Mysteries of God
That knowledge which is hidden from the world and only made available through revelation to the faithful. Much of such knowledge may be learned but is not to be taught. One will have to apply the process of learning the mysteries in one’s life if he or she intends to learn the mysteries themselves.1 The scriptures tell us how to get the “mysteries of God.” Learning these mysteries is the fullness of Christ’s Gospel.2 There is a system by which men learn the mysteries of heaven and are saved. That system is set out in Alma 9:7: first, angels are sent to prepare men and women; second, they are allowed to behold the Lord’s glory; then they converse with the Lord, at which point they are taught the things that have been prepared from the foundation of the earth for their salvation. All of this is driven by the man or woman’s faith, repentance, and holy works.3 Joseph Smith said, I advise all to go on to perfection and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of godliness…. [As for myself] it has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries, new things, for my hearers.4 This is the Book of Mormon theme. Search deeper, and find God.5Ask that you may know the mysteries of God. That is a commandment. Although given to Oliver Cowdery, it is a principle that is applicable to all of mankind (see T&C 3:3). The claim that one should stay away from the mysteries of God is false. Refusing to follow the command to ask that you may know the mysteries of God (JSH 13:26) denies the power of godliness and opposes the doctrine of salvation. It is anti-Christ.6 “We make our own mysteries; we are not meant to be kept in darkness, and the mysteries of heaven will be unfolded to us as we make an effort to understand them.”7 Christ said that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are understood only by those who have been initiated and given that understanding (see Matthew 7:2). Mysteries can also be defined as solemn ceremonial ordinances or rituals which take place in a special setting. “Mysteries (from the Greek, mystērion, μυστήριον)…[are] confided only to the initiated and not to be communicated by them to ordinary mortals.”8
Knowledge of the mysteries of godliness is obtained only through obedience to God. He ordained this method to make His greatest truths universally available to all His humble followers. If it were otherwise, men and women would all have to go to college to receive training for the ministry. Education is no real advantage in receiving light and truth from God. Humility is the only real, great advantage which any soul ever possesses (see T&C 159:31–32).9 Alma’s teaching that it is given unto many to know the mysteries of God (Alma 9:3, emphasis added) means what it says. This is God’s promise in every age. Even if only few men or women are willing to receive it, that does not cancel the promise.10 “The principle involving limited disclosure of things received in personal revelation is explained by Alma. If you are incapable of obeying these requirements, then you cannot receive any new mystery by revelation. Heaven will not permit any soul to receive mysteries if they cannot resist revealing them unwisely to others. The constraint — that they may be learned, but cannot be taught — is enforced by withholding them from those who will not abide by this constraint. If you are one of those who cannot respect this limitation, then the process will not work for you. Joseph said: ‘The reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us is because we do not keep them, but reveal them; we do not keep our own secrets, but reveal our difficulties to the world, even to our enemies, then how would we keep the secrets of the Lord?’11 The mysteries of God are His hidden but simple truths.”12See also UNSPEAKABLE.
1 “That We Might Become One,” Jan. 14, 2018, 4, 11n10.
2 The Second Comforter, 11.
3 “Angels,” March 6, 2010, blog post.
4 WJS, 366; JS, Discourse, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 12 May 1844, JS Collection, CHL. “Discourse, 12 May 1844, as Reported by Thomas Bullock,” p. , JSP, https: //www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-12-may-1844-as-reported-by-thomas-bullock/1
5 Preserving the Restoration, 20.
6 Preserving the Restoration, 20.
7 Hugh Nibley, Eloquent Witness: Nibley on Himself, Others, and the Temple, 439.
8 Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000), s.v. “mystērion,” No. 3466, 420. See also Strong’s Concordance, G3466.
9 The Second Comforter, 416.
10 The Second Comforter, 131–132.
11 The Second Comforter, 81.
12 “The Restoration’s Shattered Promises and Great Hope,” address given at Sunstone Symposium, Sandy, UT, July 28, 2018, transcript, 7.