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“Reverence invites revelation”

Elder Boyd K. Packer,  delivered in the October 1991 General Conference of the Church

Reverence invites Revelation, by Elder Boyd K. Packer

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Other thoughts by Elder Packer concerning the workings of the Spirit:

Spiritual knowledge is learned by the Spirit, but an understanding of how the Spirit operates can be taught verbally, said Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve in his address at the missionary devotional June 20, which is part of the Mission President’s Seminar.  “We cannot express spiritual knowledge in words alone,” he explained.  “We can, however, with words show another how to prepare for the reception of the Spirit.  The Spirit will help.”  “…for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost, the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.”  (2 Nephi 33:1)  “The scriptures generally use the word ‘voice,’ which does not exactly fit,” continued the apostle.  “The delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with your eyes, not heard with our ears.  And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears.  The voice of the Spirit is described as being neither loud nor harsh. It is not a voice of thunder, neither a voice of great tumultuous noise.  But rather, a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper and it can pierce to the very soul an cause the heart to burn.”  (3 Nephi 11:3, Helaman 5:30, Doctrine and Covenants 85:6-7).  Elder Packer noted that “the Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand.  Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied, we many not feel it al all.”  He said that if an angel appears to converse, “neither you nor he would be confined to corporeal sight or sound in order to communicate.  For there is that spiritual process, described by the Prophet Joseph Smith, by which pure intelligence can flow into your minds and we can know that which we need to know without either the drudgery of study or the  passage of time, for it is revelation.”  Elder Packer discussed how a testimony is received: “A testimony is not thrust upon you; a testimony grows.  We become taller in testimony like we grow taller in physical stature; we hardly know it happens because it comes by growth.”  He added, “I have learned strong, impressive spiritual experiences do not come to us very frequently.  And when they do, they are generally for our own edification, instruction or correction.  Unless we are called by proper authority, they do not position us to counsel of correct others.”  Elder Packer added a caution, saying, “I have come to believe that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences.  They are to be guarded with care, and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them for the blessing of others.”