President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote the following in a First Presidency Message published in the February 1999 issue of the Ensign:
I heard President David O. McKay say to the members of the Twelve on one occasion, ‘Brethren, we do not spend enough time meditating.’
I believe that with all my heart. Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are highly ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development. I remember my dear father when he was about the age that I am now. He lived in a home where there was a rock wall on the grounds. It was a low wall, and when the weather was warm, he would go and sit on his wall. It seemed to me he sat there for hours, thinking, meditating, pondering things that he would say and write, for he was a very gifted speaker and writer. He read much, even into his very old age. He never ceased growing. Life was for him a great adventure in thinking.
Your needs and your tastes along these lines will vary with your age. But all of us need some of it. I decry the great waste of time that people put into watching inane television. I am not antisports. I enjoy watching a good football game or a good basketball game. But I see so many men who become absolutely obsessed with sports. I believe their lives would be enriched if, instead of sitting on the sofa and watching a game that will be forgotten tomorrow, they would read and think and ponder.
They would be blessed if they were to go out into the dark of the night, look at the stars, and ponder their place in the eternal plan of the Almighty. I think David must have been by himself under the starry heavens when he declared:
‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
‘For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour’ (Psalm 8:3-5). — “Take Time to Ponder,” Church News, September 8, 2007, p. 16
Pondering takes our thoughts from the trivial things of this world and brings us closer to the gentle, guiding hand of our Maker as we heed the “still small voice” of the Holy Ghost (see 1 Kgs. 19:12; 1 Ne. 17:45; D&C 85:6). In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord spoke to David Whitmer: “Your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of . . . your Maker . . ; you have not given heed unto my Spirit” (D&C30:2).
Pondering the things of the Lord – His word, His teachings, His commandments, His life, His love, the gifts He has given us, His Atonement for us – brings about a tremendous feeling of gratitude for our Savior and for the life and blessings He has given us. — Elder Robert D. Hales, ‘Waiting Upon the Lord,’ Ensign, October 2011
For the gospel to be written in your heart, you need to know what it is and grow to understand it more fully, . . . sometimes reading a few verses, stopping to ponder them, carefully reading the verses again, and as you think about what they mean, praying for understanding, asking questions in your mind, waiting for spiritual impressions, and writing down the impressions and insights that come so you can remember and learn more. Studying in this way, you may not read a lot of chapters or verses in a half hour, but you will be giving place in your heart for the word of God, and He will be speaking to you. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 11
Jesus spoke of TEMPLES and the people thought he spoke of temples. (John 2:18 -21) He spoke of BREAD and the people thought he spoke of bread. (John 6:30-58) And so on. And these were not merely parables in the allegorical sense of multiple applications of a single saying. They were in every case an invitation to “lift up your eyes,” to see “heavenly things” – specifically to see and understand Him. But they are also repeated manifestations of his willingness to meet people on their own terms, however limited that understanding, and there lead them on to higher ground. Ultimately, if they would, it would lead them beyond time and space altogether, into eternity. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lift Up Your Eyes,” Ensign, July 1983, p. 9
By pondering, we give the Spirit an opportunity to impress and direct. Pondering is a powerful link between the heart and the mind. As we read the scriptures, our hearts and minds are touched. If we use the gift to ponder, we can take these eternal truths and realize how we can incorporate them into our daily actions.
Today, millions, at President Benson’s encouragement, are reading the Book of Mormon, some for the first time, others as a regular habit. We must remind all that the fruits of this great book are the most beneficial when we ponder as we read.
Pondering is a progressive mental pursuit. It is a great gift to those who have learned to use it. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Conference Report, November 1987