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.
10 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.
11 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
Here are a few of my thoughts about this passage of scripture.
- I understand this scripture to mean that we are to be very careful who we share our spiritual experiences and personal revelation with. We would be particularly leery of sharing with those that are not spiritually mature. Generally it does not help them, it only causes them to harden their hearts.
- I find it interesting that lack of the knowledge of things of God is what allows us to be taken captive by the devil. Ignorance appears to equate with the chains of hell.
- Remember that the mysteries of God are the knowledge of God. It is an accurate knowledge of who he is. (D&C 84:19-22) This is critical to understand when seeking revelation. We are seeking to know God, who he is, how we can become like him. When we receive this knowledge, we must be willing to act upon it and not harden our hearts. I am thinking particularly of the circumstances relating to the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Occasionally during the past year I have been asked a question. Usually it comes as a curious, almost an idle, question about the qualifications to stand as a witness for Christ. The question they ask is, “Have you seen Him?” That is a question that I have never asked of another. I have not asked that question of my brethren in the Quorum, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special inspiration, indeed, some authorization, even to ask it. There are some things just too sacred to discuss. We know that as it relates to the temples. In our temples, sacred ordinances are performed; sacred experiences are enjoyed. And yet we do not, because of the nature of them, discuss them outside those sacred walls. It is not that they are secret, but they are sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and to be protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence. (Boyd K. Packer, “The Spirit Beareth Record”, April 1971 LDS General Conference)
1 Nephi 15:3-11
2 Nephi 1:23