On Being Guided by the Spirit

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This talk suggests that we not set our hearts too much on our own plans for our lives. The Spirit will often intervene and guide us to opportunities, places, and people we cannot anticipate. We are richly blessed when we adjust our own plans to conform to Father in Heaven's plans. Given on Friday 05 November 2010 at the Religion in Life forum, sponsored by the Utah State University Institute of Religion in Logan, Utah.

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Title Page

On Being Guided by the Spirit

A Talk Given at the Religion and Life forum
Utah State Univeristy Institute of Religion
in Logan, Utah

By D. Calvin Andrus

05 November 2010, Version 0.5


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The following are my speaker's notes, not the text of my talk. When I get some time, I will see if I can transcribe the text from the DVD that was created of the talk. There were about 1200 people in attendance.


  • Thank Bro. Richard Gordon and Chelsea
  • BEHS 1971 - others? raise hands
  • two summers at band camp here at USU

Cancel Plans?

In DC 9:8 tells us that before we get personal revelation, we must study the issue.

  • Oliver was ready to translate, and thought it would be handed to him on a silver platter, but it was not so
  • As RMs, we soon learned the same lesson. We were ready to get married, but had to study the issue
  • Tell of three-tiered system of dating

I was a junior and was planning to go to graduate school, University of Washington.

  • But I wanted to be married when I move away
  • Pressure was on to find a wife
  • Cute red-head in Economics 110
  • First date in December
  • By April I had come to an intellectual conclusion that she would be a great companion
  • and I told her so, not a question, just a statement
  • By September, the Spirit confirmed to me that she would be a great companion for me
  • and I told her so, not a question, just a statement

Spirit also told me to be sit tight and be patient

  • I was graduating at the end of December
  • This meant putting off applying to the University of Washington
  • In essence, the Spirit told me to set my plans aside and just wait
  • Not often does the Spirit say to do nothing

Finally, Sister Andrus got the message at the beginning of December and let me know she’d received a witness.

  • So, once we both has a witness of the Spirit, then I had to find a time and a place to ask her to marry me, which I did at the end of December.
  • And we got married 8 months later in August

POINT: Do what the Spirit says even if it means canceling your plans

Change Plans?

So, now that I was married, I could finally apply to graduate school.

  • we wanted to stay near our families
  • I applied to three Western schools.
  • plus two more
  • after they were submitted, I saw a flyer for a school I’d never heard of
  • applied to Stony Brook
  • was accepted at all (but Stanford)
  • got scholarships at three
  • The more we prayed the stronger the Spirit told us to go to New York
  • We we moved to New York, we did not know anyone, we did not know where we were going to stay, we got in our 68 Chev Bel Air pointed east and started driving -- like Nephi who went into Jerusalem, not knowing beforehand how he was going to get the plates
  • While there are two older sons were born
  • Two months after the first one was born I was called into the bishopric
  • Didn’t know how I was going to do it all
  • After that I received an A in every class I took
  • We told ourselves, that we’d come back out west to teach at a University
  • But it dramatically changed the course of our lives

POINT: Do what the Spirit says even if it means changing your plans

Make Sense?

When Chelsea was five we had a good life.

  • We had four great kids. The last one was out of diapers.
  • Even better, our second son was finished with cub scouts -- no more pack meetings!
  • We’d moved into a bigger house
  • I had successfully survived my mini mid-life crisis, and we were just happy as a family

One evening, Sister Andrus came to me and said the Spirit told her that there was one more Spirit waiting to come to our family

  • More Diapers
  • Possibly more cub scouts
  • I also calculated that I would have to put off retirement in order to help that child through college
  • Everything about having another child would be so disruptive to our “happily ever after” plans
  • It just didn’t make sense, we couldn’t see how this was a good thing for us

At this point I didn’t even want to pray about it, ‘cuz I knew what the answer was going to be. So I asked Heavenly Father to at least send us a well-behaved baby, because we were already too old for a fussy child

  • Let me offer you a piece of advice, Never pray for a well-behaved baby
  • He did not need very much sleep, and cried until he barfed if we did not stay in the room with him until he did go to sleep
  • As a 4 and 5 year old he was physically aggressive with other children
  • He even kicked his pre-school teacher in the leg
  • So we decided to wait a year before sending him in to terrorize the kindergarten

He is a great kid now -- President of his Deacon’s Quorum

POINT: Follow the Spirit even if it doesn’t make sense for you

Good Thing

One summer afternoon, while I was watching my son and his friends at the community pool, I was reading a book about complexity theory.

  • The Spirit told me to write a paper about how to apply complexity theory to the Intelligence Community.
  • As I sat there, the Spirit gave me the outline of the paper.
  • The Spirit told me to submit the paper to the annual Intelligence Community competition for innovative ideas
  • The Spirit also told me that I would win the competition with this paper.
  • I wrote the paper on nights and weekends, and Sister Andrus was my editor, making helpful comments on each successive draft
  • When it was about finished I asked one of my LDS friends to read the paper, telling him that the Spirit told me I was going to win the competition
  • He looked at me a little skeptically
  • In the end, I did win the competition, and it dramatically changed my career, opening up many opportunities I otherwise would not have had

POINT: Following the Spirit is a good thing.

Extra Time

If need more time:

  • Bishop needed to be released because it took too much of his time
    • But for me, the Lord made everything I needed to do fit
  • Counseling -- Marital Problems -- pay tithing


Bear testimony -- Gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the best gifts you can have. As you can tell, I have had lots of plans for my life -- and it is good to plan. But, sometimes the Spirit has a different plan for us.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.