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What Joseph Smith's experiences can teach you about receiving revelation

As a small child, Rebecca Pinegar was often given the assignment to give a 2 ½ minute talk. Each time, her father would sit down at his Remington typewriter and in a minute or two, type out her talk. Each time, it was about Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

When she was 8 years old, she stood to bear her testimony of the only thing she’d ever talked about in Church: the Prophet Joseph Smith.

“As I did, the Spirit just filled up my young body,” Pinegar said. While she might not have understood what was happening at the time, the experience was a foundational one for her.

“I cannot thank my father enough for preparing me for that revelation,” she said. “Joseph Smith is a revealer of Christ, Who is a revealer of God. Everything that is good in my life rests on that knowledge.”

Pinegar, an assistant to the matron of the Provo Utah Temple, shared several patterns Joseph Smith set for seeking and receiving revelation during her closing keynote address at BYU Women’s Conference on May 2.

First, “seeking revelation may involve us in a war,” she said.

When Joseph Smith began seeking what church to join, he encountered a war of words. It is a variant of the war fought against Satan in heaven, Pinegar said.

In this life, “Our most effective weapon is God’s redeeming love, in contrast to the weapons of the adversary,” she said. “With dignity and poise, we can stand for truth … .”

Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference on May 2.
Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference on May 2. Photo: Madeline Mortensen, BYU Photo

Another pattern is that when Joseph Smith encountered difficulties, he turned to the scriptures. It was during such a period that he read the epistle of James and received a powerful revelation.

“This powerful confirmation about the truthfulness of James’ statement was the first written revelation of this dispensation. It preceded and precipitated Joseph’s decision to ask of God, which, when he obeyed that decision, resulted in the First Vision.”

His response resulted in another pattern: obedience and faith.

“If we want revelation, we will want to increase our faith,” Pinegar said. “If we want increased faith, we will want to increase our obedience. Obedience connotes action; exact obedience connotes an action of a willing, and an humble heart.”

The next pattern is prayer.

Joseph recognized that he could remain in darkness and confusion or he could ask of God. By choosing to pray, he saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 Women’s Conference on May 2.
Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 Women’s Conference on May 2. Photo: Rebekah Baker, BYU Photo

But he also received opposition from Satan before he began his prayer, and it was only through exerting all his power that he could call upon God.

Like Joseph, “we will feel Satan’s opposition,” Pinegar said. That opposition, however, will likely be less intense and more subtle, like the thought that God does not care about “something so small as our concerns or that we are not worthy to receive an answer to our prayers.”

Adopt these patterns and exert all power and persistence against the adversary, Pinegar advised.

The final pattern Pinegar described was that the Lord blessed Joseph Smith in his weakness.

“If the Lord will bless Joseph … even in his weakness, I have confidence He will bless me too,” she said.

“As we pattern our lives after the righteous patterns of those the Lord calls to preside over us, even in their weakness, I know we will be numbered with the pure in heart, noble and virtuous, and we will receive the multiplicity of blessings associated with that numbering.”

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