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Thursday, December 18, 2014

02. Are You Truly Seeking Higher Truths?

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the second examining the phrase "keepeth my commandments".

Realizing the fulfillment of D&C 93:1 hinges on our desire and ability to receive greater and greater truths from God.

Indeed, receiving truth is, in essence, receiving Christ.

Let's Say You Don't Want To Seek After Higher Truths

It's sad but true: There are many good people who have no desire whatsoever to seek higher truths, or the mysteries of God. They've hardened their hearts to the concept. Regarding such a state, the Book of Mormon tells us that
"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. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell." (Alma 12:9-11)
Now, if you're content with just receiving "the lesser portion of the word" of God, then it's simple: God says you have a hardened heart. How did this happen? Because you've chosen to follow Satan, who "was a liar from the beginning" (D&C 93:25) and seeks always to "turn...hearts away from the truth" (D&C 78:10), partly by enticing people to become liars and deceivers themselves (D&C 10:25). Your fate? Equally simple: You'll know nothing concerning God's mysteries. You'll be taken captive by the devil. You'll be led by Satan's will down to destruction, and you'll know all about the chains of hell.

As the Prophet Joseph Smith elaborated:
“When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.” (History of the Church, 5:555; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Aug. 27, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards and William Clayton
“Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. Woe unto you priests and divines who preach that knowledge is not necessary unto life and salvation. Take away Apostles, etc., take away knowledge, and you will find yourselves worthy of the damnation of hell. Knowledge is revelation. Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.” (Quoted by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, reporting a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 21, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Notebook, Church Archives; emphasis mine)

Passively Seeking Greater Truths

Now here's an interesting question: What if you have a "testimony of Jesus", yet aren't valiant ("possessing or showing courage or determination") with it?

We learn in D&C 76:79 that those who eventually obtain Terrestrial status
"...are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God."
Just being a good person (D&C 76:75), yet having a passive awareness of facts, doesn't mean you're seeking truth or that you have knowledge. Being valiant means that you are being active with the truths and knowledge you have already received. This is because
"For us, knowledge is understood to be an active, motivating force rather than simply a passive awareness of facts. Indeed, certain truths must be understood and applied because they are essential for salvation and eternal life (see John 17:3; 1 John 4:7–8). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that 'a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity' (History of the Church, 4:588; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Apr. 10, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff). His words build on the Savior’s commandment: 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32)." (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf,
Now, if you ask me, being "brought into captivity" and experiencing "the chains of hell" sound a lot alike.

Harsh? Perhaps. But when it comes to seeking after greater truths, you can neither be hot nor cold:
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)

Let's Say You Do Want To Seek After Higher Truths

Brother Joseph was a passionate champion of the truth. He said that
"One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may." (Joseph Smith, Jr, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199) 
"Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge." (Joseph Smith, Jr, TPJS, p. 357; emphasis mine)
There it is, plain as day! Truth and knowledge are not only symbiotic, they're also salvific. When we embrace truth and knowledge, we are saved.

If you seek to know -- and receive -- the mysteries of God (or, you do not harden your heart), and you "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", you'll be given the greater portion of the word, until you'll know the mysteries of God "in full."

Wow! Did you read that?

Seek the mysteries! Be responsible with what you've received! Then keep seeking! The result? You'll eventually know them "in full"!

(And lest you believe that's a blessing that's reserved for the faithful in the afterlife, please note that neither Alma 12:9-11 nor D&C 93:1 say anything about such blessings being reserved until after we die.)

Knowing the mysteries of God "in full"..."see my face and know that I am"...

Two doctrines -- two truths -- that co-exist very nicely next to each other.

A Process Emerges

If we can come to "know the truth of all things" by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:5), then isn't it natural to conclude that we can come to a first-hand knowledge of Jesus Christ the same way?

How did Christ obtain a fulness of truth? Was He just born with it? No.
"And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first." (D&C 93:13-14).
If Jesus Christ is the way, then the processes He went through should be our way, too. If He went from grace to grace, then so should we.

And how is THIS done?

In my next post, we'll discuss the process of ascension, 
where we continually receive grace to grace until we receive the fulness.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Awesome as usual! I really look forward to your posts. Fascinating that in my interaction with Heavenly Father lately, I ask Him a question and he often answers with a question.