And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;
And do thou grant, Holy Father, that all those who shall worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books, and that they may seek learning even by study, and also by faith, as thou hast said; (D&C 109:7,14)
How I long to sit at the feet of the prophet, currently Thomas S. Monson, and simply listen as he teaches and instructs me in all the things of God. This, of course, will never happen. Although I am privileged to listen to him, along with anyone else willing to tune in, twice a year at General Conference.
We are told numerous times in the scriptures to seek God, seek His kingdom, seek His word and President Joseph F. Smith, the sixth called prophet of these modern times and the nephew of Joseph Smith, Jr., said:
If I have learned something through prayer, supplication, and perseverance in seeking to know the truth, and I tell it to you, it will not be knowledge unto you. I can tell you how you can obtain it, but I cannot give it to you. If we receive this knowledge, it must come from the Lord. He can touch your understandings and your spirits, so that you shall comprehend perfectly and not be mistaken. But I cannot do that. You can obtain this knowledge through repentance, humility, and seeking the Lord with full purpose of heart until you find Him. He is not afar off. It is not difficult to approach Him, if we will only do it with a broken and a contrite spirit, as did Nephi of old. (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, October 1899 71)
In essence, knowledge is something we seek after under the guidance and tutelage of the Holy Ghost, whose sole job is to testify of truth. If someone, who has spent their entire life seeking God receives more and more of the mysteries of heaven, it is not his or her job to share that knowledge with the world. But it is, as President Smith indicated, their job to share with us how to gain that knowledge. So this is what I share with you today.
Build a Firm Foundation: In seeking out the kingdom of God and the mysteries of heaven you must first build yourself a firm foundation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To do that you must immerse yourself in the scriptures every day. I recommend the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Within the pages of these books you will find the firmest foundation which can be found. Add to that the words and teachings of both ancient and modern prophets, building upon the foundation, layer upon layer until your foundation is inviolate.
Prayer: Seek the Lord often and fervently in prayer. When studying the Gospel of Jesus Christ it is critical to do so under the power and influence of prayer. Meaning, one thing I always pray for as I began to study each day is the gift of discernment. In other words, I ask for the ability to discern truth from error or outright falsehoods. With this compass, constantly asking for confirmation from the Holy Ghost, I study the words of God conveyed through the writings of His prophets and apostles.
Contrite Spirit and a Broken Heart: When Jesus Christ administered the sacrament to the twelve apostles in the upper room the night before He was arrested He fulfilled the law of Moses. The sacrificial offerings of the unblemished firstlings of every flock were no longer necessary and now the sacrifice God asked of us was a “contrite spirit and a broken heart.” In other words, drop to your knees in sincere and fervent prayer and beg forgiveness of your daily trespasses and sins. Acknowledge that eternal life is not possible without the Atonement Jesus Christ so lovingly endured on our behalf. Acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the path and the way to eternal salvation. Acknowledge that you need Him every minute, hour and day of your life. Confess your worries, troubles and sins and make a covenant with Him that you will eschew the ways of the world which lead you into misery and sorrow and vow to always seek Him in all things. Realize that He wants you to be happy. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to come home and He wants you to want it as bad as He does. This, I think, is what is involved in a broken heart and contrite spirit.
Fasting: Fasting is a tried and true method of bringing you closer to God. Not fasting for days and weeks on end, but for a mere 24 hours. From the end of dinner on one day, to the sitting down of dinner the next day. During that time, kneel often in prayer and beg the Lord to accept the purpose of your fast, whatever it may be, and have the faith to believe He will grant it to you. Do everything I’ve listed above during this 24 hours and you will be startled as you begin to learn.
Faith: Lastly, what I would add to this daily regimen would be faith.
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.
Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God.
Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.
For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
. . .
And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.
And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.
And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil.
And it is by faith that my fathers have obtained the promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles; therefore the Lord hath commanded me, yea, even Jesus Christ.(Ether 12:6-13,18-22)
What more could I add to this set of scriptures? Faith is the evidence of things hoped for but not seen. As you study the word of God, more and more will be given to you. If you do not study, and do so with faith you shall remain in ignorance of the glory which awaits.
Which path will you choose?