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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Early Warning System Called the Spirit of the Lord

There is a Spirit of the Lord, the which if heeded, will guide us aright in our daily lives.  However, it can warn us of danger, whether spiritual, economic, or temporal.  I will here cite two examples, one from my own life, and another from Elder M. Russell Ballard.  I now quote from my own journal on the date of 11 July 2011, Monday.

"I should have realized sooner that Satan was after me.  Yesterday [Sunday 10 July], as I was sitting on the stand before Church [in preparation for speaking in Sacrament Meeting], I heard the Spirit whisper to me, 'Satan will try and get you.  Be careful.'  I lost the Spirit today.  I remember, as I was reading the Scriptures today, even though the Spirit was present, feeling foreboding afterward and a desire to rush through them.  Once I returned from applying for jobs, the darkness returned, but I failed to discern."

We must ever be vigilant and humble that the Spirit can speak to us and we obey.  We must, as Elder Ballard says, "learn to think straight", or to give heed to the Spirit of the Lord.  Next, I quote an experience from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve:

"How do we learn to think straight?  The book of Proverbs has a little guide that might be helpful. It is found in the nineteenth chapter, twentieth verse: 'Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise.'  I would suggest that straight thinking probably begins with straight listening, with careful listening, with accurate listening. . . .

"I signed an Edsel franchise with Ford Motor Company.  Some of you may not know what the Edsel was.  The older brethren know that it was one of the most disastrous national marketing mistakes ever made in the United States.  Ford Motor Company spent over two hundred million dollars producing an automobile that would carry the name of Edsel Ford, the father of Henry Ford II, who was then the president of Ford Motor Company.  The sales promotion, anticipation, and the excitement were unbelievable.  You can appreciate what it was like, being a relatively young businessman and having all the power of the Ford Motor Company brought to bear on me to encourage me to become the Edsel dealer for Salt Lake City.  I wrestled with the decision.  I said to my father, who was a great man in my life, 'Before I sign the franchise, I want to see the car.'

"They made special arrangements for us to fly to California to see the car.  Now, as I wrestled with this, I was also asking the Lord about it, asking for direction.  It was a big decision; it involved a lot of money, a lot of commitment on my part.  The minute my father and I saw the cars I had the distinct impression not to go ahead with the franchise.  When I got away from the new car showing, the sales power of Ford Motor Company started to work on me again--they assured me the car was going to be the greatest thing that ever came into the automobile industry.  And I allowed myself to drift from the promptings of the Spirit that I had earlier.  I had followed the counsel of the ninth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, but I wavered from the impression the Lord had given me.  I made the decision to sign the franchise, then went through the torments of the damned, almost.  If we had more time, I could tell you that it is not fun to lose a lot of money fast.  Regardless of what I did, it didn't matter; I couldn't stop the losses.  Ultimately I had to sell the franchise at a great loss" ("Let Us Think Straight", BYU Devotional Address, 29 November 1983).

Now, both Elder Ballard and myself know when the Spirit of the Lord speaks to us.  I would hope that all who read The Mormon Eagle are humble and allow the Spirit to speak, and to give heed when it does.  I know the dangers the Spirit of the Lord can illuminate to us, and if we give heed to the Spirit's early warnings, we will be led aright.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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