What an experience in the Sacred Grove taught Elder Christofferson about learning to #HearHim

When Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was a teenager, he visited the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York — where 14-year-old Joseph Smith’s prayer was answered in an appearance by God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in 1820. 

Alone at the time, young Elder Christofferson found it a perfect setting to pray. He prayed with deep sincerity, 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.”

So he gave up and left, disappointed, wondering what he had done wrong. 

In a #HearHim video and blog post released Thursday, Sept. 9, Elder Christofferson testified that the Lord answers prayers in His time and in His way.

Six weeks after his experience in the Sacred Grove, Elder Christofferson was at home, reading in the Book of Mormon and pondering. And then, without asking for it, he felt a confirmation from the Spirit come flooding over him. “And I knew,” he said in the video. “I knew.”

“I learned from that experience that you can’t tell God how and when He responds to our prayers. You can’t dictate to Him. You have to say, ‘I’m always open. I am always ready. I am always willing to hear.’ …

“He does answer and we do hear Him, but it’s as He determines best, in His wisdom and His love,” Elder Christofferson said. 

In his blog post, Elder Christofferson added: “My Sacred Grove experience also taught me that I did not have to be in any special place or make a pilgrimage to some special location to receive a witness of the Spirit and an answer to my prayer, just as you do not have to go to Jerusalem to get a witness of Jesus Christ and His Atonement and Resurrection. 

“I learned from that experience that the location is quite immaterial and the Lord can find us wherever we are.”

Watch more #HearHim videos from Church leaders here.