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Monday, February 23, 2015

07. Spiritual Ascension Step #3: Align (Start the Millennium...NOW!)

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the seventh examining the phrase "keepeth my commandments".

When The Blind Cried Out

"And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him." (Matthew 20:30-34)

All of us are blind to the spiritual battle which wages all around us 24/7/365.

Yet if you "cry out" to God -- not only in your prayers, but also in your daily life -- for God to open your eyes and ears, He will. He'll have compassion on you. In His own way, He will touch your eyes. You'll see things in a whole new way, and you'll follow Him like you never have before.

And in the process, you'll receive the spiritual insight you need to not only avoid temptation, but to also see Him.

“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.” (Mark 1:41)
“So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” (Matthew 20:34)
“He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” (Psalms 111:4)
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” (Psalms 145:8)

The Beautiful Way God Can Touch Your Ears and Eyes

We've all heard that we should pray always, and that we should pray continually.

But let's be honest here: that's a pretty tough thing to pull off, don't you think?

After all, you may have kids to get to school, work, errands or chores to do, events to attend, etc. In short, you have life to live.

For example, I'm pretty sure the Lord gets the fact that if you're an accountant, you can't very easily work on clients' tax forms if you're praying all the time. I'm also pretty sure it's hard for first-time mothers to enjoy the solemnities of prayer while their two year-old is throwing the biggest tantrum ever recorded in human history.

So how do we do it? How can you handle all those things on your daily to-do list and still "pray always"?

In my opinion, it all starts with praying before a task, an activity, whatever.

Hence, you counsel with the Lord in all your doings (Alma 37:37; also see Elder Bednar's talk "Pray Always" here and Elder Cook's talk "Let All Thy Doings Be unto the Lord" here).

For example: start your day with a prayer to Father. Then, when you're done, get off your knees. Stand up.

But in this case, switch your attention from Father to Christ, and talk to Him!

Include Christ in your life like you never have before. Treat Him like the best friend He's always been, is, and always will be.

Turn off that radio or iPod on the way to work, school, the store or the gym or whatever. Keep the dialogue going with Him!

Keep up the conversation with Him when you sit down at your desk and start working on stuff.

Eating lunch alone? Perish the thought! Next lunch hour, tell Him one thing -- just one thing -- you're grateful for.

On the drive back home, what are you going to do? Yep, you've got it.

Now do it another day. And another.

Do it for months.

Do it for years.

Imagine what your relationship with Him will be like after, say, a couple of years of doing this.

In the Pearl of Great Price, we learn that spiritual (non-physical) creations precede physical creations (Moses 3:5,7; JST Gen 2:9; Abraham 5:2-5).

Could it be that developing a relationship with Christ could be the same?

Could your spiritual (non-physical) interactions with Him precede greater, physical interactions?

God says so, right here.

Winning at "Spiritual Warfare" Before Satan's First Shot Is Fired At You

As you develop this personal relationship with Christ, another, lesser-known benefit begins to emerge: If you ask, He will give you "inside information" that will help you avoid temptation.

God can protect you from danger and even warn you of the next move of our enemy. He can give you discernment to know right from the wrong, the phony from the genuine. If you will pause, listen and take the time to be tuned into His inner promptings, letting peace be the umpire, you will continually stay on God's best path for your life and reap the fruit of living His best.

The Prophet Elisha got this concept. In 2 Kings 6, we read:
"Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.

And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.

And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?

And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber." (2 Kings 2:8-12)
The Nephites experienced something similar:
"And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;

And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity." (Alma 48:15-16)
When we are tuned in to the Lord, we can actively take Him up on His offer to help us avoid battles with our common enemy. He can and will give you promptings as to what Satan is planning for you. Indeed,
"We can monitor our own progress and discern the gains we make and the patterns in which we are vulnerable to temptation. I am indebted to a wise old friend (both in years and in association) of another faith who taught me to take an active interest in learning about the patterns in my life and how temptations occurred. He struggled a long time with some of his temptations and finally decided to take a proactive interest. He tried to anticipate where in his life he might encounter that "old trickster devil" again. He became a good scout. He watched the terrain of his life and could tell where it looked like his own form of quicksand might be. He rerouted and gave up trying to see how close he could get to that quicksand without getting caught." (Marie Cornwall and Susan Howe, eds., Women of Wisdom and Knowledge: Talks Selected from the BYU Women's Conferences, p. 114)
As you do this, not only will you draw closer to the Lord, but you also find yourself becoming more empowered to forsake and overcome sin. "We find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they [the righteous] move closer to the Lord." (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Oct. 1989, p. 5, emphasis mine) -- fulfilling the promise made in Ether 12:27:
"… if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.… my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

How God Fulfills A Promise To You

Thus we see that just as you can draw closer to Him and expect Him to draw closer to you (James 4:8), you can also keep praying, and expect to avoid temptation. He literally guides and accompanies you past the dragons of sin that ordinarily devour others' souls, helping you to arrive on safe -- and often holy -- ground:
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 22:40)

"Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation." (Alma 31:10)

"Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing." (Alma 34:39)

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him." (3 Nephi 18:15)

"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." (3 Nephi 18:18)

"Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God." (Mormon 9:28)

"Be faithful, and yield to no temptation." (D&C 9:13)

"Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." (D&C 10:5)

"Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof." (D&C 19:38)

"Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;" (D&C 20:33)

"Beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation." (D&C 23:1)

"Pray always, lest you enter into temptation and lose your reward." (D&C 31:12)

"Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of his coming, whether in life or in death." (D&C 61:39)

"What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place." (D&C 93:49)
Now, by my count, that's 14 times that the Lord has given you this formula:

Pray Always/Continually = You Enter Not Into Temptation

“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 37:33, 36–37, emphasis mine)

When Does The Millennium Begin? That May Be Up To You

Do you believe God is telling you the truth that when He says He's filled with compassion?

Do you believe He will live up to every promise He's made to help you avoid temptation and sin?

Do you believe He's capable of doing this, right now, in your life?

May I share something with you?

The Christ I know (and I use that word deliberately), who is the humblest and meekest among us, yet has risen above all things, is anxious -- yearning and brimming with enthusiasm -- to help you, too, become like unto Moroni:
"We know the tempter will be completely bound in the Millennium. But we can surely constrain him much sooner, so far as our lives are concerned: 'Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.' (Alma 48:17-18)" (Neal A. Maxwell, "Even As I Am," p. 76-77, emphasis mine).
In fact,
"When Satan is bound in a single home -- when Satan is bound in a single life -- the Millennium has already begun in that home, in that life." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 172, emphasis mine).

"Praying always" not only helps you avoid temptation; it may just elevate your standing with Him so that the very natural, next step in your relationship with Him is to see Him..and eventually, to be lifted up with Him and all the righteous at the last day.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

06. Spiritual Ascension Step #3: Align (How To Stay Aligned with God)

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the sixth examining the phrase "keepeth my commandments".

OK, pop quiz!

Hypothetical Situation: You go to sleep tonight. About 4:30am, you awake to find a man who's about 6'1" standing at the end of your bed. He is glowing white, like a light is within him. His feet are not touching the floor. You're startled, but the surprise quickly dissipates as he calms you and brings you glad tidings from the throne of God.

Now, in this instance, do you feel like getting up out of bed right then and there and committing some kind of sin?

Of course, your answer is an unhesitating "No!"

"Silent Notes Taking"

Then how is it that we mortals can go throughout our days and sin while knowing that "angels are silent notes taking"?
"God has spoken, and I know it, because I have heard his voice, and know the voice of the Good Shepherd, and am thankful that I have felt his power. Do I know that he has given this authority to use his name? Yes, gentlemen, I know it; and not only so, but I know that there are heavenly messengers that are now near me, as near as brothers Watt and Long, who are taking notes as faithfully as they are, and more so. The natural eye cannot see them, but they are here, and by our acts and our words shall we be judged. Yes, and these messengers transmit our words and our acts up on high, which are registered there in books; and by-and-by, when the dead, small and great, shall stand before God, these are the books that will be opened, and the dead will be judged out of the things that are written in the books. Then let us be careful what we do and what we say. The sacred writings on earth contain the law, but the records above contain the facts." (Orson Hyde, JD 8:24).
Conversely, we understand that whatever God has created, Satan has counterfeited.

So, if angels are "silent notes taking", it would be reasonable to assume that Satan and his minions are, too.  If angels discuss what can be done to inspire and motivate you to draw closer to Christ, it shouldn't be too far a stretch to think that others are planning an opposite trajectory for you as well.

I recently watched an eye-opening Ted talk (here:  In it, Christopher Sogohian describes how western companies sell special software to governments that allow them to hack computers and cell phones and hear, read and watch everything you do.  The software is so good, governments using this software can turn on your webcam without the light coming on, can read your texts or listen to your phone calls without you ever knowing it.

I believe Satan is no different. I wouldn't be surprised if, with thousands of years (and perhaps more) of experience, he and his associates can most likely read you like a book.

I've often wondered how they do it.  Now, this is just my imagination running rampant here, but I can just imagine them hacking humans by not only recording every word we speak and everything we see (and for how long), but they also watch our eye and body movements, correlate our responses with pupil dilation, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. If so, I’ll bet the dossiers on us -- composed of records, notes and recordings -- are detailed and well-presented. I wouldn't be surprised if they bring in specialists who know exactly how to evaluate, exploit, attack and amplify pinprick-sized vulnerabilities in our spiritual armor and make them bigger so that our ability to enjoy the sweet, subtle intimations of the Holy Ghost are blurred, obscured and eventually compromised.

Of course, that’s my own theory.  I have no idea if that’s how it actually happens.

But I do know one thing:

The battle to keep you tuned in -- or not tuned in -- to the Spirit is raging all around you.

The Beginnings of Spiritual Dissonance

Several years ago, my family and I took a long road trip. On our way back, in the late evening in our vehicle, my wife and I found a radio station program that was really intriguing. We were amazed that for the longest time, the radio signal was crystal clear, despite our being several hundred miles away from its originating city. Then we took a turn through a mountain pass, and BAM! The signal was gone, and remained so until we got back on a level, non-mountainous area.

So it is with you. You may be able to go quite some time being able to converse with the Lord and with Father. Then, a few hours, days or a week later, you'll start to notice that your "receptivity" (for lack of a better term) isn't what it was a few days ago. You may even trace your actions back to some harsh words you said to another, blowing off a prompting to read the scriptures or perhaps driving past that disheveled man or woman standing on the corner by WalMart holding a sign that says, "God Bless You".

Then, as you "Return and Report" to Father at night, you review your day and discuss what you did wrong. You repent, and look for ways to turn the aforementioned weakness into a strength.

Now, let's rewind this whole scenario. Let's start over again with a couple of truths which may have prevented that sin from emerging and increasing the distance between you and God.

Avoiding Temptation In The First Place

Can the righteous actually avoid yielding to (or withstand) temptation?

I believe so.

Christ, our Exemplar, showed us the way. Of Him it is written,
"He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them." (D&C 20:22)
Can we mortals do the same? Yes.
"Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?" (Alma 11:23)
"Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ." (Alma 37:33)
So right now, let's start casting off those preconceived notions that we are so flawed as mortals, that there's no possible way we can avoid sinning. Scripturally, Christ confronted such doubters by saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan." (Matthew 16:23)

It is possible. Together with Christ, you can develop the ability to anticipate Satan's attacks and dodge them.

How is it so? How can a person avoid temptation and, therefore, sin?

We'll examine some strategies in Part 2 of this post...

In the meantime, here's a nifty little video...

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind.
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine.
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

05. Spiritual Ascension Step #2: Receive Divine Teaching

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the fifth examining the phrase "keepeth my commandments".

Preparing For Class Time

In my last post, we examined three little letters that shake the heavens: ASK. Ask what you need to do to become closer to God. Ask how you can have a more spiritually fulfilling life. Just ask the Lord if He's there. Ask Him if He loves you.

The question naturally arises, "OK, sounds good to me. So how do I do it?"

It's not that simple.

I have found that there are at least three characteristics among those who truly seek such answers from the Lord.

  • Persistence: You do it over and over and over. In fact, Brother Joseph counseled you to "Come to God weary him until he blesses you" ([recorded in Willard Richards Pocket Companion, 78–79] cited in The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, comp. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [1980], 15;
  • Passion: Perhaps President Spencer W. Kimball was channeling Enos 1:1-8 when he taught that we must put great effort into our prayers and that we must pray frequently:

    "Do you get answers to your prayers? If not, perhaps you did not pay the price. Do you offer a few trite words and worn-out phrases, or do you talk intimately to the Lord? Do you pray occasionally when you should be praying regularly, often, constantly? Do you offer pennies to pay heavy debts when you should give dollars to erase that obligation? When you pray, do you just speak, or do you also listen? Your Savior said, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’ (Rev. 3:20.)" ("Prayer," New Era, Mar. 1978, p. 17)
  • Determination: The dues of learning to submit to God are often paid before all of the blessings are received. Thus, you need to be determined and committed to do whatever the Lord tells you to do. 
“Settle this in your hearts, that you will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.” (JST, Luke 14:28)
This is because
"The Lord's tutorials make extensive use of props and scenery in this mortal school, but we should not become too fascinated with the schoolhouse or schoolyard to the neglect of the curriculum and the homework required.  The Headmaster is not keen either about our 'dropping' certain courses just because these have proved difficult." (Neal A. Maxwell, "We Will Prove Them Herewith", p. 67)
Paul spoke of more than his own suffering when he wrote that "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous" (Hebrews 21:11). Do not expect nor anticipate that your path to greater spiritual heights will be pleasant. It probably won't be. Only afterward is "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" enjoyed by those who "are exercised thereby."  As you well know, you "receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6)

Those who have done these things (more often than not) are eventually blessed with more than they bargained for. What happened to the Brother of Jared when he asked a question of the Lord? What about Moses as he climbed the mountain towards the burning bush? How about Joseph Smith, as he pondered which church was true? They are living testaments that:
"If thou shalt ask, 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." (D&C 42:61; emphasis mine)

How To Ask

If you've committed yourself to the above three conditions, then I advise wasting no time. Ask away. But I'd do it the way that Brother Joseph advised:
"The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Four 1839-42 p. 190)
Yet these days, I see so many people online -- in chat rooms and forums, on blogs and websites, reading Deseret Book books or magazines -- who are seeking truth and wisdom. And yes, there's some to be found out there. However, it's been my sad experience to see many of these truth-seekers are automatically believing, without much forethought, those in the forums/chatrooms/Facebook groups with the most church/online authority, the loudest voice, the most passionate believer, the most skillful debater, the most experienced forum member, even the person who's had the most spiritual experiences (all of which, naturally without exception, come from God).

While these "modern day" books may assist those who are pondering a doctrine or issue, they are often a cacophany ("a harsh, discordant mixture") of sounds, not places to "be still" and "know God".

So, if you really want to determine your standing before God, if you really want to get out of your self-induced spiritual rut and ascend higher spiritually, then first, empty your cup.  Then, copy a page out of the Joseph Smith Spiritual Ascension playbook and do what he recommends...

"Obtain Divine Teaching" (AKA "Receive Your Personally-Correlated-By-God Curriculum")

When you persistently, passionately, decidedly seek these answers from God, you'll get them.

Answers via Lab Courses

Sometimes, the answers will not come as a word, a phrase or a sentence. Instead, they'll come via experiences (I call them "Lab Courses").
"God seeks to give us tutoring experiences so that, if we are submissive, we will have our own first-hand experiences to refer to in the eternities to come.  We will have authentic, personal knowledge upon which to rely, not merely accurate abstractions. Since experiential knowledge is etched deeply into our souls, it is not so easily forgotten." (Neal A. Maxwell, “Not My Will, But Thine”, p. 98)
"We provide too few opportunities beyond-the-classroom which can let us 'feel' and 'see' the truth and the joy of the Gospel. So much of our time is spent with the lecture part of our Gospel curriculum that we do very little planning and executing with the 'laboratory' part of our Gospel learning. We see many examples where parents provide exhortation and explanation without example and experience. We see occasional leaders who provide example without explanation." (Neal A. Maxwell, "For the Power is in Them," p. 62-63)
Answers via the Word of God

Again, I can't overemphasize how important it is to place yourself in still, small environment and mindset where you can hear the intimations of the Spirit. By doing so, you make yourself more receptive to pure intelligence -- flashes of ideas often encapsulated in a word or a phrase spoken softer than a baby's breath.
"Revelation is the means by which God communicates with men. Revelation is indispensable to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The very nature of the gospel is such that without the active and constant operation of the principle of revelation, it could not be understood nor could it be had. Another manifestation of revelation is the unspoken word, a good illustration of which is given us by Enos. He says: ". . . while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: . . ." (Enos 10.) Then he tells us what the voice of the Lord put in his mind. This is a very common means of revelation. It comes into one's mind in words and sentences. With this medium of revelation I am personally well acquainted. Flashes of ideas that come into one's mind represent another type or manifestation of revelation. Listen to this statement of the Prophet Joseph: 'A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 151.)" (Elder Marion G. Romney, April 1964 General Conference, emphasis mine)
These softly-spoken words and phrases often serve as signposts, pointing you in the direction of the thing the Lord wants you to study, master and learn.

When I get that word or phrase, I have found it most beneficial to start studying all relevant scriptures. That's because:
"We cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 256; emphasis mine)
“The Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, and the book of Doctrine and Covenants... are like a lighthouse in the ocean or a finger-post which points out the road we should travel. Where do they point? To the fountain of light.... That is what these books are for. They are of God; they are valuable and necessary: by them we can establish the doctrine of Christ.” (Brigham Young, JD 8:219)
"Scripture reading may...lead to current revelation on whatever [subject] the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation.
Because we believe that scripture reading can help us receive revelation, we are encouraged to read the scriptures again and again. By this means, we obtain access to what our Heavenly Father would have us know and do in our personal lives today. That is one reason Latter-day Saints believe in daily scripture study." (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Scripture Reading and Revelation," Ensign, Jan. 1995, p. 8)
Or, as author Stephen R. Covey explained,
"Obedience to General Commandments schools and prepares us to discern and obey the 'Personal Commandments' given us by the spirit." (Stephen R. Covey, “The Divine Center”, p. 247)
"If we will study the word of the Lord as it comes to us through the standard works and through the instructions of the living prophet and not harden our hearts, but humble ourselves and develop a real desire to understand its application to us in our own peculiar circumstances, and then ask the Lord in faith, believing that we shall receive (see D&C 18:18), all the while being diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord, surely the path we should follow will be made known unto us, and we will be able to face the world as a solid unit." (Pres. Marion G. Romney, “Unity,” Ensign, May 1983, p. 18)
"Search the scriptures -- search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God: nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save them. Then again we say: Search the Scriptures, search the Prophets and learn what portion of them belongs to you." (Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 11)
In summary: As you make God's already-revealed words pre-eminent in your life, you thus qualify for further light and knowledge via personal revelation.
"Personal commandments are given by God through His Holy Spirit to His individual children. They are individualized, tailor-made to each individual in his or her particular situation.
Personal commandments come in the form of practices or specific things to do, which are largely based upon general commandments." (Stephen R. Covey, "The Divine Center", p. 247)
"If we will study the word of the Lord as it comes to us through the standard works and through the instructions of the living prophet and not harden our hearts, but humble ourselves and develop a real desire to understand its application to us in our own peculiar circumstances, and then ask the Lord in faith, believing that we shall receive (see D&C 18:18), all the while being diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord, surely the path we should follow will be made known unto us, and we will be able to face the world as a solid unit." (Pres. Marion G. Romney, “Unity,” Ensign, May 1983, p. 18)

In Conclusion

"In our quest to discover our callings in life, the first and most fundamental thing we must do is to follow the Savior. Learn of him. Learn what he did, then do it. The things that he did, even though they occurred nearly 2,000 years ago, have universal application. Now this may seem pretty general to you, but it is the basis of all else. You will have to do this by personally studying the scriptures and his life and personally becoming acquainted with him. (And, incidentally, when you do that, you will have your questions answered." (Elder John H. Groberg, "What Are You Doing Here?" New Era, Jan. 1987, p. 34, emphasis mine)
In Step #1, we discussed how to ask.

In Step #2, we explored how to receive divine teaching.

In Step #3, we'll examine how to stay in alignment to keep this process going strong.