We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Article of Faith #9
What is revelation?
Revelation is the means by which God communicates with us. It can take many forms. Joseph Smith was prompted to pray about what to do. He read the Bible, specifically James 1:5,
He experienced revelation as he turned his questions to the scriptures and was led to James. He again experienced revelation when he felt a prompting to ask God in prayer about what church he should join. Not until he had responded to these strong revelatory promptings did his famous vision of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ open to him.
Elder Bednar described two types of revelatory experiences this way:
I find that I have experience both and some in between experiences. Often I don't realize that I have had a revelation until something happens that verifies the truth of the thought that was presented to me. Often they come as I open my mouth and testify in a meeting about the topic being discussed. Always at times like this, the words just fit and seem to create a complete picture or idea and they feel satisfying to me. Often they stick in my mind for some time while I roll them around and examine them from all sides.
Who receives revelation? Does this only happen to Saints or Prophets?
We all receive revelation from time to time. My guess is that it most often happens to us as parents. We just know things. Maybe we know that our children are lying to us, or we suddenly wonder where a silent child has disappeared to. We often don't realize that we are having revelatory experiences. Since we are all children of God and He wants to help us in all area's of our life, we will use revelation to offer that help. Everyone who is open to that direction will receive it.
Why do we need revelation? Well unless we feel like we know it all, and can manage all the balls we juggle in our lives, we need God to help us. He won't do everything for us because it is through our efforts that we grow into the kind of person he wants us to become. So he uses his wisdom and ability to communicate with us to help us know what we need to do. If we can be humble and seek His aid we will find that aid as we ask for it. If we are proud and refuse to ask or seek, it will not be there for us and we will be left to our own strength and wisdom.
Do we only receive revelation in holy places?
We can receive it when and where ever we need it. However, if we purposely put ourselves in a situation contrary to what we know is right, we may find ourselves alone and left to our own devices.
I am utterly amazed at the power and wisdom of God to know just what I need, when I need it and how He communicates with me in the best way for me to understand it. I am often impatient for more knowledge before I am ready to receive it. I had an experience recently in which I felt a rush of revelation and I was overwhelmed. I felt like a sieve that could not hold it in. I think the Lord was humbling me and reminding me that I could not handle all that I desired at this time and that I need to receive line upon line and act on what I receive. This is how these revelations become a part of me. My focus since then has been to spend time writing my thoughts as I study or as I go throughout my day and recognize a particular thought has been on my mind.
God wants to teach us as fast as will will learn and act. We are here for experience because that is the master teacher.