Monday, November 8, 2010

Seeking Truth

One of the universal doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is that God is the source of all truth. God is omniscient, and knows the beginning from the end. As a young 14 year old boy, Joseph Smith questioned which church he should join. As he was reading in the Bible, he came across this important scripture in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." What a great promise! God will liberally give us truth!

As I pondered that scripture again yesterday, the phrase "and upbraideth not" stuck out to me. I decided to look up the word "upbraid" in the dictionary. This is the definition that I found: "to find fault with or reproach severely; censure". This scripture suddenly took on new meaning for me. I know people of different religions who believe that it is offensive to God for them to ask if the Book of Mormon is true. They fear that He will be angry with them. But clearly, this scripture tells us that God wants to give us truth LIBERALLY! He wants us to ask! He will not punish us for seeking to know what is true, and what isn't. He loves us and wants us to seek out truth.

When God gives us an answer, how will we be able to discern if the thing we have prayed about is true? In latter-day scripture we get this guidance: "Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart." (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2) What I like about this description is that it gives us two different ways to recognize the Spirit when he speaks to us. First we will feel "sure" about the thing, and it will make sense to us in our mind. Secondly, we will have a feeling in our heart. Sometimes this feeling can be what is described as a "burning in the bosom". These two feelings together create a surety that the thing we have asked about is true. It is important to note that God expects us to do our homework first. How can we ask about something we do not understand? We have this further instruction in the Doctrine and Covenants: "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. 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; ...." (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8,9)

What a great blessing we have that God has blessed us with the ability to gain and recognize truth! He will not "upbraid" those who seek truth, but delights to bless them with knowledge. I am thankful for this gift in my life!

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