A Heavenly Heart

  • 20 January 2011

Article Highlights

  • Hold a personal morning devotional.
  • Immerse yourself in the scriptures.
  • Purify your life through the Savior’s sanctifying and atoning power.

“If you [hold your own morning devotionals] I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ your life will be changed. You will feel closer to your Heavenly Father—more than ever before.”

In a devotional at Brigham Young University on January 18, 2011, Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to young adults about opening their hearts to heaven.

Elder Kikuchi opened his address by describing the current conditions around the world: confusion, hatred, self-pity, rudeness, frustration, disloyalty, revenge, and bold dishonesty.

“The natural man is an enemy to God,” he quoted from Mosiah 3:19. So how can we be more cheerful, polite, kind, sincere, patient, loving, humble, and submissive to the Lord? he asked.

“The Savior is the solution to any challenge we face,” Elder Kikuchi said.

Elder Kikuchi suggested three simple, basic principles that would help the young adults to draw near to God daily.

1. Hold a personal morning devotional.

Elder Kikuchi quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith, who said, “If you will obey the Gospel with honest hearts, I promise you in the name of the Lord, that the gifts as promised by our Saviour will follow you” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 115).

We need strength similar to what Joseph Smith found when he knelt in the Sacred Grove and called on God, Elder Kikuchi said.

“I invite you to wake up a little early . . . find a peaceful, secluded place and go there . . . and humbly, reverently kneeling before the Father, call upon His holy name through His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and profess your profound gratitude,” he said.

Elder Kikuchi emphasized that each person needs his or her own “sacred grove”—a place where communication between God and a man or woman can go forth unimpeded.

“If you do this, I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ your life will be changed,” he said. “You will feel closer to your Heavenly Father—more than ever before.”

2. Immerse yourself in the scriptures.

Elder Kikuchi quoted John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

“After returning from your sacred personal grove, spend seven or eight minutes every morning reading the words of Christ,” Elder Kikuchi said. “Particularly read the Book of Mormon in order to acquaint yourself with the voice of the Lord.”

Reading daily will help each person be able to tell the good from the wicked, he said.

“When you read the Book of Mormon daily, you will come to know He is your personal Savior, Jesus Christ,” he said. “You will not treat lightly the things you and I receive.”

3. Purify your life through the Savior’s sanctifying and atoning power.

Elder Kikuchi quoted the Savior when He said, “But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin. And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done” (D&C 50:28–29).

“As long as you are pure and clean, your conscience will be clean in the presence of the Father,” Elder Kikuchi said. “The Savior’s power will affect each one of us, but when we are not worthy because of sin, we are uncomfortable and do not feel that inner peace.”

We can access the Atonement to become one with the Lord by exercising the principles of repentance, he said. The Lord has promised, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).

“When you’re pure and clean before the Lord, I promise the Lord inspires you and blesses you with His atoning power so [you] can be perfectly one with Him,” Elder Kikuchi said. “He will send us the Comforter as we cleanse and purify ourselves through His atoning power.”

Elder Kikuchi then quoted from Elder Parley P. Pratt’s (1807–1857) Key to the Science of Theology, talking about the influence of the Holy Ghost. It “quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”

Listen to the living oracle, President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Kikuchi counseled. Read and ponder his messages, be taught by all the prophets and apostles, and come to the holy temple to learn about the great plan of happiness.

“May we all have our sacred grove, immerse ourselves constantly in the scriptures, and purify and sanctify our lives so we can receive nourishment from the tree of life, even Jesus Christ,” Elder Kikuchi said.