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BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional

“God, the Source of Truth, Wants to Answer Your Questions”

April 25, 2023
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President Ashton: Our dear BYU-Pathway Worldwide students and colleagues, welcome to a new semester! We pray that this will be a productive and joyful semester for each of you.In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul taught that people in our day would be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Too often, we see students and others who are confused about what is true. They hear one thing from prophets and apostles and another thing from the world. Others are paralyzed by the complexity of the decisions that they must make. Still, others hear or read what is labeled as truth but find that supposed experts don’t agree and often have diametrically opposing views. We are even reaching a point where because of deep fakes, artificial intelligence, and other advancements in technology, there will be times when we won’t be able to believe what we think we see people do and say.This is in part why President Russell M. Nelson has said, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” 2
Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018
The good news is that there is a source of truth that you can always trust: God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.Sister Ashton: So how do we come to know the truth in such confusing times? The Book of Mormon gives us the answer: “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” 3 The New Testament Apostle James similarly taught, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” 4
James 1:5; emphasis added
You see each of us is entitled to go to God to know the truth. He will answer us in His time and in His way if we will ask in faith with real intent. 5 At least 36 times in the scriptures, the Lord invites us to ask him about what is true with some version of “Ask, and ye shall receive.” 6 Yet many people don’t go to God for answers. Sometimes they don’t want to know what He has to say. Others don’t think to ask. And, still, others lack faith that God will answer them.One of President Nelson’s main messages is that God wants to speak with us and that each of us can know the truth through revelation. Consider, for example, the following quotes from his April 2018 general conference talk entitled “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.” Try to count how many times President Nelson tells us that God wants to reveal the truth to us [video of quotes from President Nelson’s message]:
One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children. ...

Imagine the miracle of it! Whatever our Church calling, we can pray to our Heavenly Father and receive guidance and direction, be warned about dangers and distractions, and be enabled to accomplish things we simply could not do on our own. If we will truly receive the Holy Ghost and learn to discern and understand His promptings, we will be guided in matters large and small. ...

Brothers and sisters, how can we become the men and women—the Christlike servants—the Lord needs us to be? How can we find answers to questions that perplex us? If Joseph Smith’s transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.

The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.

In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.

Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”

Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”

You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.

I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”

Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!” ...

To be sure, there may be times when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you. 7
Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018

President Ashton: I counted at least 20 times that President Nelson told us that God will guide and direct us if we will let Him. The promises contained in those statements are breathtaking! The great God of Heaven, your Heavenly Father, wants to speak with you! With these promises from the Lord’s prophet, can any of us doubt that God will reveal to us the truth if we are willing to ask and then do the work required to receive revelation?

Sister Ashton: So, what is the work that we must do?

  • Have faith in Jesus Christ. 
  • Live such that we can feel and hear the Holy Ghost. As President Nelson has said, “Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.” 8
    Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018
  • Do our homework by searching the scriptures and the words of the prophets to find out what the Lord has already said about our question. 9
    On this subject, Elder Dale G. Renlund taught, “When we ask for revelation about something for which God has already given clear direction, we open ourselves up to misinterpreting our feelings and hearing what we want to hear. A man once told me about his struggles to stabilize his family’s financial situation. He had the idea to embezzle funds as a solution, prayed about it, and felt he had received affirmative revelation to do so. I knew he had been deceived because he sought revelation contrary to a commandment of God. The Prophet Joseph Smith warned, ‘Nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit, when they think they have the Spirit of God'" (“A Framework for Personal Revelation,” Liahona, Nov. 2022).
  • Pray and ask with faith in the name of Jesus Christ that God will answer us. The Savior said, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” 10
  • Patiently wait on the Lord to answer in His way and in His time. 

President Ashton: Now in conclusion, let me just share one example of how the Lord helped me to know the truth. Over 30 years ago, one of my brothers died. While I understood the Lord’s teachings about what happens to young children after they die, I still had questions. A few years ago, I decided to see if I could get answers to those questions. I sought answers through study and prayer. Initially, the answers didn’t come. But last year, I was asked to speak at the graveside service of a deceased child. It was then as I was preparing for that experience that I was given the answers. In fact, I find that answers to my personal questions often come as I am serving someone else.

Sister Ashton: I know our Heavenly Father is aware of us and desires to comfort and guide us. Because He loves us, He gives us the Holy Ghost so that we can seek understanding and answers. God wants us to seek and ask. As we learn how the Holy Ghost communicates with each of us individually, we will receive the guidance we need. At times we will have to be patient and have faith because He knows what is best for our learning and growth, but answers and comfort will come.

President Ashton: I testify that you can know the truth. Personal revelation is real! God wants you to ask Him your questions. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Because of Him you can get answers to your questions. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.