How do you know if revelation is from the Lord or from another source? I have read the Lund book Hearing the voice of the Lord many times. I have listened to the talk above by Boyd k packer. I have prayed many many times. I just seem to get nowhere on this. I have been deceived in revelation many times. Boyd k packer said that one cannot force revelation and that if you do, you may be deceived. This may be my problem. Sheri Dew has said that she trained herself to receive revelation. Does she describe her approach in any of her books? Can anyone recommend a book or a talk? Does anyone have a method that has worked for them. Has anyone heard a talk that was helpful?
I’d like to tell three stories.
A stake president once gave a metaphor explaining how to tell if it is true inspiration or just your own emotions getting in the way or the devil.
A fisherman will watch the float to determine if the line is being nibbled on. But fish are sly. They try little nibbles first before biting. So, there are little bobs from the float. An experienced fisherman can tell when it is a fish nibbling at the hook or when it is just the waves on the water. He can then pull the line to hook the fish.
A novice fisherman will tend to pull the line every time he sees any motion at all. This makes is much more work than a leisurely day of fishing is supposed to be. But if he pays attention to the subtle differences that can’t really be described with words, he will eventually learn the differences.
The prophet is such a master fisherman that the mistakes he makes between the waves vs. the real nibbles are few and far between. And the mistakes tend to be small, since he also has a wealth of other knowledge to prevent major error. And it tends to be that only those at a prophet’s level will get a wholesale swallow by a big fish that is absolutely unmistakable.
Bottom line: It takes experience and lots of practice and effort.
My brother-in-law decided that on his mission he would just do whatever he thought he was receiving from the Spirit. There was only a minor filter (don’t do something he knows he’s commanded to NOT do, don’t break the law, etc.). As he did them, he’d pay special attention to exactly how he felt and what was the result.
As he did so he became more aware of the differences in feelings that came from those promptings that produced good results and those that produced bad results. Many were neutral, so what do you do? Eventually he got to where he felt he had a good handle on it.
My son (the one on this forum) had once said that he believed he had never felt the Spirit. This obviously disturbed me. As I prayed I realized that he must have felt the Spirit many times, but just didn’t recognize it. So, it is my job as a parent to help him recognize it.
He went on a youth trip to Nauvoo with the stake. When I picked him up, I saw a light in his eyes and an excitement I’d never seen. I asked him about what he saw and did. I asked him how he felt. It was good. I described a few things about that feeling – how much of it was emotional, physical, and spiritual. I then pointed out to him, “That spiritual aspect that you’re feeling is the Spirit.”
During one family home evening we focused on feeling the Spirit. It was really difficult to get the young ones to settle down. So our conversation extended to past their bedtime. But I stayed up with my two oldest. I began feeling the Spirit very strongly as we spoke. I told them that I was then feeling the Spirit. It was certainly in the room. My son said, “Dad, I think I feel it too.” I counseled him to remember that feeling.
Sometimes you need someone to give you some salt and say, ”This is what salt tastes like.” They just need to put it on their tongue.