Existence of God and the Rise of Atheism #4: Personal Revelation

Sunday Afternoon Sermon”

Another layer of “proof” of the existence of God, is personal revelation from God.

Personal revelation from God comes in many forms: inspiration, sudden flow of ideas or intelligence, promptings, premonitions, prophesies, heavenly voices, dream visions, visitations by heavenly messengers, and theophany, a personal visit by God.

Although I have not experienced theophany or visitations, I have personally experienced all of the other types of personal revelation multiple times.  It is impossible for me to deny those sacred experiences, which come only from God.

Father and Son Appear to Joseph Smith

My family members and friends have also had countless experiences of personal revelation.  At least one ancestor had a personal visitation from a heavenly messenger.  

Scriptures and LDS history contain a innumerable accounts of sacred and undeniable personal revelation. 

Every faithful Latter Day Saint I know, has experienced personal revelation from God.

A distinctive feature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the belief in continuing personal revelation.  Baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  This entitles them to the constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead.  With this gift comes personal revelation — the Holy Ghost is a revelator.

Personal revelation “proves” the existence of a Revelator.  It also “proves” the existence of a nonmaterial reality.


Theophany, the appearance of God to man, is the rarest and most sacred type of personal revelation.  The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and LDS history contain dozens of accounts of theophany.

Visitations and Voices

Another rare and sacred type of personal revelation is a personal visitation from a heavenly messenger or hearing a divine voice

Angel Appearing to Joseph Smith

The Bible, Book of Mormon, and LDS history contain scores of accounts of divine visitations and heavenly voices.   

I personally know Latter-day Saints who have had heavenly visitations or heard heavenly voices.  These experiences are part of their abiding testimonies, and “proof” of the existence of God. 

For example, my great grandmother in Sweden lay dying from pneumonia.  The doctor said there was no hope.  In response to the faith and prayers of her family, a heaven messenger, dressed in temple attire, appeared in her room, and gave her something to swallow. She miraculously recovered.


Some revelations come “through the dreams of sleep or in waking visions of the mind.”  (James Talmage) As the prophet Lehi wrote, “Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.” (1 Nephi 8: 2)

Book of Mormon “Tree of Life Vision”

There are several differences between a mere dream and a sleeping vision. First, visions are much more vivid than dreams. Second, visions are more memorable than dreams.  Visions are imprinted on our mind and spirit.  Third, the content of a vision is doctrinal or spiritual. Fourth, a vision reveals new information.  Fifth, a vision is life altering. (See: blog article, “Visions, Dreams, Visitations (1 Ne. 8:2),” Dec 22, 2019)

The scriptures and LDS history contain accounts of scores of visions.

I personally have received visions, which changed my life.

Promptings of the Spirit

 “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.” (Dallin H. Oaks: “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 14).

Like other Latter-day Saints, I have personally received this type of revelation countless times.

Profound Thoughts Accompanied by Powerful Feelings

 “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation . . ..” (D&C 8: 2-3)

As a person ponders thoughts and ideas, the Spirit confirms their truthfully with powerful feelings.  One type of  feeling that often accompanies this type of revelation is a growing enthusiasm within.  The word “enthusiasm” is of Greek origin, and literally means “God within us.”

As with other Latter-day Saints, I have personally received this type of revelation innumerable times. These revelations have greatly enhanced my life, and contributed greatly to my knowledge, success, and safety.

Confirmatory “Burning” in Our “Bosom”

 “Behold I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”(D&C 9: 8) 

Like other Latter-day Saints, I have often felt strong powerful feelings in my “bosom” as I have pondered the impressions of the Spirit.  Most often these feelings have been enthusiastic, comforting, or peaceful.   However, I have never felt an actual caloric “burning,” or what anti-Mormons mockingly refer to as “Mormon heartburn.” 

Peace of Mind and Comfort of Heart

Sometimes the Prince of Peace speaks peace to our minds, and the Comforter enfolds us in comfort.  “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God?”  (D&C 6: 23)

As with other Latter-day Saints, I have received this type of revelation often — most frequently in the temple, the House of the Lord.

Intellectual and Spiritual Enlightenment

Another source of revelation is intellectual or spiritual enlightenment.

“I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that you have been enlightened by the Spirit of truth.”  (D&C 6:15) 

“I will impart unto you of my Spirit which shall enlighten your mind and which shall fill your soul with joy.” (D&C 11: 12-14)

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “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…. (TPJS p. 324)

Like other Latter-day Saints, I have personal experienced this type of revelation too many times to count. This is a common experience when I prayerfully pondering the scriptures.

(A personal aside – some people think I am smarter than I really am. Most of my profound insights came via personal revelation.  I have often had “sudden strokes of ideas” and experienced “pure intelligence flowing” into my mind. I can identify this type of revelation because I was both surprised and impressed by the new insights that had been revealed. Obviously, these special insights did not come from me. (See blogpost: “Only God Gives A’s”))


My many personal experiences with revelation, and the countless experiences of other Latter-day Saints, is “evidence” of a Revelator.  That Revelator is God. He lives!


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