• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


A prophet, seer and revelator, President Boyd K Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled ... "If all you know is what you see with your natural eyes and hear with your natural ears, then you will not know very much."

How can I see than with my eyes?
How can I hear than with my ears?
How can I feel other than with my senses?

I can see the existence of many things in the world surrounding me very well. I can see that grass is green. I can see your face. I can even see through the glass of windows.

Sometimes my eyes can deceive me. Most of us know about the distortions of water or optical  illusions. When my eyes do not tell the truth my brain and previous experiences may filter and even 'correct' the information I am getting.

I can also choose where I direct my eyes. I can choose to avert my eyes from graphic or inappropriate input or embrace it.   I may also be blind to a neighbor's needs or even deliberately refuse to acknowledge your existence but that is not like 'seeing through you' except they are choices.

People that wear hearing aids often complain that the hearing aid amplifies ALL sound and is not selective. I can sit in my yard and listen to a bird sing and not notice a car on the nearby street. I can hear my husband's voice or my child's cry or laugh even though I may not be in the same room and even when it must be filtered through other noise.

I can also choose to ignore the ringing of a telephone or rude words. And I can listen to how you feel and hear many things your words will never vocalize. I do that by observing your eyes and posture, hearing your meaning as well as voice nuances, and observing your general demeanor.

My existence revolves around smell and taste and touch. Flowers and food, rough and smooth, texture and tension, warm and cool - and my fingers and face have an ongoing love affair with fabrics and textiles.

So much good stuff so little time! So many opportunities to see and hear and feel and yet there is more. What does it mean to 'observe'?

I learned the word for grass in my native tongue as well as the word for it's color, green. I also learned the words for sky and heaven with their subtle differences and, although the sky may appear to be blue, that air has no color and can not really be seen at all.

I learned that I can avoid nausea and/or fainting by looking away when I have blood drawn. I have learned inhaling the sweet aroma of new hay makes some people sneeze and suffer from allergies. I have therefore even learned some suffering may be readily inflicted or alleviated. I have learned to observe with all my senses.

I have some senses that, like the wind, cannot be seen or heard but must be noticed by their effects. I cannot explain how I know it is my child crying out amidst the noise of a playground or why I feel a sudden urgency to talk with a family member and find out about sudden and exciting or sad events.

David A Bednar, another apostle, teaches that we should be 'quick to observe'.  He explains the dual meaning of the word observe is both to 'look, see, watch, or notice'; as well as to 'obey, attend to, or keep' - as in observing the law, or following a practice or habit.

Elder Bednar also teaches,"Being quick to observe is a prerequisite to and a preparation for the gift of discernment. We can hope to obtain that supernal gift of discernment and its light of protection and direction only if we are quick to observe - if we both look and obey."
George Q Cannon, a counselor to four LDS church presidents taught, “One of the gifts of the Gospel which the Lord has promised to those who enter into covenant with Him is the gift of discerning of spirits—a gift which is not much thought of by many and probably seldom prayed for; yet it is a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. …
“Now, the gift of discerning of spirits not only gives men and women who have it the power to discern the spirit with which others may be possessed or influenced, but it gives them the power to discern the spirit which influences themselves. They are able to detect a false spirit and also to know when the Spirit of God reigns within them. In private life this gift is of great importance to the Latter-day Saints. Possessing and exercising this gift they will not allow any evil influence to enter into their hearts or to prompt them in their thoughts, their words or their acts. They will repel it; and if perchance such a spirit should get possession of them, as soon as they witness its effects they will expel it or, in other words, refuse to be led or prompted by it.”
I can choose to discern repugnant influences. I can choose to repel and expel such things from my sight, hearing and feelings.
I can choose to observe things that are good - things that are happy, healthy, of faith, kind, right, true, peaceful - all good things - in both ways.
I have agency. I can make choices. Observing and discerning can help me make better choices - choices to be good - to have good in my life and to share it with my family and others, to be happy, healthy and kind; to be full of faith and have peace. 
[ I ] believe in being honest, true, chastebenevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, [ I ] say that [I] follow the admonition of Paul— [ I ] believe all things,  [ I ] hope all things,
[ I ] have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything  virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy,  [ I ] seek after these things. Article of Faith 13
I hope you can see and hear and observe also.

I hope good things for you too. 
I invite you to join me.
Will you also 'seek after these things'?