Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s message to BYU-Pathway Worldwide students was encapsulated by a promise. “If you hear Him, if you listen to the voice of the Lord and listen to the promptings that the Lord is giving you, … you will be blessed,” he said during a devotional broadcast to the student body of the Church’s online university.
In a prerecorded message that was broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 8, Elder Stevenson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reiterated and emphasized President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to “Hear Him” and discussed with the students how they can hear the voice of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Prior to the discussion, the Apostle began his remarks by first recognizing the diversity of his audience.
BYU-Pathway Worldwide includes some 50,000 students from 150 countries. Some are from the continent of Africa, from Latin American countries, from the Pacific Area and from Asia. Many of them work full-time. A number of them are married. Many have served missions, he noted.
Despite the many various circumstances of this worldwide student body they are all united together with a common goal — to follow the emphasis from the prophets to continue their education, Elder Stevenson said.
He continued by offering the following encouragement, “We of the Twelve and the First Presidency are so aware of you and are aware of what you’re trying to do, what you’re trying to accomplish. We pray for you. We sustain you. We’re grateful for you.”
The Apostle then shared a video clip of President Nelson’s April 2020 general conference address. “It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now …,” President Nelson said. “He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.
“I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation. Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis.”
The Prophet introduced the importance of the words that came from God the Father to His children to hear the voice of the Savior, said Elder Stevenson, who then shared examples from the scriptures of God the Father introducing His Son.
The first example was from the Mount of Transfiguration where the Father invites His children on earth to hear the voice of Jesus Christ. “Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5).
The second example shared by Elder Stevenson comes from 3 Nephi when the crucified and resurrected Christ visits the Americas. Again the Father introduces His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to His children on earth. “Behold, my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name — hear ye him” (3 Nephi 11:7).
It’s uncommon, Elder Stevenson said, to find accounts in the scriptures where God the Father speaks directly to the reader, but when He does, He introduces the Son with a directive to “hear Him.”
To illustrate his last example, Elder Stevenson shared a video clip of Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision. “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!” (Joseph Smith History 1:17).
Elder Stevenson invited listeners to think about what they might do to hear Him in the way that the Father directs.
Recently, Elder Stevenson said, he and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, spoke at a single adult devotional. He then shared some of the responses they received to the question, “How do you hear Him?”
“I hear Him as I humble myself enough to accept His will, whatever that may be,” one participant responded.
Another said, “I hear Him as I spend time near His holy temples, even if I can’t go inside right now.”
Among the other responses from the single adults were prayer, following the invitations of prophets and apostles, and serving others.
“Think about how you hear Him,” Elder Stevenson told BYU-Pathway students. “Consider the ways that you can continue to grow and develop and grow spiritually and help your family and your loved ones. You might want to write down some of the things that you will do to more fully hear the voice of the Lord.”
As individuals strive to listen and follow the promptings they receive, they will be blessed, the Apostle promised.
Elder Stevenson expressed his gratitude on behalf of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “for what you’re doing that brings you together here today as the student body of BYU-Pathway. We’re proud of you, we’re grateful for you, and we bless you.”
In conclusion he testified, “God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith just exactly the way that he said They did, just exactly the way that it was depicted in that beautiful clip of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove — that the words were uttered in this dispensation by the Father to Joseph Smith, recognizing that Jesus Christ is His Beloved Son and that we should hear Him.”