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The Spirit of Revelation - Insight Into D&C 8

TitleThe Spirit of Revelation - Insight Into D&C 8
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBlack, Susan Easton
Book TitleRestoration Voices Volume 2: Insights and Stories of the Doctrine and Covenants
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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Oliver Cowdery was promised that he would receive “a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart” (D&C 8:1). With the promise of knowledge based on faith and honesty, Oliver was given the spirit of revelation or the Spirit of the Lord which enlightens the mind and fills the “soul with joy” (D&C 11:13).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught how to recognize the Spirit of the Lord:

A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of [the Spirit of the Lord’s] 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.[1]

Of receiving the Spirit of the Lord, President Lorenzo Snow said,

From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism, and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light, and not be groveling continually in the dark.[2]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught,

Most of the revelation that comes to leaders and members of the Church comes by the still, small voice or by a feeling rather than by a vision or a voice that speaks specific words we can hear. I testify to the reality of that kind of revelation, which I have come to know as a familiar, even daily, experience to guide me in the work of the Lord.[3]

As for Oliver Cowdery, he had claim to the spirit of revelation whereby the Lord would present to him revelations in his heart and mind “by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (D&C 8:2). Oliver also had claim to the gift of Aaron, which had “told [him] many things” (D&C 8:6). Both of these divine gifts were given to Oliver in connection with the translation of the Book of Mormon and are not succinctly segregated. In the printer’s manuscript copy of the Book of Commandments, the “gift of Aaron” was referred to as the “rod of Aaron.” A rod introduces the possibility of a tangible sacred relic or instrument that Oliver could hold in his hand. Anciently, Moses and Aaron used the rod to perform signs and wonders (Exodus 4:20; 17:9; Numbers 17:6–10). 

[1] Smith, History of the Church, 3:381.

[2] Lorenzo Snow, “How to Overcome Temptation—The Holy Spirit an Unerring Guide,” in Conference Report, April 1899, 52.

[3] Dallin H. Oaks, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, March 1997.



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