The year 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, what President Russell M. Nelson has described as a singular event in human history that “initiated the Restoration of the Lord’s gospel — an unfolding restoration that continues today.”
To highlight that key inaugural event — which started with God the Father asking the teenage boy to listen to His Son Jesus Christ — and demonstrate the many ways the Restoration is ongoing, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a new initiative for the year 2020 titled #HearHim.
“This is going to be an important year,” President Nelson wrote in an invitation to Latter-day Saints at the beginning of 2020. “We invite you to be a major part in sharing the message of the ongoing Restoration of the Savior’s gospel. … This is a hinge point in the history of the Church, and your part is vital.”
But 2020, in its first few months, has also marked a unique time in history when technology is being used in unprecedented ways to help people around the world cope with difficult challenges like the current coronavirus pandemic.
The #HearHim initiative is one way Church members are being reminded throughout this year, as well as during this difficult time, to think more deeply about the blessings of and take part in spreading the good news of the Restoration.
Launching the 2020 initiative with a video invitation from President Nelson in February, the living prophet asked a question of Latter-day Saints: “How do you hear ‘Hear Him?’ ”
When God says something to His children, they should really listen, President Nelson says in the video.
“Repeatedly He has personally introduced His Beloved Son Jesus Christ with a specific charge to ‘Hear Him,’ ” President Nelson says. “Have you ever stopped to ask why? Why is our Heavenly Father so insistent and consistent in His plea that we should hear His Beloved Son Jesus Christ?”
As President Nelson explains, that question was answered by Christ Himself, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.’”
Heavenly Father loves His children and yearns for each of them to choose to return to His holy presence, President Nelson continues.
“He pleads with us to listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed and appointed as our Mediator, Savior and Redeemer,” President Nelson says in the video. “I invite you to be proactive and look for opportunities to share your feelings about the Lord Jesus Christ with your family and friends, including inviting your friends to join you in worshipping Him on Easter Sunday.”
Following that initial video, a second video was released in March that invites individuals to consider how to better #HearHim in their lives.
With mild music and thought-provoking subtitles, the short video demonstrates how limiting worldly distractions can help individuals to better hear and learn from the still small voice of the Spirit of the Lord.
Jeff Taylor, the executive creative director of Bonneville Communications, which produces the content for the initiative, explained how every part of the initiative was created to resonate not only with the anniversary of the First Vision and the beginning of the Restoration, but also with general conference, the celebration of Easter, and the general ongoing work of the Church in moving the Restoration forward with temple and missionary work.
The initiative is a reminder that each person can #HearHim through living apostles and prophets, can #HearHim through their own personal revelation, and can help move the work of the Restoration forward by blessing the lives of those around them.
“We are living in a remarkable age when we constantly see the hand of the Lord in the lives of His children. Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know us, love us and are watching over us, of that we can be certain,” President Nelson said in a video responding to concerns over the spreading coronavirus. “At the same time, as you are well aware, we as a global church are facing a unique challenge. COVID-19 and its resulting illness has affected thousands of lives and interrupted many regular routines.”
Noting that many temporary changes have been made by Church leadership to try to be part of the solution to the ongoing problem, President Nelson reassured Latter-day Saints that such challenges will “pass in due time.”
“I promise you,” he said, “that joy is always within the reach of everyone who will hear Him and obey His laws.”
He encouraged members to look for opportunities to help those around them, near and far, and to participate in ministering and make use of technologies available to them. In a troubled world, he said, the gospel can provide hope.
In the week before April general conference, other Church leaders posted on social media to highlight the importance of the #HearHim initiative at this time.
With the current circumstances, many people are spending more time at home, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, wrote in a March 24 Facebook post.
“I invite you to take advantage of this time by studying the Restoration as we prepare for this unique general conference,” he wrote. “The key to the uniqueness of Joseph Smith’s message and the Restoration is revelation. …
“In our day, revelation continues to guide the Church. Likewise, each of us can receive revelation for our own lives. May we each utilize the gift of personal revelation in our lives and truly seek to #HearHim.”
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote in a March 23 Facebook post, “Though there are reasons for concern, we also have many reasons to be optimistic about the future.”
He added, “I invite you to spend some time in the next few days to be alone in a quiet place to commune with your Heavenly Father. #HearHim.”
More information can be found on the Church’s #HearHim Resource page.