In late February 2020 — as COVID-19 was beginning to impact missionary work, temple work and worship services in several Asian countries and soon worldwide — President Russell M. Nelson extended an invitation via social media.
“I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him?” said President Nelson, using hashtag #HearHim.
President Nelson’s emphatic invitation to “Hear Him” is an echoed plea of his counsel to more intentionally hear, hearken and heed what the Savior has said and do whatever it takes to increase spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.
“Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son,” President Nelson said during the April 2020 general conference. “Because when we seek to hear — truly hear — His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.”
Throughout 2020 and 2021, members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have participated in a series of blog posts and videos describing ways in which they hear the voice of the Lord through the Spirit. Below are excerpts from each.
President Oaks: Act on an impression, no matter how unusual
When President Dallin H. Oaks was serving as a counselor in a stake presidency more than 50 years ago, he received an invitation to be a sacrament speaker in a unit in his stake. He pondered what he would speak about. Nothing came. Halfway to his destination that Sunday morning, he felt he should speak about things he had observed in the Chicago criminal courts. Though he rarely spoke about personal experiences in his talks, he followed the impression.
President Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, detailed this experience in a video and blog post released April 15, and what it taught him about acting on impressions from the Spirit. “When you get an impression, act upon it, however unusual it seems or however inadequate you feel in following it. Act upon it,” he said.
President Eyring: Listen to those ‘in touch with heaven’
One day in his youth, President Henry B. Eyring earned 10 cents and decided he wanted to go to the movies. He told his mother: “I am going to go to a movie. What do you think?” He could tell from the look of disapproval on her face that she didn’t want him to go. So he didn’t.
“My mom was a wise woman, and her approval felt like I was getting approval from the Lord,” recalled President Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, in a video and blog post released Aug. 26. “I feel that my mother was in touch with heaven, and hearing her felt like I was hearing Him.”
President Ballard: Seek still and quiet moments
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, experienced a defining spiritual moment as a 20-year-old missionary in England. He didn’t hear a voice or see angels, but it had an impact within his heart that has never left him.
“Receiving revelation only comes, at least in my case, when I have those still and quiet moments,” he said in a July 17, 2020, video and blog post. “I have found I cannot connect with heaven in a mass of clutter.”
Elder Holland: Fight through distractions with ‘muscular’ prayer
“We need to carve out time — good time, high priority time — when we can kneel, if possible, and be vocal. Say the words. I believe that this process is basic to how God communicates with us and how He intends for us to communicate with Him,” wrote Elder Holland.
Elder Uchtdorf: Focus on the Savior’s love
During moments in Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s professional and family life when he didn’t know what to do, he would find a quiet spot to connect to Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost. Then, a stream of answers would come.
“I have the same experience today as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ,” the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in a Sept. 4, 2020, blog post and video. “Some have asked me, ‘Does the Lord speak to you all the time?’ I answer that He speaks to me in the same way He’s spoken to me all my life — by the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Bednar: Read, ponder and pray
In a video and blog post dated April 21, 2020, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described several ways he hears the Lord’s voice, including reading scriptures, providing service, listening to righteous music, offering sincere prayers and recording spiritual impressions.
“As I make time for simple moments of pondering and prayer, I am blessed by the power of the Holy Ghost to see with new eyes and ‘Hear Him’ with new ears,” he wrote.
Elder Cook: Ask for revelation in your calling
Many years ago while serving as a bishop, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received an urgent phone call from a married couple who wanted to see him. The timing wasn’t ideal. Elder Cook was preparing to catch a plane for a business appointment in New York. But he told them to come anyway.
“After I hung up, I got on my knees and I prayed. I had a revelatory experience that told me what their problem was and how I should counsel them,” Elder Cook said in a video and blog post released June 24. “When they came in, I was able to give them the exact counsel they needed to receive.”
Elder Christofferson: Be ready, willing and open
When Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was a teenager, he visited the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. Alone at the time, young Elder Christofferson found it a perfect setting to pray, hoping to receive the kinds of answers that Joseph Smith received. “But nothing came,” Elder Christofferson recalled. “There was no response. There was no answer. I didn’t hear anything.”
In a #HearHim video and blog post released Sept. 10, Elder Christofferson testified that the Lord answers prayers in His time and in His way: “He does answer and we do hear Him, but it’s as He determines best, in His wisdom and His love.”
Elder Andersen: Pray with sincerity and humility
Like many, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has found that when a loved one or friend suggests things he needs to change, the natural man inside of him sometimes responds first: “Who are you to judge?”
“However, when I’m kneeling humbly before my Heavenly Father and asking in the depth of sincerity, ‘Father, what do I need to change? Where do I need to repent? Where am I lacking?’ a calm feeling comes over me,” he said in a video and blog post released Dec. 27. “And at the appropriate time, I hear Him.”
Elder Rasband: Find confirmation in the scriptures
At age 19, young Ronald A. Rasband anxiously awaited his mission call. His father, brother and brother-in-law had served missions in Germany, and he wanted to go to Germany as well. Finally the letter with his mission call arrived in the mailbox: “Elder Ronald A. Rasband, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary in the Eastern States Mission, headquartered in New York City, New York.” Consumed with disappointment, he exclaimed, “No, I’m supposed to go to Germany!”
Elder Stevenson: Do all you can to follow a prompting
As a child hiking with his father in the desert, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received a prompting from the Holy Ghost that kept him from potential danger as he ventured off the beaten path.
“I’ve learned since then that promptings of the Holy Ghost are going to come to us. And we literally are hearing what the Lord wants us to hear …,” Elder Stevenson said in a video and blog post on June 21, 2020. “One of the ways I hear Him is doing all that I can to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Renlund: Be consistent in personal devotion
After going through a slump in medical school in which his zeal for the gospel, attending church and his testimony seemed to have faded, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made a list of things he could do daily to reconnect with the Lord.
“Within just a couple of weeks that zeal and warmth of my testimony was back,” he said in a video and blog post on Oct. 15, 2020. “I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d continued down that course — if I had fallen asleep and found joy in skipping church. I believe our lives would have been very different.”
Elder Gong: Serve others, one by one
Though many are staying physically distant from others during the COVID-19 pandemic, “we do not have to be spiritually distant from Jesus Christ,” wrote Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a June 26, 2020, blog post. “You and I can use this unique time as an opportunity to ’hear Him.” In the accompanying video, he said serving others — one by one — can help one hear His voice.
“When you truly know that He sees you, He knows you, and He loves you, you can understand that you are not isolated. You could never be isolated, because you have a knowledge of and a relationship with the living Son of God.”
Elder Soares: Center your life more on the Savior
When Elder Ulisses Soares was serving as a mission president in Portugal, he prepared a talk for missionaries in a zone conference and felt good about his message. The morning of the conference, a feeling of doubt came. He knelt and prayed.
In a video and blog post released May 27, the Apostle described how the Lord guided him to verses of scripture that completely changed his talk. “I remember that the feeling of peace that came to my heart was so strong, confirming in my mind and my heart that this was what the missionaries needed to learn on that day,” Elder Soares wrote.
Watch more #HearHim videos here.