Searching for Truth: Restoration vs. Apostasy
Search for Truth
“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 they 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” (Alma 9:3 NC).
The path requires motion. We remain in motion all the time. There is no stasis, no holding a position. We advance (that is, experience restoration) or we recede (that is, experience apostasy). There is no avoiding movement. The mysteries of God are hidden, but simple, truths. They set a man’s bones on fire. To pay heed to God requires that we not harden our hearts. When we have hard hearts, we know less. Even what we once knew can be lost. Eventually, we know nothing of God’s mysteries, and we are left alone, without God in the world.
“Woe be unto him that crieth, All is well. Yea, woe be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men and denieth the power of God and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Yea, woe be unto him that saith, We have received and we need no more. And in fine, woe unto all those who tremble and are angry because of the truth of God. For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness, and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth, lest he shall fall. Woe be unto him that shall say, We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God for we have enough” (2 Nephi 12:5-6 NC).
This thought, like the one before, reminds us that we must seek the constant nourishment of our minds and souls to be in God’s path. When God is silent, then you are cut off from truth. Those God can save are those who will listen for His voice. No matter how unlikely the source from which God’s voice comes, if it is God’s word, it’s to be prized. The hallmark reaction from those disinterested in what God is saying is their angry rejection and refusal to acknowledge more. When you are content, you perish. When you hunger and thirst, you live. Living organisms require constant additional nourishment. That’s how you know they’re alive.
“And because that I have spoken one word, ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another, for my work is not yet finished, neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words, neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written” (2 Nephi 12:10 NC).
Last year I delivered a talk at the Sunstone Symposium titled “Other Sheep Indeed.” In it I invited others with sacred writings to come and bring them. That invitation was first offered by Joseph Smith in 1840. He anticipated a temple to be built in Nauvoo, to which records would be brought from all over the world: “bring every thing you can bring and build the house of God and we will have a tremendous City which shall reverberate afar… then comes all the ancient records dig them up… where the Saints g[ather] is Zion.” Not all of God’s words are in the Bible. God has spoken to every nation (meaning every religious division of people). Truth is everywhere, among all people. If we love God and truth we will want to search for it. We will not be content to leave it unexplored and undiscovered. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after more righteousness”(see 3 Nephi 5:10 NC). Blessed are those who are “followers of righteousness, desiring to possess great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness and to possess greater knowledge”(see Abraham 1:1 TC). And blessed are those who do not suppose the scriptures contain all God’s words and They (the Gods) have not provided more. One of the world’s greatest religious epistles was composed in Liberty Jail. It includes the following passage:
“[T]he things of God are of deep import, and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Your mind, O man, if you will lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost Heavens, and search into and contemplate the lowest considerations of the darkest abyss, and expand upon the broad considerations of Eternal expanse. You must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God than the vain imagination of the human heart? None but fools will trifle with the souls of men. How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations: too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, according to the purposes of his will from before the foundation of the world…” (Teachings and Commandments 138:18-19).
This search into the highest heaven is the search to find holiness. Joseph Smith wanted us to ascend, like the ancients, into that realm of light and truth. How can any of us be content to listen to the institutional fare? It is incapable of sustaining spiritual life. Joseph’s ideas and teachings are as far above those teachings of today as the heavens are above the earth. The restoration once sought to find what God declared as “His way” to Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 20:2 OC). How the restoration has fallen! It is little wonder so many now hold Mormonism in contempt. It has become unnecessarily contemptible when it ought to be inspiring.
Christ’s gospel includes things you may not yet understand. The Apostle Paul referred to hidden truths as “unspeakable” because they are not yet understood. They are true, but remain “mysteries” for those who are not shown them by God. One servant of God may know but be forbidden from revealing a matter, while another is later commanded to reveal it. Therefore, because you have a Bible you should not assume it contains all of God’s words or that He has not revealed more or will not reveal more. An infinite and eternal God has spoken many things, and will yet reveal more things.
Some truths are already in scripture, but hidden from view by God’s decree. Christian scriptures declare “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”