Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ask, Seek, Knock

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Ask, Seek, Knock, by Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Chances are that you're reading this on a computer through the magic of electricity, computer processing, and Internet technologies. We've come a long way in a few short years. I remember times not ten years ago when I would go more than 24 hours without checking my email or getting news or other information from the Internet.

Isn't modern technology amazing?

"Even more amazing than modern technology," Elder Nelson argues, "is our opportunity to access information directly from heaven, without hardware, software, or monthly service fees."

Without monthly service fees?! How can something so wonderful be free? Or, is it really free?

Of course, there are qualifications to participate in personal revelation, as even the title of his talk implies. But we still don't receive a bill!

Elder Nelson outlines the guidelines using D&C 4:5-7:

The Lord asks you to develop “faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God.” Then with your firm “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence,” you may ask, and you will receive; you may knock, and it will be opened unto you.

Elder Nelson gives an example of the change that is possible to all who ask, seek, and/or knock. As interesting and touching as the story is, there is more that can be learned by looking in the footnotes. Each conference, I love to read Elder Nelson's footnotes because he not only cites references, but gives clarification and additional information as well. In a footnote for this story of conversion, he references the classic hymn "Amazing Grace," which, interestingly enough, is rarely (if ever) sung in LDS congregations:

Such conversions are complete. John Newton (1725–1807), for example, changed his life from that of a slave trader to a devoted disciple of the Lord, summarizing his conversion when he wrote: “Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound!) / That sav’d a wretch like me! / I once was lost, but now am found; / Was blind, but now I see”

I think the reason this song isn't echoing off the walls of LDS chapels is the inclusion of just one word—and, No, it's not "grace" (see these great Book of Mormon scriptures, for starters: 2 Nephi 2:6-8, 4:17, 9:8, 53, 10:24-25; Moroni 10:32-33). In my opinion, the word that keeps this hymn out is "wretch." Although Nephi refers to himself as a "wretched man" (see 2 Nephi 4:17), we focus on the joys of Christ, and that because of His grace, we are no longer wretches (as long as we ask, seek, and knock).

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