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Monday, December 17, 2012

Pondering the Word of God, Part 1 - The Divine Tuning Fork

On September 5, 1993, Elder James E. Faust gave a little-known but terrific BYU Fireside Address  (the entirety is found here) about tuning in to the Spirit.  If possible, please watch this brief, 3:53 minute Youtube excerpt of his speech; it’s well worth your time…

One of the passages in this talk particularly resonated with me:

“Learn to ponder the things of the Spirit and to respond to its promptings; filter out the static generated by Satan. As you become attuned to the Spirit, ‘thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).”

In the May 2004 First Presidency message, Elder Faust expanded the metaphor of the radio:

My first radio was a crystal set. It was hard to tune to the frequency of a particular radio station. I had to literally scratch the receiving wire whisker over the top of the rough crystal to find the right pinpoint, a little valley or peak on the crystal where the signal was received. Just a millimeter off on either side of that point and I would lose the signal and get scratchy static. Over time, with patience and perseverance, good eyesight, and a steady hand, I learned to find the signal point on the crystal without too much difficulty.

So it is with inspiration. We must attune ourselves to the inspiration from God and tune out the scratchy static. We have to work at being tuned in. Most of us need a long time to become tuned in. When I was a newly called General Authority, President Marion G. Romney, who was in his 70s at the time, told us, “I know when I am working under the Spirit and when I am not.” To be able to recognize when one is being guided by the Spirit is a supernal gift.

In terms of modern communication, crystal radio sets helped us emerge from the dark ages of communication. With advanced technology, cellular phones are used for much of the communication in our time. Occasionally, however, we find dead spots where the signal coming to a cell phone fails. This can happen when the cell phone user is in a tunnel or a canyon or when there is other interference.

So it is with divine communication. The still, small voice, though still and small, is very powerful. It “whispereth through and pierceth all things” (D&C 85:6).  But like my old crystal set, the message may be there but we fail to pick it up. Perhaps something in our lives prevents us from hearing the message because we are “past feeling” (1 Ne. 17:45).  We often put ourselves in spiritual dead spots—places and situations that block out divine messages. Some of these dead spots include anger, pornography, transgression, selfishness, and other situations that offend the Spirit.

Indeed, the signals of the Spirit are so subtle, they are almost imperceptible to the telestial soul.  And in our harried, busy, distracted modern-day lives, we need every advantage, every strategy possible, to effectively “tune in” to the Spirit so we can ponder God’s words.

To do just that, we need a divine tuning fork, something which resonates with God so accurately and reliably, that it is literally and figuratively “in tune” with God at any given time.  If you'd like to discover one, then keep reading.

The Divine Tuning Fork

If you’re not very familiar with tuning forks, they are classified by as “an acoustic resonator,” where (if its pitch is correct) the vibrating sound waves produced by tuning fork #1 will create a similar vibration/kinetic energy/”sympathetic resonance” (I love that phrase) in nearby tuning fork #2.

Not surprisingly, angels exhibit a kind of spiritual “sympathetic resonance” with the Savior:

“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:3)

Prophets and apostles can also display spiritual “sympathetic resonance”:

“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.” (D&C 68:4)

In fact, all souls are designed to behave like a spiritual “tuning fork”:

“the Spirit of the Lord comes at its own unique frequency; you will resonate to it if you are in tune with it. But if your frequency is different, you will not respond or resonate with the same spirit…Now, tuning forks cannot change their frequencies, but people can. They can become in tune with the Spirit.” (here)

Or, as Nephi stated,

“For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost [Tuning Fork #1] the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it [the sympathetic resonance] unto the hearts of the children of men [Tuning Fork #2].” (2 Nephi 33:1)

Pondering: The Key to Activating Your Spiritual Tuning Fork

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are many examples of people who used pondering God's word to activate a kind of "spiritual tuning fork" which was attuned to God. And, as you'll soon see in some cases, this pondering was accompanied by great physical, emotional and spiritual sacrifices which not only provided the seeker with insights into their own life, but also, breathtaking manifestations of the Spirit.

  • Nephi [1] desired to know the things that his father saw, and [2] believed that the Lord was able to make them known unto him.  This wasn’t just a momentary thought; he [3] pondered them in his heart.  The result: he had an epiphany (1 Ne. 11:1).  He was thrilled with this result, so much so that his exuberance still "rings" true 2,600 years later: "My soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them.... Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard" (2 Nephi 4:15-16).

  • President Joseph F. Smith sat in his room “pondering over the Scriptures” (particularly 1 Peter 3:19) on October 3, 1918.  As a result of that pondering, the eyes of his understanding were opened, “and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great…” (D&C 138).

Experiences Available to Anybody

Now, some might be tempted to say, “Sure, they got these special revelatory experiences because they were prophets.” I disagree. 

God is no respecter of persons. He will give revelation to me and to you on the same terms and conditions. I can see what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw in the vision of the degrees of glory—and so can you. I can entertain angels and see God, I can receive an outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit—and so can you.” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, October 1969 General Conference; emphasis mine)

". . . God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 149; Elder Bruce R. McConkie, October 1969 General Conference)

“I desire to point attention, however, to the fact that revelation is not restricted to the prophet of God on earth. The visions of eternity are not reserved for Apostles - they are not reserved for the General Authorities. Revelation is something that should come to every individual. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), and every soul, in the ultimate sense, is just as precious in his sight as the souls of those that are called to positions of leadership. Because he operates on principles of eternal, universal and never-deviating law, any individual that abides the law which entitles him to get revelation can know exactly and precisely what any prophet knows, can entertain angels just as well as Joseph Smith entertained them, and can be in tune in full measure with all of the things of the Spirit (Alma 26:21-22)." (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "How to Get Personal Revelation," Ensign, June 1980, pp. 46-50; emphasis mine)

(Wow, there’s that “tune” word again.)

Elder McConkie’s comments are entirely in agreement with the Savior:

"For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man." (D&C 76:5-10.)

Hopefully, you can see by now that pondering the word of God can and will help one to resonate with God, which may yield tremendous spiritual insights and outpourings of the Spirit.  Such experiences can be enjoyed by all -- not just prophets and apostles.

In my next post, we’ll discuss the basic principles behind pondering…and how others used these principles to not only gain insights into their life, but to also part the veil.


  1. Great post! This gives me hope and a desire to seek more for revelation to guide my life. Thanks!

  2. Wonderful. I've shared this with others in my family. Thank you.

  3. The tuning fork analogy is inspired. It is an analogy that can be taken a lot further in terms of how the role of resonance (as we know it in physics) applies to how one soul (us in this case ) and another field of energy / soul , the Holy Ghost interact. Cheers Baruch