The principle of asking and receiving, on the one hand, and the spirit of prophecy and revelation, on the other, are directly related. Without an inquiry, one is not able to receive,1 for those who are willing to receive always ask. Asking is the way those who are ready identify themselves for Heaven.2 “[In First Nephi 3:6 we] have Nephi telling us he desired to know things. He believed God could make them known. And he was pondering the things he was seeking. Then in response to this process, the Lord sent an angel who inquired of Nephi…. What ought to stick out most in this passage is that Nephi is now granted an audience with an angel, and the angel is inquiring of him: What desirest thou? He is in the presence of an angel, but before he can learn anything, the angel first asks him: What do you want? That should tell you something of great significance. Heaven responds to inquiries! This is one of those eternal principles. Heaven is controlled by ordained limits or governing principles. Just as we must abide the conditions for obtaining blessings, Heaven’s help comes in response to ordained limitations, principles, laws and ordinances. This is why the angel does not launch into a lecture right away. Instead, the angel asks Nephi what he wants to know so the balance and limits are maintained. If you aren’t asking, you are sealing the Heavens. You disqualify yourself from further knowledge. God did not come in response to Joseph Smith’s silent desire to know more. The First Vision came as a result of a specific vocal and private prayer in which he asked to know more. When the Father and Son appeared, the first words spoken were: Joseph: This is my beloved Son. Hear Him! Then nothing further happens until Joseph asked the Personages who stood above [him] in the light, which of all the sects was right. God did not force an answer upon Joseph, nor comment further until Joseph had first asked a question. It is not Heaven’s responsibility to force upon us answers to questions which we do not ask. Unless we are willing to ask, we will not (in fact cannot) receive. This is why teaching we should not ask to know more of God’s mysteries is so pernicious. It is not only false, it limits Heaven’s ability to provide light and truth to us. We seal the Heavens when we comply with such instruction. Nephi asks, I desire to behold the things which my father saw (1 Nephi 3:6). Then the angel asks Nephi whether he believed the things his father had been teaching him. Nephi says he did believe. Indeed, Nephi said he believed all the words of my father. Having now secured from Nephi both a question to answer and a confession of faith in the Lord’s spokesman (Nephi’s prophet-father), the angel reacts with overwhelming joy: And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying, Hosanna to the Lord, the Most High God, for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all! And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the Most High God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired (1 Nephi 3:6). An angel shouting for joy! Here we have a clear indication of just how much it pleases God and His holy angels when a person finally shows their willingness to receive further light and truth by conversing with the Lord through the veil. It is a rare thing. Heaven rejoices over someone who comes with a question, and with faith, and with a desire to know these things, believing the Lord can make them known. This particular alignment of things is so rare an event Heaven cannot contain the joy, exultation, and wonder when it occurs…. The Heavens long for communion with mankind. The silence which prevails is due to our wickedness, and not Heaven’s unwillingness to open to us. If silence prevails, it is mankind who stopped the dialogue.”3 If asking must precede receiving, and if Joseph Smith was also required to ask before the great revelations of this dispensation were unfolded to him, then all must ask. Failing to ask causes the way to be hedged up and prevents Heaven from answering.4

    1 The Second Comforter, 92.

    2 The Second Comforter, 99.

    3 The Second Comforter, 111–113.

    4 The Second Comforter, 116.