General Conference: A Time to Hear the Voice of the Lord (Scriptures and Quotes)

“Sunday (On Monday) Sermon”

Importance of Hearing and Obeying the Voice of the Lord

One of the major themes of the scriptures is the admonition to listen, hearken, hear, and heed the voice of the Lord.  This is a divine mandate.  Significantly, “listen,” “hear,” “hearken,” and “heed” are mentioned over 4,100 times in the standard works.  In fact, the “Lord’s Preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation,” begins with the word “hearken.” (D&C 1:1 and Introduction)  

The Lord has promised that he will come into our lives and feast with us if we hear his voice.  “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 sup with him and him with me.”

The Lord has proclaimed that if we hear and obey his voice we will see him and know him. “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)

 We are the Lord’s disciples only if we listen to his voice.  We are his sheep only if we listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.  And if we listen to his voice, he will know us, and we will know him. (Mosiah 26:24-28) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life.” (John 10:27-28.  See also:  John 10:1-4, 14-16; Psalm 95:7; Alma 5:35-41; Helaman 7:18; Psalm 23)

 Upon becoming President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Harold B. Lee was asked by a reporter, “What qualifies you to be President of the Church?”  President Lee paused for a moment and profoundly replied, “I am just a good listener.”

President Thomas S. Monson was once asked, “If the Lord appeared to you, what question would you ask Him?”  President Monson responded:  “I would not ask him anything.  I would listen.”

D&C 19:23: Learn of me, and listen to my words
            Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.

John 10:27-28: My sheep hear my voice and I give them eternal life
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life.

D&C 93:1: Every soul who obeyeth my voice, shall see my face
            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.

Deut 5:22-24: We have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth
            These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
            And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;
            And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.

Ps 106:24-25: Thy murmured and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord
            Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
            Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
            But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.

Jer 7:23-24: Obey my voice and I will be your God and ye shall be my people
            For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
            But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

D&C 1:1-2: Hearken; the voice of the Lord is unto all men
            Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
            For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

D&C 27:1: Listen to the voice of Jesus whose word is quick and powerful
            Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.

D&C 84:51-53: He who is not acquainted with my voice is not of me
            For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
            And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
            And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

D&C 108:2: Resist no more my voice
            Therefore, let your soul be at rest concerning your spiritual standing, and resist no more my voice.

D&C 138:20-22, 26: Few hearkened to his voice and received salvation at his hands
            And yet, notwithstanding his mighty works, and miracles, and proclamation of the truth, in great power and authority, there were but few who hearkened to his voice, and rejoiced in his presence, and received salvation at his hands.

John 10:1-4, 14-16: This sheep follow and know the voice of the Good Shepherd
            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.
            I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
            As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
            And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Ps 95:7: Ye are his sheep if ye hear his voice
            For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice,

Al 5:38-41: If ye will not hearken to the voice of the good shepherd ye are not his sheep
            Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
            And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil : is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
            For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
            Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.

Hel 7:18-22: Ye has set your hearts on  this world and not hearkened to the voice of the good shepherd


            O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you?
            It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you.
            And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts.
            O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?
            But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world, for the which ye do murder, and plunder, and steal, and bear false witness against your neighbor, and do all manner of iniquity.

Mosiah 26:24-28: He that will not hear my voice will not be received at the last day


            For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.
            And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me.
            And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed.
            And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
            Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day.
            Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.

Rev 3:20: He will sup with us if we hear his voice and open the door
Behold , I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear by voice and open the door I will come in to him and sup with him and him with me.

We Hear the Voice of the Lord Through His Servants

One way we hear Lord’s voice is by listening to his servants.

D&C 1:1-4, 14, 38: Those who will not hear the voice of the Lord or his servants will be cut off
            Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
            For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.
            And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.
            And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
            And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
            What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken . . .  Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

D&C 68:3-5: What the Brethren speak when moved upon shall be the voice of the Lord


            And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
            And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.
            Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.

Harold B. Lee, J. Reuben Clark: We Need More People with Listening Ears
The Lord is going to keep his people informed, if they will listen.  As President Clark said in a classic talk that he gave, “What we need today is not more prophets.  We have the prophets.  But what we need is more people with listening ears.  That is the great need of our generation.” (BYU Speech, 8 July 1964)

Luke 14: 15-24: Parable of the Great Supper: the Lord sends his servants to invite us to the Great Supper
    

        . . . .  Blessed is he that shall eat bread [word of God] in the kingdom of God.
            Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper [feast upon the word through scriptures and general conference], and bade many:
            And sent his servant [Lord’s servants, the brethren] at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
            And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
            And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.


            And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. [What excuses do we make for not accepting the Lord’s servants invitation to feast upon the word and hear the voice of the Lord in the scriptures or general conference?]
            So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
            And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
            And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
            For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

General Conference: A Time to Hear the Voice of the Lord

Boyd K. Packer: Listen to conference with anxious ears and hearts


I say again, “FOLLOW THE BRETHREN.” In a few days there opens another general conference of the Church.  The servants of the Lord will counsel us.  You may listen with anxious ears and hearts, or you may turn that counsel aside.  As in these devotionals, what you shall gain will depend upon your preparation for them. (BYU Speeches of Year, 23 Mar 1965, p 10)

David O. McKay: The D&C Gives Four Reasons for General Conference
Reference to the Doctrine and Covenants will disclose the fact that there are four principal purposes for holding conferences of the Church:
First, to transact current Church business.
Second, to hear reports and general Church statistics.
Third, to “approve of those names which I, the Lord, have appointed, or to disapprove of them.”
Fourth, to worship the Lord in sincerity and reverence, and to give and to receive encouragement, exhortation, and instruction. (CR, Oct 1938, pp 130-131)

Harold B. Lee: Let conference be the guide to our walk and talk for six months
As the Latter-day Saints go home from this conference, it would be well if they consider seriously the importance of taking with them the report of this conference and let it be the guide to their walk and talk during the next six months.  These are the important matters the Lord sees fit to reveal to this people in this day. (CR, Apr 1946, p 68)

Marion G. Romney: the attitude and spirit in which we attend General Conference
Last October, I attended an outlying stake conference.  A number of speakers had just attended for the first time a general conference.  Their reports were soul stirring.  One bishop wished that every member of his ward might attend just one conference in the tabernacle.  Another, when he stood with the vast congregation for the first time, was so moved that tears ran down his cheeks, and his voice so choked that he could not join in the singing.  A third was impressed with President Grant’s closing remarks.  He said as he finished his talk, “Three times the President said, “I bless you.”
In another outlying stake, an ex-bishop said to me that the conference was nothing but a political convention.  In another a man said that whether he would follow the counsel of the leaders depended upon what subject they discussed.
How are these different responses accounted for?  I will tell you.   The members of one group were observing and keeping the commandments of God and the others were not; one group was walking in the light of the truth, and the other was in the dark; one group enjoyed the Spirit of the Lord, and the others did not. (CR, Apr 1942, p 19)

Ezra Taft Benson: The conference Ensign should stand next to your scriptures
For the next six months your conference edition of the Ensign should stand next to your standard works and be referred to frequently.  As my dear friend and brother President Harold B. Lee said, we should let these conference addresses “be the guide to our walk and talk during the next six months.  These are the important matters the Lord sees fit to reveal to this people in this day.” (CR, The Ensign, May 1988, p 84)

Marion G. Romney: General Conference gives us truth and direction
In this conference we have been greatly entertained at times with eloquent oratory.  We have been taught by great teachers.  We have heard enough truth and direction in this conference to bring us into the presence of God if we would follow it.  We have been taken to the spiritual mountain and shown visions of great glory, but how many of us have heard that voice saying we would have a part therein. (CR, Apr 1954, p 132-133)

Marion G. Romney: General Conference is a build up of our spirits.
            What we get out of general conference is a build-up of our spirits as we listen to those particular principles and practices of the gospel which the Lord inspires the present leadership of the Church to bring to our attention at the time…. He knows why he inspired the other brethren who have talked in this conference to say what they have said.  It is our high privilege to hear, through these me, what the Lord would say if he were here.  If we do not agree with what they say, it is because we are out of harmony with the Spirit of the Lord. (CR Oct 1950, p 126-127)

Importance of “Following the Brethren

D&C 21:4-6: follow the counsel in patience and faith
Give heed to all counsel and commandments as if by mine own voice, in all patience and faith

Henry Eyring, the Scientist: When imperfect Brethren make mistakes I’m delighted and it gives me hope.
I believe in following counsel.  I’d like to do all the things that the Brethren ask me to do.  I’m convinced that the prophets are inspired and that I’ll be inspired in guiding my family if I listen to them.  When I don’t follow the counsel of those who are placed over me, then I’m in very deep water.  I’m enough of a coward and a poor enough swimmer that that’s not where I want to be.
Still, I also like to see one of the Brethren make what appears to be a mistake now and then.  I make them all the time.  So, I think that if the Lord can use one of the Brethren and they’re not perfect, then maybe he can find a way to use me.  Some people get all worked up when someone important says something a little differently than they would say it.  But I’m delighted. If I can see something less than perfection in our leaders, it gives me hope.  I want to go to the celestial kingdom.  (Reflections of a Scientist, p 23)

Marion G. Romney: The Presidency says what the Lord would say and it is scripture

What the presidency say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if he were here, and it is scripture.  It should be studied, understood, and followed, even as the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants and other scriptures.  Those who follow this course will not interpret what they say as being inspired by political bias or selfishness; neither will they say that the brethren are uninformed as to the circumstances of those affected by their counsel; or that their counsels cannot be accepted because they are not prefaced by the quotation, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Those who will through mighty prayer and earnest study inform themselves as to what these living prophets say, and act upon it, will be visited by the spirit of the Lord and know by the spirit of revelation that they speak the mind and will of the Father. (CR, Apr 1945, p 90)

Harold B. Lee: Gain a Testimony of the Brethren
To me, there is a tremendous truth.  It is not alone sufficient for us as Latter-day Saints to follow our leaders and to accept their counsel, but we have the greater obligation to gain for ourselves the unshakable testimony of the divine appointment of these men and the witness that what they have told us is the will of our Heavenly Father. (CR, Oct 1950, p 129-130)

Marion G. Romney: Follow the Counsel even if it crosses our personal views


It has been the rule of my life to find out if I could, by listening closely to what they said and by asking the Lord to help me interpret it, what they had in mind for the Latter-day Saints to do and then do it.  I am happy to say, not boastfully but gratefully, that I have never hesitated to follow the counsel of the authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life. (Cr, Apr 1941, p 123)

Orson F. Whitney: Living Scriptures vs. Standard Works
The Latter-day Saints do not do things because they happen to be printed in a book.  They do not do things because God told the Jews to do them; nor do they do or leave undone anything because of instructions that Christ gave to the Nephites.  Whatever is done by this Church is because God speaking from heaven in our day has commanded this Church to do it.  No book presides over this Church and no books lie at its foundations.  You cannot pile up  books enough to take the place of God’s priesthood inspired by the power of the Holy Ghost. (CR, Oct 1916, quoted by Loren C. Dunn, CR Apr 1976)

Wilford Woodruff: Scriptures and Living Oracles
Now, we may take the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and we may read them through, and every other revelation that has been given to us, and they would scarcely be sufficient to guide us twenty-four hours.  We have only an outline of our duties written; we are to be guided by the living oracles. (JD 9:324)

Spencer Kimball: Living Prophets vs. Dead Prophets
Do you also build sepulchers for the dead prophets and tombs for those who have passed away long ago and disregard the living ones?  Even in the Church many are prone to garnish the sepulchers of yesterday’s prophets and mentally stone the living ones. (CR, Oct 1949, p 123)

Brigham Young: Personal testimony vs. blind obedience and reckless confidence
I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him.  I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, that they are led in the right way.  Let every man and woman know, by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not. (Discourses, p 135) [The strength of the church lies in the personal testimony of its members.]

Harold B. Lee: Following the brethren sometimes takes patience and faith
We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophets “as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.” (D&C 21:4-5)
There will be some things that take patience and faith.  You may not like what comes from the authorities of the Church.  It may contradict your political views.  It may contradict your social views.  It may interfere with some of your social life… But your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his Church.  He knows whom he wants to preside over this Church, and he will make no mistake.  The Lord does not do things by accident. (CR, Oct 1970, pp 152-153)

Harold B. Lee: a person is not truly converted until he sees the power of God resting upon the leaders of the church
            That person is not truly converted until he sees the power of God resting upon the leaders of this church, and until it goes down into his heart like fire.  Until the members of this church have that conviction that they are being led in the right way, and they have a conviction that these men of God are men who are inspired and have been properly appointed by the hand of God, they are not truly converted. (The Ensign, July 1972, p 103)

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