Aurelia Spencer Rogers was not impressed with the boys in her recently established community of Farmington, Utah. Words like “hoodlum” and “carelessness in the extreme, not only in regard to religion, but also to morality” were thrown around. She was sympathetic – she understood that after all the losses that occurred on the path to Zion and the hard work involved in establishing a new community, parents were exhausted and barely scraping by. But she felt the children’s needs were not being met, and she hoped for change.
Her bishop placed the responsibility solely on the mothers’ shoulders and held a meeting to instruct them, but this didn’t sit right with Rogers. She understood that the united effort of parents was needed. As she pondered solutions, Rogers stated, “A fire seemed to burn within me . . . The query then arose in my mind could there not be an organization for little boys wherein they could be taught everything good, and how to behave?”
Several weeks later, she met with Eliza R. Snow and Emmeline B. Wells, and she floated the idea of forming an organization for little boys that would train them to become better men. Snow liked the idea and brought it up with central church leadership. They supported its formation, and Rogers was asked by local leadership to form the first iteration of what would become the church’s Primary organization, serving both girls and boys.
Inspiration flowed to Rogers as she designed the program. She stated, “While thinking over what was to be done for the best good of the children, I seemed to be carried away in the spirit, or at least I experienced a feeling of untold happiness which lasted three days and nights. During that time nothing could worry or irritate me . . . This was a testimony to me that what was being done was from God.”
She called counselors and visited parents in the ward to learn about the children. She struggled with feelings of inadequacy, yet “felt to lean upon the Lord in all humility.” In the early stages of Primary, there was singing, struggling to get the children to actually sing during singing time (some things never change), instruction, child-length attention spans, testimony, enthusiasm, prayers, activities, goals, Primary Programs, and so much of what defines the Primary organization I adore today. Eliza R. Snow would eventually establish Primary organizations throughout the territory and call Louise Felt as the first General Primary President .
Aurelia Spencer Rogers teaches me so much about receiving and acting upon revelation.
Rogers modeled the principle of bottom-up revelation. She didn’t wait for someone with a title to do something about the problem that was worrying her. In fact, her bishop had already acted by offering what she defined as “good advice and counsel” to the mothers in the ward, but Rogers understood elements of the problem that her bishop had not considered. Because she looked at the problem from a broader range of angles, she went to God with different questions, and therefore received the inspiration her ward needed.
Many beloved programs of our church came as a result of women who recognized a need in their community and followed revelation to act. Sarah Granger Kimball’s proposal for a sewing society for those building the temple inspired the formation of the Relief Society . Emily H. Higgs’ concerns about urban working girls’ lack of opportunity for spiritual and psychological healing in nature led to the first Girls Camp . Emma Smith’s comments about tobacco in the School of the Prophets led to the Word of Wisdom . These women received revelation that set in motion a century-long pattern of seeking additional revelation to expand, redefine, and modify these programs and policies to meet the needs of current generations. Rogers teaches me that we all have different lived experiences which give us different perspectives, and we don’t need to be in a traditional leadership position to receive revelation to do the Lord’s work.
Another way that Rogers teaches me is that she surrounded herself with leaders and talented individuals after receiving revelation and was humble throughout the process. Rather than feeling disappointed about his earlier handling of the problem, Rogers worked in harmony with her bishop, listening to his recommendations for individuals that could assist her in the work, and working together to address needs. She sought counsel from Eliza R. Snow and Emmeline Wells, who were powerhouses who knew how to build programs. When asked for her feedback on naming a General Primary President, she sought inspiration and recommended Louise Felt, never once feeling slighted that she had not been asked. She did not assume that because the Lord had spoken to her, He didn’t have anything else to say to others. After receiving revelation, she worked in harmony with other individuals who possessed different talents, perspective, stewardship, and revelation to help the program become what the Lord intended it to be.
I love how Rogers’ experience demonstrates the value of our current council-based system for seeking revelation to do God’s work. Listening to others and working through councils multiplies the voices and perspectives that are considered as leaders approach the Lord for direction. As President Nelson reminds us, “good inspiration is based upon good information,”  and it is vital that we listen to diverse voices as we make decisions, as it forces us to expand our vision of what God’s answers can look like. Rogers reminds me of the value of humility in my church service, and how much better the results can be when I seek for unity with other leaders and interested parties to combine our personal revelation.
Finally, I love how Rogers continuously recognized the necessity of revelation in looking for solutions, and how clearly she recognized the ways that God spoke to her. Revelation came because Rogers had already set a pattern of seeking inspiration and learning to identify and act on it. The revelation about the Primary organization was hardly her first experience listening to the Lord’s voice. In her Life Sketches, she recognizes again and again ways that the spirit nudged her throughout her life – the spirit bringing words to her mind that changed her perspective; receiving inspiration to know who to ask in times of trouble; and overwhelming feelings of peace that came when she counseled with the Lord. Because she had learned to listen to the spirit and act upon it, she was in a position to receive the revelation needed to establish the Primary program. Sometimes inspiration would freely flow, and sometimes God would remind her that He wanted her to study things out and propose solutions, but when it came, she knew what to do.
Sister Michelle Craig’s 2019 conference address about receiving personal revelation provided practical advice for this process. I appreciated Craig’s counsel about intentionally carving out spaces in our lives where God can speak to us and keeping an open mind about what God is going to tell us . Since hearing this talk, when God’s plans for me have differed from my own, I think about her observation about the Lord providing “a way” for Nephi, not “the way,” and I feel more willing to trust that God knows what He is doing by placing me where I am, and more capable of seeking what I am supposed to learn and accomplish there, rather than worrying about why I am not where I feel I should be.
Rogers inspires me to strive to better understand how God speaks to me. And the more I hear President Nelson speak lately, the more urgent this process feels to me. He frequently challenges us to increase our capacity to receive revelation, and has used every women’s session of General Conference since being set apart to encourage women to ask for and act upon revelation from the Lord.
In October 2018, he urged the women of the church to “pray to understand your spiritual gifts – to cultivate, use and expand them, even more than you ever have. You will change the world as you do so.” He also promised us that as we prayerfully study the Book of Mormon, “the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation.” 
In the 2019 women’s session, President Nelson reminded us that, “The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood,” and continued, “I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life.” I especially loved his description of the process for seeking revelation about what priesthood power means in our lives. He says, “You won’t find this process spelled out in any manual. The Holy Ghost will be your personal tutor as you seek to understand what the Lord would have you know and do. This process is neither quick nor easy, but it is spiritually invigorating. What could possibly be more exciting than to labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power – priesthood power?” 
While I still consider myself a novice at understanding what God wants to tell me, I can say the process of seeking revelation has become more meaningful to me as I am willing to view it as a learning process, rather than an informational transaction. As President Nelson stated, finding answers has often not been quick or easy for me. Frankly, much of the revelation I receive takes the form of God giving me meatier and more productive questions than the ones I started with. But the process of striving to understand God’s voice and build a relationship with Him has taught me truths about myself and how God feels about me, encouraged me to seek voices I would not have otherwise heard, forged meaningful relationships that have brought me closer to God, and made me a more effective disciple.
To me, both messages burst with the truth that God wants us to more actively seek for revelation in our lives, and celebrate the joy, power, and influence for good that come when we do so. Women’s life circumstances vary greatly, and because of the many opportunities we have been given, we have more creative space to build our lives than we possessed in the past. Because we have so many paths to pursue, people that depend on us, and demands on our time, revelation is crucial to ensure that the way we live our lives lines up with the unique ministries God has given us. I feel that the prophet pushes us so hard to receive personal revelation because we cannot do the work God wants us to do if we are simply drifting along and handling whatever demands our attention most loudly. If we aren’t actively and regularly seeking understanding of our purpose, we will miss opportunities to find joy in doing God’s work.
God had a work for Aurelia Spencer Rogers to do, and because she valued and sought revelation, she was able to do it. Her ministry has blessed thousands upon thousands of lives, and it reached its perfect state because she took action and actively sought revelation to bless those in her sphere of influence.
 Aurelia S. Rogers, Life Sketches (1898). Available at https://archive.org/details/lifesketchesofor00rogerich
 Sarah Granger Kimball, Autobiography, The Woman’s Exponent 12:7, September 1 1883, available at https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/WomansExp/id/10845
 Emily H. Higgs, May W. Cannon, Sadie G. Pack, “Liberty Glen Camp.” The Young Woman’s Journal, Volume 24, page 31-34. Published 191.
 “The Word of Wisdom,” Revelations in Context, available at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/revelations-in-context/the-word-of-wisdom?lang=eng
 “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives.” Russell M. Nelson, April 2018 General Conference
 “Spiritual Capacity,” Michelle Craig, October 2019 General Conference, available at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/15craig?lang=eng
 “Sisters Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” Russel M. Nelson, October 2018 General Conference, available at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/general-conference/2018/10?lang=eng
 “Spiritual Treasures,” President Russell M. Nelson, October 2019 General Conference, available at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/36nelson?lang=eng