We live in the day that ?our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation.?1 We have front-row seats to witness live what the prophet Nephi saw only in vision, that ?the power of the Lamb of God? would descend ?upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.?2 You, my brothers and sisters, are among those men, women, and children whom Nephi saw. Think of that!
What does it mean for you that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth? It means that you and your family can be sealed together forever! It means that because you have been baptized by one who has authority from Jesus Christ and have been confirmed a member of His Church, you can enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. He will guide and protect you. It means you will never be left comfortless or without access to the power of God to help you. It means that priesthood power can bless you as you receive essential ordinances and make covenants with God and keep them. What an anchor to our souls are these truths, especially during these times when the tempest is raging.
The Book of Mormon chronicles the classic rise and fall of two major civilizations. Their history demonstrates how easy it is for a majority of the people to forget God, reject warnings of the Lord?s prophets, and seek power, popularity, and pleasures of the flesh.4 Repeatedly, past prophets have declared ?great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe.?5 It is no different in our day. Through the years, great and marvelous things have been heard from dedicated pulpits across the earth. Yet most people do not embrace these truths??either because they do not know where to look for them6 or because they are listening to those who do not have the whole truth or because they have rejected truth in favor of worldly pursuits.
The adversary is clever. For millennia he has been making good look evil and evil look good.7 His messages tend to be loud, bold, and boastful. However, messages from our Heavenly Father are strikingly different. He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him.8 For example, whenever He has introduced His Only Begotten Son to mortals upon the earth, He has done so with remarkably few words. On the Mount of Transfiguration to Peter, James, and John, God said, ?This is my beloved Son: hear him.?9 His words to the Nephites in ancient Bountiful were ?Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name??hear ye him.?10 And to Joseph Smith, in that profound declaration that opened this dispensation, God simply said, ?This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!?11 Now, my dear brothers and sisters, consider the fact that in these three instances just mentioned, just before the Father introduced the Son, the people involved were in a state of fear and, to some degree, desperation. The Apostles were afraid when they saw Jesus Christ encircled by a cloud on the Mount of Transfiguration. The Nephites were afraid because they had been through destruction and darkness for several days. Joseph Smith was in the grips of a force of darkness just before the heavens opened. Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son. Because when we seek to hear??truly hear??His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.
The very first word in the Doctrine and Covenants is hearken.12 It means ?to listen with the intent to obey.?13 To hearken means to ?hear Him???to hear what the Savior says and then to heed His counsel. In those two words???Hear Him???God gives us the pattern for success, happiness, and joy in this life. We are to hear the words of the Lord, hearken to them, and heed what He has told us!
We can also hear Him in the temple. The house of the Lord is a house of learning. There the Lord teaches in His own way. There each ordinance teaches about the Savior. There we learn how to part the veil and communicate more clearly with heaven. There we learn how to rebuke the adversary and draw upon the Lord?s priesthood power to strengthen us and those we love. How eager each of us should be to seek refuge there.
We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. 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.
The Lord is gathering those who are willing to let God prevail in their lives. The Lord is gathering those who will choose to let God be the most important influence in their lives. For centuries, prophets have foretold this gathering,11 and it is happening right now! As an essential prelude to the Second Coming of the Lord, it is the most important work in the world!
During these perilous times of which the Apostle Paul prophesied,20 Satan is no longer even trying to hide his attacks on God?s plan. Emboldened evil abounds. Therefore, the only way to survive spiritually is to be determined to let God prevail in our lives, to learn to hear His voice, and to use our energy to help gather Israel.
We live in a time prophesied long ago, when ?all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men?s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.?13 That was true before the pandemic, and it will be true after. Commotion in the world will continue to increase. In contrast, the voice of the Lord is not ?a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but ? it [is] a still voice of perfect mildness, [like] a whisper, and it [pierces] even to the very soul.?14 In order to hear this still voice, you too must be still!
Only your unbelief will keep God from blessing you with miracles to move the mountains in your life.10 The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it will be to trust in His mercy, His infinite love, and His strengthening, healing, and redeeming power. The Savior is never closer to you than when you are facing or climbing a mountain with faith.
Please know this: if everything and everyone else in the world whom you trust should fail, Jesus Christ and His Church will never fail you. The Lord never slumbers, nor does He sleep.16 He ?is the same yesterday, today, and [tomorrow].?17 He will not forsake His covenants,18 His promises, or His love for His people. He works miracles today, and He will work miracles tomorrow.19 Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest power available to us in this life. All things are possible to them that believe.20 Your growing faith in Him will move mountains?not the mountains of rock that beautify the earth but the mountains of misery in your lives. Your flourishing faith will help you turn challenges into unparalleled growth and opportunity.
Present restrictions on gathering will eventually end. However, your commitment to make your home your primary sanctuary of faith should never end. As faith and holiness decrease in this fallen world, your need for holy places will increase. I urge you to continue to make your home a truly holy place ?and be not moved?8 from that essential goal.
Through your faith, Jesus Christ will increase your ability to move the mountains in your life,9 even though your personal challenges may loom as large as Mount Everest. Your mountains may be loneliness, doubt, illness, or other personal problems. Your mountains will vary, and yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith. That takes work. Lazy learners and lax disciples will always struggle to muster even a particle of faith. To do anything well requires effort. Becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ is no exception. Increasing your faith and trust in Him takes effort. May I offer five suggestions to help you develop that faith and trust.
Faith takes work. Receiving revelation takes work. But ?every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.?13 God knows what will help your faith grow. Ask, and then ask again. A nonbeliever might say that faith is for the weak. But this assertion overlooks the power of faith. Would the Savior?s Apostles have continued to teach His doctrine after His death, at the peril of their lives, if they had doubted Him?14 Would Joseph and Hyrum Smith have suffered martyrs? deaths defending the Restoration of the Lord?s Church unless they had a sure witness that it was true? Would nearly 2,000 Saints have died along the pioneer trail15 if they did not have faith that the gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored? Truly, faith is the power that enables the unlikely to accomplish the impossible.