“Go to Applebees.” I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Spirit would instruct me to go there. I’d already been led there two previous times. President had just gone into the Saturday night session of Stake Conference, and I had just settled down for a quick catch-up nap. But that was not what the Spirit had in mind. I was to, “Go to Applebees.”
I soon found myself in the parking lot wondering if I should really go in. I’m not usually that indecisive, but today good and evil were battling with great gusto – go back to the church, go in, go back to the church, go in. In the middle of my mind battle, I made the mistake of thinking, “Okay, I’ll do it, but this is the last time.” No sooner had the thought formed than I received a “loud and clear” message from the Lord, “Oh you only want three chances to change.” That thought turned the tide. I would come back for as long as it took! Immediately I made my way into the restaurant. He was there - just like the two previous times I’d been led there; except this time, I wasn’t with Sister Ba_______ , Sister To_____ or Sister We_____.
The hostess offered me a booth in the far corner of the restaurant, and the only way for me to sit was looking toward the wall because in the booth behind me was a couple who were sitting on the same side of the both and facing them would leave me in the awkward spot I was watching them.
So I found myself wondering how I was even going to see Jo_____ - much less talk to him. I decided I should go to the bathroom and maybe I could scope out the area and figure out how I was going to talk with him.
The Lord is super awesome, which I’ve always known, but really, He is!. As I was leaving the bathroom He solved my dilemma. I took five steps and Jo_______ was standing right there. He recognized me. We talked about his family and then I asked him if he’d read the Book of Mormon. His “yes” brought the split-second, subconscious, “That’s not an appropriate response for someone who’s read the book.” Looking back I’m pretty sure he got the, “you shouldn’t lie to your mother” look. Because he then said, “You’re right, but I did read some of it.
One thing led to the next, and soon I was eating while waiting for Jo_____. I’ve served long enough that I know nothing happens without the Holy Ghost’s help, so I prayed that the Spirit could be present in the booth right there in Applebees. Soon we were sitting, and he asked me, “So you say that God will tell me as I read the book that it’s true. How does God communicate that?” This led to the perfect opportunity to explain how one can recognize the Spirit.
Recognizing it’s influence comes in three categories.
One, it affects our understanding. For example I might have a whole bunch of thoughts that come really quickly. I might have a phrase or word from a song that repeats itself in my mind. I might have a dream. I might feel like someone is talking to me in my mind. I might learn something and it makes sense or seems like I already knew it.
Two, it affects us physically. For me, I get tingling up and down my body, or I might have a warm feeling in my heart.
And three, it affects our feelings. I might feel right or warm about something or the opposite feel bad about something and know I shouldn’t do it.
As I started telling him about physically getting tingling up and down my body, I witnessed recognition. If I was a betting person, I’d put a hundred down on him feeling the Spirit through tingling right then. But I just looked him in the eye as he said, “I think I’ll have to revisit the book.”
How will Jo_____’s story turn out? I do not know the exact details - but. what I do know is that right then the Lord wanted me to “Go to Applebee’s”. Why? Because He knows exactly where His children are and He wants them back.