Gospel Doctrine Old Testament Lesson #14Exodus 17:8–1318:13–26Exodus 19–20Exodus 32–34

There were a lot of mind-blowing moments during the 2018 April General Conference. But one of the most mind-blowing for me was when Elder Larry Y. Wilson spoke in the Sunday morning session about personal revelation. He said that many people have misinterpreted the scripture in D&C 58: 26 which reads: “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.” Elder Wilson said that many believe this scripture is saying we should not pray about every single decision, when, in reality, it refers to church members who went to the prophet to receive an answer to a question they had rather than seeking out revelation through personal prayer.

I had always been taught that this scripture in the Doctrine and covenants basically meant not to pester the Lord with insignificant questions about mundane things because we had our own will and judgment that we should learn to apply in these situations. Now, I understand that it is the small and simple acts of daily reliance upon the guidance of the Holy Ghost when waters are calm that leads to the much-needed revelation when a typhoon threatens to drown us.

In chapters 15, 16, 17 of Exodus, we see how time and again the children of Israel looked to Moses, their prophet for answers to some difficult situations they were facing. They were understandably frightened by the scarcity of both food and water. After having witnessed so many miracles though, it would seem like these people should have had more trust in the Lord. Unfortunately, miracles do not build testimonies, but rather it’s the small and simple things like personal prayer, daily repentance, partaking of the sacrament and scripture study that leads to faith in the Lord and answers to questions. Rather than sustaining Moses in his calling as a prophet and looking to the Lord for the answers to their problems, the children of Israel blamed Moses for their hardships. How often have we fallen into the same trap?

When we raise our hands in meetings to sustain our leaders, we are much like Aaron and Hur, holding up Moses’s arms during the Israelite’s battle with Amalek, as Moses held up the rod of God. It is the prophet’s job to show us the rod, the word of God, it is our job to uphold that word. This does not mean blind faith, as Elder Anderson expounded on during the Saturday afternoon session of the same general conference. Rather, we sustain the revelation of our leaders through action based on personal witness, inspiration and direction from the Holy Ghost. If we encounter difficulty in fulfilling the callings we have been given or in understanding the directions that come to us from the church leadership, it is our responsibility to, as President Nelson said, “stretch beyond [our] current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation” (April 2018).

The young women of the church, in particular, were called to sustain their leaders by serving church members as part of the new ministry that will replace visiting and home teaching. Just before this announcement, sister Bonnie L. Oscarson said that that “Every young woman in the Church should feel valued, have opportunities to serve and feel that she has something of worth to contribute to this work.” This will be a profound opportunity for young women to strengthen their spiritual confidence as they’re led by the Holy Ghost in living and caring for those in need.

Bishops, young women leaders, prophets and apostles can provide young women with opportunities and inspired direction on how to minister, but it is ultimately up to every young woman of this church to pray and to receive a testimony that the words she stands to proclaim every Sunday, “I am a daughter of a heavenly father who loves me and I love him…” are true. Young women along with disciples of all ages and gender who have had a spiritual witness of God’s love for them and their own divinity will not need to be directed in all things, especially when it comes to loving other children of God. In fact, it’s hard to hold someone back from acting on that love once it is spiritually manifested. Personal revelation is the bridge that leads us from hearing the word of God to actually doing it. It makes possible the obedience necessary to allow us into his presence (JST Exodus 34:2).