On July 29, 2013 I got an email from a friend. He wrote:
“An interesting thought.
‘The trouble with us today, there are too many of us who put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says. I want you to think about that. We shouldn’t be concerned about why he said something, or whether or not it can be made so. Just trust the Lord. We don’t need to try to find the answers or explanations. We shouldn’t try to spend time explaining what the Lord didn’t see fit to explain. We spend useless time when we do this.’”
Where is this quote from? I actually gave this quite some thought.
I found these comments interesting because I’ve always considered it the other way around.
A question mark opens, the period closes. I think we are damned more by putting an exclamation point or period at the end of statements instead of question marks. A period makes it a statement, dot, the end. No more to be said, no more to learn, no more divine wisdom to be gained.
It’s only when we ask questions that we get answers.
Questions are what has brought about some of the most profound revelations of salvation on record. And often the answer to the question asked was only an introduction to much greater revealed wisdom. Some examples: Joseph Smith, first vision, what church to join? (JS History 1:10-20). Nephi, asked to see what his father saw (1 Nephi ch 11 & 12). Brother of Jared, how do I light these vessels? (Ether 2:22-25 and ch 3).
Some say we should not ask deeper questions and delve too deep into the mysteries.
“God has revealed everything necessary for our salvation. We should teach and dwell on the things that have been revealed and avoid delving into so-called mysteries. My counsel to teachers in the Church, whether they instruct in wards and stakes, Church institutions of higher learning, institutes of religion, seminaries, or even as parents in their homes, is to base their teachings on the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets.” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Deep Roots,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 77)
Note – Wirthlin’s counsel “is to base their teachings on the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets.” which, incidentally teach us to search for the mysteries.
Nephi warns us (in 2 Nephi 28:29-30), addressing Latter Day Saints (or “Zion”, see v24), wo to those who “have enough” and need no more. “For unto him that recieveth I will give more and to those who have enough shall be taken away that they have.”
Is modern day “Zion” guilty of feeling like we “have enough”?
Alma tells us that by NOT seeking the mysteries we can be taken captive by the devil and led down to destruction:
“And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:9-11)
I believe the reason Elder Wirthlin counsels us not to delve too deep into the mysteries in our teaching is because no one can teach the mysteries except God. However, it is clear that the scriptures admonish us to seek them.
I’ve rambled too much, but personally, I’ve found asking questions while I read God’s words in scripture has led me to much greater understanding than had I not.
My friend responded that the quote was from Harold B Lee. I looked it up, here’s more of the quote in context:
“Now, there is one thing that I think we should all be mindful of. I was with a group of missionaries in the temple one day. A question was asked by one of the sisters about the Word of Wisdom, concerning the promise made that if one would keep the Word of Wisdom he should run and not be weary and should walk and not faint. And she said, ‘How could that promise be realized if a person were crippled? How could he receive the blessing that he could run and not be weary, and walk and not faint, if he were crippled?’
“I answered her, ‘Did you ever doubt the Lord? The Lord said that.’
“The trouble with us today, there are too many of us who put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says. I want you to think about that. We shouldn’t be concerned about why he said something, or whether or not it can be made so. Just trust the Lord. We don’t try to find the answers or explanations. We shouldn’t try to spend time explaining what the Lord didn’t see fit to explain. We spend useless time.
“If you would teach our people to put periods and not question marks after what the Lord has declared, we would say, “It is enough for me to know that is what the Lord said.”
Harold B Lee, Admonitions for the Priesthood of God – Ensign Jan. 1973