Monday, June 11, 2012

Purrs and Clicks

From the Life of George Albert Smith

To teach about the importance of revelation to guide the Church, George Albert Smith told of an experience he had on an airplane flight from Los Angeles, California, to Salt Lake City, Utah:
“Near Milford, Utah, we suddenly flew into one of the worst fogs I have ever seen. I tried to look out of the window of the plane but could not see anything through the fog. Not a thing could be seen in any direction outside the plane.
“I knew that we were approaching the mountains at the approximate rate of three miles a minute, that we were compelled to pass over them to get into the Salt Lake Valley. I was worried and asked myself, ‘How can the pilot find the way when he cannot see a thing?’ He had his compass but the plane might drift off its course. He had instruments indicating our distance above sea level but he had no way of knowing how far we were from the ground. I thought he might fly high enough to clear the mountains between us and the Salt Lake Valley and try to find the landing field by the flash of the beacons if we got close enough, but I chilled when I thought of the danger of losing our way and missing the beacons and the airport.
“In my anxiety I went up into the space that was occupied by the pilot and the co-pilot to see how they knew where we were going. I could not tell whether we were a hundred feet, a thousand feet or ten thousand feet above the ground and I did not know how they could tell, except approximately. I noticed that the pilot had a little device over his ear like operators in telephone offices use to receive with. I inquired of the co-pilot how they could tell whether we were flying in the right direction or know if we were off course. He replied, ‘When we cannot see we are guided by the radio beam.’
“‘What is that?’ I asked. He explained that the beam might be likened to an electric highway between two points, and in our case the points were Milford and Salt Lake City. He said that the device over the pilot’s ear operated so that when the plane was in the beam a low, purring sound continued to be heard, but if the plane goes to the right or left the sound changes and the pilot is warned by clicking as of a telegraph key. If he pulls back to the beam or highway, on to the path of safety, the clicking ceases and the purring resumes. If we continue on the beam we will arrive at our destination in safety.
“I returned to my seat greatly comforted to know that notwithstanding we were enveloped in fog and darkness and could neither see nor feel where we were, the pilot was receiving information constantly that we were on the highway and he knew that we would soon arrive at our destination. A few minutes later I felt the plane descending. We had passed over the mountain tops and were nearing the airport. When we were nearly down we could see the powerful lights of the field indicating where to land and the plane with its precious cargo touched the ground gently as a seagull lights on water, slowly came to a stop and we stepped from our conveyance to the ground, happy to be at home again. …
“I have thought many times of the lesson I learned on the plane and have applied it to experience in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. …
“Not only has the Lord given us the advice already recorded in the scriptures to guide us but he has placed a leader in this Church, one of his sons who has been chosen and ordained and set apart to be the President. He is our pilot and he will be directed by a voice that will enable him to lead us where we should go. If we are wise we will not set up our judgment against him but will be happy to honor him in his place as long as the Lord sustains him.”
You are entitled to the inspiration of the Spirit, and the knowledge that He is your Father, and when I say “you” I speak of all those who have obeyed the commandments of our Father, and have partaken of the sweet influence of the Spirit of the Lord in the Church of Christ. Each of us is entitled to the inspiration of the Lord in proportion to the manner in which we live a godly life

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