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Hearing the Voice of the Lord in the Mind:
Additional Testimonies
Part Seven of a Series Compiled by Dennis B. Horne

Introduction ⎜ Part 2 ⎜ Part 3Part 4 ⎜ Part 5 ⎜ Part 6 | Part 7

See the Introductory blog (#1) for explanation about this series on hearing the voice of the Lord in the mind. The below are additional accounts shared by those who have experienced this spiritual gift 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:


Elder Harold B. Lee:

Remarks given by Elder Harold B. Lee at the Seminar for Regional Representatives of the Twelve, September 28, 1967, 7-8:

We were in the temple this morning and I recalled something that I heard there years ago. . . . There in that meeting, after the sacrament had been administered, they asked these brethren if they would like to bear testimony and it was a rich experience. Some of you older stake presidents, I guess you were there. President Edmunds, Brother Critchlow and Elder Sonne, you were there. A marvelous experience. And in that meeting President Ballantyne of the Southern Arizona Stake bore this testimony; and I close with this.

He said: “I was raised up in Star Valley [Wyoming] with a hard, difficult climate, soil not too good, and we struggled. Father had a large family, and sometimes after we had our harvest there was not very much left after expenses were paid, so father would have to go away and hire out to some of the big ranchers for maybe a dollar a day. A little more than to take car of himself and very little to send home to mother and the children. And things began to get pretty skimpy for us. We had our family prayers around the table, and it was one such night that father was gone that we gathered, and mother poured out of a pitcher into a glass for each one, milk divided among the children, but none for herself. And I, sensing the fact that the milk in the pitcher was all that we had, pushed mine over to mother and said, ‘here, Mother, you drink mine.’ ‘No, Mother is not hungry tonight.’” Mothers are never hungry in cases like that. So he said, “It worried me. We drank our milk and we went to bed, and I could not sleep. I was the oldest in the family. I got up and tip-toed down the stairs, and there was mother out in the middle of the floor kneeling in prayer. She did not hear me as I came down in my bare feet. I dropped to my knees and I heard her say, ‘Heavenly Father, there is no food in our house today. Please, Father, touch the heart of somebody so they [the children] will not be hungry in the morning.’ When she finished her prayer, she looked around and saw that I had heard and she said to me somewhat embarrassed, ‘Now you run along, son, everything will be all right.’ Well, I went to bed assured by mother’s faith. The next morning I was awakened to the sounds of pots and pans in the kitchen, and the smell of cooking food. I went down to the kitchen and said, ‘Mother, I thought you said there was not any food.’ All she said to me was, ‘Well, my boy, didn’t you think the Lord would answer my prayer?’ I got no further explanation than that.

“Years passed and I went away to college. I was married and I came back now to see the old folks. Old Bishop Gardner, now was reaching up to a ripe old age, but he still had a keen memory and as I visited with him he said, ‘My son, let me tell you of an experience that I had with your family. I had finished my chores, and we had had supper and I was sitting and reading the paper. My shoes were off and I was sitting by the fireplace. I heard a voice that said, ‘Sister Ballantyne doesn’t have any food in her house.’ I thought it was mother. I called out, ‘What did you say mother?’ She came in wiping her hands on a towel and asked, ‘Did you call me father?’ ‘No, I didn’t say anything to you,’ though somebody did. Mother again asked, ‘What did they say?’

“‘It said that Sister Ballantyne didn’t have any food in her house.’ “Well then,’ she said, ‘you better put on your shoes and your coat and go over and take some food to Sister Ballantyne. Somebody is telling you to do your duty as a bishop.’

And under cover of darkness that night he took flour, he took meat, he took potatoes, and all the necessities because he was acting in the office to which he had been called and under the impulse of the power of the Almighty God.”

Elder Glenn L. Pace:

Given at a BYU devotional:

One year ago I entered the hospital after having a heart attack that resulted in considerable damage. The operation seemed to go very well, considering I needed six bypasses. However, one hour after the operation, I had a second attack. My heart stopped beating for more than three minutes, and I went into shock for six hours. I was placed on life support. It was five days before my heart began to beat on its own, and I was on a respirator for over two weeks. The doctors were concerned that I might have suffered serious kidney and brain damage (the jury is still out on the brain). I lost from one-third to one-half of my heart muscle, and things looked bleak. The doctors and some of the Brethren prepared my wife and our children for the worst. Technically I was gone, but then I got sent back. My cardiologist calls me Elder Lazarus. Etched indelibly in my soul to this day are the words “Your work is not yet finished.”

President Jeffrey R. Holland:

From President M. Russell Ballard’s funeral, Church News report of excerpts and summary of President Holland’s address, with some important text I have restored that was left out:

In fall 1990 — 33 years ago — President Jeffrey R. Holland, then a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Church’s Europe North Area, learned that President Ballard would be his first contact in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

He was “frightened and frantic,” having had “little ecclesiastical exposure to him and no personal contact at all.”

“That night in my bedroom I dropped to my knees in a state of despair. I knew I was going to disappoint Elder Ballard, the First Presidency, the Lord, myself, everyone, in this new assignment. I wept; I was young. I pled for peace and some reassurance.”

“I then heard a voice so stunning that I stopped praying — midsentence — and considered every syllable I had just heard. Like a handful of other similar experiences in my life, I don’t know whether it was an audible voice or one delivered directly to my mind, but that distinction doesn’t matter,” said President Holland, who was set apart Nov. 15 [2023] to succeed President Ballard as the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The Lord then communicated a powerful message to President Holland: “Jeffrey, this is My work, not yours. So you rejoice in the arrangements I choose to make.” I deserved that, but then I heard the unbelievable: “Russell Ballard will be one of the best friends you will ever have in this world. You will enjoy his company and seek his counsel for the rest of your life.”

“That brief, unforgettable, unexpected answer to prayer has been more than fulfilled in every detail a thousand times over.”

“What I can say is that for the next three years we cherished those long hours laboring together in England and Scandinavia, laughing and crying and loving the work, eating fish and chips on the run and avoiding lutefisk at Christmas time,” he said. “Then most unexpectedly, I became a fellow member of his quorum where I have enjoyed his friendship and wise counsel for more than 29 years, six of which I have been at his elbow watching closely his leadership of that quorum.”

“Even more personally, may I say that during my recent five-week hospital stay, three weeks of which were spent in an unconscious journey to the doorstep of death, President Ballard gave me blessings or visited or called the hospital every single day for those touch-and-go weeks while my life hung in the balance.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

From an Ensign article in July 1989:

In 1979, I was privileged to speak in the rededicatory service of the Logan Temple. Standing in that holy building, I felt close to my noble great-grandparents, who had helped build and furnish it and who had served there faithfully for many years. Great-grandmother Margaret led the group of sisters that wove thousands of yards of fine rag carpeting to cover the floors of the Logan Temple. Great-grandfather Henry hauled the first load of sand used to build that temple. Then, as bishop, he wrote many recommends for its dedication in 1884.

I believe that Heavenly Father binds us to our kindred dead in many ways. I feel bound to Great-grandmother Ballard by the priesthood sealing ordinances. I also feel bound to her faith, which I have learned about through her own written words and those of other family members who have recorded her history. . . .

Margaret’s greatest sorrows were the deaths of five of her eleven children. But even in this, the Lord did not fail her. Ten days before her daughter Ella died, Margaret had a dream concerning her children that she could not interpret. After Ella’s death, Margaret went to the temple to complete ordinance work for her. While there, she prayed to know the meaning of her dream and was given a vision. “I was shown that my five beautiful children were saved and that they would be mine again. This was a great comfort to me, and I felt to praise my God for taking them, that through loosing them I might have them again.”

Several years earlier, Margaret had received another spiritual blessing after a great trial. She had become ill during a pregnancy and was confined to her bed. She had previously lost two children in infancy and had had several miscarriages. One day, when Henry took the children to see a parade, Margaret raised herself from her bed and crawled to the door to lock it so that she could pray undisturbed. Calling to remembrance her willingness to bear children, she begged for help and asked to know her standing before God.

“A voice spoke plainly to her, saying, ‘Be of good cheer. Your life is acceptable, and you will bear a son who will become an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.’” (Sketches from the Life of Margaret McNeil Ballard, p. 3.) Margaret recovered and bore a healthy son, Melvin Joseph, whom she gave to the work of the Lord. Although Margaret recorded this experience, she never revealed it. Family members discovered it in her personal papers after her death. In 1919, Melvin J. Ballard was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—a year after his mother died.

Great-grandmother Ballard also used the spiritual gift of healing, as she had been promised in her patriarchal blessing. She recorded that once, when her husband lay near death, she heard a voice instruct her to pray for him. Feeling timid about doing so because he had just been administered to, she hesitated. But when the voice came twice more, she obeyed. “The Spirit of the Holy Ghost was with me and I was filled with a Divine strength,” she wrote. “When I had finished my husband had gone to sleep and slept quietly.” She also recorded incidents when her son Melvin and her son Henry were healed through her faith.

Stake Patriarch David F. Fawns:

Testimony of David F. Fawns [Stake Patriarch]
Raymond, Alberta, Canada.
About 1916

Yes, I have a testimony, and like the Apostle of old, I am not ashamed to let others know for I know its worth to me. When I first heard this restored Gospel I believed it with all my heart, and I have testified of its truth to many. Forty-four years ago Apostle J[ohn]. H[enry]. Smith laid their hands upon my head and set me apart for a mission to the Southern States. They told me my mission was to mobs and ministers, that I was going to an enemy’s land, but my enemies would not have power to even make afraid; and I would go in peace and return in safety. I was to be protected and assisted by those whom the Master had given power over death. These and many other sacred promises and prophecies have all been literally fulfilled. Then . . . don’t I know that my Redeemer lives? You may ask, did I ever see Him? I answer, “No.” But I have felt His influence and know that I was in His presence for I heard His voice. And at times when nothing but death was staring [me] in the face, those sacred and comforting words were: “Fear not, I am with thee, etc., etc.” Did He not promise His servants of old, that He would be with His servants even to the end of the World?”

This testimony . . . I care not though they go to the ends of the earth, and I write them in the name of Jesus Christ,
D. F. Fawns.

Joseph E. D. Tomlinson:

[Excerpted from longer history; see link]

It was in this [Bible study] environment that I grew to love the Lord, and to believe that God was our Father, and that he sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world. This created in me the desire to obey the Gospel laws, but after exhausting all the means at my command to study the doctrines of the Protestant Churches, I failed to find anything resembling the ancient church, established by Christ and His apostles, either in doctrine or practice. . . . I therefore sought the Lord in humble supplication for light as to where I might find His Church.

Finally father secured a Child’s History of the Church, . . . which I read. It told of the rise of the church in these last days, and many of the cardinal principles of the church. This seemed to fit my conception of the true Church of Christ better than anything I had discovered in my search for the Truth, but as it was a Mormon treatise, and I had come to believe anything from that source was only propaganda to secure members, and that their true doctrines and principles were really unchristian, I was greatly troubled, and went to the Lord in humble prayer day and night, seeking his guidance to the Truth. One night, after engaging most of the night in prayer, the Lord by his Spirit said to me, “Joseph Smith is my prophet and his people are my people.” This astonished me, and I said in my prayer to the Lord, “That cannot be possible, for Joseph Smith was a very wicked man, and his followers are practicing wicked things continually”; but the same sweet voice of the Spirit repeated to me, “Joseph Smith is MY PROPHET and his people are MY PEOPLE. The things you have heard about them are stories circulated by MY ENEMIES, and they are false.” Oh how sweet was this witness of the Spirit of God, for there was no doubt in my mind as to the source of this sweet message, for it bore the impress of Truth, and was so satisfying to my spirit that it made me rejoice with unspeakable joy. . . .

O what joy filled our hearts, to know that we were now in very deed MEMBERS of the CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of LATTER-DAY SAINTS. A privilege which we had cherished for these THREE LONG YEARS, and now it was a reality. How sweet was the Spirit’s whispering voice, speaking peace to our souls. Surely no other joy could be compared to that which was ours.

Joseph E. D. Tomlinson
Jan. 14, 1935.

Bertha Rettmer:

The below item from church archives is self-explanatory:

Aurora, Utah
July 29, 1934
Filed January 8, 1936

An Answer to Prayer

In January, 1927, I arrived in New York City. Not long after that—it must have been during the Spring Conference—Pres. Ballard and another brother, whose name I do not remember, visited the New York Branch. I was told that these two Brethren would be the conference visitors, and I rejoiced greatly to have the opportunity to soon see and hear two more Apostles of our Lord! With this joy still in my heart, came the thought that I could not understand them, however, as I knew not more than two dozen words in English. This killed my joy instantly. However, I could not abandon the thought to go anyway. I remembered how the Lord had answered my prayers on other occasions, and I decided to make my troubles known unto the Lord. I did this till the day of conference. On conference morning we were present a little before the meeting started. A brother offered to sit next to me, so that he could interpret quickly in case something special was said. With this thought in mind, we sat down, my seat being at the end of a bench. I tried to my utmost, while the first speaker was talking, to hear one of the words I had learned in the English language, but it was in vain.

Still there was a great joy in my heart. Pres. Ballard was announced as the next speaker. When I saw this man arise, I remembered all that I had read and heard about him, and I wished that I could understand him. So great was this desire that I folded my hands and prayed once more with all the faith that was in my heart: “O, God, bless me that it might be possible for me to understand the words of this man!” Then I heard the story of Abraham, how the Lord required of him to offer his only son Isaac. This story I had heard often in my life, it is true, but never was I so much inspired by it as when it flowed from the lips of this man.

He had the power to portray the story in such a way that one imagined to see the whole course of events. When finally he gave his powerful testimony that he knew that Christ lives, that he had seen the Master, then I could hardly withhold my tears; I felt so enthused that I asked myself the question, how is it possible to receive such a testimony and how did he obtain it, and a male voice, as loud as Pres. Ballard’s voice itself, spoke at my side: “Have faith.” I stared and looked up, as the voice came from a person whom I believed was standing on my right hand side!

Then I looked at my neighbor at my left hand side, if he was not stirred by this interruption but nothing had disturbed him. Pres. Ballard concluded his address, the closing hymn was sung and the meeting dismissed. The good brother took me to the side and said he should like to interpret the address to me at a convenient place. While Pres. Ballard was speaking, he had not ever disturbed me once, so enthused he had been himself, and had altogether forgotten to translate the sermon then and there. I told him that he did not have to translate the address, he was surprised, and I related my experience to him. But something else I experienced also, and that is, when the Apostles of the Lord bear their testimony, then there are beings present we do not see with our natural eyes. This “Have faith” came from the lips of such a being. Just why I was the only one that heard it, I do not know.

Bertha Rettmer,
Aurora, Utah

Elder B. H. Roberts:

From the life of Elder B. H. Roberts, from the Church News, 22 November 1975:

The war finally drew to a close, and the peace treaty was signed on 11 November 1918. Two weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day, the American soldiers were gathered together in “one grand Thanksgiving service.” The large attendance included high-ranking military officers, and the services were conducted by the chaplains, who were seated on the grandstand. Elder Roberts was relegated to one of the rear seats. He had not been asked to participate on the program; therefore, it was with great surprise that he heard the chaplain in charge announce, ”Elder Roberts, the Mormon chaplain from Utah, will now step up and read the Thanksgiving Psalm.” Elder Roberts had never heard of the Thanksgiving Psalm. But, holding his personal embarrassment and possible impending embarrassment to the Church, he arose and walked to the podium, not knowing what he should say.

Years later he testified that during the long walk to the front, he distinctly heard an audible voice announce “The 100th Psalm.” It was as clear as though another person had spoken at his side. Elder Roberts faced the crowd, paused, then opened his Bible and read Psalm 100. After Brother Roberts had closed his Bible and was returning to his seat, he noticed that his fellow chaplains refused to look at him; their eyes were immovably fixed on the floor. It was then he realized that his part on the program had been a deliberate attempt to embarrass him, the Church, and the Priesthood. He acknowledged the help which he had received from the Lord in his moment of need and, when he returned to this tent that night, he checked the Book of Psalms, discovering that the 100th Psalm is the most pertinent and appropriate one for Thanksgiving.

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