How to apply the counsel of the prophet in your personal life

We must know what the prophets have said and what they are now saying. We must read, study, search, ponder and pray, then apply the counsel of the prophets. As Nephi told his wayward brothers, we need to liken the scriptures unto ourselves. I also suggest the following:

Listen, read, ponder and apply the counsel of living prophets. Listen to general conference, read the conference reports, the Church News, the Ensign and other Church publications.- Live worthy to have the Holy Spirit guide us in how to apply the counsel of the brethren in our own lives. A damaged receptor has a difficult if not an impossible task to hear clearly and accurately the message delivered under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Understand the Lord's way is not man's way. We spend a large part of our lives learning how to apply the scientific method of learning, which simply stated is, "Show me, and I will believe." Because of this, we are living in one of the most enjoyable or prosperous times in the history of the earth. Yet, with all of these blessings, we must never forget that in the spiritual realm of learning the Lord requires that we first believe, and then He will show us.

Believe that almost all personal, family or social problems could be resolved if we would approach them with a broken heart and contrite spirit. In my opinion, the test of whether or not we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit is reflected when we, with total faith, are willing to adhere and apply all the teachings of the prophet to our own lives. Once we have received a testimony of the Spirit, know the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that we have living prophets, seers and revelators on earth today, it is easy to follow the brethren and apply their teachings in our personal lives.

Exhibit the faith and courage to apply the counsel of the prophets in all aspects of our lives, even when that counsel might be contrary to our natural or intellectual perceptions.

Regardless of how many times I read the scriptures or listen to the living prophets, I learn new concepts that I can apply in my own life. When I read the canonized scriptures or listen to the scriptures as they flow from the living prophet, it is exciting to ask myself, "What is he saying to me? How can I apply this in my personal life and the lives of those for whom I have responsibility." As my life expands, so does my insight in applying the direction of the living prophets.

I used to listen to conference and take copious notes. Finally, I realized that I could read all of these in the conference report. So I quite taking copious notes, but rather started to write down what I was going to do in my own life, what changes I would need to make in order to be in harmony with what the living prophets were teaching. And this is exciting! - A. LaVar Thornock, Shelley, Idaho

What we did:

Simple counsel has lasted

In 1974 when I was taking the missionary discussions as a teenager in Arizona, I told my boyfriend, who was preparing for a mission, that I really believed in the Church, but I had a real dilemma trying to accept a particular doctrine. He asked me if I believed Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if I believed that Spencer W. Kimball was a prophet of God. I answered in the affirmative without reservations to either question. He just smiled and said, "Then you can't pick and choose which revelations you believe in."

I was baptized two weeks later and I have never forgotten that sweet, simple counsel from a young man as I have accepted revelation from those who have guided our Church all these years. - Jennifer Bassarear, Woods Cross, Utah

Turn counsel to action

Our family needs to be reminded that the prophet's counsel is important. Therefore, we strive to do the following:

Have his picture in our home. When he speaks in general conference, we point him out. We also put up other pictures, such as when President Gordon B. Hinckley was pictured with U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Display his words, such as the Family Proclamation he recently issued. We framed it on wrapping paper, highlighted things that are important to us and put it up in our kitchen. We review that proclamation during family home evenings.

Have a family member summarize a conference talk each morning before family breakfast for a time after general conference.

Listen to general conference tapes - purchased from a Church distribution center - while we drive in the car.

Read summaries of his talks in the Church News and in other Church publications.

Having these things in our home is bound to affect us as a family. I try to filter the counsel of the living prophet into my mothering. The inspiration we feel from the counsel of the prophet only turns to guilt if we don't follow through. We have to turn the inspiration into action. - Jennifer Ellsworth, Durango, Colo.

Anxiously engaged

We need to be more anxiously engaged rather than casually engaged. As we look through the words of the living prophets, we may find encouragement to do things that aren't exciting, such as scripture study or daily prayer, and we say, `We've heard it before,' and that's because we're too casual about the simple things of the gospel.

I'm a bishop, and I like the Young Women Personal Progress book because it is an active process. The Personal Progress is complete when we set goals and then complete them. I also like the Primary's Gospel in Action awards. We say we're going to "do it." These programs put the prophets' words into action. - Michael K. Bolingbroke, Sparks, Nev.

Wonderful guideline

When President Gordon B. Hinckley was sustained as our prophet, seer and revelator, he gave thrilling words of inspiration, including a wonderful discourse that I decided to memorize. I did so by writing it several times.

In doing so, I was reinforcing it each time I wrote it, and also decided to give a written copy to a friend, who appreciated it.

I have found the discourse to be a wonderful guideline for me in my daily life. The poignant advice and counsel therein have helped me greatly in every activity of my very happy life. - Don F. Harris, Salt Lake City, Utah

Make part of ourselves

I've always found that the best way to apply the words of the prophets in our personal lives is to try to live as an exclamation rather than an explanation.

If we have made the words and counsel of the prophets a part of ourselves, then we will find ourselves, day-to-day, and week-by-week, more apt to be living our lives with an exclamation point rather than having to explain why we didn't follow their teachings. - John K. Challis, Afton, Wyo.

How to checklist:

Be familiar with his words; listen to general conference, read Church publications.

Identify a personal message from the prophet to yourself.

Turn inspiration into action; set goals; be determined to follow prophet's counsel.

Display picture of Church president in your home.

Write to us:

April 20 "How to practice integrity in one's life."

April 27 "How to show respect, be polite while on a date as a young person."

May 4 "How to take control of, responsibility for your own life."

May 11 "How to make extra money as a youth under 16."

May 18 "How to decorate your home on a limited budget."

May 25 "How to keep children busy during summer vacation."

June 1 "How to curb impulsive spending."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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