One of the things I love about the BofM is how it shows the pattern for receiving the gifts of the spirit, including the gift of the ministering of spirits and the beholding of Angels.
1 Nephi 11:1 “For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.”
Nephi had a great desire to know of things his father Lehi had seen. What things particular? Lehi had seen the fate of Jerusalem, he had seen the throne of the Father and perhaps many more things not recorded in the books of Nephi. Lehi had received his Second Comforter and had many visions. Nephi wanted this, and believed he could also receive such visions, as his father had undoubtedly told him this was possible for him.
Nephi sat pondering in his heart when he was caught away in the Spirit. What does it mean to ponder in your heart? I believe the heart is the central part of the body that determines who we are as individuals. Here is where our desires, affections, and passions are felt. Nephi yearned for his God and to be close to him. Under such circumstance, Nephi was caught away in the spirit.
What is it like to have a vision? To the layman it’s like recalling a movie you saw. Can you envision it in your mind? How clearly do you see it? There are parts where you may only recall glimpses, and others where you can see the whole scene. A vision from the Lord will have clarity and you will feel the Spirit as it occurs. Sometimes they may seem random and other times there is no doubt. You can see in different directions and are not limited to the confines of your body. The mind is capable of far more than we give it credit.
What would prevent someone from having a vision?
- Mind focused upon frivolous things, i.e., TV, movies, Babylon.
- Unbelief because of learned reasoning regarding psychology, science, past experiences.
- Not taking something serious, humor, sarcasm, (mind must be firm in every form of godliness.)
- Depression, heavy sorrow, anger, extreme emotion. Sometimes can prevent one from rending the veil, but not always.
- Telling yourself that you don’t have the gift, not your talent, Lord doesn’t do things like this to me, not believing, lacking patience, negativity. Thinking its now or never.
- Unable to focus. Not willing to try and create the image in your mind for fear it could be just your own thoughts.
- Afraid of failure, ridicule, embarrassment, deception, doubts, fear. Just believe.
All of us are capable of having visions and receiving Angels, as did Nephi and any of the prophets if we will open our hearts to such things. The Lord is eager for you to receive His messengers-they are waiting to come to YOU.