as is often required of us when trying to seek inspiration. When we don’t, we may not get what we’re looking for (Doctrine & Covenants 9:7–9).
10. Wrong Roads May Lead to More Certain Conviction of the Truth
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offers apostolic perspective on this important question in this video from the Church's YouTube page.
11. Perhaps this is God giving us an opportunity to learn how to forgive a fallen divine
Here is just one thing that the author considers a logical possibility. It's not a traditional recommendation but it may be a correct one. This is just an idea.
We know that God's essential nature is love from 1 John 4:8.
We also know from places like Alma 42:13, 22, 25 that God, if he ceases to do what is the most moral thing to do, ceases to be God; he ceases to have that title. We learn that it is a logical possibility for God to fail to do what is moral; what the right thing to do is. He hasn't ceased to do the most moral thing over eons of time and that's why we worship him: he could have failed to do the moral thing but he hasn't. He has remained everlastingly good. But he could be otherwise.
The Lord tells Brigham Young in Doctrine & Covenants 136 that "[m]y people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom." We learn that the Lord gives us these trials so that we can be instructed in how to love and thus adopt his nature. Part of the definition of love is to restore happiness to someone's life that has had evil/pain/discomfort introduced into it.
Well, what if the Lord tries us by allowing a spiritual impression/revelation to fail for the purpose of learning a kind of "forgiveness" of the Lord for his "failure" to bring the promised fruition?
Paradoxically, the Lord hasn't failed us because he has taught us how to tolerate and forgive the failure of a God and thus an important part of what love means and what its fullest practice is, but he has failed to provide the promised fruition of a blessing. The Lord has succeeded in instructing us in the fullest meaning of the law of love.
12. You were deceived by false spirits
We recognize from scripture that "there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world." We have been counseled to "try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." The Doctrine & Covenants gives us procedures for discerning false spirits.
The scriptures inform us that God's law is already written on our hearts. Our fundamental being understands the truth of the entire Plan of Salvation, Restoration, and Law of Love as taught by the Savior Jesus Christ at an essential level: the former two being necessary to learn the latter. When our investigators hear the Gospel being taught to them by missionaries, there is something in them that vibrates in resonance with what is being taught as if it were something that they had already heard before. That is what they feel when the Spirit touches them as well. They feel that the Spirit is something familiar to them. This is part of what Latter-day Saints understand as the Light of Christ. Latter-day Saint scripture teaches that there is a spectrum of light, understood to be synonymous with "truth" by faithful adherents, that one can receive in this life that comes from God. This light is known in Latter-day Saint vernacular as “The Light of Christ.” All people are given the Light of Christ as their material spirits connect with their material bodies--presumably sometime after conception and before birth. When one receives more of God’s truth, one thus receives more Light. When one rejects Light, is persuaded towards rejecting the truth and Light that one has already received, or one deliberately chooses to remain without the Light that God has revealed, one stays away or moves away from Light. This is seen as sinful.
The Holy Ghost and many righteous angels are seen as those beings that move God’s children further and further into the Light. The Holy Ghost works through the Light of Christ. The Light of Christ is understood to give a spiritual energy and life to all things. Since it gives this life to all things, it follows that the Holy Ghost, working through this Light, can work on our spirit and/or our body in order to produce sensations in the heart and bring revelation to the mind. The Holy Ghost works in unity with God's purposes.
Satan, false angels, and many false spirits are seen as those beings that move God’s children further and further into the darkness.
All spiritual beings—including the Holy Spirit, false spirits, good angels, bad angels, and Satan—are claimed to be made of matter.
Latter-day Saints claim to have the fullness of Light that one can receive in this life, thus being on the (say) far right of the spectrum. The darkest part of the spectrum is perhaps the knowing and intentional disobedience of all of God’s commandments and worshipping Satan.
As one receives more Light, one is more receptive to receiving additional Light and is seen as being able to recognize the Holy Ghost and the truth that God has revealed through prophets easier. As one moves away from the Light, they are less and less able to perceive Light. If a person has gained Light but subsequently lost it through sin or being persuaded by a false spirit to accept darkness, it is seen as more difficult to regain it. It can become progressively more difficult to regain the Light depending on how much Light one receives and how much they give up when moving into the darkness. The amount of Light one has and the ability to perceive it can ultimately be diminished entirely. As Elder David A. Bednar, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has taught: "As we yield to that influence, to do good and become good, then the Light of Christ increases within us. As we disobey, Light is decreased and can ultimately be diminished."
Elder Boyd K. Packer taught that "It is important for a … missionary … to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them." Prior to their life in bodies, Latter-day Saints believe that all of humankind were in the presence of God and that they heard of God's plan to send them to earth to receive a body, learn good and evil, and eventually return to live with God. To Latter-day Saints, this familiar 'ring' of the Spirit and Gospel are the result of all of mankind's nature that recognizes love and truth as well as their previous existence as spirits in the presence of God and their hearing of the Plan of Salvation prior to their coming to earth and receiving a body.
It is possible that there are well-designed counterfeits to the truth out there in the world that may play on this resonance with the truth; that may play on the Light of Christ. As many of us in the human family know from sad experience, the best lies will be wrapped in a lot of truth but distort it ever so slightly so as to take us very off course. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf related the following in the April 2008 General Conference of the Church:
In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.
It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.Through years of serving the Lord and in countless interviews, I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to an error of only a few degrees.
The same can be true of our spiritual impressions and the falsehoods we embrace. Satan and those he inspires can present us with clever distortions of the truth and that can make it so that we're led into sinful, incorrect, or even disastrous paths that are both physically and spiritually fatal. The only way for truth to prevail and for those physical and spiritual lives to be saved is to bring those souls to the living fountain of truth that is God, what he has revealed through prophets, and what those prophets have recorded in scripture. God has a means by which we can judge good from evil, and that is the word of God as revealed to the prophets and recorded in scripture. Indeed, the iron rod of Lehi and Nephi's dream that leads us to salvation is the Word of God: scripture. God's word provided by prophets gives us the means by which we can discern the spirits whether they be false or true and work our way back to God's presence in the Celestial Kingdom. Our job as Latter-day Saints is to administer that truth to all the world. Joseph Smith told the Saints that we should “[bring] to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them” because “there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it[.]”
13. Free will
The author is aware of a case in which a young man and young woman both prayed to know whether they should marry each other and both felt the Spirit's influence confirming that it was the right decision. The couple were married and, a year into the relationship, the husband became physically abusive. The couple divorced. The young woman approached her religion teachers to ask why such a thing would happen.
We know from the scriptures that we all have free will and agency. Lehi in his valedictory tells us that "men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
It is possible that the husband had a personality and set of behavioral characteristics that, at the moment of marriage, made him a suitable and worthy marriage partner. It is possible that, through his own free choices and reactions to the vicissitudes of life, he made decisions that led him to become physically abusive.
The idea is that an impression that something is the right thing to do now is not necessarily a guarantee that it will always be the right thing. We all still have our free agency and ability to listen to our lesser angels or otherwise just make decisions that don't lead to the fruition of our promised blessings.
But How Does One Know that the Church is True Following This Same Process?
One critic observes that there are many people who use spiritual feelings to make critical life decisions. When their impressions fail (and sometimes disastrously), the critic claims that it is always the people instead of the Spirit that is blamed for the failed impression. The critic then asks "if individuals can be so convinced that they're being led by the Spirit but yet so wrong about what the Spirit tells them, how can they be sure of the reliability of this same exact process and method in telling them that Mormonism is true?"
First, we observe that the author is wrong about people always being blamed and not the Spirit. There are many solutions above that normal members know and that are, at least partially, placing blame for the lack of fruition on God such as solution #2.
But to answer the critic's larger point, there is an important way in which a person knows that the Church is true.
Under solution #12 we talk about how we already know the truth in our hearts and how the truth is a part of our nature. There is something within us that vibrates in recognition of truth and its familiarity to us. That is how you know the Church is true. God can use spiritual experiences to instruct us further in the truth. He can even use experiences that don't give us a full fruition to teach us.
We should always remember that there are four levels at which someone can evaluate a spiritual experience.
- The first is by the type of experience we have. Some have a visitations of angels, God, Jesus, other religious figures, or the Holy Ghost, for instance.
- The second is the message that is imparted to us in the experience; what was communicated to us in the experience; the actual linguistic content.
- The third is the purpose for which that message needed to be imparted to us.
- The fourth is the overall purpose in which religious experiences are given.
So the Holy Ghost can touch us, we can get an impression telling us to go visit someone in need, the purpose can be because that person needs help, and the overall purpose is because God has sent us here and has a Plan of Salvation ready for us in which we learn love and become part of God's covenant people so that we can return to live with God again in the next life.
The only experiences that would threaten the truth of the Church and the type of confidence we can have in it that it is true are those that would make it so that the overall purpose isn't what it actually is. None of the explanations for spiritual experiences above (which are explanations of the purpose for different religious experiences) threaten the overall purpose of spiritual experiences and thus do not threaten the overall truth of the Church and the usefulness of spiritual experiences in establishing belief and commitment.
Revelation takes time to master. We should understand how the Spirit functions and continue to test our knowledge. Eventually we are promised to see fruits for our efforts—even miracles
Revelation takes time to master. The best we can do is understand how the Spirit works by reading the scriptures and following the impression we receive as best as we can discern them. We are promised that as we are humble, the Lord will lead us by the hand and give us answers to our prayers (Doctrine & Covenants 112:10) and that signs will follow the believers (Doctrine & Covenants 63:9)
A key to understanding when something is authentic is its effect on you. It should feel like it didn’t come from you or was willed by you or as Joseph Smith says, like “pure intelligence" flowing into you:
A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.
However, as Boyd K. Packer points out, revelation does not "flow without effort" on the part of the person desiring it:
To one who thought that revelation would always flow without effort (although sometimes the revelation is spontaneous), the Lord said:
“You have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”
This burning in the bosom is not purely a physical sensation. It is more like a warm light shining within your being.Describing the promptings from the Holy Ghost to one who has not had them is very difficult. Such promptings are personal and strictly private!
Doctrine & Covenants 50:24
The fruit of our impressions will become clearer to us as we continue in God. As expressed in Doctrine & Covenants 50:24:
24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
As we remain humble, patient, and allow things to play out, God will allow us to understand what he means to teach us. As we grow into the principle of revelation, we will be better prepared to understand the Lord’s design and method for shaping our lives.
Trust and Follow All Spiritual Impressions
Some may take some of the suggestions of this article to mean that they should not trust their spiritual impressions or not act on them. On the contrary, one should trust and follow all spiritual impressions since they will ultimately shape us into the type of disciples the Lord would have us be. They'll also shape us into the gods that we are meant to become after this life. Reviewing all of the proposed explanations above, one common theme running through them is that they are moments of instruction via different modes of spiritual pedagogy. They instruct us in following God and learning the law of love as taught by the Savior and the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No-one should feel any incentive to believe that their spiritual impressions are "untrustworthy" because of these different "failures" of spiritual impressions. True it is that Moroni tells us that "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." However, he does not tell us how the Holy Ghost will lead us into the truth of all things. The Holy Ghost will lead us to the truth, but how he does may be different than we expect. Additionally, we have to remember that there are false spirits that may lead us away from the truth. Doctrine & Covenants 50:1–3 informs us of that. Perhaps God allows us to be led away by these false spirits from time to time for the purpose of shaping us as people and as disciples.
We hope that no one will turn away from the Spirit and their experiences with it because of confusions and trials of their faith such as this. It may come down to a choice to continue to believe and we hope that everyone will "choose eternal life, according to the will of [H]is Holy Spirit".
- 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
- Dallin H. Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign 24, no. 10 (October 1994): 13–14.
- Doctrine & Covenants 58:26–28.
- Proverbs 3:11–12; Hebrews 12:5–6; Helaman 15:3
- Mosiah 7:33
- Doctrine & Covenants 127:2
- Doctrine & Covenants 136:31
- Doctrine & Covenants 98:14–15. Emphasis added.
- Doctrine & Covenants 101:4. Emphasis added.
- Mosiah 3:19. Emphasis added.
- Joseph Smith, as reported by John Taylor in Journal of Discourses (Liverpool: F. D. Richards & Sons, 1851–86), 24:197.
- Larry E. Dahl, "The Abrahamic Test," in Sperry Symposium Classics: The Old Testament, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2005), 83.
- Doctrine & Covenants 50:2
- 1 John 4:8
- Doctrine & Covenants 50:31–33; 52:14–19
- Romans 2:14–15. Other scriptures seem to imply that the law is not written on our hearts but can be written on our hearts (Hebrews 10:16). But these scriptures may mean more generally that God will remind those he communicates to of what is already there and soften their hearts to the truth that is already there.
- Latter-day Saints believe that God's essential nature is love (1 John 4:8), that this loving nature is the nature of the fullest happiness that we can obtain (Alma 41:11), and that we are all destined as humans to become like God (Doctrine & Covenants 132:19–20; Moses 7:18). All commandments given by God are instructions in how to achieve this destiny.
- Doctrine & Covenants 84:45
- Moroni 7:16. Here the term used is “Spirit of Christ." It is understood that this is synonymous with “Light of Christ.” See Alan L. Wilkins, “The Light of Christ,” in Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis L. Largey (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2003), 521. See also Doctrine & Covenants 84:46. On the materiality of spirit, see Doctrine & Covenants 131:7.
- Doctrine & Covenants 50:24
- See “Darkness, Spiritual in the Scripture Index on churchofjesuschrist.org
- 2 Nephi 32:2–3; Doctrine & Covenants 84:47
- Moroni 7:16; Doctrine & Covenants 84:45–46
- Doctrine & Covenants 88:11–13
- Doctrine & Covenants 8:2
- Moroni 7:17; Doctrine & Covenants 50:2–3
- Doctrine & Covenants 131:7
- Doctrine & Covenants 123:11–17
- Alma 24:30; Alma 47:36
- 1 Nephi 17:45; Jacob 6:8
- David A. Bednar, “Patterns of Light: The Light of Christ,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accessed October 5, 2019, video, 1:45, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/inspiration/latter-day-saints-channel/watch/series/mormon-messages/patterns-of-light-the-light-of-christ-1?lang=eng.
- Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004), 96.
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “A Matter of a Few Degrees,” Ensign 38, no. 5 (May 2008): 57–58.
- 1 Nephi 11:25; 15:24; Moroni 7:20–25; Doctrine & Covenants 42:56–60
- 1 Nephi 11:25. You may be wondering "But what about all the uncertainties of accurately determining Scripture's message? Aren't there contradictions in Scripture?" For answers to those questions, see here and here.
- Doctrine & Covenants 123:12–13.
- 2 Nephi 2:27
- Jeremy T. Runnells, CES Letter: My Search for Answers to My Mormon Doubts (n.p.: CES Letter Foundation, 2017), 86.
- Boyd K. Packer, "Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise," Ensign 24, no. 11 (November 1994): 59–60.
- John 14:26
- Moroni 10:5
- In this way, we can hold to at least one interpretation of the scriptural teaching that “the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be” while also acknowledging that we’ve had spiritual impressions that don’t bare fruit. See Jacob 4:13. Another interpretation of that same passage is that Jacob is just saying that the Spirit is speaking truth about how Christ will actually come and redeem the world. He doesn't speak the truth about every matter at every moment of communication, but rather speaks the truth about Christ's coming. Also, in this way, we can affirm that God doesn't lie, as some scriptures seem to teach. There are scriptures in the Old Testament of God sending "lying spirits" to prophets and others. Perhaps these are distinct from the Holy Spirit which only testifies of truth.
- 2 Nephi 2:28. Emphasis added.