Sunday, January 30, 2011

Listening to the Spirit
Jan. 31, 2011

A young mother was frustrated and concerned that her children were once again fighting and arguing with each other when there came to her mind the scripture in the Book of Mormon, “neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another…. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another.”
A college graduate sat with her professors during her “Graduate Oral Evaluation”. One of them looked at her and asked “At what reading level will the average deaf student read at the time of his HS graduation?” As she pondered the question a vision was brought to her mind and she vividly recalled the classroom and the exact seat she was sitting in when the professor had taught that the average deaf student will graduate from HS at 6th grade reading level.
An elderly sister was stressed with many worries when she decided to go to the temple early one morning. As she backed out of her driveway she noticed a single red rose standing tall and straight in the morning light. Then she heard a voice declare, “I know you and I love you.”
We could go on and on sharing wonderful experiences of the Spirit. They are glorious and fulfilling and we can have them every day. They are all encompassing and they are private and pertinent. They are our connection with Deity.
I’ve taken my talk, Listening to the Spirit, from two General Conference talks; President Eyring’s April 1991 talk – To Draw Closer to God and President Oaks’ October 2010 talk – Two Lines of Communication and also from Elder Anderson’s article in the December 2010 Ensign – A Gift Worthy of Added Care. It was enjoyable and refreshing to review all three talks and I appreciate the opportunity to study about Listening to the Spirit because it is so important to each of us.
We must learn to recognize and listen to the promptings of the Spirit In order to enjoy the blessing of personal revelation. President Oaks said, “The personal line is of paramount importance in personal decisions and in the governance of the family.” “We pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ and He answers us through His Holy Spirit.” The mission of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the Father and the Son, to guide us into truth, and to show us all things we should do. This personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit is the source of our testimonies of truth, of our knowledge and of our personal guidance from a loving Heavenly Father. It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel plan, which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of its truth. “
President Eyring adds, “It is the Spirit which will bear record to your heart as you read the scriptures, as you hear the Lord’s authorized servants, and as God speaks directly to your heart. You can listen and hear if you believe that the scriptures are accurate when they describe the Holy Ghost this way; “Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while maketh manifest.” He goes on to say, “Now, I testify it is a small voice, it whispers, not shouts. And so you must be very quiet inside. That is why you may wisely fast when you want to listen. And that is why you will listen best when you feel, “Father, thy will, not mine, be done.” You will have a feeling of “I want what you want.” Then the still small voice will seem as if it pierces you. It may make your bones to quake. More often it will make your heart burn within you, again softly, but with a burning which will lift and reassure.” You will know!!
Our kind and loving Heavenly Father knew that our venture on earth would bring us much turmoil and confusion, so He wisely set in place the gift of the Holy Ghost in our mortal lives. Elder Anderson says, “This is a gift of enormous power. The Holy Ghost bearth record of the Father and of the Son. The Holy Ghost teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance. He guides us to truth and shows us things to come, enlightens our mind and fills our soul with joy. By His power we may know the truth of all things.”
President Woodruff told us, “Let us labor to obtain the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit we must have to carry out the purposes of God. We need this gift more than any other. We should pray to the Lord until we get the Comforter. This is what is promised to us when we are baptized.”
In the 19th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord says to us, “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing, yea, even more than if you should obtain the treasures of earth….”
It was President Packer who said, “No one of us can survive in the world of today, much less in what it soon will become, without personal inspiration. We must believe that even in our weaknesses, the still, small voice we feel comes from our Father. We must pray and ask and seek and then not be afraid when answers come into our heart and mind. Believe they are divine. They are.” In the Doctrine and Covenants we are promised that we can know the source of our promptings but simply asking; “Father, is this of you?” Then we can know of a surety that it has come from Him and if you know with a surety, then doubt not but act upon those promptings.
In February 1847 Joseph Smith appeared to Brigham Young in a dream or a vision and told him to “Tell the people to be humble and faithful and sure to deep the Spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom.”
President Eyring goes on to tell us, “If you want greater clarity in understanding and believing the still, small voice, there is no better medicine than greater obedience. Jesus said unto His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
And then again President Oaks reminds us that “the direct, personal channel of communication to our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost is based on worthiness and is so essential that we are commanded to renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament each Sabbath day. In this way we qualify for the promise that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, to guide us. “
What a marvelous blessing we have been given to be able to partake of the Sacrament each week and thereby renew those covenants and begin each week anew with the Spirit as our guide. Along with this blessing we must provide quiet, reflective times and learn how to listen. We must study our scriptures; our conference talks, and we must ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We must teach our children how to recognize the voice of the Spirit. When our son Daniel came home from his mission he told me that he had learned that the first thing his investigators had to learn was how to discern the spirit. Once they had learned that, they were receptive to the teachings. We must consciously look for our blessings and acknowledge them before the Lord. We must show gratitude and thanksgiving to our Father who blesses us so abundantly. We must keep the commandments and repent when we do not. We must “draw near unto Him” and he will draw near unto us. We must be able to say, “I know you and I love you.” Then we will enjoy the blessing of the Holy Ghost in our lives; a blessing that we can have and should use each and every day. However, it does not end there.
President Monson admonishes us to never postpone a prompting. “We watch. We wait. We listen for that still, small voice. When it speaks, wise men and women obey. We do not postpone following the promptings of the Spirit.”
Elder Anderson concluded his article with a wonderful blessing for the Saints. He quotes from the Doctrine and Covenants 45:57 and says, “The Lord, speaking of His Second Coming, emphasized that the gift of the Holy Ghost must be powerfully active among His Saints: ‘For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived – verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.’ “As we give greater care to this divine gift, we “shall abide the day” and again live with our Heavenly Father. As disciples of Christ, we must make the gift of the Holy Ghost a conscious, daily, prayerful part of our lives.”

I add my testimony to his that we will not only abide the day, but that we will enjoy the day. If you worthily seek and respond to the Holy Spirit we will feel the love and comfort of our most Gracious Father in Heaven. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the Church He organized and ministered to during His mortal existence. I know the the Scriptures are the words of the Lord and are for our study and our comfort. I know that if we follow the Prophets and stay close to their teachings we will not be lead astray but will have greater strength to resist the adversary. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers in the manner best for us. I know that He loves each of us with a love that we can not quiet comprehend but that we feel deeply in our souls. I know that through the Gift of the Holy Ghost we can commune with our Father and He will us. Through this gift we can feel His arms around us as we mourn and as we rejoice. It is my prayer that I will always remain worthy of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and that I will use it daily to "draw near" unto my Father.

This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen