Throughout his life, President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has sought to hear and understand the voice of the Lord. In a new video, part of the Church’s #HearHim video series, President Ballard details a defining moment in his life when he was a young missionary in England.
“I think of this moment as one of the first times that I have felt very, very close to heaven,” he wrote in a July 19 Facebook post with the new video.
While walking alongside the River Trent in Nottingham, England, as a 20-year-old missionary, he wanted guidance and affirmation from the Lord that he was doing what the Lord wanted him to do.
“I did not hear a voice. I did not see any angels. But it had an impact within my bosom — within my heart — that has never left me,” he wrote in a July 17 blog post. “I learned a lesson from that experience: Most things we hear from heaven are ultimately felt in our hearts. … I have learned that we must be still to hear the Lord’s voice.”
Technology can be a blessing and a distraction. “I have found I cannot connect with heaven in a mass of clutter,” President Ballard wrote. “You have to find those quiet moments in your life when you can contemplate the things of the Spirit.”
Profound spiritual insight can come from reading and listening to the gospel taught by those who are witnesses of the Lord, Jesus Christ, he continued. “As I have heard their words, I’ve felt things that have made all the difference in my spiritual conversion.”
When visiting missionaries worldwide, President Ballard reminds them that “conversion, reactivation and even staying active in the Church of Jesus Christ always begins with what people feel, more than what they know.”
Today, 71 years after his impactful experience as a young missionary, President Ballard said, “I can boldly testify that it is a privilege for us to be able to ‘hear Him’ in our modern world.”