Thursday, January 6, 2022

President Harold B. Lee on hearing the voice of the Lord

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"The Lord is standing outside of the doors of the souls of every one of us, even as He said to John: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me' (Revelation 3:20). It isn't the Lord who keeps Himself away from us. We are the ones that keep ourselves away from the Lord and the Holy Ghost. When we learn to love completely His gospel, then we will be prepared to live in His presence....
"Wouldn't you like to so live that when God spoke you would be able to hear it, or to be able to be worthy to have a visitation from an angelic visitor, or perhaps to be ready to go into the presence of the Lord? The Lord told us how we could be ready. Here He said in a great revelation these words: 'Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am' (D&C 93:1).
"When the voice came from the heavens to the people in the land Bountiful they heard it not. It was just to them a confusion of noises, and when they tuned their hearts they could hear words but they couldn't understand; but when with all their hearts and minds they concentrated upon it, then the voice could be understood. (See 3 Nephi 11:3-5.)"
- Harold B. Lee, concluding address at the organization of the Andes Mission, Lima Peru, 1 Nov 1959; see THBL p. 429

President Lee presents a beautiful application of the familiar verse from Revelation: the Lord is standing outside the door of our souls, waiting for us to open to Him. Too often, we are the ones who fail to open the door.

The next question President Lee asks is challenging and thrilling: "Wouldn't you like to so live that when God spoke you would be able to hear it?" I've always loved the description President Lee mentions of the people in ancient Bountiful, who heard a voice from heaven but were not able to comprehend its words until they focused their attention on it. When surrounded by distractions, we must put forth the effort to drown out those distractions and narrow in on what matters most. The guidance of the Lord in D&C 93:1 is profound; we must
  • forsake sin
  • come unto Him
  • call on His name
  • obey His voice
  • keep His commandments
Only then do we fully receive the divine blessings waiting for us!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
January 23, 2016

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