This is part two of my writings on knowledge and the mysteries of God. You can read the first part here. Ok, moving on. verse 10. It says that if you don’t harden your heart, you receive the greater portion of the word until yo know the mysteries of God in full. Isn’t that a wonderful promise? I think, though, there is a pace involved. People receive that “greater portion” at different speeds. Just like people learn to talk, walk, write, go to the bathroom etc…at different speeds. I think a large part of it though is up to you. The faster you are ready, the faster God will reveal things to you. That means if you aren’t looking to know, you aren’t going to find or learn. You don’t need to be looking for visions or angelic visits at first, or even later because tat is the exception rather than the rule. usually, gospel insight comes when you are pondering about the gospel topics. Therefore, if you aren’t thinking about it, you can’t expect anything. God wants you to try and obtain it as much as possible on your own, then he’ll bless your efforts.
Always Try to Learn
The first cross reference for this verse is 2 Nephi 28:27. It says woe unto the person who says we have enough and don’t need more. I have met a lot of people on my mission who have said that. We have Jesus in our home already! We already have the Bible! We already know everything, go find someone who isn’t Christian! This brings me to my next thought, the speed of progression. Obviously, people that say these things are limiting themselves by blocking themselves from the truth. As it’s been said, you are only saved as fast as you gain knowledge. These people are rejecting the most important type of knowledge–spiritual.
I think we as members also stunt our growth sometimes. We tell ourselves that the standard works are enough. That they contain all truth. It is true, they do contain the gospel in its fullness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn gospel truths from other sources. Of course, using the spirit is important and comparing truths to scriptures is a good check to ensure you don’t get jumbled up. Another type of limiting is when people accept that they know the gospel and that there is no sense in learning about those concepts more fully. Not necessarily “deep doctrine” but that is a part. Just gaining a more in-depth understanding based on a study of the standard works and other church publications. They just read and don’t think too much about the stuff they are reading unless inspiration blasts them. It’s a passive learning. Don’t be like that. Actively learn the gospel and things will go faster and it will be a lot more fun.
Joseph Smith Ability to Learn
Kind of going along with that, I think it says something about Joseph Smith’s character that he had Moroni, Heavenly Father, Christ, Adam, and many others appear to him. Not to mention all the revelation he received. He must have thought about things a lot and asked good questions. One of my mission companions told me a story of a man who, while on his mission, was reading Isaiah in depth and was fasting and praying to have the same visions as Isaiah. He said the answer finally came clearly and distinctively, “You don’t know what you are asking for. You aren’t ready to be shown it.” That’s a paraphrase. Think of the prophets who have seen it all and I think it’s clear that a great deal of mental, spiritual, and even physical maturity and stamina are required. This goes back to something I’ve written about before on my belief that spiritual experiences drain your energy. You think of Joseph Smith after the first vision, Moses after his visions and others. I think you have to be able to handle it if you are going to be having visions. I think of the comment Joseph Smith made about Sidney Rigdon after seeing the vision of D&C 76. Sidney was apparently deathly pale during the entire thing but Joseph was normal. Afterward, upon the other elders’ remarks of Sidney, Joseph said, “Sidney is not used to these things as I am.”
The Lesser Portion of the Word
Moving on. Look at D&C 93:39. This is a footnote for 10b, the lesser portion of the word. The cross reference says that the wicked on taketh away light and truth from you through disobedience. In reality, there are no neutral choices in life. Every choice you make either brings you closer or further away from Christ. Every choice will, to some degree or another, bring you light and truth, or take it away. Whether you believe it or not. That is a scary thought because I make a lot of decisions in one day. And while I would say most aren’t inherently evil, I don’t ever ask myself if my current choice is giving me light and truth or taking away from it. I think that could be something I try to do from now on.
The Greater Portion of the Word
Now let’s talk about the greater portion of the word. Look at Daniel 2:21. This is Daniel praising God. He says that he changeth the times and seasons, setteth up and removeth kings, gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge unto the understanding. From this verse, I learned that God is in control. God owns everything. He is the Master. If someone is gaining wisdom, it is because of God. God grants knowledge unto the understanding. Here is the secret formula. If you want to be wise, go to God. If you want knowledge, go to God. He is the source and deliverer of all knowledge and wisdom. My guess is that he’ll want you to do your best to be wise and obtain knowledge. And through doing that, you will gain said attributes far beyond your normal capacity had you done it without the aid of divine providence.
I had another great cross reference to go along with this, 2 Nephi 28:30. I’ll copy it in here because it is so good.
“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say we have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”
I like how both of these scriptures talk about wisdom. How do you get wisdom? Listen to the Lord. He’s dealing out wisdom a little bit at a time and if you aren’t paying attention, your basket is going to be empty. You will have nothing. Maybe that is why old people are wise. They have been on the earth longer and have had more opportunities to learn line upon line, precept upon precept. It’s a wonderful thought that an all-loving, all-powerful God is willing to help us become like him. All we have to do is listen.
Light as Knowledge
I’m just going to keep going on with these cross references. There is so much good stuff! Go now to D&C 50:24. That which is of God is light. If you keep receiving light, your knowledge will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day. Or, in other words, until you know all. So we have light, truth, knowledge, wisdom as all things God is willing to give us till we are like him. All we have to do is not limit ourselves through disobedience. What a generous deal!
Here’s a thought. If light is truth, wisdom, knowledge etc..And since God is maxed out in all these areas, is that why God is so bright? Is that why his glory is so awesome? Maybe there is a literalness to this D&C scripture. Don’t people sometimes describe church members as “brighter, happier, something different?” Maybe that’s because of our light. If that’s true it brings a new dimension to the verse in Matthew that says we should let our light shine before men. We are, after all, beings of light. People may not see that light emanating from our bodies (not yet) but the influence of light can still be felt. And I think that is what affects people and what they notice.
Darkness is a lack of Knowledge
Going along with that, the opposite is true. Satan is a being of darkness. He radiates dark. And should people shun away the light in them, it’s replaced with darkness. Think of the scariest people you’ve seen, did they seem to have a dark countenance about them? For me, yes. Satan can imitate a being of light, but even then, he can’t completely hide who he really is–a being of darkness. Despite trying to appear to some as an angel of light, a dark feeling will permeate.
As I was saying earlier, life is just a matter of receiving and taking away truth that brings us closer or further away from God. Disobedience causes truth to be lost and results in estrangement from God over time. Obedience brings light and truth and allows you to become familiar with God. Life is also a matter of light and darkness. Are you adding to the light you already have and becoming more like God every day? Or are you subtracting from your light and becoming a being a darkness?
Choices Determine Destiny
I’m a believer in truth being available in all sources. Cross reference the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. This game allows you to pick your answers to conversations as well as decisions. Every decision will take you closer to the Dark Side of the Force or the Light Side. For example, if you consistently go into conversations insulting and killing, you move towards the dark side, eventually becoming a Sith lord. Your countenance changes and certain things become available or not based on who you are. Same goes for the Light Side. As you choose the right, you move towards a more powerful Light Side, eventually allowing you to become a Jedi Knight. Your countenance is more cheerful and again, you are able to achieve certain things based on who you become. I guess you could say this life is all about becoming a Jedi or Sith. I’ve always liked Jedi more, especially Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is wise and kind.
Hardening Your Heart
Last part, verse 11. This one talks about what happens when you harden your heart. Your knowledge lessens and lessens until you know nothing concerning the mysteries of God. Once that happens, they are led by the devil down to destruction because there is nothing holding them back from jalan-jalaning (walking in Malay) to neraka (hell in Malay). I’ve written about this before, even talked about it in a sacrament. When members of the church stop coming to church and doing their duties, their knowledge noticeably decreases. I’ve visited less active members of the church who don’t know who Joseph Smith was, or what the Book of Mormon is. It’s as if a blanket has been tossed over all they before. It’s sad. Oftentimes they don’t want to remove it either.
Cross reference time! The first one goes to Matthew 25:29. I’ll copy it in since I found something really cool!
“For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”
Looking at this verse by itself, it seems unfair and hard to understand. If we have something we’ll be given more, if we don’t, it will be taken away. What if you don’t have “it in the first place? This is where the rest of the chapter comes into play. The first part of Matthew 25 (I’m in the King James Version now) is the parable of the talents. I once gave a training on this parable during a district meeting so I won’t go into a lot of details. I ought to have that training somewhere. Anyway, this verse is referring to the servant who was unprofitable. When given a talent, he did nothing with it. When given the opportunity and time to grow, he didn’t. At the end, he had nothing to show for it. He didn’t try and fail–that’s another story. He didn’t try at all. I suppose you could re-write the verse like this:
“For unto every one that hath (something to show for their labors) shall be gien (more), and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not (anything to show from his labors) shall be taken away even that which he hath (started with).”
At least, that is how I’m reading it in this context. Don’t get mad at me, I’m not trying to change scripture, that’s why I put my thoughts in parenthesis. I’m defending the idea that if you go out and work to the best of your ability, and come back empty handed, you still have something to show for it. You’ve shown the Lord diligence. You’ve demonstrated trust that the Lord can know you will act accordingly even if the prospects seem dismal at first.
The Eternal Nature of Knowledge
This is all detouring from what I really wanted to talk about in this verse. I don’t know how many times I’ve read this verse but it is only now that I caught it. It’s the first two lines and a half: “For unto every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance.” Yes! The prophetic tense! When the past, present, and future tense are all used to demonstrate the eternal continuity of the idea being presented.
- Past: That hath
- Present: Shall be given (has)
- Future: Shall have
The idea being related here is that of having. Having talents and eternally gaining them. Taking the principle and scripture and applying it back to the Book of Mormon, we have:
“Everyone that hath (knowledge), shall be given knowledge, and he shall have an abundance (of knowledge).”
That is knowledge of the mysteries of God. All we have to do to qualify ourselves is to try to improve our “talents”. Try to improve our knowledge, or whatever we are working on. And like the verse in Alma says, we will continue to progress till we know the mysteries of God in full.