If you prefer listening to reading, please check out A Balanced Saint of Mind on YouTube. I post video versions of my blog posts. The video versions are often posted a little later than the written blog posts.
As I begin this post, I plead for personal and internal reverence on the part of the reader. You will only hear what I’m trying to tell you if you are really listening. Pay close attention to what the Spirit is trying to tell you. It may come in the form of my words, but it may come in the form of thoughts or feelings that seem irrelevant, but are actually very applicable to your life. I’m talking about some pretty big principles right now and so I’m going to be sharing some scriptures and quotes in the middle of the post, but I will also include quotes from the General Authorities at the end of this post.
I’m going to jump into Alma 12 and focus on a principle we find there. Alma and Amulek have gathered quite the crowd around them as they argue with people in Ammonihah. Zeezrom, who was originally trying to catch them in their words, is now asking real questions from the two missionaries. He asks about Judgement Day, and this is how Alma starts to respond.
Alma 12:9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
Let’s dissect this verse.
- It is given unto many – many people have been given revelation concerning the mysteries of God. What are the mysteries of God? Is it only the prophet and high leaders of the church who receive these mysteries?
- Laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men – many people are receiving the mysteries of God and they are not allowed to tell you about it
Please hear what these missionaries were telling the people of Ammonihah and are telling us today! It reminds me of the following quote.
Willard Richards was recording some discourses being taught by Joseph Smith and members of the First Presidency in Commerce, Illinois and the following quote was taught: “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…”
What are some of the things that God revealed to Joseph Smith? Visions, dreams, being personally tutored by those on the other side of the veil, being brought back into His presence. Do you really believe that quote? Do you believe in your heart that if you prepare yourself, you can know all things as fast as you are able to bear them? I know these things are true. If you listen carefully to what the General Authorities say, you will hear it. It’s always just in a sentence or two in the middle of their talks.
In Doctrine and Covenants 84 (v20-26), we learn that Moses was trying to sanctify his people so that they could behold the face of God. The Israelites ultimately rejected the option of being brought into His presence by hardening their hearts. In 2 Nephi 32 (v7), we see Nephi lamenting that the Spirit was stopping him from continuing his sermon. Nephi wanted to reveal more, but just like in Alma 12:9, he was only allowed to impart what the people were ready for.
So…we see many instances of prophets being stopped from continuing on their sermons. If it’s not explicitly laid out in the scriptures or in any conference talks, how do we learn this great knowledge? How do we prepare ourselves? How do we find the mysteries of God?
President Nelson has taught that, “You won’t find this process spelled out in any manual. The Holy Ghost will be your personal tutor as you seek to understand what the Lord would have you know and do. This process is neither quick nor easy, but it is spiritually invigorating.”
Now what kind of processes do you imagine when you picture a tutor with a student? A tutor doesn’t usually just give the answer to the student right away. It’s a process with the tutor saying things like, “Try looking at that again” or “Look a little closer here.” Personal tutors tend to tailor their lessons for the individual so it’s very difficult to show you how to find these mysteries; the responsibility is ultimately up to you. However, here are a couple of things that have helped me tremendously.
- The quality of my prayers seem to reflect the quality of my studies. I pray specifically that I will be taught something new. In this last conference, President Nelson taught us to “Ask the Lord to teach you how to open the heavens to bless your life and the lives of those you love and serve.” Say it specifically in your prayers.
- Be willing to let go of preconceived notions of a “good study.” When Come Follow Me first came out, I found myself trying to simply get through everything during the right week. This often translated to “just getting through” in comparison to truly learning. You don’t have to read everything. Perhaps you’ll be guided to read two chapters; perhaps you’ll be guided to read one verse. Both studies have equal potential.
- Speaking of reading just one verse, I had an experience on my mission with an elder who was one of my district leaders. He always taught very powerfully at district meetings, and he would pull these deep concepts out of nowhere. I asked him one day what he was reading to learn all of this stuff, and he replied, “The trick is not to study deep material, but to study simple material deeply.” Give the Spirit time to whisper.
- Ask “why.” You don’t need to ask “why” in a demanding or doubtful way; you can simply ask because you want to learn more. Let me give you an example. Why is modesty equivalent to respect for our bodies? I have not yet received an answer (you can let me know in the comments if you’ve found anything). I know some people might say, “Sharing something with everyone cheapens it.” To that, I answer, why do we share the gospel with everyone? Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe in following the prophet even when I don’t understand, and I’m not upset about modesty. I ask “why” because I want to understand why Heavenly Father thinks it’s important for me to be modest.
- Write. If nothing else, it makes me pause long enough for the Spirit to give me something.
- Start now. It’s a really long process and the sooner you can start, the sooner you start to learn. I echo Doctrine and Covenants 67:13: Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
These tips don’t work for everyone. My husband has ADHD, and writing is definitely NOT his strong suit. This is simply what works for me.
President Nelson has asked us to learn how to Hear Him. The Second Coming is drawing near when Christ will return to the earth and reign personally on the earth. We have been taught that the Millennium can start within our homes now if we let it.
There is no more important task on this earth today than learning how to hear our Heavenly Father so that He can tell us how to build His kingdom. Do not forget that our jobs and hobbies and temporal education and clean homes aren’t even purposes for why we came to earth. Are they responsibilities? Yes. But the purpose of why we came here was to return to Him and become like Him. Please develop the habit of reading the scriptures and learning from the Spirit.
Quotes and scriptures regarding revelation:
2 Nephi 32:7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:20-26
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
David A. Bednar “Ye Must Be Born Again” “This procedure requires time and cannot be hurried, and none of the essential steps can be ignored or avoided.”
President Russell M. Nelson “Doors of Death” “As a special witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that He lives! I also testify that the veil of death is very thin. I know by experiences too sacred to relate that those who have gone before are not strangers to leaders of this Church.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained, “There is no limit to the revelations each member of the Church may receive. It is within the power of every person who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost to see visions, entertain angels, learn the deep and hidden mysteries of the kingdom, and even see the face of God.”
Marion G Romney taught that “We’d have more spiritual experiences if we didn’t talk so much about them.”
Joseph Smith “Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose.”
Neal A Maxwell “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe.”
King Benjamin in Mosiah 2:9 “…I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.”