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.
Pattern for personal revelation.
1. Believe the words of righteous men. This one is implied. But if Nephi hadn’t started with a belief that what his father taught was true, he would not have desired to know for himself. His brothers didn’t really believe—not deep down—so they never sought that personal witness.
2. Desire to know the things of God for yourself. Our hearts have to be soft enough to accept the answers. We have to want them to receive them.
3. Believe God will give us the personal revelation we seek. This is different than believing the words of others. Nephi expected a personal witness. He expected something to happen. He expected a vision. That’s how much faith he had in God. I sometimes wonder if my requests are accompanied by that much faith.
4. Really work things out and listen. Nephi pondered things in his heart. He didn’t just sit back and wait for the answers to materialize. He worked them out. I’ve had this experience a little lately. In trying to understand love more deeply, it’s taken a combination of a lot of study, a lot of listening, a lot of pondering, and a lot of prayer. And it’s a work in progress. It takes effort.
Personal revelation is not a gimme. But it is available to each of us, just like it was for Nephi, if we seek it.