“There are a few wonderful occasions in the scriptures when our Heavenly Father personally introduced His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, with a specific charge to ‘Hear Him!’” “Today, this most important invitation from our loving Heavenly Father to listen to the voice of the Lord and to follow His teachings is extended to us. … “I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him?”Russell M. Nelson, “Invitation from the Prophet: Hear Him,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org
All throughout the general conference week and the Easter season, the prophet has encouraged us to “Hear Him” the way Joseph Smith did in the grove of trees 200 years ago. We all felt the need to hearken, “to hear what the Savior says and then to heed His Counsel.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him,” April 2020 General Conference).
Below are seven different ways we can “Hear Him” as illustrated by the experience of Filipino Latter-day Saints from all over the country.
Hear Him by Removing Distractions
“When the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening —or not happening —in our lives.”
Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” October 2016 General Conference
Every parent will agree when we say that electronic gadgets are among the biggest distractions when it comes to getting children to focus on spiritual things. Inspired by the new Children and Youth development program, the Sabiniano family from Novaliches, Quezon City, “Hear Him” better by focusing on His teachings and removing distractions. Noting that the new initiative is integrated with the Come, Follow Me curriculum, the entire family took advantage of the extra time together due to the quarantine and put it to good use by working on the children’s individual goals. This was made possible by reducing the time the children spent on gadgets.
Hear Him through Service
“Brothers and sisters, we have a heaven-sent opportunity as an entire Church to demonstrate ‘pure religion … undefiled before God’ (James 1:27) — ‘to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light’ and to ‘comfort those that stand in need of comfort,’ (Mosiah 18:8–9) to minister to the widows and the fatherless, the married and the single, the strong and the distraught, the downtrodden and the robust, the happy and the sad — in short, all of us, every one of us, because we all need to feel the warm hand of friendship and hear the firm declaration of faith.”
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Be With and Strengthen Them,” April 2018 general conference
Later-day Saints all over the country adapted to the new normal of quarantine living to continue serving each other and helping others enjoying the blessings of the gospel.
In Quezon City, Relief Society President Dulce Amor Joson made sure she got every sister’s contact information right after she was called. As soon as the outbreak began and a community quarantine was declared, she sent text messages to all the sisters asking how they were and assuring them that they can always contact her for assistance.
While observing social distancing and other precautionary measures, other members share necessities like food, an extra spray bottle for disinfecting, and even frozen breast milk! Some even took the initiative and went around to visit members and provide them with food packs, like the priesthood leaders of the Benito Soliven Ward of Ilagan Stake, the Lagro Ward of Novaliches Stake, and the Cabiao Ward of Gapan Stake to name a few. However, now that there are stricter quarantine measures, local leaders have been counseled to practice exact obedience and make sure service activities are within the bounds of the prescribed guidelines.
Hear Him through the Scriptures
“Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. … “Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change”
Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Scripture,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011,6
Rudy Pastores of General Santos shares how important the scriptures are to him and his family:
“As a father, it is important for me to be directed by his voice so that I can give the correct guidance and counsel to my family. One of the ways that I find effective is through scripture study. However, mere scripture study is not enough, I liken the scriptures to whatever situation our family is facing.
“One of the stories that I love is the account of Nephi when he was commanded to build a ship to go to the promise land. This was a hard endeavor for Nephi yet still he persevered and trusted the Lord even though he faced a lot of hardships and challenges. If Nephi accomplished God's commandment, I can also fulfill his commandments. Surely, as we continue to study and liken the scriptures to ourselves, we will feel that God is speaking to us, and we can Hear Him.”
Hear Him by Remembering Him
“I invite you to commit to a lifelong process of discipleship. Make and keep covenants. Throw your old ways into deep, churning waterfalls. Completely bury your weapons of rebellion with no handles sticking out. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, making covenants with a real intent to reliably honor them will bless your life forever. You will become more like the Savior as you always remember Him, follow Him, and adore Him. I testify that He is the firm foundation. He is dependable, and His promises are sure”
Dale G. Renlund, “Unwavering Commitment to Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 25
Jane Velasco is a working wife and mother from Fairview who serves in the Primary. When asked about challenges faced in her family’s efforts to “Hear Him,” this is what she had to share:
“Sometimes it is hard to hear Him, but I always keep this phrase in mind 'finding God in all things' even during times of chaos. We remember Christ at all times by trying to improve the art of listening, and we try our best to speak kindly. We keep the Sabbath day holy. We talk about Christ in our gospel discussions. We do things together: pray, read, study the scriptures, watch Church videos, play, laugh, and cry together. We love as Christ does and hold no grudges. We celebrate life with gratitude.”
Hear Him through Forgiveness
“My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify that forgiving and forsaking offenses, old or new, is central to the grandeur of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that ultimately such spiritual repair can come only from our divine Redeemer, He who rushes to our aid ‘with healing in his wings’ (Malachi 4:2). We thank Him, and our Heavenly Father who sent Him, that renewal and rebirth, a future free from old sorrows and past mistakes, are not only possible, but they have already been purchased, paid for, at an excruciating cost symbolized by the blood of the Lamb who shed it”
Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Reconciliation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 79
Karen Esmundo is the Relief Society President of her ward in Quezon City. She had a falling out with her father and he disowned her after she married in the temple against his wishes. After many years, her father returned to Church activity and went to the temple to receive his endowment and be sealed to his family. Karen attended the ceremony, but was surprised when her name was not called among the children who were to be sealed with her parents.
Looking back at the heartbreaking experience, Karen said “I watched the sealing of my family without me. No words could ever describe exactly how I felt that night, no word would have come close.” She continues, “It was a day of decision. Should I still reach out to my family or should I stay away from them forever?
“I chose the harder right. I chose to understand and forgive. I continued to reach out to my father. Time passed and wounds healed, but my father fell into inactivity again. My chances of being sealed to him got dim. Years went by and he became sick. I took care of him during the last months of his life. Before he died, he asked forgiveness for what he did, I frankly forgave him not just at that moment but twenty years ago since that fateful day. Now, after a year of his passing, as a family, we are looking forward to being sealed with him when the temple opens.”
“Though my pains were real, the ultimate pain of the Savior healed my broken family and mended us into one — for eternity. By choosing to forgive, I was able to Hear the voice of the Lord and He proceeded to heal me. There is nothing that Jesus Christ can’t heal with His atonement, especially if it’s about family.”
Hear Him through Prayer
“You will have days when you will be discouraged. So pray for courage not to give up! … I promise you that as you follow Jesus Christ, you will find sustained peace and true joy. As you keep your covenants with increasing precision, and as you defend the Church and kingdom of God on the earth today, the Lord will bless you with strength and wisdom to accomplish what only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can accomplish”
Russell M. Nelson, “The Future of the Church: Preparing the World for the Savior’s Second Coming,” Ensign, Apr. 2020, 17
Raymond Torio of Dagupan, Pangasinan hopes that his four children will follow the pattern he set as an example: complete both the seminary and institute programs, serve a mission, obtain an education, and then marry in the temple. He acknowledges that it wasn’t easy, but being prayerful helped him stay on the covenant path.
When it comes to his family, he knows the power of prayer will serve them well.
“The primary way in which we Hear Him at home is through prayer. It is essential everyday to fervently pray. After praying, we have to pause and slow things down a bit and try to listen to what the spirit is telling our hearts. We refocus and act according to the promptings, then make adjustments. It is in the complete silence of the soul where you can really Hear Him.”
“Because of our heartfelt prayers, we feel true happiness in the family because of the love we have for each other. We also receive guidance each day, and the companionship of the Holy Ghost.”
Hear Him through Worship
“This is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday —we celebrate life!
“Because of Jesus Christ, we will rise from the despair of death and embrace those we love, shedding tears of overwhelming joy and overflowing gratitude. Because of Jesus Christ, we will exist as eternal beings, worlds without end.
“Because of Jesus the Christ, our sins can not only be erased; they can be forgotten.
“We can become purified and exalted.
“Because of our beloved Savior, we can forever drink from the fountain of water that springs up into eternal life. We can dwell forever in the mansions of our eternal King, in unimaginable glory and perfect happiness”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Behold the Man!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 108–9
“One thing I really love about Sunday services is that whenever we partake of the sacrament, we remember the atonement of Jesus Christ and renew our covenants with him. It is a weekly thing for us Latter-day Saints. It’s like every Sunday is Easter Sunday. When Church services were suspended because of the pandemic, we didn’t worry too much because we were told that we could hold sacrament services at home. We knew that we had to prepare for such a sacred occasion.
“We had a meeting agenda or program and assignments were given. Though we were just at home, we all dressed in our Sunday best. We used prelude music to invite the spirit, and we spoke in whispers to show reverence for the sacrament.
“Whether it’s worshipping the Savior at home, in the chapel or inside the temple, it’s having a reverent attitude that helps us to Hear Him.”
-Emmanuel Jose Belleza (Santa Rosa 1st Ward, Cabuyao Phils Stake) ◼︎