Seeking Knowledge by the Spirit

Seeking Knowledge by the Spirit


Dear brothers and
sisters, the Lord has repeatedly told us to
“seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” We can receive light
and understanding not only through the logical
reasoning of our minds, but also through the
guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This additional
source of knowledge has not always been
part of my life. My dear wife, Irene, and I
joined the Church 31 years ago when we were newly married. We had both grown
up in Colombia, but a few months
after our marriage, my career took us
to live in Germany. We were very young and had
great hopes and expectations; it was an especially exciting
and happy time for us. While I was concentrated
on my career, Irene was feeling that we would
receive some kind of message from heaven, without
knowing how or when. So she started
letting into our home all kinds of door-to-door
salespeople with encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, cookbooks,
kitchen appliances, and so on, always waiting for
that unique message. One evening she told me that
two young men in dark suits had knocked on our
door and that she had felt a very clear and
distinct impression to let them in. They had said that they wanted
to talk to her about God but would come back again
when I was also at home. Could this be the
expected message? They began to visit us,
and with their guidance, we read in the
scriptures and came to understand the crucial
importance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. We soon regretted
that we had been baptized as little
babies, which had not been a conscious covenant. However, being baptized
again would also mean becoming members
of this new Church, so first we really needed to
understand everything about it. But how could we know if what
the missionaries were telling us about the Book of
Mormon, about Joseph Smith, and about the plan of salvation
was actually all true? Well, we had understood
from the words of the Lord that we could “know
them by their fruits.” So, in a very
systematic manner, we started examining the Church
by looking for those fruits with the eyes of our
very rational minds. What did we see? Well, we saw: Friendly and happy people
and wonderful families who understood that we are
meant to feel joy in this life and not just
suffering and misery. A church that does not
have a paid clergy but one in which members themselves
accept assignments and responsibilities. A church where Jesus
Christ and families are at the center of everything,
where members fast once a month and donate to help
the poor and needy, where healthy
habits are promoted, teaching us to abstain
from harmful substances. IN ADDITION: We liked the
emphasis on personal growth, on education, on hard
work and self-reliance. We learned about the remarkable
humanitarian program. And we were impressed by
the general conferences, with the wonderful music and
profound spiritual principles shared there. Seeing all this, we could
find no fault in the Church. On the contrary, we liked
everything we saw very much. However, we still
could not decide to be baptized because we
wanted to know everything before doing so. But even in our indecision,
the Lord was patiently preparing us, He was
molding us, and He was helping us to discover
that we should learn to discern the truth not only
through our rational minds but also through the very still
and small voice of the Spirit, which speaks especially
to our hearts. That voice and the resulting
feeling came one evening after 10 months of
learning the gospel, when we read in Mosiah 18:
“As ye are desirous to … bear one another’s burdens, …
and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, … if this
be the desire of your hearts, what have you against
being baptized in the name of the Lord?” That passage from
the Book of Mormon entered our hearts and
souls, and we suddenly felt and knew that
there was really no reason not to be baptized. We realized that the desires
mentioned in these verses were also the
wishes of our hearts and that those things
were what really mattered. They were more important than
understanding everything, because we already knew enough. We had always relied on the
guiding hand of a loving Heavenly Father and
were confident that He would continue to guide us. So that same day, we set
up a date for our baptism, and soon we were
baptized, finally! What did we learn
from that experience? First, we learned
that we can fully trust in a loving Heavenly
Father, who is constantly trying to help us become the
person He knows we can become. We confirmed the profound truth
of His words when He said: “I will give unto the children
of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here
a little and there a little; and blessed are those who
hearken unto my precepts, … for they shall learn wisdom; for
unto him that receiveth I will give more.” And second, we learned that in
addition to our rational minds, another dimension
to gaining knowledge can give us guidance
and understanding. It is the still and soft
voice of His Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts
and also to our minds. I like to compare this principle
with our visual capacity. Our Father in Heaven has
given us not only one, but two physical eyes. We can see adequately
with only one eye, but the second eye provides
us with another perspective. When both perspectives are
put together in our brains, they produce a three-dimensional
image of our surroundings. Likewise, we have been given
two sources of information through our physical and
spiritual capacities. Our mind produces one perception
through our physical senses and through our reasoning. But through the gift
of the Holy Ghost, the Father has also provided
us with a second perspective, which is really the most
important and true one because it comes
directly from Him. But since the whisperings of
the Spirit are often so subtle, many people are not
consciously aware of that additional source. When these two perspectives
are then combined in our souls, one complete picture shows
the reality of things as they truly are. In fact, through the additional
perspective of the Holy Ghost, certain “realities,”
as pictured exclusively through our mental
understanding, can be exposed as
deceiving or plainly wrong. Remember the words of Moroni:
“By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the
truth of all things.” In my 31 years as a
member of the Church, I have experienced many
times that if we rely only on our rational mind
and deny or neglect the spiritual understanding
we can receive through the whisperings and
impressions of the Holy Ghost, it is as if we were going
through life with only one eye. But figuratively
speaking, we have actually been given two eyes. Only the combination
of both views can give us the true and
complete picture of all truths and of everything we
experience in our lives, as well as of the whole
and profound understanding of our identity and purpose as
children of a living Heavenly Father. I am reminded of what President
Nelson taught us a year ago when he said that
“in coming days, it will not be possible
to survive spiritually without the guiding,
directing, comforting, and constant influence
of the Holy Ghost.” I have come to know with
absolute certainty that: We have a loving
Father in Heaven, and we all agreed to come
to this earth as part of a divine plan. That Jesus is the
Christ; He lives and is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that Joseph, a
humble farm boy, was called and became the
mighty prophet who initiated this, the dispensation
of the fulness of times, with all of its keys,
power, and authority of the holy priesthood. I know that the Book of Mormon
is a second witness of Jesus Christ and that
families are meant to remain together forever. And I know that our
Lord, Jesus Christ, leads this, His restored
Church, through our living prophet, President
Russell M. Nelson, today. These and many other
precious truths have become spiritual
building blocks of what God is helping me to become. And I look forward to the many
new teachings that He still wants me–and you–to receive
as we go through this wonderful life and learn “even by
study and also by faith.” I know these things to be true
and testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

4 Replies to “Seeking Knowledge by the Spirit”

  1. This man really did his homework. He also prayed about it. Too many people fail to pray about things expecting things to be proven to them

  2. Wonderful talk. I like it very much.
    Two perspectives can really give us a better view of what's truth and what's not.

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