“How Can I Study in My Mind and with My Heart?” Liahona, April 2017
What should you do when you have a question about something doctrinal, historical, or personal? How do you find an answer? The Lord promises, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 8:2). How do you use your mind and heart to recognize inspiration? Here are a few ideas.
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that when we are making “major life decisions … , Heavenly Father expects us to use our agency, study the situation out in our minds according to gospel principles, and bring a decision to Him in prayer” (“The Holy Ghost,” Liahona, May 2016, 105).
It’s the same for any question. As you study, pray sincerely about answers you find along the way. The Holy Ghost will give you promptings—whether by ideas, words in your mind, or other personal reminders—to guide you to the further answers you need.
Search the scriptures, including the Guide to the Scriptures and other study helps. You can also search other LDS resources such as general conference talks, Gospel Topics on LDS.org, the Church magazines, the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and more. (See page 54 for a list of helpful Church resources.)
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged, “I’m going to give you a challenge. … You need to think of someone [who can help you find answers]—a trusted friend, a parent or parents, grandparent, teacher, bishopric, [or] adviser … —and you need to get these questions answered” (Face to Face broadcast, Jan. 20, 2016). Give it a try! Talk to someone you trust about your questions and find answers together.
These are important steps for pondering with both your mind and your heart. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “If you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments. You can’t come to an understanding of spiritual truth with instruments that are unable to detect it” (“Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth,” Liahona, Nov. 2014, 22). The Holy Ghost is the instrument through which we learn spiritual things. So when you pray and listen to the Spirit, in time you will be able to find answers.
President Uchtdorf also explained, “The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more heavenly light distills upon our souls. … Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright, and familiar to us” (“Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth,” 22). Searching for answers can be a long process. But if you are willing to listen for the answers, even if it takes time, you will find them.
The more you identify promptings and are willing to act when the Spirit whispers to your heart, the easier it becomes to recognize additional promptings in the future. You may “feel that it is right” or experience a “stupor of thought” if it’s wrong (see D&C 9:8–9). You might also feel a gentle reminder, a feeling of peace, or another feeling that is specific to you. The Lord knows you, and He knows how you will understand the Spirit. He will give you loving guidance that is unique to you. So keep listening and keep practicing.