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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meditation, Part 4 - Finding a Still Time

In "Meditation, Part 3", we discussed the necessity of literally and figuratively turning your back on the world, and for a time, finding yourself alone with no one but God. 

Ancient prophets like Enoch, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Nephi, Enos and even the Savior established a pattern of worship we would be wise to replicate in our own lives: they went to a "higher" place of peace and seclusion, of stillness and serenity, and found God.

How about you?  Where is your own personal Sacred Grove?  Is it your bedroom?  Bathroom?  Living room?  A special room?  Or is it outside your home, in a secluded place amidst nature's beauty?

If you've secured such a place in your life, you owe it to yourself to seek a proper time to commune with the Lord. 

The Difference Between Meditation and Prayer


While it is true that we're encouraged to pray morning, midday and evening, meditation is different.  With meditation, you develop an inward concentration, remove all outside distractions and quiet the chatter inside your head.  In many ways, prayer is the exact opposite of meditation: you focus on a two-way dialogue with God, the contents of which are inspired by the Holy Ghost.  With one, you seek stillness and silence; with the other, you seek a divine dialogue.

In my life, I have found using both forms of communication is most beneficial:
  • I begin my communication with God with a short prayer, asking for divine help in clearing my mind and achieving a state where I am calm and still, unaffected by the concerns of a Telestial world.
  • I then meditate (the specifics of which I'll cover in forthcoming blog posts).  This helps me "empty my cup" and shed the "natural man".
  • After I have meditated, I then pray and dialogue with Heavenly Father.
I've found this method works best for me, because (1) I need all the help I can get in calming my mind and shoving out the telestial, and (2) meditation is a tremendous tool in helping me "tune in" to the spirit's "still, small voice", thereby allowing me to effectively dialogue with Heavenly Father.  Again, this is just what I do.  You may be inspired to do differently.

Regardless, I think you would agree that any worthwhile endeavor requires some time and effort.

Knowing that, the next logical question is, "What time should I meditate?"  While only you and the spirit can adequately answer for you, here are a few suggestions with which you can "study it out in your mind"...

"Arise Early"


"Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated." (D&C 88:124)

"And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD" (Genesis 19:27)

"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put [for] his pillows, and set it up [for] a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it." (Genesis 28:18)

"And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD..." (Exodus 16:7)

"And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount." (Exodus 34:2)

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct [my prayer] unto thee, and will look up." (Psalms 5:3)

"Joy cometh in the morning." (Psalms 30:5)

"Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee." (Psalms 143:8)

"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned." (Isaiah 50:4)

"And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship..." (1 Nephi 16:10)

"The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee, O house of Israel. When ye are weary he waketh morning by morning. He waketh mine ear to hear as the learned." (2 Nephi 7:4)

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." (Alma 37:37)

"And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away." (3 Nephi 10:9)

"So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally." (JS-H 1:14)

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35)

"It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom." (Aristotle)
It should be somewhat apparent to you by now that the morning is a prime time to hear God's voice. 
"The early hours of the morning give us a freshness and a time when we are unencumbered with the cares of the world. It can be a quiet time, a time to become organized and 'prepare every needful thing.' (D&C 88:119)" (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Finding Peace in Our Lives, p.226).
Not only do the scriptures abundantly testify of the truthfulness of this concept, but our Exemplar, Jesus Christ, lived it:
"Before he gave the beautiful Sermon on the Mount, he was in solitude, in communion. He did the same thing after that busy Sabbath day, when he arose early in the morning after having been the guest of Peter. Peter undoubtedly found the guest chamber empty, and when he and others sought Jesus, they found him alone. It was on that morning that they said: 'All men seek for thee.' (Mark 1:37.)" (Pres. David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1967, General Priesthood Meeting, p.86).
There are a few former apostles that hold a dear, special place in my heart.  One is Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  Another is Pres. Marion G. Romney.  Elder Joe J. Christensen once provided this very poignant insight into Pres. Romney and early-morning inspiration:
"Years ago, Barbara and I had a special opportunity to chauffeur President and Sister Marion G. Romney from Provo to their home in Salt Lake City. Along the way, President Romney shared some of his personal experiences from when he was first called to serve as a General Authority in 1941. He had been serving as a stake president at the time, and had gone to general conference. To his amazement, he was announced and sustained as a new General Authority-an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve-without his prior knowledge; no one had talked to him about the calling before the session started. He was shocked and very nervous. He felt that he needed some advice, and so he went to Elder Harold B. Lee, a relatively new member of the Quorum of the Twelve and a former contemporary as a stake president. Elder Romney asked him for advice about how to be successful as a General Authority.  

Elder Lee spoke about the necessity of receiving personal revelation in order to be effective and said: 'If you are to be successful as a General Authority, you will need to be inspired. You will need to receive revelation. I will give you one piece of advice: Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested and then in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day.'  

President Romney said: 'From that day on, I put that counsel into practice, and I know it works. Whenever I have a serious problem, or some assignment of a creative nature with which I hope to receive the influence of the Spirit, I always receive more assistance in the early morning hours than at any other time of the day. Following that counsel has helped me a great deal through the years.'"  
What is it about morning prayer that makes it so meaningful, so significant?  Elder David A. Bednar touched on this aspect when he said:
"We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation. In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day-and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.

Consider this example. There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. For example, as we pray, we might:
  • Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.
  • Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.
  • Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.
  • Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.
  • Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.
  • Such a prayer is a key part of the spiritual preparation for our day.
During the course of the day, we keep a prayer in our heart for continued assistance and guidance-even as Alma suggested: "Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord" (Alma 37:36).

We notice during this particular day that there are occasions where normally we would have a tendency to speak harshly, and we do not; or we might be inclined to anger, but we are not. We discern heavenly help and strength and humbly recognize answers to our prayer. Even in that moment of recognition, we offer a silent prayer of gratitude.

At the end of our day, we kneel again and report back to our Father. We review the events of the day and express heartfelt thanks for the blessings and the help we received. We repent and, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, identify ways we can do and become better tomorrow. Thus our evening prayer builds upon and is a continuation of our morning prayer. And our evening prayer also is a preparation for meaningful morning prayer.

Morning and evening prayers-and all of the prayers in between-are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to "pray always" (Luke 21:36; 3 Nephi 18:15, 18; D&C 31:12). Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children." (David A. Bednar, "Pray Always", October 2008 General Conference)
Admittedly, arising early in the morning may not be a challenge for some. But for others, it can be quite a struggle. Elder Christensen continues:
"You can have a similar experience in your own life. You can change, even if you consider yourself a 'night person.' I remember a conversation with a young elder at the Missionary Training Center. On the first day he was there, he mentioned, 'President, I don't know about going to bed around ten and getting up at six in the morning. You see, I'm a 'night person.' I don't go to bed that early. I usually don't get creative until about midnight or one o'clock in the morning.' I assured him, 'Elder, if you will get up in the morning at 6:00 a.m. sharp and go through the ten hours of classroom instruction, get a good workout in your gym class, and do all the other things on the schedule, come bedtime, you will be able to go to sleep.'  Before his time at the MTC had ended, he had made the adjustment.  

It has been said that almost any habit - good or bad - can be set in about twenty-one days. With firm resolve, we can make the needed changes in our lives. If we provide the needed care for our physical bodies, we will have the strength to grow and serve the Lord in other areas of our lives." (Joe J. Christensen, One Step at a Time: Building a Better Marriage, Family, and You, p.126)
There are many techniques you can use to arise early -- early enough to meditate and pray.  Some suggestions may be found here.

Alternate Sleep Schedules


Another concept you may want to consider is called "polyphasic sleep", which is defined here as:

"the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period—usually more than two, in contrast to biphasic sleep (twice per day) or monophasic sleep (once per day). It does not imply any particular sleep schedule. The circadian rhythm disorder known as irregular sleep-wake syndrome is an example of polyphasic sleep in humans. Polyphasic sleep is common in many animals, and is believed to be the ancestral sleep state.[2] The term polyphasic sleep is also used by an online community that experiments with alternative sleeping schedules to achieve more time awake each day."

As you can see on these webpages:
there are many types of sleep: Monophasic, Biphasic, Everyman, Dymaxion and Uberman, to name a few.  Although there are advantages and disadvantages with each of them, one study has shown that polyphasic sleep may complicate your ability to enjoy fuller, more satisfying REM sleep.  To achieve adequate levels of REM sleep, you'll need to spend more time in your day sleeping.  Thus, "Monophasic sleep may therefore be a more efficient sleep pattern". 

However, some people are able to adjust their sleep schedules.  In my case, my body recently "decided" that it wanted to start going to sleep at 1030pm.  I'd then wake up around 3am, and would stay awake for maybe 1-1.5 hours.  I'd then fall asleep, then wake up again at 7am.  By my count, that's about 7-7.5 hours of sleep, which worked fine for me. 

One thing I did discover, though, is this:

3-4am can be a time of very profound, positive spiritual activity.  I know others who can confirm this.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Testimony about Meditation, Part 3

At the conclusion of my last post, I invited you to discover your own "Sacred Grove" where you can meditate, commune with -- and perhaps someday, even have an audience with -- the Lord.  I also provided a pretty good quote by President Marion G. Romney, who counseled:
"Learning the gospel from the written word...is not enough.  It must also be lived.  One cannot fully learn the gospel without living it" (Ensign, Sept. 1980, p. 4; emphasis mine). 
Below is a first-hand account by one of this blog's readers about their experiences with creating their own "Sacred Grove".  This is yet another testimony regarding the spiritual power that comes from recognizing the scripturally-based patterns of pondering and meditation, and making them come alive in your life...

A public thanks to the author of this post; it's very inspirational and testified (to me) the truthfulness of some of the concepts we've been discussing. 




The first thing I want to say is how much I have enjoyed and appreciated these recent posts on pondering. I also want to say that one of my very favorite movies about this (and in general) is Sergeant York. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's a great movie in general, that most people would enjoy anyway, but it depicts Alvin York's experience akin to JS, Enos, Nephi and many others, as well as the fruits of the experience.

And, I guess I'll stick my neck out and share a chain of evolving experiences I have had:

I'm going to start out by making reference to the great series of posts on his Perfect Day Blog about prayer, including Three Knocks a Day on the Door of Heaven, about the importance of specifically praying at least three times day. After reading that post, I took this advice to heart, and had a life direction-changing experience that I recorded in my journal, and would like to share. But first a little background.

Following a pretty substantial wander in the wilderness for about the last 10 years, for the past couple years, I have been on a more earnest and evolving spiritual quest, that has undoubtedly been enhanced by the way the Lord has "blessed" me with much more serious obstacles and challenges, that have certainly helped to humble me, and encouraged me to be much more earnest in my relationship with the Lord. Although I have had a variety of experiences in my spiritual journey over this period of time, during which (especially the last two years) I have engaged in much fasting and earnest prayer, as well as genuinely searching the scriptures, and especially the BOM, I finally feel like I'm really starting to turn the corner, and have some significant break-throughs with prayer, which have resulted in some more substantial recent experiences. As a result of these efforts, although not necessarily ever as part of a specific prayer experience, for some time now, I have been feeling the eyes of my understanding continually and gradually being opened regarding a number of things, and particularly spiritual matters. Based on the increasing earnestness of my quest, and desire to receive greater understanding and direction in a number of different areas of my life, I have started trying to follow the example set by prophets of old, and have developed a pattern of often going to "my mountain" to seek solitude, cry unto the Lord, and pour my heart out to my Maker in prayer.


As part of this pattern, there have been times, during the last year, when I have literally climbed to the top of very remote mountains, out in the middle of the desert wilderness, including high volcanic cinder cones that rise like islands in the sky from the desert floor, and at the very summit spent many hours pondering and praying, attempting to have an Enos-like experience. But although those were all interesting experiences, for the most part they also seemed to have been fairly one-sided conversations/experiences, that always seemed to fall short in terms of what I was trying to accomplish.  Because going to that length takes much more time and effort that I am capable of on a regular basis, the spot I normally go to on a much more regular basis, and refer to as "my mountain," is a secluded place on our ranch, up on a hill, surrounded by cedar trees, in many ways like the Sacred Grove. And for me, it has become a sacred place where I often go to ponder and pray. Consequently, when I pray in that place, although I often engage in deep contemplation, pondering and some form of meditation as part of what I do, when I call upon God in prayer, I don't bow my head, close my eyes, or engage in silent prayer as we are taught in Church. I raise my eyes, and my hands, and my voice to the Heavens, and call/cry out to my God -- the God of Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Joseph Smith, and many other prophets who have prayed the same way, throughout the ages.

During just the last few months, I have had a series of specific experiences where I was feeling particularly low as I went to the Lord. Without going into too many details, in one case my heart was very heavy because a substantial temporal direction that I had been actively pursuing for quite some time, and had committed a lot of time and resources to, and had previously seemed to be falling into place, suddenly turned into a dead end. At that point, I was feeling very disappointed and didn't know what to do. So I went to my mountain to pray, and in lengthy prayer, among other things, specifically pleaded to know my status before my Maker, and what I needed to do. Although no clear feeling or sense of concrete direction came to me, a very distinct feeling of peace and comfort came over me, letting me simply know at least that God was listening, and my prayers were being heard, and I found great comfort in that.

On another subsequent occasion, because of the previous direction that hadn’t turned out, I had pursued and applied for a good job that I really thought would be a good fit. I earnestly prayed that I would be able to secure the job and know what I needed to do for that to happen. Moreover, feeling even greater boldness and/or desperation at that point, although it may seem strange, I included in my prayers a specific plea that ministering angels would intervene, if necessary, to help me get the job. At first everything seemed to be on track. I had my first interview, and I felt very good about it. But then time passed, and I started worrying that I wasn't going to get a second one. One afternoon, I was gripped with fear about this possibility. With a very heavy heart, I again went to my mountain to pray. As I found solitude and poured my heart out to God, I again prayed for help, including the intervention of ministering angels, if necessary, to help me get the job. I then had some very distinct and discernible impressions. The first impression was that I would not get the job, which made my heart even heavier. Then I got the very distinct impression that ministering angels had in fact intervened -- but so that I wouldn't get the job, which was even harder to swallow. But then, a very distinct feeling of peace and comfort again came over me. In addition to this feeling of comfort that I felt, though, I also had a very distinct impression that essentially spoke: "Patience, my son. You cannot force these things. You do not yet have enough faith to compel My hand. So be patient." Although it wasn't what I wanted to hear/feel, it did again let me know that God was there, listening; He is in charge, I am in good hands, and everything will be alright. It was a very comforting experience -- especially under the circumstances. When I returned home from praying, there was an e-mail in my inbox letting me know that the job had been offered to someone else.

Finally, following that experience, and not knowing what to do, or which direction to go next, I felt particularly desperate to know the Lord's will and what He would have me do moving forward to, among other things, make some changes to better support and provide for my family and prepare for the future, etc., and I just couldn't figure out what I needed to do to be able to get more concrete direction. I was finally getting the most earnest I had ever been about pondering and praying first and foremost about what to pray for; attempting to align my prayers and my will with the Lord's will by praying for those things that He would have me pray for; seeking desperately to engage in mighty prayer, and to speak with the tongue of angels, having what I should being praying for given to me. It was also about that time that I read this post about making a special effort to pray three times a day. Although I have always been diligent about early morning prayers and devotion, and often try to go throughout the day with a prayer in my heart, etc., making a specific point of praying three times a day had never really been something that I was particular adamant about. So, I immediately committed to myself to do that. I also decided to undertake a three day fast that I would conclude with a day at the temple on the fourth day, after ending my fast that morning. But even before making it to the temple, I finally had my answers, and my direction.

On the afternoon of the third day, I again went to my mountain. I arrived at my spot in time for my midday prayer, and continued to ponder, pray and listen/ponder and pray all afternoon. By the time I finished, I received distinct impressions/whisperings with some of the clearest direction I have ever experienced in what in what I feel are particularly critical temporal issues to me and my family. I came away with more direction and clarity that I had felt in a very long time. Interestingly, some of the most significant parts of these impressions were going essentially the opposite direction than I had previously been pursuing, and leading my family. I experienced a serious paradigm shift in terms of trying to understand and do the Lord's will -- what I now call "The Great Re-direction." It was a very interesting experience. I still spent the next day in the temple, mostly with a deep sense of gratitude (plus, it was the week before Thanksgiving, so gratitude was on my mind). Although my time at the temple was a good experience, I didn’t receive any new impressions – only an additional sense of comfort and security in the direction that I had already received.

Kudos to LDS Perfect Day for helping to point me in the right direction(s).

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Study Aids Feature

The LDS Perfect Day blog now features a compilation of study aids to assist in your gospel research.  So far, it's broken down into four sections: Scripture Research Resources, Talks/Discourses, Other Research Aids and Multimedia.

Go check it out by going to ldsperfectday.blogspot.com and clicking the "Study Aids" tab at the top menu, or go directly to it by clicking here

Do you know of any research resources I've missed?  Then please send me a comment and let me know.  I'd be happy to consider it.  Just note that I'm a little hesitant to link to blogs, websites or other personal compilations of research; I'd rather stick with study aids which are as objective as possible.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Meditation, Part 3 - Finding Your Own, Personal Sacred Grove

Putting Things into Perspective So Far


In previous posts, we discussed how:
This is a powerful paradigm, based on timeless truths and exquisite examples that cannot be denied.  As Joseph Smith said,
"It is a great thing to inquire at the hands of God, or to come into His presence." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 22)
If you seek a greater, more intimate and far more constant relationship with the Savior, I encourage you to examine, explore and experiment with these principles.  In some cases, they may bear fruit almost immediately.  However, more likely, it may take time to make these principles solid foundations in your life.

Throughout history, humble, spiritual men and women have taken special care to do such things. They figuratively, and sometimes literally, turned their backs on the world, and for a time, they found themselves alone.  But in reality, they were not alone, for in stepping out of the world, they found themselves a step closer to the presence of God.

This post involves just that next step.

Your next step.

The Pattern of Setting Foot on Holy Ground


Where do you go to leave the world behind, and enter God's presence?

Can you say you've ever, truly, done so?

Enoch did. "I turned and went up on the mount," he said, "and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory; And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations" (Moses 7:3-4).

Jacob did.  In Beth-el, he built an altar "and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother" (Genesis 35:7).

Moses did.  He "was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain..." (Moses 1:1, 42), talked with God "face to face" and "beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created" (Moses 1:2,8).  It was such a special place, the Lord told Moses to "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).

Elijah did.  "And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:8-9).

Nephi did.  "And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord" (1 Nephi 17).  As a result, the Lord taught him Shipbuilding 101...the opening overtures for a trip across the great waters to the Promised Land.

Enos did.  He "went to hunt beasts in the forests", and ended up communing with God, having his guilt swept away and being considered "blessed".

The Brother of Jared did.  As we read in Ether 3:1, he "went forth" and traveled to "the top" of Mount Shelem, which also had "exceeding height" (Ether 2:1).  He went up believing the Lord would light his rocks, and came away having had a face-to-face audience with the Savior.

Joseph Smith did.  Although he went to the Sacred Grove for answers to his own questions, he came out of it with much more than he expected.

The Savior did.  He "went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12) before he gave his Sermon on the Mount.  At another time, "in the morning, rising up a great while before day, Jesus went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35)  Yet again, after Jesus had fed the five thousand, he told the Twelve to dismiss the multitude, while he went to the mountain for solitude.  In fact, "when the evening was come, he was there alone" (Matt. 14:23).

You are no different.  The above experiences are a pattern (D&C 52:14) for anyone expecting to dialogue with Deity.  The pattern is subtle and simple, yet just as viable and real as it was in the early 19th Century and many millennia, every dispensation, before.


To step beyond your current "spiritual" horizon, you must change your present position to a higher one.  The higher you go, the farther your horizon will be. 

In each instance, as these humble seekers of God went to that "higher" place of peace and seclusion, of stillness and serenity, they found God...and in most cases, their discovery was accompanied by far greater manifestations than they had ever anticipated. 

Your Own, Personal Sacred Grove

"Joseph Smith taught after his own encounters firsthand that all could come unto Christ in this way and eventually receive and give what Jesus called a "fulness." (D&C 93:19)  With the advantage of recency and of trustworthy witnesses who shared and duplicated his experience, he stood for the opposite of what many supposed was the role of a prophet.  Instead of 'take my word for it,' his life and teachings say, 'Find your own sacred grove and come to your own individual and independent awareness.'" (Truman G. Madsen, "Why I Believe"; emphasis mine).
Perhaps it is this fact that motivated Pres. Monson to call such a place what it should be rightfully considered: your "own 'Sacred Grove'":
"The boy prophet Joseph Smith sought heavenly help by entering a grove which then became sacred.  Do we need similar strength?  Does each need to seek his or her own "Sacred Grove”?  A place where communication between God and man can go forth unimpeded, uninterrupted, and undisturbed is such a grove." (Pres. Thomas S. Monson, Choose You This Day, Ensign, November 2004, p.67; emphasis mine)
You don't need to travel far distances -- for example, to the tops of exceedingly high mountains, forests, groves, or even a Temple -- to effectively commune with, if not have an audience with, the Lord (a fact we will discuss in greater depth soon).
"As you feel the need to confide in the Lord or to improve the quality of your visits with him -- to pray, if you please.  Go where you can be alone, go where you can think, go where you can kneel, go where you can speak out loud to him.  The bedroom, the bathroom, or the closet will do."  (Bishop H. Burke Peterson, October 1973 General Conference)  
As you set aside a certain location for such meditation and communing, the locale may adopt its own sacred nature in your life:
"One of the things most needed in our prayer lives is consistency and regularity.  Some people find it helpful to pray often in the same place.  One man I know set aside a special place in his home, a place which over the years came to be like unto a personal sacred grove.  It seemed when he entered that room that he felt a hallowed presence.  In fact, that is exactly what had happened over the years; because some of the most profound insights and some of the sweetest feelings and impressions had come to him in that room, it had come to represent almost a holy of holies within his home, which was his temple." (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series, p. 436-437; emphasis mine).
This is perhaps one of the greatest legacies Brother Joseph left us: the challenge for you to validate his own experience in the Sacred Grove.
"Critics of the Church have made a lot of fuss about the fact that we have so few contemporary accounts of the First Vision.  But that rather makes the point.  Joseph was talking more about what we could do than what he had done. We have a dozen revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants that invite us to see God.  Joseph invited us to check him by having our own Sacred Grove experience.  The validity of an experiment is if it can be repeated.  A good seed not only bears good fruits but it always bears the same fruits -- regardless of who plants it.  Thus, Joseph Smith taught that the seed of faith will always bring its train of attendants, including revelations, visions, dreams, etc., and that all who plant and nurture the seed are entitled to the harvest." (H. Dean Garrett, ed., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: Illinois, p. 207; emphasis mine).

Now it's Your Turn


President Marion G. Romney counseled:
"Learning the gospel from the written word...is not enough.  It must also be lived.  One cannot fully learn the gospel without living it" (Ensign, Sept. 1980, p. 4; emphasis mine). 
As we learn a principle, we must make a real effort to apply and live it in our lives.

On that note, here is my question for you (again):

Where do you (or will you) go to meditate, commune with -- and perhaps someday, even have an audience with -- the Lord in your "own Sacred Grove"?