Elder Terence M. Vinson and his wife Kay are both from Australia. Elder Vinson is a member of the Presidency of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today he came and spoke to students at BYU-Idaho in the weekly devotional. The title of his talk is “How Can We Know – By Reason or By Revelation?”
Vinson told BYU-Idaho Radio it can be easy to forget the spiritual side of things. Sister Vinson added that being in West Africa the last five years and observing the people there, they greatly rely on this spiritual side.
“The gifts of the spirit and spiritual knowledge is very, very powerful and very much sought after and very much accepted and they have wonderful spiritual manifestations and have great faith because of that,” Sister Vinson said.
Sister Vinson shared an experience where a man approached a missionary couple and told them they had a book he needed to read. The man told them afterward he had had a dream and in the dream he heard the words, “You will meet a man who has a book you need to read,” and he asked, “How will I know?” The voice said, “You will know when you see him, you will know him, and you will go and talk to him.” As a result of this experience, the man shared his testimony and many more people joined the Church. Now there is now a branch of the Church in that area.
During his devotional address Elder Vinson shared how this does not mean we aren’t supposed to study and gain knowledge.
“The Lord’s admonition to us with respect to learning is very clear,” Elder Vinson said. “He tells us ‘And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.’”
Elder Vinson went on to explain two different kinds of knowledge, he compared the knowledge he has that it is cold outside, as evidence by stepping outside and feeling the cold, compared to the knowledge of love. Saying, “Contrast the kind of knowledge that ‘I know it is cold outside’ or ‘I know I love my wife.’ These are two different kinds of knowledge, each learned in a different way…. The idea that all important knowledge is based on scientific evidence is simply untrue.”
Elder Vinson says reason and revelation or not opposites of one another, rather they work together to reveal truth. He points out that section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants encourages everyone to seek diligently, which he emphasized means actively looking, and to teach each other. In the end he says we must act on what we have learned to gain both knowledge and wisdom.
To anyone who might have a hard time getting answers from the Holy Ghost, Sister Vinson said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio that prayer is the first thing a person should do.
“You need to have a sincere desire and put aside the things that would persuade you otherwise and focus on the things of the gospel to study and to go to those wonderful sections of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants that talk about faith and revelation, study those and pray and really devote time and attention to it… you really have to work at it.”