The Power To Perceive Thoughts
Jesus Christ, our ultimate exemplar in all things, was known many times during His mortal ministry to have the power to read minds—or perceive the thoughts of others. With spiritual and energetic awareness unmatched by any other person to live on this earth, He used this telepathic ability in impressive fashion.
When the scribes and pharisees reasoned concerning his “blasphemy” in forgiving the paralytic’s sins, He “perceived their thoughts” and powerfully answered with conviction “Does it require more power to forgive sins than to make the sick rise up and walk?” (JST Luke 5:22-23) When asked whether it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar, “Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” (Matt 22:17-18) After multiplying the five barley loaves and two fishes, He “perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king” and then departed to be alone. (John 6:13-15)
When accused of casting out devils through Beelzebub “he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.” (Luke 1115-17) When the scribes and pharisees watched him to see whether he would heal on the sabbath day that they might accuse him “he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.” (Luke 6:7) When His disciples were confused over the difficulty for rich men to be saved, “Jesus beheld their thoughts and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible. (Matt 19:26)
In His ministry among the Nephites, we find the same gift being demonstrated by the Lord. After a long sermon, Jesus “perceived that there were some among them who marveled, and wondered what he would concerning the law of Moses,” He taught them it had been fulfilled in Him. (3Nephi 15:2-4) When He later perceived that they were “weak” and could not “understand all [His] words” He invited them to go home and ponder the things He had said, then went to leave to show himself to the lost tribes of Israel. Before departing “he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude” and perceived that they wanted Him “to tarry a little longer with them.” He then was filled with compassion and healed their sick and afflicted. (3Nephi 17:2-7)
From His example, we learn many benefits of being able to use this gift. Perceiving the thoughts of others can fill us with compassion, it can prevent deception or being caught in one’s words. Reading others’ thoughts can enable us to know exactly what to say and how to say it. Through this gift we can teach and minister according to the needs and questions of those in front of us. It capacitates us to discern the faith of others that we might know when a miracle can be performed.
This capacity of perceiving the thoughts and intents of others is something He blesses His servants who are engaged in His work with as well. When questioned by those in the land of Ammonihah “that thereby they might make him cross his words” Amulek knew of their designs, and “perceived their thoughts.” (Alma 10:17) In front of a confused King Lamoni, “Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king.” (Alma 18:16)
How does this work? Thoughts are things, they are literal energetic vibrations being sent out from the minds and hearts of all people traveling through the energetic or spiritual matrix that is the light of Christ, which is in all things and through all things. Remember the light of Christ is an energetic channel that fills the immensity of space and enables divine energy, power, and influence to be in all things, through all things, and round about all things. This channel allows thoughts to travel from one person to another, and if one is in tune, he or she can pick up on these vibrations. Interestingly enough, almost a majority of the thoughts we think during the day are coming from outward influences and we identify with them as if they are our own.
Because of His purity and power, the Savior could tune in perfectly to these vibrations at any time which empowered Him to perceive the thoughts and intents of others. It is important, however, to remember that even He worked to arrive at His present state, that He “received not of the fulness at first, but received grace for grace.” (D&C 93:12) We must be patient with ourselves as we seek to grow in our spiritual capacity with His help, and we must ensure that our hearts are pure, and our motives righteous.
Juliet Ashwood in her book 40 Days to a More Spiritual Me explains:
“Communication in the Spirit world is done by telepathy, and the sensing of energy is very advanced. . . The ability to be aware of the thoughts of others through awareness, focus, and practice can be developed while in the physical world as well. We won’t have the same proficiency as in the spiritual dimension, but awareness, practice of discernment, and knowing can be developed now.”
“Telepathy is an energy transfer of thought from one person to another. Telepathic messages are received emotionally and/or mentally. People are literally walking broadcast stations, constantly emitting and sending telepathic messages. There are energy cords like threads of energy connecting people who know each other together.” (p. 113)
In a book called Alive in Christ we read:
“You have the innate capability to be much more aware of what is going on even beyond what your mind and physical senses normally perceive. . . You certainly can begin to be more aware of the first energy transmissions of what is going on with the individuals you deal with–the person you are interfacing with or are thinking about at that moment. It is possible to have your mind think about particular individuals, someone that you love and care about, and, as you take a few moments just to pause, you can begin to sense what is going on in them and their lives.”
“At first, your awareness may not hold any detail, though somethings some very vivid thoughts will come to your mind about their situation. When you do this for the purpose of good and to love and support another person, your ability will increase. . . This opens up observing and noticing the energy and impressions rather than trying to figure things out from what you might already know of conditions and situations in another person’s life. This ability to be able to tune in to other people must be based on a desire to add goodness to their lives. It cannot hold any purpose to manipulate, interfere, or control.”
“Being aware of someone else and picking up that subtle knowing about them helps you to attune to receiving Divine inspiration, guidance, and revelation for yourself, as well as helping you to tune into other people to be able to best support and interface with them.” (p. 106-107)
Imagine how much more effective we could be in our ministering to the needs of others if we could discern their thoughts! Imagine being in a conversation with someone and perceiving the deep underlying fears and insecurities behind what they are saying; wouldn’t you be so much more capacitated to help them? Imagine simply thinking of a spouse, friend, family member, or co-worker and receiving a download of what is taking place in their life, what they are feeling, and then receiving instruction from the Lord with exactly how to help. I testify to you that this is possible, we can indeed grow to become like Jesus Christ in our ability to perceive the thoughts of others!
Suggestions for Application:
Begin fasting and praying for the ability to tune into the thoughts of others.
Purify your heart and mind and pray to be filled with charity for others so that you can use this gift appropriately.
Practice identifying the subtle vibrations, impressions, and feelings coming to you from others.
Practice quieting your own mental chatter and identifying what thoughts are coming from other sources.