Mormons believe in revelation. Within limits. Admittedly, what I am about to say is a gross overgeneralization, but I hope that it will provoke some interesting discussion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a rich tradition of public and private revelation, but in my experience, most members of the Church do not trust in their own ability to receive revelation. Moreover, those who profess to receive revelation often are viewed with skepticism by other members. Given that our history includes lunatics like the Laffertys, such skepticism is not without foundation. Nevertheless, I think we shortchange ourselves through our fear.
While a spiritual counterpart to Linnaeus could undoubtedly identify many classes of revelation — from heavenly visitations to warm feelings to confirmatory thoughts — my sense is that the acceptable boundary of public discourse in the Church usually ends with proclamations like, “I feel good about this decision.” Anything more, and you have said too much. We also believe in divine coincidences, which seem less risky as spiritual events because they can be verified by others. Admittedly, in some instances, saying more would be inappropriate (“throwing pearls before swine”), but I suspect that our circumspection often is motivated by fear of rejection.
Here are three principles that I offer for your consideration:
1. We cannot “fulfill the measure of our creation” — that is, we cannot accomplish the purpose of our life — without ongoing personal revelation. I am not talking merely about a witness that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that we have a prophet at the head of the Church today. To be sure, these are important things to know. They are necessary, but not sufficient. In addition, we need frequent guidance in dealing with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
2. Receiving personal revelation requires practice. While I was on my mission, I discovered (reading Church News, no less) a precept that I have attempted to employ throughout my life, with varying degress of success. It goes like this: if I feel like doing something, and it might benefit someone and will not harm anyone, then I do it. This is a variation on WWJD (a principle first introduced to me through the book In His Steps) and the Golden Rule that seems to me a bit easier to operationalize. No matter what your motivation, however, acting on such precepts requires courage, and not just at the beginning.
3. Learning to receive revelation involves making mistakes. We have this odd notion that people should be able to just do this, but the messages to our heart are noisy. Worldly influences and desires compete with spiritual longings. Sorting those messages out is a lifetime project that requires patience with ourselves and others.