The first word of the Lord’s preface to His latter-day revelations to man is “hearken.”[i] “Hearken” means to listen carefully, to give due attention, to give strict heed. Indeed, the Lord makes this clear by enjoining all men – the “people of [His] church,” “people from afar,” and people “upon the islands of the sea” – to “listen together.”[ii]
To what should we hearken? As the Apostle Paul observed, “[t]here are . . . so many kinds voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”[iii] This reality of life weighed upon Joseph Smith. Referring to the many often conflicting voices of his day on the question of religion, Joseph observed: “In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?”[iv] Whether or not the question is one of religion, Joseph’s questions apply to us all. To what, or to whom, should we give our ear and follow?
This question was answered when God our Father appeared to Joseph Smith. Pointing to His Son, Our Father told Joseph -- and through him all of us -- “This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!”[v] Out of all of the many voices in this world, the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ is the one to which we must hearken. After the injunction to pray, there is probably no more frequent injunction in scripture than the injunction to hearken,[vi] listen,[vii] hear,[viii] or heed[ix] the voice of the Lord. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, set the pattern for all of us. After they found themselves in the lone and dreary world, they not only offered prayer unto the Lord, but they “heard the voice of the Lord” and obeyed His instructions.[x]
Hearkening to the voice of the Lord brings rich blessings. If we hearken to the voice of the Lord, He will be quick to answer our prayers.[xi] We will be protected and magnified temporally.[xii] We will have the mercy and compassion of the Lord.[xiii] And we will be delivered from death and have our place in mortality and immortality made secure.[xiv] Not hearkening to the voice of the Lord can only bring the opposite of such blessings.[xv]
Where may be find the voice of the Lord so that we may follow His voice and be blessed? The Lord’s voice can be found in the voice of his servants. The Lord told Joseph Smith: “[T]his generation shall have my word through you.”[xvi] Whether it is His voice, or the voice of His servants, “it is the same.”[xvii] The Lord’s voice may also be found in the scriptures. Referring to his revelations, The Lord has said: “These words are not of men nor of man, but of me . . . For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another . . . Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.”[xviii] The Lord’s voice can also be found in the spiritual impressions that come to our hearts and mind. Said He: “I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my Spirit.”[xix]
As one who has sought and found the voice of the Lord amidst the din of the many other voices of this world, I know that there is no other voice as peaceful, and loving, and reassuring as His. I testify that the Lord’s voice can be heard again and, when followed, will bring no greater blessing in this life or in the life to come.
- D&C 1:1
- 1 Cor. 14:10
- JS-H 1:10
- JS-H 1:17
- Examples include Deut. 28:1-2, 15; D&C 1:1; D&C 39:1, 10; D&C 45:2; D&C 133:16.
- Examples include D&C 27:1; 29:1; 35:1; 39:1; D&C 45:6; 72:1.
- Examples include Mosiah 26:21, 28; Isaiah 28:23; Deut. 4:33, 36; Matt. 17:5; D&C 1:11; D&C 38:6, 22; D&C 43:23.
- Examples include Al. 12:9; Al. 37:44; 3 Ne. 23:4; D&C 6:2; D&C 11:2; D&C 12:2, 9; D&C 14:2; D&C 32:5; D&C 84:43.
- Moses 5:4-6.
- See D&C 101:7; Moses 6:52
- Exodus 15:26; Deut. 30:9-10.
- Deut. 13:18.
- D&C 45:2; D&C 124:45
- D&C 124:45-48; Deut. 28:15-68.
- D&C 5:10
- D&C 1:38; D&C 68:3-4
- D&C 18:34-36
- D&C 97:1; D&C 88:66.