Hardness of Heart
Nephi gives a clear description: For [Lehi] truly spake many great things unto them which were hard to be understood save a man should inquire of the Lord. And they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought. And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts (1 Nephi 4:1). And I said unto them, Have ye inquired of the Lord? And they said unto me, We have not, for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us. Behold, I said unto them, How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish because of the hardness of your hearts? Do ye not remember the thing which the Lord hath said, If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you?
(1 Nephi 4:2). Hardness of heart is usually accompanied by a hardness of head; that is, people tend to not be willing to live in accordance with principles, even though they want to know about them. They are often more curious than they are obedient, becoming voyeurs rather than visionaries. Oddly enough, one’s curiosity gets satisfied as he obeys — but man is usually unwilling to make that exchange (cf. Alma 9:3,10; 1 Nephi 3:26).1 Man determines whether he has a hard heart or an open heart. Anciently, the “heart” was considered the seat of understanding rather than emotion; therefore, an “open heart” belonged to the seeker, the asker, the knocker on the door (see Matthew 3:42,44).2See also BOWELS; BROKEN HEART – CONTRITE SPIRIT; REINS.
1 Nephi’s Isaiah, 17.
2 “Other Sheep Indeed,” expanded paper of address given at Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT, July 19, 2017, 9, 9n20.