I have recorded them in my biography but for the sake of my posterity and my own remembrance, I will record them here. When I used the capitalised word 'Church' it refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The image I have used for this section represents several examples of the kind of inspirational experiences I have had. A friend asked me if I would give a demonstration of the painting technique used by Renaissance masters as part of her lesson in Relief Society. As I considered what subject to paint and how I could use it to represent the various steps of the Plan of Salvation I realized that I could tie it into the progression of the individual through eternity. The initial pencil sketch represents the intelligence before it becomes a spirit through God's plan. The pre-mortal existence of the spirit is represented by the grey under-painting. Mortal existence is represented by the image glazed by colors and the post mortal existence is represented by the highlighted image as it reaches toward heaven. I have experienced many instances where I feel that my creative productions have had some inspiration from a higher source and this is one of them. A number of people have prints of the image and responded very positively. The painting was used as a focal point of a spiritual presentation for a stake Relief Society meeting when I lived in Lehi, Utah and as comfort for mourners.
The times I have felt inspiration have been numerous and it would be easy to launch in the middle but I've decided to go back and organize by subject or chronology. When I was 12 years old and had newly become a member of the Beehive group in the young women's program of the LDS Church I returned home one evening after a lesson that set my heart and spirit on fire with the testimony of the reality of my Savior's Atonement. I was filled to the brim with the joy of gratitude and love. Entering the bedroom that I shared with sisters I was happy to see that I was alone. Filled with enthusiasm that I could not contain I jumped up and down on the bed almost as if I could take off and fly. Eventually the intensity of my enthusiasm waned but I still retain the memory of that feeling of love and joy. Not long afterward I decided to attend Sacrament meeting. At that time Sunday School was held in the morning and Sacrament Meeting was held in the afternoon. I had not attended Sacrament meeting before for as long as I could remember. My father was not active in the Church and my mother felt reluctance to taking her four young children to more than one meeting on Sunday. Wearing the Jantzen sweater set and Joyce duckbilled grey suede Maryjane shoes that I inherited from my cousin, I set out to walk the half mile to the meeting house in time to arrive before the meeting started. I entered the chapel and sat alone. The room seemed filled with golden light and that same joy that I had felt earlier. I truly enjoyed the talks, the sacrament, and the hymns. I could feel my spirit begin to wake in a quiet way that did not lead to jumping on the bed but which would sustain me as I met difficulties and challenges in my life. I believe this was the beginning of my personal relationship with God. Years later when I was pregnant with my third child while living in Virginia I attended a BYU Education Week with friends. As we returned home after a day of inspired teaching I once again was struck by the urgent gratitude for the atonement and laughed with joy to the bemusement of my friends in the car with me.
When I was in high school a number of my fellow students received their patriarchal blessings. One girl, who was only an acquaintance, showed me her blessing which consisted of one or two paragraphs on a single sheet of letter paper. I was not impressed with either her casual attitude toward what should have been a relatively private experience or what seemed a fairly generic blessing. Even so I decided to proceed with the interview process that would lead to my receiving a blessing of my own. My mother insisted on accompanying me to the Patriarch's home and listening as I was blessed, which I felt was intrusive because of our contentious relationship. I felt humbled as the patriarch proceeded with the blessing. It seemed a gentle rebuke as he said I have been blessed with my parentage. To my surprise the blessing he gave me seemed quite personal although I doubt he knew me. Instead of being short and general, the typed version was single spaced, covering most of both sides of a legal sized sheet of paper. This happened over 50 years ago and the blessing has been realized in surprising ways.
The feeling of receiving assistance is particularly marked in circumstances where my imagination and creativity have overcome handicaps of expense and time for various religious purposes. In 1976 the leaders of the LDS region that included my ward in Annandale, Virginia decided to put on a production to honor the national Bicentennial. Lisner Auditorium in Washington DC was booked for the event that would run for several days. The scope was dramatic and included the history of America from the time of Jared and his brother through to the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The stage set was innovative, essentially a timber pyramid with varied levels on which various scenes could be enacted. A cast of hundreds would be involved. I was asked to design and supervise the purchase of fabric and accessories and construction of all costumes from the time of Jared up to the voyage of Columbus. The time periods I was called upon to clothe included a number of mob scenes. My budget per costume was around two dollars each. It would take a miracle to carry out the assignment. As I went to the fabric stores I found piles of drastically reduced remnants in the type of material I needed, often at less than fifty cents a yard. Consulting books on pre-Columbian archaeology, I constructed jewelry and headdresses from chicken feathers and the gold colored linings of #10 tin cans. Others stepped up to sew together tunics and robes from kits I assembled. Throughout the process I felt spiritual guidance and aid.