I Learned to Listen
February 1995

“I Learned to Listen,” Ensign, Feb. 1995, 66–67

I Learned to Listen

The summer after my wife, my two children, and I were baptized, we vacationed at a log cabin in Jotunheimen, a scenic area of Norway. Though we were fourteen kilometers from our nearest neighbor, we were never lonely.

One bright, cloudless morning, we started on a long hike. Along the way, we admired the reflections of distant deep ravines and snowy peaks in the blue mountain lakes whose shores we skirted. The hike was a little more rigorous than we had expected, and late in the afternoon we were still three or four kilometers from our cabin.

The fastest route home was to traverse a steep, narrow ridge on a mountain called Besseggen. I felt that we could cross the ridge safely, but a voice within me whispered that we should not go that way. Having been baptized only four months earlier, I was still learning to recognize the prompting of the Holy Ghost—and in this case, I took no notice of the warning.

As we approached Besseggen, an inner voice again cautioned me not to cross the ridge. I stopped and pulled out the map. If we did not climb the ridge, we would have to walk around another mountain and a lake, and we would not get home until after midnight. Our legs were tired, and our food was gone. I was still determined that we would climb the ridge.

When we reached the foot of the mountain, the small voice clearly said, “Hans, you must not go over the mountain.” I stopped and peered up the length of the steep ridge. The sun was shining, and the air was calm. I saw no reason to heed the warning. We began to climb.

I led the way, and my wife, Lise, followed the children. We climbed easily, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were doing something wrong. Halfway up, we stopped to admire the view. The ridge dropped steeply on both sides.

Though Lise and the children were excited about the stillness and the wonderful scene below us, I was anxious. Suddenly, I felt a blast of wind from the north and heard a rushing sound. Within minutes, a storm was bearing down on us. I cried out to my family to lie down and hold on tight. We dug our fingers into the earth as gusts of wind pushed us towards the ridge’s steep side.

Despite the storm’s howling, I heard a deep and powerful voice within me telling me to go back down the mountainside. When the storm calmed for a moment, I rose to my knees to give thanks and acknowledge the Lord’s power. My family shouted for me to stand up so we could hurry to the top of the mountain—but I knew better.

My family obeyed when I said we must climb back down. By the time we safely reached the foot of the mountain, the storm was blowing even harder than before. I told them about my experience with the inner voice. Together, we knelt to thank the Lord for preserving our lives and teaching us to heed the whisperings of the Spirit.

  • Hans Cohr serves as the bishop of the Fredericia Ward, Aarhus Denmark Stake.