In April 1974, Spencer W. Kimball was sustained as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. As a result, many of the talks focused on the inspired nature of President Kimball’s call. In particular, at least three speakers (Elder Petersen, Elder S. Dilworth Young, and Elder McConkie) during the Saturday Afternoon Session spoke about the process of foreordination in the calling of a Prophet as well as the calling of others to the work of the Gospel. These three sermons paint the picture of a Savior actively at work leading and guiding his Church.
Elder Young also focused on how many of the Prophets had been told early on in their lives that they would rise to a prominent position in the Church. Elder Young noted that,
“There have been many occasions when people have had direct revelation to themselves as to important events to take place in their own lives about which they had no previous warning. Many men and women in this audience can testify that they knew beforehand of the call to be made upon them and the requirements of the call. As with Enos, “the voice of the Lord came into [their] mind[s]. …” (Enos 1:10.) In each case, the words were sure and clear to the recipient.
And finally unto many of the faithful comes the inspiration as to callings and positions to be given to people who are important to the Church. Men and women have known by the power of the Holy Ghost who would fill an apostolic vacancy or one of stake or ward importance. They do not voice these inspirations, but have the deep satisfaction of recognizing the source and the joy of having the Lord share with them, in advance, the foretold action.”
This talk made me reflect on some of the spiritual experiences that I have had where I have felt the Lord’s hand in my calling. Such experiences were especially common as a missionary. I remember vividly the night when I was transferred away from my first area. That evening I had a distinct spiritual impression that I was being transferred. The assistants to the mission President decided to pull a prank on us and called and relayed fake transfer information. When I spoke to them, I knew that what they were saying was not right. I went into the other room and prayed further about it. As I did so, I knew for sure that I was going to be transferred. I thought in my mind about the various cities in the mission and knew exactly where I was going to be transferred. Our mission president called a few minutes later and told me that I was going to be transferred to that city.
I felt similar promptings before I was transferred again, and called as a district leader. I later had a similar prompting that I would not be transferred despite having basically been told the exact opposite by my Mission President at the start of the transfer. Every time that I had such a prompting it ultimately was fulfilled.
More than any other experience in my life, my mission most clearly revealed to me that the Lord was aware of me and my call. He knew where he needed me. He would direct me and give me the comfort and guidance needed to make difficult changes or accept initially undesirable calls.
We can experience such promptings in our ministry in the Church. We can come to know the Lord’s will for us. We can be led and inspired by the spirit. As Elder Young explained,
“All of these variations of the gift of prophecy come to those whose lives merit the presence of the Holy Ghost. Was it not the Prophet Joseph who said that the spirit of the Holy Ghost is the spirit of prophecy? All of us should court it and be enveloped in its beneficent influence.
All of these prophecies, great and small, bear witness that the Lord has known the end from the beginning and has warned and forewarned those who would listen of the solemn and sure march of the work of Christ to its certain and ultimate conclusion. We who sit here today are a part of that great movement. If we play our part well and sustain the Lord Jesus Christ and his living prophet, all will be well with us.”