Joseph Smith Seer Stones: Doctrine and Covenants 6-9 Insights (Part 5)

Dr. Tyler Griffin

Dr. Tyler Griffin

Source Expert

Dr. Tyler Griffin’s career in education started with six years teaching seminary in Brigham City. He then spent seven years instructing at the Logan LDS Institute and helped launch the online seminary program. Currently, he’s a professor at BYU with over ten years of experience. Dr. Griffin co-founded the BYU Virtual Scriptures Group and holds degrees in Electrical Engineering, Instructional Technology (Master’s and PhD). He has authored and co-authored several religious books.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

Now, some of you may go to Church, or listen to people in lessons or in talks, talking about big revelatory experiences, and miraculous things that happen; like the translation of the book of mormon through seer stones. And some of you might sit there and, in your mind, think, I don’t know how to receive revelation, I guess. Or, I’m not worthy to receive revelation, because I don’t get that kind of direct, clear answer, when in fact, brothers and sisters, the promise in the scriptures is so sure, and it’s repeated all over the place. “Ask, and [you] shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”.

It will probably, for many of you, simply come in basic ways. You won’t be performing grand, miraculous things. You might be doing the dishes when a thought just comes across your mind: I should do this, or I should try this with my child. Or, I should help my neighbor in that way. And you don’t stand up in sacrament meeting and say, let me tell you about a grand, miraculous event that happened. You just quietly go and do what the Lord Jesus Christ invited you to do, through the gift and power of revelation here, through the Holy Ghost coming to “your mind and in your heart…” Other times, you’ll just feel a quiet, forgiving of somebody, or a letting go of tension, or frustration, or anger. And you’ll think, I should let that one go; I should be kinder to that person. And we don’t often see that as this huge miracle, when in reality, God’s doing exactly what he promised us he would do. He’s going to speak to us “in [our] mind and in [our] heart,” using our thoughts and our feelings.

Now, I get it, there will be occasions where you get mountain-peak type of revelation, where the light shines so brightly, the voice is speaking clearly for a specific need, but brothers and sisters, those are going to be the exception for most of us. And in some cases, some may never get those kinds of experiences, and it’s okay. It’s okay. Part of our problem is, once again, we suffer from comparisons. We sit there and think, my revelation isn’t as good as hers, or isn’t as good as theirs, when God isn’t in his heavens comparing us.

I love this verse, “mind” and “heart”. Don’t just rely on one or the other, rely on both. Oh, and by the way, might I just add, if you are really logical-oriented person, God’s probably going to use that strength to help you, but don’t be shocked if, on occasion, he pushes you out of that comfort zone and puts you in situations that force you to rely on more of the “heart” aspect of revelation, and vice versa, like the translation of the book of mormon through the seer stones. If you’re a more feeling/emotion — if you have high emotional intelligence, then don’t be surprised if, occasionally, God pushes you into the unknown realm of having to figure out how to logic and reason through things a little more than maybe you might be comfortable with. God’s going to keep stretching us and growing us through this process.

Look at verse 3: “Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.” In other words, Moses didn’t have everything just open up for him. It was the spirit of revelation that caused this idea to come to fruition, to save the entire house of Israel in that event. And, brothers and sisters, God will give you revelation, if you seek it, to open up the Red Seas in your family, and in your circle of influence, to bring salvation to the world through “small and simple things” that start in our mind and our heart, that result in great things being brought to pass.

Notice verse 10: “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith.” It doesn’t do any good to go to God like Laman and Lemuel. When Nephi came down off the mountain, having had his incredible vision, he sees Laman and Lemuel, who are arguing with each other about what their father had taught. And then they turn to him and start asking him, Do you know what this means? And you notice what Nephi’s first question was? “Have ye inquired of the Lord?”. And then the response is, “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us”. There’s no faith in that answer. They’re saying, Nephi, get real. Why would we ask God? God doesn’t talk to us about these kinds of things. We would never have asked him about this. Well, then they’re never going to get an answer from God because they have no faith that God’s going to give them an answer. Brothers and sisters, if you forget everything that I’ve said, or that we’ve said today, don’t forget this: if you will go to God with sincerity of heart, with faith in Christ, with real intent, being willing to do whatever it is that he asks you to do, his promise is sure, he will give you an answer. He doesn’t promise that that answer will come when you’re on your knees, or while you’re in the moment of prayer. From my experience, most of the time, it doesn’t come that way. Elder Richard G. Scott also said that most answers to prayer don’t come while we’re on our knees. They come when we’re up, acting to the best of our ability, using our mind and our heart, to do, in faith, what we feel like the Lord wants us to do, and then the revelation flows, and sometimes in really simple ways, and sometimes in profound ways.

Now, section 9. Oliver Cowdery had wanted to translate with the seer stones. And so, he was so excited, and he started this process, and it didn’t turn out well. It didn’t end well. He wasn’t able to complete it. And he has some questions here, and so the Lord answers those questions in section 9. Let’s start in verse 3: “Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time.” Brothers and sisters, don’t be shocked when, at times, what you want doesn’t line up with what God wants for you. Oliver desperately was comparing with Joseph, saying I want to do what he’s doing. I want his job too.

 And so, for a short little segment there, he was able to do it, and then it didn’t last, and he’s frustrated.

And so, what happens? Verse 4: “Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph.” Some of our biggest frustrations in life come when we don’t get what we want, but if we will swallow our will in the will of God, then we’ll find true happiness. And the role Oliver was going to be called to fill was not as translator, but as scribe, in this case.

Verse 6: “Do not murmur, my son…” Keep in mind, this is Jesus speaking to Oliver, and he’s referring to him as “my son”. I love this familial feel. It’s not ‘my brother’, it’s “my son”. 

Jesus is adopting us to be his children, his sons and his daughters, as is described beautifully in the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah chapter 5 verse 7, and Ether chapter 3 verse 14, just to name a few. And, by the way, Jesus knows something about being an adopted son. He knows about taking people to become your own, and raising them as your own, and that’s what he’s doing with Joseph, and Oliver, and with all of us. He is shaping us through experience, for example, the translation of the book of mormon through seer stones

So, notice verse 6: “Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.” 

And then he tells them, you didn’t understand. You got something wrong here. Oliver, and I’m not condemning you for that. I’m going to shape you; you’re going to learn from this. It’s only a failure if you don’t grow, and progress, and learn from it.

By Dr. Tyler Griffin, Source Expert

Dr. Tyler Griffin embarked on his professional journey by teaching seminary courses for a period of six years in Brigham City, Utah. Following that, he dedicated the subsequent seven years to instructing at the Logan LDS Institute, located adjacent to Utah State University. Alongside his participation in the Seminary Preservice program, he spearheaded and supervised the implementation of the online seminary program. Dr. Griffin has been an educator at BYU for well over a decade and holds a co-founding position within the BYU Virtual Scriptures Group. His undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering, while both his master’s and doctorate degrees center around Instructional Technology. Dr. Griffin is the exclusive author of “When Heaven Appears Distant” co-author of “Come Unto Me: Illuminating the Savior’s Life, Mission, Parables, and Miracles” and co-editor of “Millions Shall Rediscover Brother Joseph.”

Fact Checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and host of the Gospel Learning Youtube channel. His channel has garnered over 41,000 subscribers and accumulated over 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince also created the Gospel Learning App, a reliable platform where individuals seeking truth can access trustworthy answers to religious questions from top educators worldwide.

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