Mormons teach that each person is entitled to personal revelation and to receive answers to their prayers. In the following stories, President Monson, who is the president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as the Mormons), shares stories about his experiences with inspiration.
During the message I delivered at general conference in October 1975, I felt prompted to direct my remarks to a little girl with long, blonde hair, who was seated in the balcony of this building. I called the attention of the audience to her and felt a freedom of expression which testified to me that this small girl needed the message I had in mind concerning the faith of another young lady.
At the conclusion of the session, I returned to my office and found waiting for me a young child by the name of Misti White, together with her grandparents and an aunt. As I greeted them, I recognized Misti as the one in the balcony to whom I had directed my remarks. I learned that as her eighth birthday approached, she was in a quandary concerning whether or not to be baptized. She felt she would like to be baptized, and her grandparents, with whom she lived, wanted her to be baptized, but her less-active mother suggested she wait until she was 18 years of age to make the decision. Misti had told her grandparents, “If we go to conference in Salt Lake City, maybe Heavenly Father will let me know what I should do.”
Misti and her grandparents and her aunt had traveled from California to Salt Lake City for conference and were able to obtain seats in the Tabernacle for the Saturday afternoon session. This was where they were seated when my attention was drawn to Misti and my decision made to speak to her.
As we continued our visit after the session, Misti’s grandmother said to me, “I think Misti has something she would like to tell you.” This sweet young girl said, “Brother Monson, while you were speaking in conference, you answered my question. I want to be baptized!”
The family returned to California, and Misti was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through all the years since, Misti has remained true and faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Fourteen years ago, it was my privilege to perform her temple marriage to a fine young man, and together they are rearing five beautiful children, with another one on the way.
Thomas S. Monson, “Tabernacle Memories,” Ensign, May 2007, 41-42
In April of 2000, I felt such direction. I had received a phone call from Rosa Salas Gifford, whom I did not know. She explained that her parents had been visiting from Costa Rica for a few months and that just a week prior to her call, her father, Bernardo Agusto Salas, had been diagnosed with liver cancer. She indicated that the doctors had informed the family that her father would live just a few more days. Her father’s great desire, she explained, was to meet me before he died. She left her address and asked if I could come to her home in Salt Lake City to visit with her father.
Because of meetings and obligations, it was rather late when I left my office. Instead of going straight home, however, I felt impressed that I should drive further south and visit Brother Salas that very evening. With the address in hand, I attempted to locate the residence. In rather heavy traffic and with dimming light, I drove past the location where the road to the house should have been. I could see nothing. However, I don’t give up easily. I drove around the block and came back. Still nothing. One more time I tried and still no sign of the road. I began to feel that I would be justified in turning toward home. I had made a gallant effort but had been unsuccessful in finding the address. Instead, I offered a silent prayer for help. The inspiration came that I should approach the area from the opposite direction. I drove a distance and turned the car around so that I was now on the other side of the road. Going in this direction, the traffic was much lighter. As I neared the location once again, I could see, through the faint light, a street sign that had been knocked down-it was lying on its side at the edge of the road-and a nearly invisible, weed-covered track leading to a small apartment building and a single, tiny residence some distance from the main road. As I drove toward the buildings, a small girl in a white dress waved to me, and I knew that I had found the family.
I was ushered into the home and then to the room where Brother Salas lay. Surrounding the bed were three daughters and a son-in-law, as well as Sister Salas. All but the son-in-law were from Costa Rica. Brother Salas’s appearance reflected the gravity of his condition. A damp rag with frayed edges-not a towel or a washcloth but a damp rag with frayed edges-rested upon his forehead, emphasizing the humble economic circumstances of the family.
I asked if a blessing would be desired, and the unanimous answer from the family members was affirmative. Since the son-in-law did not hold the priesthood, I proceeded by myself to provide a priesthood blessing. The words seemed to flow freely under the direction of the Spirit of the Lord. I included the Savior’s words found in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 84, verse 88: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” Following the blessing, I offered a few words of comfort to the grieving family members. I spoke carefully so they could understand my English. And then, with my limited Spanish language ability, I let them know that I loved them and that our Heavenly Father would bless them.
I asked for the family Bible and directed their attention to 3 John, verse 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” I said to them, “This is what your husband and father would have you remember as he prepares to depart this earthly existence.”
With tears streaming down her face, Brother Salas’s sweet wife then asked if I would write down the references for the two scriptures I had shared with them so that the family might read them again. Not having anything handy on which I could write, Sister Salas reached into her purse and drew from it a slip of paper. As I took it from her, I noticed it was a tithing receipt. My heart was touched as I realized that, despite the extremely humble circumstances in which the family lived, they were faithful in paying their tithes.
After a tender farewell, I was escorted to my car. As I drove homeward, I reflected on the special spirit we had felt. I experienced, as well, as I have many times before, a sense of gratitude that my Heavenly Father had answered another person’s prayer through me.
Thomas S. Monson, “The Priesthood-a Sacred Gift,” Ensign, May 2007, 57-60
One Sunday afternoon I received a phone call from the proprietor of a drugstore located within our ward boundaries. He indicated that earlier that morning, a young boy had come into his store and had purchased an ice-cream sundae from the soda fountain. He had paid for the purchase with money he took from an envelope, and then when he left, he had forgotten the envelope. When the proprietor had a chance to examine it, he found that it was a fast-offering envelope with the name and telephone number of our ward printed on it. As he described to me the boy who had been in his store, I immediately identified the individual-a young deacon from our ward who came from a less-active family.
My first reaction was one of shock and disappointment to think that any of our deacons would take fast-offering funds intended for those in need and would go to a store on a Sunday and buy a treat with the money. I determined to visit the boy that afternoon in order to teach him about the sacred funds of the Church and his duty as a deacon to gather and to protect those funds.
As I drove to the home, I offered a silent prayer for direction in what I should say to compose the situation. I arrived and knocked on the door. It was opened by the boy’s mother, and I was invited into the living room. Although the room was barely lighted, I could see how small and run-down it was. The few pieces of furniture were threadbare. The mother herself looked worn out.
My indignation at her son’s actions that morning disappeared from my thoughts as I realized that here was a family in real need. I felt impressed to ask the mother if there was any food in the house. Tearfully she admitted that there was none. She told me that her husband had been out of work for some time and that they were in desperate need not only of food but also of money with which to pay the rent so that they wouldn’t be evicted from the tiny house.
I never did bring up the matter of the fast-offering donations, for I realized that the boy had most likely been desperately hungry when he stopped at the drugstore. Rather, I immediately arranged for assistance for the family, that they might have food to eat and a roof over their heads. In addition, with the help of the priesthood leaders in the ward, we were able to arrange employment for the husband so that he could provide for his family in the future.
Thomas S. Monson, “Heavenly Homes, Forever Families,” Ensign, Jun 2006, 98-103