“Having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God”
I’m sure you’ve been in church when someone has said something like, “Let’s not dive too deeply into the mysteries,” or, “that’s one of the mysteries that we don’t really need to know right now.”
Of course, they are right. The things which the Lord has not revealed are not presently important for us to have. Things like the how dinosaurs fit into the plan, the precise location of the lost tribes of Israel, and the date of the second coming are all interesting subjects that we’ll someday understand, but don’t need to now. But whenever I read verses like this one (1 Nephi 1:1), I have to question if mysteries is the right word to refer to things we’re not meant to know.
Why do I say that? Well, it just seems like every time the scriptures are talking about mysteries, they’re talking about something we should be trying to obtain.
The Scriptural Definition of “Mysteries” seems to be “Knowledge received through the Holy Ghost” (Except when spoken by a wicked person). The Scriptures say that the mysteries are “that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal” (D&C 42:61). It also seems clear that in order for one to receive mysteries, they must do so by the Holy Ghost. If the Holy Ghost is not the means of making the knowledge known or confirming the knowledge of a mystery, a person cannot receive it.
1 Corinthians 2:4-14
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Nephi 10:17-19
17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of hold as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
18 For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
9 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.
9 And, therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it.
10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.
11 Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
61 If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
23 But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.
Anyway, you get the idea. I think the Lord intends for us to seek those kinds of mysteries – meaning knowledge that must be obtained through the Holy Ghost, such as testimony and the Spirit of prophecy – stuff like that.
The only problem is, what do we call all the other weird stuff if we can’t call it mysteries? Freaky stuff? Nah, that sound too negative. Maybe just – weird stuff. Or perhaps speculation… yeah, I like that – speculative stuff. The word speculation has a bit of a bad rap already, so I guess it fits.