Learning with Our Hearts

By Elder Walter F. González

Of the Presidency of the Seventy


Walter F. González
One way to come unto Christ is by seeking to learn essential truths with our hearts.

“Come unto me, that ye might feel and see.”1 This was a commandment that the Savior extended to the inhabitants of ancient America. They felt with their hands and saw with their eyes that Jesus was the Christ. This commandment is just as important for us today as it was for them in their day. As we come unto Christ, we can feel and “know of a surety”2—not with our hands and eyes but with all our heart and mind—that Jesus is the Christ.

One way to come unto Christ is by seeking to learn essential truths with our hearts. As we do so, impressions that come from God will give us knowledge that we cannot get by any other means. The Apostle Peter knew of a surety that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Savior explained that the source for Peter’s knowledge was not “flesh and blood … but [the] Father which is in heaven.”3

The prophet Abinadi explained the role of the feelings that come from God to our hearts. He taught that we cannot understand the scriptures completely unless we apply our heart to understanding.4

This truth was well stated in a children’s book, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In the story, the little prince became friends with a fox. Upon parting, the fox shared a secret with the little prince. He said, “Here is my secret … : It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”5

Eighty-eight-year-old Brother Thomas Coelho is a good example of one who saw with his heart essential things. He was a faithful member of our high council in Paysandú, Uruguay. Prior to joining the Church, he had an accident while riding his motorcycle. While he was lying on the ground unable to stand, two of our missionaries helped him stand up and return to his home. He said that he felt something special when the missionaries came to his rescue. Later he experienced strong feelings again when the missionaries taught him. The impact of those feelings was such that he read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover in just a few days. He was baptized and served tirelessly from that day forward. I remember him riding his motorcycle up and down the streets of our city, even in the cold and rainy winters, to bring others to church so they could feel, see, and know of a surety as he did.

Today, surrounded by so much information, we might think that navigating millions of web pages will give us all that we need to know. We can find good and bad information on the web, but information alone is not enough. God has given us another source for greater knowledge,6 even knowledge sent from heaven. Our Heavenly Father can give us such knowledge when we navigate the celestial web in our hearts and minds. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that he had “the oldest book in [his] heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost.”7

We access this celestial source when we do things such as reading the scriptures, hearkening to the living prophet, and praying. It is also important to take time to be still8 and feel and follow the celestial promptings. When we do this, we will “feel and see” things that cannot be learned with modern technology. Once we have some experience in navigating this celestial web, we will discern the truth, even when reading secular history or other topics. The honest seekers of truth will know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost.9

Now, a word of caution: access to this celestial web is marred by iniquity and forgetting the Lord. Nephi told his brothers that they “could not feel [the Lord’s] words” because they were “swift to do iniquity [and] slow to remember the Lord.”10 Iniquity hampers our ability to see, feel, and love others. Being quick to remember the Lord by praying “with all the energy of heart”11 and bringing to mind our spiritual experiences expands our ability to see and feel the things of Christ. Now I ask you:

  • Do you remember the peace you felt when, after much tribulation, you cried out unto the Father in mighty prayer?

  • Do you remember changing your to-do list to follow a prompting in your heart?

The great men in the Book of Mormon fostered access to a greater knowledge by bringing to mind their key spiritual experiences. Alma fortified and strengthened his children by reminding them about his conversion experience.12 Helaman taught Nephi and Lehi to remember—to remember that it was upon the rock of Christ that they had to build their foundation so the devil would have no power over them.13 We must do the same. Remembering God helps us to feel and live. This gives deeper meaning to the words of King Benjamin, who said, “And now, O man, remember, and perish not.”14

One of the most sacred memories I cherish is the feeling I had when I came to know the Book of Mormon was the word of God. I learned that we can experience a joy that words fall short to express. That very day, on my knees, I felt and knew of a surety the things that I could not have learned in any other way. Such a memory is reason for everlasting gratitude and strengthens me in hard times.

Those who receive knowledge not from flesh and blood but from our Heavenly Father do know of a surety that Jesus is the Christ and this is His Church. That very knowledge provides strength to make necessary changes to come unto Christ. For this reason, we invite every soul to be baptized, repent, and turn unto Him now.15

By coming unto Christ, every soul can see, feel, and know of a surety that Christ suffered and atoned for our sins that we may have eternal life. If we repent, we will not suffer needlessly.16 Thanks to Him, wounded souls may be healed and broken hearts may be mended. There is no burden that He cannot ease or remove. He knows about our infirmities and sicknesses. I promise and testify to you that when all doors seem to be closed, when everything else seems to fail, He will not fail you. Christ will help and is the way out, whether the struggle is with an addiction, depression, or something else. He knows “how to succor his people.”17 Marriages and families that are struggling for whatever reason—economic challenges, bad media influences, or family dynamics—will feel a calming influence from heaven. It is comforting to “feel and see” that He rose from the dead “with healing in his wings,”18 that because of Him, we will meet and embrace again those beloved ones who have passed away. Verily our conversion unto Him is rewarded with our healing.19

I know of a surety that all of this is true. For this reason I join my voice with that of the early inhabitants of ancient America, exclaiming: “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!”20 He gives us salvation. I bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the holy Messiah. He is the Lord of Hosts, our Savior and Redeemer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Show References

  1.  

    1.  3 Nephi 18:25.

  2.  

    2.  3 Nephi 11:15.

  3.  

    3. See Matthew 16:16–17.

  4.  

    4. See Mosiah 12:27.

  5.  

    5. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, trans. Katherine Woods (1971), 87.

  6.  

    6. See Ether 4:13.

  7.  

    7.  Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 132.

  8.  

    8. See Doctrine and Covenants 101:16.

  9.  

    9. See Moroni 10:3–5.

  10.  

    10.  1 Nephi 17:45.

  11.  

    11.  Moroni 7:48.

  12.  

    12. See Alma 36:5–24; 38:6–9.

  13.  

    13. See Helaman 5:12.

  14.  

    14.  Mosiah 4:30.

  15.  

    15. See 3 Nephi 9:13.

  16.  

    16. See Doctrine and Covenants 19:16.

  17.  

    17.  Alma 7:12.

  18.  

    18.  2 Nephi 25:13; see also 3 Nephi 25:2.

  19.  

    19. See 2 Nephi 16:10; 3 Nephi 9:13.

  20.  

    20. See 3 Nephi 11:15–17.