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Illuminate Your Faith through Spiritual Reflection

When we feel distant from God, spiritually defining memories can brighten the road before us and reassure us of God’s love.

Do you remember the last time you felt the Spirit? In his talk “Spiritually Defining Memories” from the April 2020 general conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen teaches, “From time to time, God powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly. Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.” 

Person raising open arms while standing in field with a quote by Neil L. Anderson that says, "From time to time, God powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us."

Photo by Hanny Naibaho

In high school, my seminary teacher shared that when he was a missionary, he prayed for a clear witness that the Book of Mormon was true. He felt prompted to read D&C 6:22–23, which reminded him that he had already received the confirmation of its truth months earlier. After hearing my teacher’s spiritually defining memory, I started to worry about my testimony—I couldn’t remember receiving a clear answer to a prayer like he had. 

But as I sat there in seminary, I felt the Spirit tell me that it’s normal to have different spiritual experiences than others, and there was nothing wrong with me. The peace that accompanied this quiet revelation was exactly what I needed. Elder Andersen confirms that “these spiritually defining moments come at different times and in different ways, individualized for each of us.” That moment in seminary has become one of my own spiritually defining memories. Since then, whenever I’ve struggled to feel the Spirit, I remember that God is aware of me and I should trust his timing.

We all experience spiritual trials, but as Elder Anderson says, “When personal difficulty, doubt, or discouragement darken our path,” our spiritually defining memories can be “like luminous stones that help brighten the road ahead, assuring us that God knows us [and] loves us.”

Read about four unique spiritual experiences in the talk “Spiritually Defining Memories” by Elder Neil L. Andersen. Watch the video of the talk to see a short animation that compares our spiritual memories to luminous stones that can guide us and others back to live with our Heavenly Father.

Source: General Conference

—Sarah Riley, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Read Heather Randall’s view on how our spiritual experiences are like monuments that mark God’s hand in our lives in “Marking the Way Back Home” from Latter-day Saint Insights.

Listen to the talk “O Remember, Remember” from the October 2007 general conference to hear President Henry B. Eyring’s advice about how to recognize God’s hand in your life more often.

Watch President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to listen for the Savior’s voice in our lives in “‘How Do You #HearHim?’ A Special Invitation,” a short video from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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