Mark L. Pace, Sunday School General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. He spoke about the importance of hearing the Savior’s voice through the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost.
Brother Pace taught that a central effort in the Church is to help the members receive inspiration through the Holy Ghost and act upon it. One of the best tools designed to help in this process is the Sunday School organization.
In the October 2018 general conference, President Nelson announced the new Come, Follow Me Sunday School curriculum. This directed the Saints to a more home-centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine and strengthen faith.
“In these efforts, our goal is conversion — the miracle of individual spiritual growth,” said Brother Pace. “That spiritual influence changes our hearts and converts us to Jesus Christ and His gospel. This is the miracle we are seeking.”
The world is becoming more challenging, but the Lord’s purposes for His people remain the same. Christ wants us to be blessed with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as we strive to become better disciples here on earth.
He supported this idea by stating what Elder Bednar has taught: “Fundamentally, all gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.”
Brother Pace gives an example of this from the early days of the Church, in a time when the Saints relied heavily upon the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost. After the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, there were many questions regarding who would be the next leader in the Church.
As a result, there were many experiences Saints had on August 8, 1844, as the Holy Ghost confirmed to them that Brigham Young should be the next prophet to lead and guide the Church.
One of those recorded experiences was of a middle-aged woman named Emily Smith Hoyt, who declared, “Sidney Rigdon made a speech and claimed to have authority to lead the Church; others had similar claims. None appeared reasonable to me. … But the God of Heaven ... sent President [Brigham] Young home just in time, and clothed him … [with] the spirit and power which had rested on Joseph. ... If any one doubts the right of Brigham to manage affairs for the Saints, all I have to say to them is this. Get the spirit of God and know for yourselves. The Lord will provide for his own.”
Hoyt’s experience, along with many others, exemplifies the confirming power of the Spirit. Christ’s sheep will hear His voice.
“A testimony of the Savior, confirmed by the Holy Ghost, was foundational to the Saints in the early days of the Restoration, and it is foundational to us today,” said Brother Pace.
Quoting several Latter-day prophets, Brother Pace addresses the importance of learning to adhere to the promptings of the Spirit. He advises us to follow the counsel of Brigham Young to “seek always to have the Spirit of God, and it will direct you aright” and of President Nelson to “do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Receiving a confirming witness of the truthfulness of the gospel takes effort and time. Brother Pace suggests two ways that have helped him hear the voice of the Good Shepherd:
- Read the scriptures, with a particular focus on the Book of Mormon.
- Pray with a humble willingness to listen and act in faith.
Immersing ourselves daily in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, will bring the blessings of heaven.
“My dear brothers and sisters, if we fail to exercise our faith and read the scriptures, it is as if the scriptures are lost to us personally, and we forgo the opportunity to invite the Holy Ghost into our lives,” admonished Brother Pace.
The Holy Ghost can change hearts and influence behaviors. As the world becomes increasingly contentious, learning how to better recognize His voice in the words of the scriptures will be a crucial blessing.
“The need for us to hear the voice of the true Shepherd has never been greater,” Brother Pace said. “His sheep still hear His voice.”
Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy, will deliver the devotional address on March 23 at 11:05 a.m.
Elder McKay's remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM, and SiriusXM 143.