“Clocks,” Liahona, August 2017
When my son, Joshua, was about two years old, he developed a keen interest in clocks. If we passed a clock in the house, he wanted to stop and look at it. He especially liked to put his ear up close to the clock and listen to the ticking sound it made. He went through a phase where we couldn’t pass by a clock without stopping to listen to it tick.
I realized some interesting things from that simple activity. First, the clock ticked all the time, not just when we paid attention to it. Second, even though we knew the clock made a sound, we had to get close to it and be very quiet and still in order to hear the soft ticking.
The Holy Ghost is much like the clocks my son was so fascinated with. Those of us who have been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost can have His constant companionship if we live worthy of it. The Holy Ghost is always with us, but sometimes we let the noises of the world drown out the quiet promptings He gives us. Just as my son and I had to be quiet and still to hear the soft ticking of the clock, we each need to be still in order to hear, or feel, the quiet promptings the Spirit gives.
President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015), President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither … [a] voice of a great tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’ and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause [the heart] to burn’ (3 Nephi 11:3; Helaman 5:30; D&C 85:6–7). …
“The Spirit,” President Packer taught, “does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. …
“Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 53).
Now whenever I hear soft ticking sounds from a clock, I can’t help but remember the simple lesson my son taught me about being still to hear the quiet promptings of the Spirit.