Obeying the Whisperings of the Holy Ghost
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“Obeying the Whisperings of the Holy Ghost,” Ensign, Aug. 2007, 56–58

Lessons from the New Testament

Obeying the Whisperings of the Holy Ghost

Elder Ronald T. Halverson

I remember driving on a major freeway once with many concerns on my mind, ready to arrive at my destination. As I exited the freeway, I came to a stoplight and signaled to turn left onto another highway. Still anxious and deep in thought, I was focused only on the light and my turn to proceed. But when the light turned green, I had a strong impression not to move forward. Heeding the prompting, I looked left and saw a large semitruck and trailer barreling full speed through the intersection.

As the reality of the situation sank in, I realized that had I not obeyed, I could have been in a major accident, possibly severely injured or killed. A deep feeling of gratitude for the loving protection of my Father in Heaven came over me. I am grateful for having heeded that prompting.

Many times I have experienced that “still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things” (D&C 85:6). Following promptings has helped me to avoid disaster and temptation, guided me in directions and paths that I should go, and on many occasions, provided me with words and thoughts.

Mormon said, “And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:7).

Many of us get so involved in our day-to-day tasks and worldly pursuits that we do not notice the many small miracles that constantly occur around us. This is one reason we may lose contact with the Holy Spirit and lose awareness of His promptings.

Do What Is Required

When I am not feeling as spiritual or as close to the Lord as I desire, it is usually because I haven’t done the things necessary to receive the promptings and whisperings of the Spirit. The Lord gives us counsel when He says, “And now I give unto you a commandment to be aware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life” (D&C 84:43). This is not just a suggestion. The Lord knows that unless we keep the commandments and pray daily and read the scriptures, the world and its influences can pull us away from the strait and narrow path and dull our senses to the whisperings of the Spirit.

I have also learned that I must be spiritually in tune in order to recognize and be obedient to promptings when they come. I imagine that the Apostle Paul experienced this when he was preparing to go to Jerusalem. His friends and associates encouraged him not to go, explaining all of the dangers. Yet I admire Paul for saying, “I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem” (Acts 20:22).

Paul demonstrated a willingness to follow the Spirit regardless of what others said. We too can spiritually prepare ourselves to receive and then respond to promptings of the Spirit in every situation.

Let the Lord Be Your Guide

We do not know the future, but our Father in Heaven does, and He will lead and guide us if we let Him. When we are in tune with the Spirit, we will see many small miracles happen in our lives. I have found that having the ability to see and recognize these small miracles is based upon my spiritual worthiness, my willingness to be obedient, and my desire to not allow myself to become complacent and caught up in worldly and personal pursuits.

We all face many trials, struggles, and temptations regardless of what stage of life we are in. But we have been counseled to put our trust in the Spirit, which “leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously” (D&C 11:12).

When we keep the commandments, He will tell us in our minds and hearts what we should do so that we can know the direction we need to go in our lives (see D&C 8:2). By the power of the Holy Ghost, we “may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).

Discerning the whisperings of the Spirit does not come naturally for most of us. It is something we need to work on each day. President Wilford Woodruff (1807–98) quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith as saying, “You watch the impression of the Spirit of God; you watch the whisperings of [the] Spirit to you; you carry them out in your life, and [this] will become a principle of revelation in you, and you will know and understand this spirit and power.” President Woodruff then added, “This is the key, the foundation stone of all revelation.”1

The blessings, insights, and protection we receive when we are obedient are beyond our comprehension. My near collision with a semitruck could have caused me serious injury or physical death, but the Spirit protected me. Similarly, the Spirit can help us avoid temptation and ultimately spiritual death if we listen and respond.

When we learn to be obedient and sensitive to the whisperings of the Spirit, we will recognize the fruits of the Spirit that Paul described: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galations 5:22–23). As we see how the Lord guides and directs our lives, we will find deep joy.

Helps for Home Evening

  1. Share the first two paragraphs of Elder Halverson’s story. Discuss what the term “strong impression” means and tell the rest of the story. Have family members look up “Holy Ghost” in the Topical Guide. What other words are used to describe the Holy Ghost? Discuss ways to recognize the whisperings of the Spirit. Testify of the power of the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

  2. Consider turning on several sources of noise, including one recording of soft music. Ask family members to identify the various noises around them. Turn off all but the soft music. Compare the soft music to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Using the section “Let the Lord Be Your Guide,” discuss things you can do in your home to make it easier to listen to the Spirit.


  1. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham (1990), 46.

Illustration by Daniel Lewis

Paul’s Last Parting with the Saints at Asia Minor, by W. G. Simmonds