2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
(2 Nephi 33:2-3)
In these two verses, Nephi teaches us about the relationship between emotion and understanding:
- When people harden their hearts, they are unable to feel the Spirit of the Lord. As a result, their ability to recognize goodness and truth, including the word of God, is impaired. They are in danger of rejecting things of great value, which otherwise would have brought them great joy.
- Nephi’s heart, on the other hand, was open to emotion. He prayed and wept for his people. As a result of this openness, he was receptive to the promptings of the Spirit, and he recognized the value of the word of God.
As Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught last April:
My experience has been that the Spirit most often communicates as a feeling…. The Spirit speaks words that we feel. These feelings are gentle, a nudge to act, to do something, to say something, to respond in a certain way. If we are casual or complacent in our worship, drawn off and desensitized by worldly pursuits, we find ourselves diminished in our ability to feel.
Today, I will choose to not harden my heart. I will remember that openness to emotion is an important part of receiving the Holy Ghost, and that my ability to recognize truth is therefore dependent on my sensitivity to my own feelings.