Chapter 33, Learning to Hear

Elijah Smith Recently returned missionary from Louisville, Kentucky Mission

When I first arrived in the mission field I was eager to prove that I was capable and ready to do the things that seasoned missionaries were able to do. I remember tracting with my trainer in Lawrenceville, Illinois, and wanting so badly to be able to contribute. On multiple different occasions throughout the day I felt very strong and clear impressions to stop my trainer and tell him that we needed to knock on certain doors. My trainer, being the great missionary that he was, allowed me to do so. Each time I knocked on one of those doors, I realized how little I actually knew. And, to add insult to injury, the people behind those doors turned out to be some of the most rude people I would encounter my entire mission. I went home that night discouraged in myself and my ability to listen to the Spirit. In my prayers that night I asked God why I felt so strongly to knock those doors when I was clearly not ready to take the lead, and when the people were clearly not ready to hear our message. I felt even more discouraged when I didn’t receive an answer to that prayer immediately.

It wasn’t until later in my mission that I got my answer. I realized that at that point in my mission, God didn’t need me to find our next baptism, but rather he needed to groom a young missionary to be willing to listen to his Spirit through feast or famine. He needed to know that he could trust me with the elect spirits he was preparing to hear his message.

I can testify that I felt many times during my mission the exact same spiritual promptings I felt that day in Lawrenceville, and though they didn’t always lead to baptisms, they sometimes did. Those souls who were baptized were only able to be reached by me and my companion’s willingness to listen and act on the promptings we felt.

I bear witness that God wants us to hear his voice, and even though we may struggle at times to understand his promptings if we are willing to humble ourselves and act when he speaks to us. We can then experience miracles.

Dawn Gonzalez An excerpt from a personal experience

I woke very early on the morning of October 1, 2020, aware that my dad, who passed away in February of 2016, was in the room with me. We had a lengthy conversation, but not with words, just thoughts. It was a new experience for me and quite comforting.

During my dialog with my dad, I asked him if he had communicated with any of my siblings. I specifically asked him if he had communicated with my younger sister Chris. He responded, “Yes.” Later I confirmed this with Chris, who said she had seen him in her dreams on multiple occasions. In addition, she has received other communications from him in response to requests in her prayers.

I asked if he had spoken to my older sister Wendy. His response was, “She talks too much. She doesn’t listen.” He also said he talks to my brother Tim a little, but he is too busy.

My dad said that I would be able to hear him if I was quiet and still. He said, “Be still and quiet. You’ll hear me.”

On a number of occasions after Lorna passed away, I would feel a prompting to go somewhere, or do something. I would go and do, only to wonder afterwards, “Why did I go there, or do that?” Like Elder Smith, I came to understand that I was being taught how to hear, so that when I had to hear, I could.

As I mentioned earlier in the book by Tom Heal, a good friend of many years, “It seems as though she [Lorna] was going from one friend or loved one to another to see who could hear her.”

As Calli has written;

My mom is still here with me. She will always be here with me. I hear her in a variety of way–through music, through thoughts or words in my mind as I am waking up, through dreams, through pictures in my mind.

A person whom I love shared an experience she had with her mother, who had passed away many years ago.  She sees her mother in a dream and receives some counsel from her.

After hearing what her mother had to say, she said, “It has been so long since we talked.”  Her mothers reply: “I’ve been here.”

It is a language we all speak, we just have to remember how to speak it, how to hear it.

A phrase from a ceremonial drama I participated in has become my mantra as I’m waking up in the morning:  “Let-your minds be calm. You will be visited soon.”  Consequently, just waking up has become a special part of my day, even if I don’t hear anything.

See President Russell M. Nelson’s admonition to his family as he spoke at his daughter Wendy’s funeral in January of 2019: “So dear family, stay tuned.”

How insightful Dawn’s dad’s counsel to her: “Be still and quiet, you’ll hear me.”

Experience has taught me that when I find myself thinking of Lorna, and I feel some emotion, it’s because she is thinking of me. That’s a time to “be still and quiet.”

My prayer for me and our family from day one has been that we have ears to hear, hearts to feel, and minds to know.

My hope for all who may read this book is that you have ears to hear, hearts to feel and minds to know, that you may be as blessed and connected to your departed loved ones as we have been.

Elder Boyd K. Packer in a Conference talk in 1987: “I remind you that it is a veil, not a wall  . . . .”


— Craig Jenkins, Alpine Utah, 2021