See the Introductory blog for explanation about this series on actually hearing the voice of the Lord in the mind. The below are accounts shared by those who have experienced this and have thereby been able to bless and enlighten others. Most of these are self-explanatory, but if desired readers wishing further context can (in most cases) go to the original source:
Years ago, an elderly stake patriarch with two failing heart valves pleaded for then-Dr. Russell M. Nelson to intervene, although at that time there was not a surgical solution for the damaged second valve. Dr. Nelson finally agreed to do the surgery. Here are President Nelson’s words:
“After relieving the obstruction of the first valve, we exposed the second valve. We found it to be intact but so badly dilated that it could no longer function as it should. While examining this valve, a message was distinctly impressed upon my mind: Reduce the circumference of the ring. I announced that message to my assistant. ‘The valve tissue will be sufficient if we can effectively reduce the ring toward its normal size.’
“But how? … A picture came vividly to my mind, showing how stitches could be placed—to make a pleat here and a tuck there. … I still remember that mental image—complete with dotted lines where sutures should be placed. The repair was completed as diagrammed in my mind. We tested the valve and found the leak to be reduced remarkably. My assistant said, ‘It’s a miracle.’” The patriarch lived for many years.
Dr. Nelson had been directed. And he knew that God knew that he knew he had been directed.
(this experience refers to a time in 1993 when some six intellectual dissident members were formally disciplined for publishing writings against the Church):
Not too many days ago, in a moment of great concern over a rapid series of events that demonstrated the challenge of those within the Church who have that feeling of criticism and challenge and apostasy, I had an impression, as revelations are. It was strong and it was clear, because lingering in my mind was: “Why? Why—when we need so much to be united?” And there came the answer: “It is permitted to be so now that the sifting might take place, and it will have negligible effect upon the Church.”
Brothers and sisters, I have never been a bishop. Since Friday afternoon I have felt puzzled, almost bewildered and overwhelmed, at how a man could be called to be a member of the Presiding Bishopric without having had the experience of being a bishop. I agonized for twenty-four hours until yesterday afternoon, when President Hinckley laid his hands upon my head and ordained me a bishop. I heard the voice of the Lord say in my heart, “No, Glenn, you have never been a bishop, but now you are a bishop, and always will be.”
Sister [Susan] Clark shared an experience about learning how to love when she served as a Nursery leader. It was her favorite calling, but it didn’t begin that way. When called, she figured that she was well qualified because she majored in child development in college. “And so I determined to make it the best Nursery in the Church.”
The first three Sundays, she came home in tears. The children were rowdy, did not want to do what she had planned and their parents had to take them away. She felt entirely out of her league.
Then one week, at the suggestion of her husband, she prayed about what to do. The answer she received: “Forget your lesson plans and love those children.”
While still serving in the Seattle mission, I received a phone call from my oldest son, Sunbeam, who is a pianist. He said he would have the privilege of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York because he won an international competition. We were so happy and very thrilled for him. However, that evening, while praying with gratitude, my wife recognized that we could not join him for his performance and said to Heavenly Father something like this: “Heavenly Father, I am grateful for the blessing Thou hast given to Sunbeam. By the way, I am sorry that I cannot go there. I could have gone if Thou had given this blessing either before or after this mission. I am not complaining, but I have a little feeling of sorry.”
As soon as she finished this prayer, she heard a clear voice: “Because you cannot go, your son has been given this privilege. Would you rather trade?”
My wife was surprised. She knew children would be blessed through their parents’ faithful work in the Lord’s kingdom, but it was the first time she understood her role with such clarity. She replied to Him right away: “No, no, it is OK for me not to go. Let him have that honor.”
Oscar W. McConkie Sr. (father of Elder Bruce R. McConkie):
I remember one time . . . I had a serious problem before me—it was in the California Mission—and on my bended knees I prayed to God for strength, for wisdom, for understanding sufficient to enable me to accomplish my work, and I shall never forget how it was brought home to me that humility and righteousness are necessary in this work.
As I arose from my knees, the voice of the Spirit spoke to my spirit, for I had asked God to give me faith like unto Enoch and Elijah, because I felt that I must have that kind of faith to accomplish the purpose I was required to seek to accomplish. And the voice of the Spirit said to me: "Enoch and Elijah obtained their faith through righteousness."
Ah! there is a challenge to every man in this Church to have faith through righteousness. There is no other means of obtaining it, and we may pray until our voices fade away, but if we do not have righteousness in our daily lives, we will never have enough faith to win salvation.
This article is cross-posted with the permission of the author, Dennis B. Horne, from the blog at truthwillprevail.xyz.