Joseph Smith said, "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..." (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150-151).
The Lord will reveal truth to us as we are willing to receive it. When we are not willing, because of closed minds/hearts or thinking we know what we need to know or that we already understand a particular doctrine, then we shut ourselves off to further light and truth.
It is interesting to examine the experiences of people who were open to receiving truth that they hadn't known before. Consider:
- Lehi (He was told about Laman and Lemuel and that they weren't interested in eternal life; He was told that Jerusalem was going to be destroyed and that the church he was apart of was corrupt)
- Alma (He learned that his priesthood was worthless and the church he was apart of was apostate)
- Zeerom (He understood and accepted his state of wickedness)
- King Benjamin's people (They learned that they were all beggars and they needed to change how they saw others in need)
Here are some ideas I have come up with for being open to new truth.
Consider yourself a fool before God
Nephi says that those who consider themselves to be learned will not learn more. What does it mean to be learned? Why is it necessary to consider oneself a fool (or, someone who doesn't know anything) before God? Take a look at 2 Nephi 9:42
42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.Realize that there is higher truth
If we realize that Heavenly Father is still progressing in truth (there are kingdoms higher than the Celestial Kingdom and he has a Urim and Thummin to give him light and truth for these higher kingdoms), then it helps us see that there are different levels of truth. Heavenly Father knows all in his sphere. But, as one ascends, that truth might change or increase.
Begin with a neutral response
It is so easy to get defensive when we don't like what we hear or who we hear it from. But, if we will remain neutral as we listen to what is presented to us, we are in a better position to allow the Spirit to confirm whether it is true or not.
Give heed and diligence
Alma talks about our own heed and diligence to the truth we have already obtained can lead to us being given more. If we aren't going to heed what we have previously been given, the Lord is not going to give us more. Take a look at Alma 12:9-11
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.About a year ago I asked the Lord what I needed to do to be better. He told me and I worked on it a while, but it was hard. Over time, I focused on other things. Later, I asked again what I needed to do to be better. The Lord told me the same thing as he had told me previously. He was not going to tell me anything more about how I can improve until I had done what he previously asked me to do.
10 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.
11 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.
The key to initiate the process of learning truth is to ask questions. Throughout the scriptures there are examples of people who asked a question and received more truth. If you don't have a question currently on your mind that you're asking the Lord, find one or several. There is so much to learn and understand. We will never get to the end of our learning. If we are to be like God, we need to keep progressing and gaining intelligence. There is no other way and the faster we do so, the better our state will be in the next world.
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