Hearing the Voice of the Lord: Principles and Patterns of Personal Revelation (MP3 Download)(edit)
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How can we navigate safely through our turbulent times? Personal revelation is one key! Elder Gerald N. Lund, million-selling author of The Work and the Glory, offers profound insights about how personal revelation “works.” Learn how we can increase our ability to receive and recognize personal revelation, what we can do to avoid being misled, and many other ideas relevant to this tremendously important spiritual gift.
At the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants we read of a timeless and universal truth: "The voice of the Lord is unto all men" (D&C 1:2). The heavens are not closed, God is not silent, and each of us can, individually, receive specific and personal revelation from God that can bless us with direction, insight, and comfort.
But though we may recognize the need to have personal revelation to guide us in our life, many of us struggle with some fundamental questions: Do we recognize the various methods God uses to speak to us? Are we familiar with the guidelines that govern receiving spiritual promptings -- and how can we really tell that it is the Lord speaking to us? How can we hear the voice of the Lord more clearly, more directly, and more frequently?
In Hearing the Voice of the Lord, Elder Gerald N. Lund provides reassuring and practical answers to these and many other questions. He discusses:
- ways in which revelation comes
- key principles that help us know how to "hear" and understand personal revelation
- what we can do to avoid being misled as we seak heavenly guidance
- how we can increase our sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Ghost
Hearing the Voice of the Lord provides profound insights into both the doctrine and the application of personal revelation. The Lord is speaking to us. Are we listening?
- Book on CD: Unabridged, 10 discs
About the Author
Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.
During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.
Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.
He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)
THE VOICE OF THE LORD
“The voice of the Lord is unto all men” (D&C 1:2).
UNTO ALL MEN
The opening lines of the Doctrine and Covenants begin with a commandment and then a declaration, both of which refer to the voice of the Lord:
Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, . . . listen together. For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men (D&C 1:1–2).
In that one simple yet stunning statement, the Lord sets forth one of the defining characteristics of His relationship with mankind. God speaks to men!
It is a theme oft repeated in the Doctrine and Covenants. Here is but a brief sampling:
• “The voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear” (D&C 1:11).
• “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful” (D&C 27:1).
• “Mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts” (D&C 29:7).
• “I [will] gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in me, and hearken unto my voice” (D&C 33:6).
• “And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father” (D&C 84:47).
• “And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me” (D&C 84:52).
THE VOICE OF THE SHEPHERD
During His mortal ministry, the Savior likened Himself unto a shepherd who cared for His sheep. This was more than just a passing metaphor. He explored the imagery in some depth.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. . . . I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. . . . My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:1–5, 14, 27).
Even today in the Holy Land, it is a common sight to see a shepherd leading a flock of sheep across a hillside or through a narrow valley. Unlike in other areas of the world, shepherds in the Middle East do not drive vast flocks of sheep with horses and dogs. The typical flock is small, numbering in the dozens more than the thousands. The shepherd is usually found at their head leading them, rather than behind driving them.
The following description from a Christian minister who spent many years in the Holy Land helps us better appreciate the richness of the Savior’s parable of the Good Shepherd:
[The shepherd] depends upon the sheep to follow, and they in turn expect him never to leave them. They run after him if he appears to be escaping from them, and are terrified when he is out of sight, or any stranger appears instead of him. He calls to them from time to time to let them know that he is at hand. The sheep listen and continue grazing, but if any one else tries to produce the same peculiar cries and guttural sounds, they look around with a startled air and begin to scatter. . . .
As he is always with them, and so deeply interested in them, the shepherd comes to know his sheep very intimately. Many of them have pet names. . . . One day a missionary, meeting a shepherd on one of the wildest parts of Lebanon, asked him various questions about his sheep, and among others if he counted them every night. On answering that he did not, he was asked how he knew if they were all there or not. His reply was, “Master, if you were to put a cloth over my eyes, and bring me any sheep and only let me put my hands on its face, I could tell in a moment if it was mine or not.”1
SO MANY VOICES
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, said, “There are . . . so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” (1 Corinthians 14:10). In modern English, signification suggests “significance,” “a distinct sound,” or “having meaning.”
President James E. Faust of the First Presidency explained why we must learn to distinguish the voice of the Lord from all other voices:
The Spirit’s voice is ever present, but it is calm. . . . The adversary tries to smother this voice with a multitude of loud, persistent, persuasive, and appealing voices:
• Murmuring voices that conjure up perceived injustices.
• Whining voices that abhor challenge and work.
• Seductive voices offering sensual enticements.
• Soothing voices that lull us into carnal security.
• Intellectual voices that profess sophistication and superiority.
• Proud voices that rely on the arm of flesh.
• Flattering voices that puff us up with pride.
• Cynical voices that destroy hope.
• Entertaining voices that promote pleasure seeking.
• Commercial voices that tempt us to “spend money for that which is of no worth,” and/or “labor for that which cannot satisfy” (2 Nephi 9:51).2
So how can we know which voice is the Lord’s? How do we come to recognize the voice of the Shepherd? We know that the Lord will never lead us astray or give us untruth, but how can we learn to distinguish His voice from the banging clamor all around us?
SO MANY QUESTIONS
It is abundantly clear that God has promised to speak to His children. He has given the faithful the promise “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them” (D&C 20:77). That seems like such a simple and straightforward concept. And yet even those who have spent a lifetime in the Church sometimes wrestle with questions about personal revelation. Almost always the questions boil down to one issue: How do I know for sure when it is the Lord speaking to me?
Clearly it is not enough just to receive revelation, we must also learn to recognize it, so we can then respond to it.
Here is a sampling of real-life examples that illustrate the uncertainty, and sometimes the downright confusion, that we have about the voice of the Lord.
“I Think I Left the Stove On.” Many families have had an experience similar to this. It’s vacation time and the family is ready to leave. The children have all been sent to the bathroom one last time; the luggage is stowed in the car; the house is carefully secured. But then, just a few miles from home, someone—often the mother—gets this worried look and says, “I think I left the stove on (or the oven or the iron).” There is a short debate, but the risks are too great and so they return home. Sometimes they find that the stove was indeed left on, and a serious tragedy has been averted. But just as often, when the mother comes back out, she reports that all was well. Then, looking a bit sheepish, she admits that not only was the stove off, but now she remembers checking it a couple of times earlier in the day.
Questions: How can we tell the difference between a premonition from the Spirit and just our own natural tendency to worry? Can Satan give us false revelation? When he seeks to deceive and confuse us about the voice of the Lord, what does it feel like? How can we discern when it is his influence and not the Lord’s?
The Most Important Decision of My Life. “I’ve been dating this wonderful young man,” a woman in her mid-twenties reports. “He wants to marry me. I feel like he would make a wonderful husband and father. But I have prayed and prayed. I have fasted several times as well, but I can’t seem to get an answer. For something this important, I need more than just some good feelings. I need a clear, unmistakable answer that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do.
Questions: Are her expectations too high? Is she looking for something more dramatic when the feelings she is having about this young man are actually the Lord’s answer?
I Was So Sure! When I was serving as a bishop some years ago, a colleague and I were talking about giving priesthood blessings and the importance of staying in tune. He then shared an experience he had had when he was a young bishop. He said he had received a call in the middle of the night to go to the hospital. A woman in the ward had collapsed into unconsciousness as she was preparing for bed. Now she lay in a coma. The desperate husband asked the bishop to come and help administer to her. When the bishop arrived, the man was so distraught he asked the bishop to give the blessing. “It was a deeply emotional moment,” my friend said. “This couple had five children still in the home. The doctors weren’t yet sure what was wrong, but her vital signs were dropping steadily. As I began the blessing, suddenly I had this overwhelming feeling of peace and light come over me. I stopped for a moment and looked into my heart. Was this really from the Lord or just me, I wondered. I had never experienced anything so powerful before, and I decided the feeling was truly from the Lord.”
Relieved to have such clear direction, he proceeded with the blessing. “I promised her that she would be healed, that she would be raised from the bed of her afflictions, that she would have the privilege of raising her children to adulthood in this life.” The former bishop stopped, searching my face. “It was a wonderful experience. I wept for joy. The husband did as well.” Then, in a very soft voice, he concluded. “But I had been home for only a few hours when the husband called to tell me that his wife had passed away without regaining consciousness.”
Questions: Did those powerful feelings just come from his own emotions, from his earnest—and righteous—desire to bless a family in crisis? Or was the experience real, but in his eagerness to help, he put his own interpretation on what the feelings meant? Is it possible that we can have true spiritual experiences and yet misinterpret them?
Experiences such as these are commonplace. The questions about personal revelation roll on and on. Here are just a few others:
• What does it feel like when the Lord is speaking to me?
• What is a stupor of thought, and what does it feel like? Can I really just forget something I have been struggling over for months
• What is the burning in the bosom? What does it feel like when it comes?
• Am I entitled to get revelation for my adult children after they are married?
• Who is entitled to receive revelation for me?
• What if I receive a revelation for my family, but my spouse doesn’t agree with me?
• Why do some people get premonitions that miraculously save them from danger or death, while others who seem equally faithfully are caught in such tragedies?
• My boyfriend has received a revelation that we are to marry. I don’t feel like he is the best person for me, but if it is a revelation, am I obligated to accept it?
HOW DO WE LEARN TO RECEIVE, RECOGNIZE, AND THEN RESPOND TO THE VOICE OF THE LORD?
President Boyd K. Packer, speaking to a Church Educational System fireside for young single adults, said that every young Latterday Saint “has not only the right but the obligation to understand what the gift of the Holy Ghost is.” He noted that Latter-day Saints typically “use [the gift] so little and so infrequently, but it is ours, and if we prepare ourselves, that voice will speak to us.”3
Brigham Young also felt that members of the Church did not fully capitalize on this marvelous gift, which is given to all those properly baptized and confirmed in the Church.
There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges.4
President Packer concluded his address with this promise: “Take hold of that supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. Learn to be taught by it. Learn to call upon it. Learn to live by it. And the Spirit of the Lord will attend you.”5
That is the task that lies before us. The voice of the Lord is unto all men—so has the Lord boldly declared. What can we do to capitalize as fully as possible on that marvelous gift of a member of the Godhead to be our personal Companion, Guide, Teacher, and Protector?
The purpose of this book is not just to define the process we call revelation, or even to state its importance in both our temporal and spiritual lives. What we will attempt to do in these pages is to answer the questions we have about how revelation works, what it feels like, and what we can do to make sure we receive it, as well as to recognize it when we do receive it.
What we want to know is: How does all of this work for me? To help us more fully explore that question, the book is divided into sections that will seek to answer the major questions about the voice of the Lord. The hope is that when we have completed this study, we will better know what to do so we are included with those of whom the Savior said: “My sheep know my voice.”
A wonderful resource for recognizing personal revelation!
by R. Scott - reviewed on September 19, 2008
Brother Lund has masterfully expanded on this topic of personal revelation that he has spoken of so eloquently in the past. He opens up the process of personal revelation to both the experienced member and the newest convert with an easy-to-read and thoughtful book that step-by-step helps us to see how the Lord reveals His will to us all. Anyone who wishes to be more receptive to revelation, or who wonders if they ever will be, needs to read and re-read this book. Truly a master work!
by Jill A. - reviewed on September 11, 2008
This book should be in every home. I will definitely read this at least once a year. It gives you new ideas & thoughts on how to receive and recognize personal revelation in your life. It really breaks it down into 'chewable chunks'. Very easy to understand and read. Love that all the doctrine comes from general authorities, prophets or scriptures. A must have.
very useful, essential know-how
by David - reviewed on April 30, 2008
Very practical questions addressed about the various ways that personal revelation can be received, the circumstances that warrant seeking such revelation and those that don't, pitfalls in failing to perceive revelation and also the ways in which we might fool ourselves into thinking the Lord has told us something that he really hasn't. It is really a handbook to one of the core practices of our faith, addressing principles that are unfortunately not so thoroughly addressed very often.
Easy to read
by Naomi Marie - reviewed on October 26, 2008
I totally loved this book. So simple to read and easy to understand. Breaks down information about the Holy Ghost and receiving revelation in clear and inspiring form. Loved it!
I have so much to learn...
by Elizabeth - reviewed on November 13, 2008
...and Brother Lund has so much to teach! His Conference talk in April 2008 offers a taste of this topic. Read the book and partake in a feast of learning.
by Customer - reviewed on October 29, 2008
Full of scripture and quotes from our apostles and prophets, this amazing book builds upon fundamental principles to be applied in our lives.
by Tracy - reviewed on October 15, 2008
This is a very clear and well written book. I recommend it to anyone who is trying to understand this great gift we have.
Wish this had been written years ago!
by Florence - reviewed on December 24, 2008
What an amazing book! Having been a member of the church for over 30 years, I wish this book had been around at the start of my journey. It taught me so much. Elder Lund writes so beautifully, is easy to understand, uses everyday illustrations. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone - one of the most enlightening books I have ever read! I'm ready to start again - with a highlighter!!!
by Susan - reviewed on December 28, 2007
I really enjoyed this book. He explains the process of personal revelation so well. Prayer is one of the most important tools that we have. I know that I will reread it again and again.
Makes clear a vital component of the gospel.
by Gayle - reviewed on September 24, 2008
I absolutely loved this book. Brother Lund's last conference talk was a mini-version of the book---I understood revelation so much better after reading this. The explanation of the types of revelation and the range, from a quiet thought or feeling to personal visitations, was a revelation in itself. Brother Lund explained that the more subtle types are much more common, the ways most of us receive revelation on a regular basis, while the more spectacular types are much more rare and reserved for times of particular need. (So we don't need to feel badly that we don't seem to get those more "flashy" types of revelation.) This is a book that bears reading and re-reading.
Simple but Profound!
by James - reviewed on May 22, 2008
Amazing read! I have had so many questions about what is the Spirit and what is not, and this book just comes out and says it with authority! It all seems to be much simpler than we make it out to be, too. I originally got it because my Grandfather suggested I pick it up - he said he learned more about the Spirit in this book than in any other so far. Really quite amazing and definitely recommended!
This book is a great work & blessing to me.
by MARTY - reviewed on May 03, 2008
I could not put this book down. I have it highlighted nearly on every page in some chapters. It's a wonderful tool and practical guide to those of us who may struggle with discerning thoughts and impressions from the Holy Ghost and which ones are from ourselves or are from counterfeit sources. My wife got this book for me and it's been a real help and comfort. I now feel like I can step out farther with greater confidence and assurance in my relationship with the Holy Ghost. Thank you so much Brother Lund for this vitally important work and blessing.
May we all pattern our lives after these principles.
by Michelle - reviewed on May 22, 2008
I gladly purchased the book entitled, 'Hearing the Voice of the Lord Principles and Patterns of Personal Revelation'. I will use this book just as I use my dictionary. The information and knowledge contained therein is of the utmost value. As we fine tune our hearing to the voice of the Lord; He surely reveals His will for us.
well written and detailed description of how the Spirit works
by Customer - reviewed on September 13, 2008
I was not fully certain what to expect from this book because it touches on a delicate topic and I did not read Brother Lund's "The Work and the Glory" series. This book is definitely a well thought out account of how the Spirit speaks to us and how we can better receive revelation. I was surprised at the amount of detail provided and I greatly enjoyed the numerous examples provided throughout the text. The book thoroughly covers this important topic and it is well worth reading!
by Cindy - reviewed on October 04, 2008
I really enjoyed this book a lot. When I first purchased it I was concerned with it's length and why it would take 350 pages to explain the topic. I am amazed that the concept has so many facets to it. There are so many different and varied explanations not only about receiving revelations, but ways that we prevent ourselves from receiving it. This book was simple and easy to read. Elder Lund provides many examples of how to apply these principles to our lives and I would highly recommend it.
This book answers the question: How can I tell if it is the spirit whispering or just my own thinking.
by Beck - reviewed on September 22, 2008
Thank you Elder Lund for answering a question I asked my Bishop over twenty years ago. My question was, how can I tell if it is the Spirit (the voice of the Lord) whispering to me, or my very own thoughts? His answer was "if I knew the answer to that question, it would make my job a lot easier." Having read this book, I now know how to discern the voice of the Lord. I will read this book again and again.
Wonderful, practical and applicable information.
by Customer - reviewed on October 02, 2008
I found the book to be very specific and full of stories and examples to help you understand how the spirit speaks to us. It break down chapters and covers almost any question you may have about the promptings of the spirit. I highly recammend this book.
Simple, yet thought provoking!
by Ann - reviewed on November 04, 2008
Gerald Lund makes you think as you read this book. Think about where you stand in your relationship with the Lord, and how open you are to inspiration, or just wishful thinking! You could race through the book and set it down and that's the end of it. But the wise student would think, ponder and apply how prayer, meditation and putting into practice what Elder Lund says can truly benefit their lives
Truly Amazing book!
by Carolyn - reviewed on October 02, 2008
I finished reading the book. L love the book! This book should be on the book shelf in every LDS home. I found myself highlighting just about every page in the book. Gerald Lund talks on the delicate nature of personal revelation and its application in our lives. It is a wonderfully written book and should be read more often throughout the year. I know I will be reading the book again and again as it has helped me to understand how personal revelation works in my life. Thank you Brother Lund for writing another bestseller book!
by Customer - reviewed on October 04, 2008
This book opened my mind and my ears! It really helped me turn up the volume and listen to the vioce of inspiration.
by Customer - reviewed on October 22, 2008
I loved this book. Lund has such a humble and perfect way of explaining truth. This is a great book that answers alot of common troubling questions about recieving revelation--inspiration from God. So very helpful and inspiring.
by Travis - reviewed on November 05, 2008
Gerald N. Lund is a great author and great man that knows much about the Gospel!
A Helpful Book Indeed
by Bryan - reviewed on February 12, 2009
I was very pleased with Elder Lund's treatment of the "revelatory" process. Not only is this book an easy read, it is motivational. I found myself wanting to become and acquire that which the chapters laid out for me. Well-written. Two thumbs up.
by Tasha - reviewed on January 19, 2011
this book is so powerful, it really helps you understand personal revelation, well worth the read.
by tiffany - reviewed on March 21, 2010
Get used to the phrase, "Ohhhhh, so THAT'S what it means" because that's what I kept saying to myself. Though I'd heard the truths that are the basis of this book, the way brother Lund explains it made it finally "click" with me. I wish I could afford to give everyone I know a copy.
Very inspirational book
by Zach - reviewed on December 02, 2010
I borrowed this book from a friend, and had a hard time giving it back! :) It is a powerful book that has helped me understand personal revelation, and such forth. If you want to learn more about personal revelation, this is a great read.
Lund gathers and presents delicious revelational food for thought
by Chris - reviewed on April 28, 2010
This is the first time I've read Lund, and indeed, he's left a great first impression (pun intended). It wasn't so much that Lund presents new, groundbreaking doctrinal nuggets, he simply paints a collage including personal and others' anecdotes, apostolic and scriptural references, and thoughtful reflection. Perhaps the strongest point in the book is it's easily applicable, and should be applied. My only minor quibble (I stress the word "minor") is that if you're well-versed in Oaks and Packer, you'll be seeing a lot of General Conference material that you probably already have marked up in a box somewhere. But, then again, that's also a great strength to the book. Overall, definitely worth your time. Just make sure to have a pen handy.