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

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

Look at verse 8: “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” So, you’ll notice the feeling implies a little more of the heart, the thinking in your mind, studying it in your mind, in verse 8. Brothers and sisters, here’s the invitation from God: use both your mind and your heart in the revelatory process; like the translation of the book of mormon through seer stones. And if God doesn’t give you an exact answer right away, then study it out. Come up with a plan. Use your intelligence, use your experience. Counsel with wise people. Figure out a best-case scenario that you can come up with, a best solution. Take it to the Lord, and ask him if it’s right, and move forward to the best of your ability, and he will help us to know through feelings.

Verse 9: “But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.” I think we probably need to mention a caution that if we’re not careful, we’ll think that we can never move forward in a decision unless we have a burning, like a fire in our heart just causing us to cry, or causing us to feel tingly all over, and if we don’t get that, then it’s wrong and we’re not receiving revelation.

I can think of a couple of handfuls of situations in my life where I felt an overwhelming sense of the fire of the Holy Ghost in my heart. But those are pretty limited, and those are experiences that are pretty sacred that I don’t share widely. Most of the time, 99.9 percent of the time, revelation for me is gentle feelings of peace, of long-suffering, of patience, of kindness, of love, that verifies to me this is what needs to happen.

Now, I’m not in the process of translating scripture at that time, so it’s not, it doesn’t have to be this pinnacle of revelation like maybe it is in this context for Joseph and Oliver. But I think sometimes you and I might struggle with our expectation level of telling God that our revelation has to be above a certain threshold of feeling and enlightenment, or it doesn’t count as revelation. If, instead, we “be still and know that [he is] God”, and trust that as we move forward, doing the best that we can with our thoughts and our feelings, with all of their attached limitations, then we’re opening the door for God to continue to teach us more, and more, and more of his language of revelation, and we become more fluent in it, and we trust it more, like for joseph with the book of mormon was seer stones and prayer.. We stop less, and say wait, should I really do that? And we act more in faith, more fluently in this communication process with God. Let’s look again at verse 11. Remember, back, a few sections ago, God had said, “fear not”, “fear not”. And then what happened? Oliver actually had fear, and that was partly why he didn’t accomplish what he had hoped for. How many of us experience fear in our lives? Frankly, all of us. It’s a very human thing. What God is saying is: act, choose, move forward. When we have fear, we actually stop ourselves from acting. And God is telling us, have faith, have courage, keep the commandments. Don’t wait to be commanded in all things, you have the commandments, move forward in faith, and it says, here in verse 11, “Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now;”.

So, if you do have a righteous desire, don’t be afraid of declaring that. You don’t have to say it publicly, but being clear to yourself of what you desire, and seeking, and searching, and God will actually reveal your life to you as you act. If you wait for revelation in all things before you act, that just actually does not feel like a very fun life. We fought a War in Heaven to have agency to act. And the purpose of revelation is to provide us a bit of guard rails. If God had to reveal every last thing that you are supposed to do with your life, that actually destroys your agency. So, fear not. Love God. He is with you, and he will guide you just like he guided Joseph Smith with Seer Stones

Conclusion: Be faithful and pay attention to simple thoughts to recognize revelation. “Be faithful . . . stand fast in the work.” (D&C 9:13-14)

Now, to finish, there may be some, either in your family, or your circle of influence, or maybe you, who have experienced this, where you feel like you’re getting weary. You’re tired of trying to move forward on the covenant path, or live the gospel of Jesus Christ, keep the commandments, do all the things that are expected of you as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And part of the struggle might be because you feel like God isn’t speaking to you; you’re not receiving revelation, and you don’t know how much longer you can hold on. Notice what he says here. Verse 13: “Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation.”

Brothers and sisters, if you feel like you’re not getting revelation, can I just recommend that you spend less time looking on the internet for answers to life’s biggest questions, and the decisions that you’re making, and spend more time immersed in the scriptures, in heartfelt prayer, in the words of living prophets, looking for guidance, and direction, and answers? And don’t assume that God is going to send angels, or give you big, burning feelings in your heart in order for it to be true, but pay attention to the simple thoughts, to the simple feelings, the urges that come over time. For some, they come early. For some, they come late. But you’ll notice the scriptures are filled with examples of people who go to God with questions, and they don’t instantaneously get an answer. There is usually a trial of faith; Like Joseph had with the translation of the book of mormon through seer stones. Sometimes there’s an instant answer, but usually there’s a trial of faith. Anybody can be good standing on a mountain peak of revelation. The true test of my discipleship comes, not when I receive these big, clear, direct answers to questions and prayers, but more when I’m in the valleys, in the dark troughs, filled with shadows and darkness, trying to figure out how to move forward in faith. That’s where my discipleship is stretched. That’s where I grow the most. It’s not up on the mountain peaks. It’s in the struggles of making ends meet, both physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. It’s the struggles of life. That’s why we’re here: to move forward in faith.

Look at verse 14: “Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you…”. I think that invitation is just as strong for you and me, today, as it was for Oliver, and Joseph, and Emma, in their setting back there in that little home in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

Brothers and Sisters, God lives. He is in his heavens, and he is watching over us. He knows what you’re going through, and he could take it away, but he’s not, for most of us. And there’s a good reason for that, because there is growth to come from us working with him through those struggles, and those trials of mortality. Know that you are loved, and we leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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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