I believe in revelation. Specifically, I believe in revelation from God. I believe God revealed to men, called prophets in the Old Testament times. I believe the promised Comforter came after Jesus ascended to heaven, and that Comforter reveals to things to those who seek it.
In my 60+ years, there have been too many things for me to mark them up to coincidence. From dreams coming true (both good and bad), still small voices prompting me what I should do, the administration of angels, visions, revelations and the fulfillment of revelation, all lead me to believe in revelation.
My heart breaks when I see those who have come close to tasting enough revelation that they won't turn back, and to see them stop and turn around. My Grandma Walton once told me she swam halfway across the Mississippi and then seeing it was too far, turned around and swam back. While she meant it as a joke, there was a lesson there.
I've seen people get 80% across the figurative Mississippi to turn around and go back. However, I haven't known many people who made it all the way who decided to go back. There comes a point in the journey that you become steadfast and immovable -- firm in the faith.
Thinking about Joseph Smith, he said, "For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it."
I have come to learn that Joseph Smith didn't have the monopoly on obtaining that knowledge. People may choose to believe, or not believe, that Joseph Smith had actually seen God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, but that doesn't make it any less true. People have asked why other's haven't seen visions. They just haven't studied deep and far enough to discover there are others. Even the title page of the Book of Mormon lists 3 who saw an angel of God and they never denied having seen that vision.
We have a living prophet -- President Russell M. Nelson. He is one of many in a succession of prophets in the latter-days, starting with Joseph Smith. You can mark the current events up to coincidence, but I can't. Here are some of the non-coincidences I've witnessed.
- Many years ago, the prophet asked us to store food, water, supplies and have a savings so we can survive difficult time.
- About 8-10 years ago, and I don't recall the specific setting, the prophet said we would no longer hear about food storage from the pulpit (referring to the pulpit in the Conference Center).
- Less than a ago we were told the church is shifting to a home-centered curriculum.
- Last week, around the time COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, were were told church would cease until further notice and we were instructed to study and share the gospel in our homes.
- Around the same time, a run on the stores resulted in water, toilet paper and hand sanitizer disappearing from the shelves. Toilet paper was going for $1/roll (and now, 3 days later, I've seen it as high as $6/roll). Yesterday, reports were made that many store shelves were completely bare.
Those who listened to the prophetic warning have enough supplies on hand and are prepared to deal with it.
But, it's more than that...
Personal revelation comes in various forms. To receive a prompting to do something you wouldn't normally do, and then by listening to that prompting you learn why, is a form of personal revelation. To ask in prayer for light and knowledge, and then receiving that light and knowledge, that is a form of revelation. To look in someone's face, who was once full of light and that light now vanished is a form of personal revelation. To be able to know when someone is lying to you, that too is a form of revelation.
By not ignoring those revelations, greater things come. Line upon line, precept on precept, here a little and there a little is how it has been described. Peter, in the New Testament, described the destination as "calling and election sure." He gives a list of what has to be done. He writes...
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious: that by these ye might be of the , having the that is in the world through . And beside this, giving all , add to your faith ; and to virtue ; And to knowledge ; and to temperance ; and to patience ; And to godliness ; and to brotherly kindness .
He then tells us if we DON'T DO THESE THINGS, then we are demonstrating that we have forgotten that Jesus Christ purged our past sins. (See 2 Peter 2:1-11) That statement alone should cut deep to the heart and remind us that it takes continuous devotion to receive that election Peter talks about.
Probably the greatest revelation given to us is the Book of Mormon. Why people choose to ignore it is beyond my comprehension. I would think that if God gave us 531 pages you'd want to know what it says, and you'd want to know if it is true.
I started off wanting to know if it was true. After some reading and study, I believed it was true. Not stopping there, I continued and one day, God showed me in an undeniable way, that it is true. Line upon line and here a little and there a little and then suddenly it happened, the details of which were meant for me, and me only. Thus much I can say, it is a warning letter sent from God to us, today, right now.
So, don't ever give up. To steal a Book of Mormon euphemism, hold to the rod. Even when you have doubts (and I've had my share), hang in there because when it happens, that personal revelation will be glorious and wonderful. Then, once you can stand firm and steadfast, don't ever step off that spot because you might not make it back.