“The Spirit has left the Church.” “Miracles and gifts of the Spirit are gone in the Church.” “Members are no longer seek and follow the Spirit, but just blindly obey human leaders in a business disguised as a church.” These are favorite charges of apostates seeking to seeking to tear down the Church or even to draw and lead their own followers from the ranks of the Church. If those charges resonate with you, may I suggest you examine the past few years of talks from the President of the Church and note the number of spiritual experiences, gifts of the Spirit, and touching miracles that have been shared? The life of President Thomas S. Monson, for example, is one rich in spiritual experiences and miracles encountered in Christlike service. This is a man who listens to the Spirit and note merely a businessman pushing for better key performance indicators in the coming quarter.
Those who are in the Church and actually live its teachings in faith have, in my opinion, abundant evidences of the gifts of the Spirit and are taught in many ways the importance of following the Spirit. Miracles do happen, sometimes abundantly, as we have experienced here in China, though plenty of human stuff happens every day, more frequently and more predictably than our encounters with the hand of God. I’ve described a few here in this blog and over at the Nauvoo Times as well.
In his 1993 LDS Conference talk, “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Richard G. Scott had a quote from a past President of the Church:
President Joseph Fielding Smith gave this admonition:
“Today we are troubled by evil-designing persons who [endeavor] … to destroy the testimonies of members of the Church, and many … are in danger because of lack of understanding and because they have not sought the guidance of the Spirit. … It is a commandment from the Lord that members … be diligent … and study … the fundamental truths of the gospel. … Every baptized person [can] have an abiding testimony. … but [it] … will grow dim and eventually disappear [without] … study, obedience, and diligent seeking to know and understand the truth” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1963, p. 22).
Don’t be deceived by those teaching rebellion, claiming that the Church now lacks the Spirit. Pay more attention in your sacrament meetings, in your scripture study, in reading Preach My Gospel (the guide for missionary work), and in your listening to LDS Conference. Pay more experience to your own experiences as you obey the commandments and do your duty in serving others and praying for their welfare. We live in an age of miracles–don’t miss the excitement.
Here are some resources from recent LDS Conferences to consider:
- “The Spirit of Revelation” – Elder David A. Bednar
- “That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us” – – Elder David A. Bednar
- “Teaching After the Manner of the Spirit” – Matthew O. Richardson
- “Teaching with the Power and Authority of God” – David M. McConkie
- “Drawing Closer to God” – Elder Terence M. Vinson (I like the miracle of the rain told here)
As a final tip, experiencing the guidance of the Spirit can be enhanced when we follow this advice from President Eyring and prepare diligently for such gifts. This comes from his talk “Bind Up Their Wounds” in the October 2013 Priesthood Session:
As a quorum member, as a home teacher, and as a missionary, you cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your own faith is vibrant. That means far more than reading the scriptures regularly and praying over them. The prayer in the moment and quick glances in the scriptures are not preparation enough. The reassurance of what you will need comes with this counsel from the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”
That promise can be claimed only if we “treasure up” the words of life and do it continually.