It may not come like a flash of light (I don’t know how the Lord is going to communicate with you), more than likely it will be the reassurance and a feeling in your heart, a reaffirmation that will come in a rather calm, natural but real way from day to day until you come to a realization that you do know.
Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.
The challenge for most of us is that, while we believe these things, the events of that day in 1820 are far away and sometimes forgotten. The wear and tear of daily living often overshadow the things we know; and we fail to heed. Without meaning to, we sometimes fine ourselves doing or saying things that are inconsistent with the voices from the grove, and Jospeh's exsperience there ceases, for a time, to have what Elder Neal A. Maxwell called "operative relevancy" for our lives.
To ensure that I do not forget the things that my eyes have seen and my heart has felt, I carry with me a reminder of the reality of the First Vision. It is a leaf from a 200-year old beech tree. I found it in the Sacred Grove a few years ago. The tree, a s nearly as I can tell, was in the grove on that spring morning in 1820. Perhaps some of the light Joseph saw shone on it and caused it to sink its roots deper into the rocky soil. I keep the leaf in my scriptures, and every time I open them, the leaf helps remind me of what I know.
May we always remember what we know and most surely believe, and may our lives reverently reflect the reality of these things.
In the game of life a second effort is often required. The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals not by flights to the moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life … you make it.
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:20–21).
When children are baptized and confirmed (see D&C 20:41, 43; D&C 33:15), we place an eye within them—the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost (see D&C 121:26). With the Restoration of the gospel came authority to confer this gift.
The Book of Mormon gives us the key:
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. … Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you [and your children as well] all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:3).
If you will accept it in your mind and cradle it in your feelings, a knowledge of the restored gospel and a testimony of Jesus Christ can spiritually immunize your children.
One thing is very clear: the safest place and the best protection against the moral and spiritual diseases is a stable home and family. This has always been true; it will be true forever. We must keep that foremost in our minds.
The scriptures speak of “the shield of faith wherewith,” the Lord said, “ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (D&C 27:17).
This shield of faith is best fabricated in a cottage industry. While the shield can be polished in classes in the Church and in activities, it is meant to be handcrafted in the home and fitted to each individual.
The Lord said, “Take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand” (D&C 27:15).
Our young people in many ways are much stronger and better than we were. They and we should not be afraid of what is ahead.
Encourage our young people. They need not live in fear (see D&C 6:36). Fear is the opposite of faith.
While we cannot erase wickedness, we can produce young Latter-day Saints who, spiritually nourished, are immunized against evil influences.
As a grandfather who has lived a long time, I counsel you to have faith. Things have a way of working out. Stay close to the Church. Keep your children close to the Church.
In Alma’s day “the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it … had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God” (Alma 31:5).
True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.
Find happiness in ordinary things, and keep your sense of humor.