On February 26, 2020, President Russell M. Nelson asked us a question and issued a challenge.
My dear friends, today I wish to share with you a special invitation. There are a few wonderful occasions in the scriptures when our Heavenly Father personally introduced His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, with a specific charge to “Hear Him!”
Today, this most-important invitation from our loving Heavenly Father to listen to the voice of the Lord and to follow His teachings is extended to us. In this special year as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him?
President Nelson testified that our God pleads with us to listen to the voice of His Son, Jesus Christ, “Whom the Father anointed and appointed as our Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer.” He asked us to share how we hear Him.
Developing the Ability to Hear
When I was five years old, I lost almost all of the hearing in my left ear. I still hear very deep tones, but that’s it. So since childhood, I’ve actively positioned myself to best hear others in physical proximity, staring at their mouths, and noticing body language for context when conditions aren’t ideal. I usually really want to hear what’s being said.
Because I can’t always hear someone’s actual voice, I’ve learned other ways to “hear” someone, like their body stance, their facial expressions, and of course reading their lips. Sometimes I hear based on something someone is showing me or doing.
However, sometimes, despite my best efforts, I cannot hear what is being said. Because of my collective life experience, I resonate with the tri-fold “hearing” lesson of the people in 3 Nephi 11.
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
President Nelson extended that invitation to us.
How do you hear Him?
Do You Hear Him Like Elijah?
Elijah fled for his life and then lived in isolation for forty days and forty nights. Frustrated by the people’s rejection of the Lord, Elijah at one time prayed to die instead of live. Elijah heard the word of the Lord in a still, small voice.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
Do You Hear Him Like Hannah?
Hannah prayed at the door of the tabernacle for a son. The Lord answered her through the words of the (initially judgmental) priest. She left rejoicing with full confidence that his words were from the Lord.
And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.
Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.
Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
Do You Hear Him Like Jonah?
Jonah sought the Lord in a time of serious distress and prayed for salvation. Jonah knew the Lord heard him as He changed Jonah’s circumstances.
Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Do You Hear Him Like Tabitha?
Tabitha served people diligently but grew sick and died. Through the administration of a priesthood blessing, Tabitha heard the voice of the Lord and hearkened.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. …
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
Do You Hear Him Like Oliver?
The Lord promised Oliver Cowdery that he would hear Him in his mind and heart. If Oliver had a stupor of thought, he’d know the Lord’s answer was a no. If his bosom burned, then he’d received a yes. Oliver’s experience is a staple for beginning to understand how to hear the Lord and identify the Holy Ghost.
Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
Do You Hear Him Like Abish?
Abish heard the Lord through a vision. Her story also encapsulated just knowing something in a circumstance. She saw a situation and knew what she should do. That knowing is also a way we hear Him.
[O]ne of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father—
Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people.
Do You Hear Him Like Nephi?
Nephi sought the Lord after hearing about his father’s revelation. He was caught away in the Spirit and saw and heard answers to the questions he had.
For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?
And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.
And the Spirit said unto me: Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?
And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.
Do You Hear Him Like Joseph?
Joseph sought the Lord’s guidance in answer to a question. The Lord answered his question in an amazing way.
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
President Nelson promised that God has a vision for each of us!
“God loves all of His children and has a vision for each of us. Just as He listened to Joseph’s prayer in 1820, He listens to you and yearns to speak with you through the Spirit.”
We can hear Him so many different ways, and most importantly, the exact way that is best for us in our particular circumstance. How amazing that our God, the Master of the Universe, speaks directly to each of us to answer our questions and our pleadings in ways that we understand! We are blessed to be the children of such a gracious Father!
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.