- Posted March 13, 2013 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
I felt the Spirit of God, no doubt about it
When I was a senior in high school, I attended an Old Testament study class before school. One day, our teacher wanted to demonstrate how, when God has a message for all His children, He communicates through established lines of authority. He works through a prophet who is already known among His children, and the prophet works through other leaders who have been given portions of the priesthood authority that the prophet has. The lesson was that, just as we observe this pattern in the Old Testament for the dissemination of global messages, it is still how God works today. Moses got the ten commandments, not Aaron or some unknown member of the wandering Israelite family. At the time of my story, the present-day Moses equivalent was Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the LDS Church.
My teacher read a document that he said was a letter with new policies on matters that would impact everybody in the church and people all over the globe. The new policies called for higher sacrifice and more stringent commitment. My mind wanted the letter to be true, “of course God would be asking more of us! We’re in the end of times!”
But what I didn’t think about was that this setting was entirely out of God’s order for disseminating such a message. My teacher was not in a line of priesthood authority leading back to the prophet.
When my teacher finished reading the letter, he let everyone in the class respond for a few minutes. My mind was still racing, “wow, this is so cool. The changes will be hard and require more of me, but I’m ready to give God more.” It still didn’t occur to me that this optional morning class before school was not in the line of priesthood authority through which God would communicate something so sweeping that would impact everyone.
About five minutes into my classmates reactions, my teacher said, “OK, so I made this letter up. A letter like this would never be announced here because I am not the prophet and I’m not in an authority line that connects to the prophet.” I was so confused and, being the arrogant high school senior that I was, felt a little sheepish for not catching this.
My teacher then read a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley, the man who was God’s prophet at that time. As my teacher read Gordon B. Hinckley’s words, I experienced a new dimension of existence. My skin tingled, and I felt like my mind had infinite capacity. Everything was clear. My heart connected with what I heard. My mind didn’t race with new thoughts and excitement, it just listened. That moment is a moment where I say I experienced a full connection with the Spirit of God. I felt the Spirit of God witnessing to me that what I was hearing was true. In the earlier moment, I wanted the letter to be true but wasn’t. And so my experience with it was thin. It was only words running through my mind. The invented words were not accompanied by the Spirit. There was no power of God communicating with my soul. The reading of the letter, with no Spirit, juxtaposed to the actual words of Gordon B. Hinckley, which were accompanied by the Spirit, was a moment when I got really clear on what it is like to experience the Spirit of God. And it was a moment when I saw that the Spirit does accompany only the things that are true. No matter how much we want something that is not true to be true, the Spirit will not be there for to say that it is.
I continue to distinguish moments when the Spirit is present and communicating with me that what I am hearing or seeing is true. These are experiences where I can’t tell someone else “oh I know this thing is true because I have indisputable evidence or infallible logic.” All I can say, “I experienced the Spirit of God communicating this is true.” And having this as an option for learning is powerful for me to add to all the different ways that I learn. God can and does communicate to me individually. He is interested in having me learn in the way that people learn from people and He is interested in having me learn from Him through His Spirit.
Read more about my faith here.