In her BYU Women’s Conference address, Kate Holbrook quoted Simone Weil, a French philosopher of the early 1900s.

 

All wrong translations, all absurdities in geometry problems, all clumsiness of style, and all faulty connection of ideas in compositions and essays, all such things are due to the fact that thought has seized upon some idea too hastily, and being thus prematurely blocked, is not open to the truth….

 

Kate Holbrook used this quote in the context of receiving revelation. The statement struck my mind and I paused the broadcast to read the words. I found the quote in a book about Simone Weil’s philosophy and works. This next sentence followed.

 

We do not obtain the most precious gifts by going in search of them but by waiting for them. Man cannot discover them by his own powers, and if he set out to seek for them he will find in their place counterfeits of which he will be unable to discern the falsity.

 

I immediately thought of Joseph Smith and his First Vision experience. Joseph went into that grove of trees intending to ask his simple question—”Which church should I join?” By all accounts, he did not seek theophany or even expect it, though he did expect the witness of an answered prayer. This gift came from God to a lad who didn’t necessarily seek this discovery.

 

Discovery in Waiting

 

Sherem book of mormon jacob

In Jacob 7, Sherem denies the Christ. Watch the live-action video here.

Sherem’s story fascinates me. He joined the Nephite story in Jacob 7. I feel like he had to be a covenant church member because he told Jacob he knew and believed the scriptures and at the end, he worried that he’d committed the unpardonable sin.

 

In telling the story, how Sherem was deceived isn’t mentioned. In his recanting, though, Sherem acknowledged his deception.  Did he know he was deceived all along or did he just come to that realization after God cursed him?  We don’t know, but clearly, Sherem recognized he’d be deceived.

 

[H]e spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels.

And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment.

And he said: I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God.

 

Korihor had a similar experience.  The sign Korihor demanded came in the form of physical binding of tongue and ears. Alma 60 records:

 

And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God.

But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.

These traveling counterfeit prophets stood juxtaposed to Alma, Ammon, and Samuel, but they’d received a revelation, too. They internalized their revelatory message and sought to win adherents to their philosophy.

Awaiting the Process

 

Back to Simone Weil’s idea of hasty concluding, I thought about how Joseph saw the Father and the Son and they told him that no church was exactly correct.  But founding the correct church didn’t happen for 10 years! President Nelson testified that the restoration is still progressing 200 years later!

Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son. Because when we seek to hear—truly hear—His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.

The Lord commanded Lehi’s family and Jared’s family into the wilderness, promising them a promised land. This undeviating direction didn’t send them pell mell throughout the land, changing ultimate location or endpoint with conflicting revelatory guidance. Following the Lord’s steady direction  “would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.”  The experience wasn’t quick and they could not have found the gift of the promised land themselves. All of the families found their promised land—after years of following that straight course.

Hastily Conceived Thought

 

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My favorite scripture story is also one about hasty thinking that blocked truth.

The Syrian army surrounded Elisha and his servant, as discovered when the servant woke up on morning and went outside.  The servant immediately felt fear, fear that all was lost.

And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

The servant ‘s hasty fear determined his reality. However, Elijah experienced a radically different reality, a reality that was open to truth.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Again from Simone Weil:

All wrong translations, all absurdities in geometry problems, all clumsiness of style, and all faulty connection of ideas in compositions and essays, all such things are due to the fact that thought has seized upon some idea too hastily, and being thus prematurely blocked, is not open to the truth….

We do not obtain the most precious gifts by going in search of them but by waiting for them. Man cannot discover them by his own powers, and if he set out to seek for them he will find in their place counterfeits of which he will be unable to discern the falsity.

This will continue to be something I ponder in days to come.

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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