Part 7: CES Letter Book of Mormon Questions [Section F]
By Sarah Allen
In this one, we’re going to discuss possible sources for the Book of Mormon that critics love to throw out: View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith, The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert Hunt, and The First Book of Napoleon by Michael Linning. I spoke last week about how these types are arguments are really weak and badly presented, which I hope will come to be obvious by the end of this post. Just to get this out of the way up front, here are PDFs of each of the books in question if you want to compare them for yourselves:
- View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith
- The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert J. Hunt
- The First Book of Napoleon by Michael Linning
To begin with, back at the 2014 FAIR Conference, Matt Roper and Paul Fields gave a presentation talking about the “pseudo-Biblical” writing style and how the Book of Mormon compares to both the KJV and to other books from the same period, including The Late War. (Stanford Carmack wrote a similar article for the Interpreter here.) They demonstrated pretty aptly that the Book of Mormon and KJV writing styles are very, very similar, and that other attempts at imitating it, such as The Late War and The First Book of Napoleon, are actually not very similar at all. It’s an interesting presentation that is well worth your time if you’re inclined to check it out. (There is also a funny chart showing the extremely high correlation between the divorce rate in Maine and the consumption of margarine in the US over the same time period.)
One of the things they noted in that presentation was that this style of writing was pretty popular from approximately 1750 to approximately 1850, about 100 years, with the Book of Mormon falling toward the later middle of the period. As such, there are a lot of books and newspaper articles imitating this same style of KJV-like writing that are bound to have some turns of phrase in common, particularly those phrases rooted in the Bible.
Going along with this, Jeff Lindsay offers a pretty hilarious parody of this type of argument on his website, where he declares Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass the very best possible inspiration for the Book of Mormon, despite it being first published in 1855. The reason these claims are so easy to parody is because they’re ridiculous reaches in the first place.
Jeremy Runnells uses hyper-exaggerated language for these arguments, calling his links, “shocking,” “stunning,” “fascinating,” “astounding,” and “devastating,” and saying things like, “I was floored.” It’s silly, but it tends to prime readers to expect something big. He then lists supposed similarities that look impressive at first glance, but really aren’t. That’s one of the manipulations I mentioned back in the beginning of this series, the charts and lists making things seem more striking than they really are. This is effective because we tend not to read the actual details of the lists and charts. We just see that there are a lot of items on them and conclude that the similarities must be, to use one of his over-the-top adjectives, “astounding.” So, first, you’re primed to expect something really mind-blowing by the language he’s using, and then he drops a few charts and long lists that look like there are a ton of similarities between the works when there really aren’t. This has the effect of leaving you, to use another of his hyperbolic statements, “floored.” But, because you don’t go through and assess each item individually, you don’t realize that it’s actually not that striking. You end up just taking his word for it, which is a mistake because there are a ton of errors in his comments.
For example, regarding View of the Hebrews, Jeremy claims that it’s a convenient coincidence that this book was published in Rutland County, Vermont, just a few short years before the Book of Mormon was published in Windsor County, Vermont, as the two counties are right next to each other. But anyone even remotely familiar with the history of the Book of Mormon will know that it was published in Palmyra, New York, as Joseph and his family moved away from Vermont when he was 10 years old. The publishing house in Palmyra is a tourist attraction, so it’s not like this is obscure information. There’s no way that Jeremy doesn’t know that the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra when he goes on and on about Martin Harris later in the Letter and even references his role in the publishing. It’s something he knows is a lie, and yet he put in the Letter anyway purposely to manipulate the reader.
Reverend Ethan Smith was the author of View of the Hebrews. Ethan Smith was a pastor in Poultney, Vermont when he wrote and published the book. Oliver Cowdery – also a Poultney, Vermont resident – was a member of Ethan’s congregation during this time and before he went to New York to join his distant cousin Joseph Smith. As you know, Oliver Cowdery played an instrumental role in the production of the Book of Mormon.
In “Oliver Cowdery’s Vermont Years and the Origins of Mormonism,” Larry Morris gives a pretty handy take-down of this argument. Any connection between Oliver and Ethan Smith is shaky at best and is completely unsupported by the historical facts. And, as Brian Hale points out, Oliver was 17 when View of the Hebrews was first published, while Ethan Smith was 63. They almost certainly weren’t spending a lot of time together, hanging out. There’s no indication they had any kind of relationship or even knew each other at all, as Morris demonstrates that Oliver was likely living with relatives and attending school in another town during the years where his family may have been part of the local congregation (their regular attendance in the congregation is also historically unsupported):
William and Keziah’s three daughters—Rebecca Marie, Lucy Pearce, and Phoebe—were all baptized on the same day, at the ages of seven, four, and one, raising questions of how often the family attended church services. (William’s orthodox parents, by contrast, had him baptized when he was one month old.) [Note: William Cowdery is Oliver’s father, and Keziah is his stepmother.]
Keziah’s known contact with the Poultney Congregational Church in 1803 (when she joined), 1810, and 1818 all occurred with the same pastor in office, the Reverend Mr. Leonard, a popular minister who served from 1803 to 1821. There is no record of her having contact with any other Poultney minister.
… Although Keziah was a member of the Poultney Congregational Church, and her three daughters were baptized, no other Pearce, Austin, or Cowdery family members are mentioned in church records.
The baptismal entry in 1818 is the last record of Cowdery association with the Poultney Congregational Church, and no document has been found linking Ethan Smith to any member of the Cowdery family. … Oliver’s three half-sisters were baptized three years before Smith became pastor.
No document has been found linking Oliver Cowdery to the Congregational Church or the writings of Ethan Smith.
It doesn’t mean Oliver’s family didn’t attend Ethan Smith’s congregation on a regular basis, but there’s no actual evidence of that, and certainly none that places Oliver inside that congregation with them.
Beyond that, according to Morris, “There is no evidence that Oliver met the Smiths before 1828 or that he then knew they were related (Oliver Cowdery was a third cousin to Lucy Mack Smith). Similarly, Lucy says the Joseph Sr. family met Oliver for the first time in 1828 and does not mention any awareness of their distant family connection.”
Next, Jeremy lists a chart three pages long of 34 supposed matches between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews, but most of them are not actually matches at all when you look a little deeper—especially since the list is taken from the second edition of View of the Hebrews, which neither Oliver nor Joseph would have ever had any access to whatsoever. As an example, the first item on this list is that both books mention “[t]he destruction of Jerusalem.” However, the Book of Mormon talks about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC, while View of the Hebrews talks about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. They aren’t talking about the same event at all.
You can find the rest of my response to this section here.
Moving on. At about this point in the Letter, Jeremy tosses out a throwaway line about Joseph Smith Sr. having a similar dream to Lehi/Nephi, and insinuates that Joseph stole the details of the dream to insert into the Book of Mormon.
This dream was recounted by Lucy Mack Smith in 1844-45 while she was giving her recollections during a series of interviews with Martha Coray. Those interviews were later turned into a few different books, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations and The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother. However, there is good reason to doubt the finer details shared in those books, as Book of Mormon Central points out.
That’s not to say that anyone was deliberately lying or being deceitful, just that memories change over time. This was only about 10-12 years before Lucy died, and she was getting on in years. The dream supposedly took place in 1811, over 30 years before she recounted it to Coray and 15 years after the Book of Mormon was published. The details may have been confused over the years, and the details in the Book of Mormon may have influenced her memory. Our brains change slightly every time we recall our memories. The memories themselves change, too, to conform to our new realities. These were stories Lucy told many times, and she’d adapted her narrative to be more engaging and friendly to storytelling.
Beyond that, Coray and her husband, Howard, engaged in the common scribal practice of the day, embellishing recollections with outside sources and inserting their own thoughts into the prose on occasion. And, as BOMC points out in the article linked above, those outside sources likely included the scriptures themselves. One researcher described the finished product as “liberal manipulation and repurposing of text.” It wasn’t done to intentionally obscure Lucy’s words and recollections, but because that was a very common thing in that time period when it came to things like biographies and interviews.
None of this necessarily means that the details are inaccurate, or that Joseph Smith Sr.’s dream was different than its recording. It’s entirely possible that Heavenly Father gave him a very similar dream to the one in the Book of Mormon. After all, He gave the same dream to Lehi and Nephi. It’s not exactly unheard of if that’s what happened. It is, however, an example of the type of messy historical sources we all have to wade through.
And, speaking of messy historical sources, Jeremy Runnells goes to great lengths to try to paint famed Latter-day Saint historian B.H. Roberts as someone skeptical of the origins of the Church, and particularly of the Book of Mormon:
LDS General Authority and scholar Elder B.H. Roberts privately researched the link between the Book of Mormon and the View of the Hebrews. … Elder Roberts’ private research was meant only for the eyes of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and was never intended to be available to the public. However, Roberts’ work was later published in 1985 as Studies of the Book of Mormon. Based upon his research, Elder B.H. Roberts came to the following conclusion on the View of the Hebrews:
“Did Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews furnish structural material for Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon? It has been pointed out in these pages that there are many things in the former book that might well have suggested many major things in the other. Not a few things merely, one or two, or a half dozen, but many; and it is this fact of many things of similarity and the cumulative force of them that makes them so serious a menace to Joseph Smith’s story of the Book of Mormon’s origin.” – B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.240
… With these ideas already existing and the previously cited issues with KJV plagiarism, errors, anachronisms, geography problems, and more issues to come, is it unreasonable to question Joseph Smith’s story of the Book of Mormon origins as Church Historian B.H. Roberts did?
B.H. Roberts did not question Joseph Smith’s story of the Book of Mormon origins, and that was not his conclusion. From his own words, taken from pg. 58 of the same publication Runnells is quoting from above, Roberts wrote the following:
Let me say once and for all, so as to avoid what might otherwise call for repeated explanation, that what is herein set forth does not represent any conclusions of mine. This report [is] … for the information of those who ought to know everything about it pro and con, as well that which has been produced against it as that which may be produced against it. I am taking the position that our faith is not only unshaken but unshakable in the Book of Mormon, and therefore we can look without fear upon all that can be said against it.
He also said, “We who accept [the Book of Mormon] as a revelation from God have every reason to believe that it will endure every test; and the more thoroughly it is investigated, the greater shall be its ultimate triumph.”
Much like Elder Corbridge was, Roberts was tasked by the First Presidency to examine the common criticisms antagonists of his day were using against the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and to prepare a report based on it. He was playing devil’s advocate, putting himself in the position of those critics, when writing that quote above and other quotes people like to cherry-pick from the report. He was speaking as them, making the arguments they would make, not speaking as himself. As he himself said, he didn’t find any of what he found at all troubling. He was a man who considered the Book of Mormon, particularly 3 Nephi, “a fifth Gospel.”
As Jim Bennett said in his reply to the Letter, “You have so woefully misrepresented his work on this subject that it’s almost criminal. … Roberts was a fierce defender of the historicity and divine nature of the Book of Mormon until the end of his life. To cite him without offering that context is to defame a good and faithful man and attribute opinions to him that were often diametrically opposed to what he actually believed.”
The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain: This book was an 1819 textbook written for New York state school children. The book depicted the events of the War of 1812 and it was specifically written in a Jacobean English style to imitate the King James Bible. … The first chapter alone is stunning as it reads incredibly like the Book of Mormon. In addition to the … KJV language style present throughout the book, what are the following Book of Mormon verbatim phrases, themes, and storylines doing in a children’s school textbook that was used in Joseph Smith’s own time and backyard – all of this a mere decade before the publication of the Book of Mormon?
Runnells does share a few paragraphs from the first page of the book, which I omitted here to save space. It’s just language demonstrating that same pseudo-Biblical/pseudo-Archaic writing style that apes the KJV. It does sound a little like the Book of Mormon, because it was specifically designed to imitate scriptural language, but the content obviously doesn’t match. It’s talking about the war of 1812.
I’m also not going to through this supposedly devastating list of similarities between the books because it would require a ton of space that I just don’t have. It’s similar to the silly list from View of the Hebrews. Besides, FAIR already put in a lot of work and debunked them all pretty thoroughly. Brian Hales and Saints Unscripted also both did videos discussing The Late War, if anyone is interested in those. And Michael Ash goes into a few of those supposed similarities in more detail here. None of these were “rare phrases” exclusive to the Book of Mormon and The Late War. They had numerous contemporary sources in common.
Mainly, though, what I want to focus on regarding The Late War is an Interpreter article titled “The Late War Against the Book of Mormon” by Benjamin McGuire. McGuire goes into detail about exactly why the computer searches generating lists of similar phrases between various books doesn’t work—among other serious flaws, it leaves out all context surrounding the phrases. He states:
When these searches are made, long lists of parallels are inevitably discovered. However, parallels found in this manner — stripped of context and extracted from their sources — are, for the most part, illusory. … When literary parallels are the result of intensive searches of massive databases, they cannot help us identify an author (or even influences on an author), nor can they help us understand the relationships between texts.
This doesn’t make these searches without value. [Harold] Love points out where these electronic searches are most helpful:
Here LION, Gutenberg and similar electronic archives come into their own, since as well as providing illusory parallels they also assist mightily in shooting down those which arise from the common parlance of the time. Once we have encountered an unusual expression in the writings of three or four different authors it ceases to have any value for attribution. What we are looking for is occurrences restricted to two sources only: one the anonymous work and the other a signed one! Even that might not be final: if the two authorial corpora are both large enough, chance alone would dictate that they should contain a few exclusive parallels. ((Love, 91.))
… Love is not arguing that parallels are only valid if they are unique. Rather, within the massive electronic search model, illusory parallels are inevitable and must be treated with caution. Hence, parallels are more likely to be valid indicators of influence if they are unique. Parallels can be identified with electronic searches – but must then be evaluated in more traditional ways to determine if there is evidence for borrowing or influence.
So, these computer models by nature will pull up lists of similarities. It’d be odd if they didn’t, but they aren’t a valid way of determining authorship or influence because they remove all context from the search. The higher the number of sources containing the same phrasing, the weaker the connection is.
He then lists all of the flaws he can see in the methodology done by the Johnsons, the people on whose research Jeremy is basing his claims. One of the main ones was this:
In fact, of the 549 distinct four-word locutions given in the blog and shared between the two texts, 75 of them (13.7%) come from [the] copyright statement. … The copyright statement comes from the copyright application form, a preprinted document in which the applicant had to fill in the blanks. … Only part of the copyright statement is original to Joseph Smith, and those parts were produced in 1829 when the application was filed. The statement in the Book of Mormon simply duplicates this application (as was generally required). This use of a form may explain why it duplicates in such great quantity the material from Hunt’s volume (which was also copyrighted in New York and used an apparently identical or nearly identical pre-printed copyright application form.) It also explains why parts appear in so many other volumes…
A not-insignificant portion of their similarities come from the copyright page that was the standard template for books being published in New York at the time. As he then explains, “Removing this text wouldn’t impact the weight much (it only reduces it by a little more than a half of one percent) because of the frequency in other texts. But it does dramatically reduce the number of parallels presented.”
The weight is how common it is. The higher the weight, the rarer it is. So, the weight was already pretty low due to how common those statements were in other similar publications. When they were removed from the equation, the weight barely changed, but the number of parallels the Johnsons claimed between the two books was “dramatically reduced.”
He then explains, “The Book of Mormon contains 202,830 unique four-word locutions compared with The Late War containing 51,221. … Why is this interesting to us? If we follow the weighted matches used by the blog, there are 549 shared four word locutions common to both texts. This means that of all the possible phrases found in The Late War, only 1.07% of them make it into the Book of Mormon. And within the Book of Mormon, of the potential 200,000+ unique phrases, only 0.27% could be derived from The Late War. This is not a high number. This ratio drops substantially when we back out the 75 parallels taken from the copyright application (with 474 parallels it becomes 0.93% and 0.23% respectively).
The article is technical with a lot of jargon to wade through, but the core of it is well worth reading if you can make it through the entire thing. McGuire not only debunks the Johnsons’ claims about the Book of Mormon, but also the ones they made about Jane Austen having less contemporary influence on her work than Joseph Smith did on his.
He also wrote a two-part series on an article by Rick Grunder that Runnells quotes in this section, pointing out the flaws in that methodology, too.
Another fascinating book published in 1809, The First Book of Napoleon
I’ve been waiting for this one, it’s absolutely hilarious.
The following is a side-by-side comparison of selected phrases the Book of Mormon is known for from the beginning portion of the Book of Mormon with the same order in the beginning portion of The First Book of Napoleon (note: these are not direct paragraphs):
That little parenthetical note tacked on there made me snort out loud when I saw it. No kidding, they aren’t direct paragraphs! You aren’t even going to believe how ridiculously tortured these paragraphs are, or how utterly dishonest this argument is. Brian Hales calls it “perhaps the most egregious deliberate deception inside the Letter.”
THE FIRST BOOK OF NAPOLEON
Condemn not the (writing)…an account…the First Book of Napoleon…upon the face of the earth…it came to pass…the land…their inheritances their gold and silver and…the commandments of the Lord…the foolish imaginations of their hearts…small in stature…Jerusalem…because of the perverse wickedness of the people.
BOOK OF MORMON
Condemn not the (writing)…an account…the First Book of Nephi…upon the face of the earth…it came to pass…the land…his inheritance and his gold and his silver and…the commandments of the Lord…the foolish imaginations of his heart…large in stature…Jerusalem…because of the wickedness of the people.
At first glance, that seems pretty damning, right? Surely Joseph copied that over, because how could he not? This is so funny, though: that first paragraph from The First Book of Napoleon took 25 pages of the book to compile. The First Book of Napoleon is only 146 pages to begin with, according to the PDF of the book I linked to earlier. A full 1/6 of the book was used to recreate one incomplete paragraph of text taken from the Book of Mormon. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that this book is the inspiration for the Book of Mormon? Really? Come on.
But the problems don’t stop there. Take a look at the Book of Mormon paragraph:
Condemn not the (writing) [taken from the bottom of the title page] …an account [top of the title page] …the First Book of Nephi [title of 1 Nephi] …upon the face of the earth [1 Nephi 1:11] …it came to pass [1 Nephi 1:5] …the land [1 Nephi 2:11] …his inheritance and his gold and his silver and [1 Nephi 2:11] …the commandments of the Lord [1 Nephi 2:10] …the foolish imaginations of his heart [1 Nephi 2:11] …large in stature [1 Nephi 2:16] …Jerusalem [1 Nephi 2:13] …because of the wickedness of the people [1 Nephi 3:17].
Three chapters and the title page, 11 pages altogether, and it bounces all over the place. It’s most certainly not in order, and that order also doesn’t match the order they’re used in The First Book of Napoleon.
Also, the line about “Condemn not the (writing)”? That line from the Book of Mormon title page is actually, “…wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”
Jeremy might have done well to heed that warning, but I suppose that’s between him and our Savior. Regardless, it’s certainly not “condemn not the writing.” That was just done to make it look more similar to the text from the other book…because they were so dissimilar that he had to twist the actual words into something they never said in order to make them fit.
He cobbled together a partial paragraph of incomplete phrases from 11 pages of the Book of Mormon and 25 pages of The First Book of Napoleon, inserted additions like “[writing]” to make them look more similar, and then expects us to believe that he’s being sincere and honest with his questions? I don’t think so.
That’s exactly why these sort of arguments are absurd. They’re really, really bad ones, but unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take the time to pick them apart, as I was saying earlier. They just see the long lists and the big charts with all of the similarities and think they’re a serious issue when they’re not.
Additionally, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith ever read any of these books prior to the Book of Mormon being published.
After laying out all of his rebuttals on the Book of Mormon Questions section of the CES Letter, Scott Gordon says the following:
Going back to my initial question: Is the CES Letter proof or propaganda?
Based on the first chapter alone, I believe the “proof” claim is weak at best. His pattern of poorly supported research and misleading facts used in these first eleven points make me skeptical about his claims in the remainder of the book. Given his track record, no claim can be taken at face value. Each must be investigated individually and thoroughly.
There is a quote on the back cover of the CES Letter from President J. Reuben Clark which says, “If we have the truth, no harm can come from investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” I know this was meant to be talking about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we have just spent time investigating the points from the first chapter of the CES Letter, and the claim of truth in that chapter cannot be supported.
If this is the best that can be given, it reinforces my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I appreciate that I can not only receive a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon, but that this sacred book can also withstand intellectual criticisms.
I agree with him. The CES Letter is so dishonest that it’s laughable, and when you actually take the time to study out these different topics in any sort of depth, it all just testifies even more strongly to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, rather than the opposite. The fact that he had to work this hard to try to discredit it, and that his arguments are so weak in so many places, speaks volumes to me.
Anyway, this wraps up the section of questions/concerns about the contents of the Book of Mormon. We’ll be moving on to the translation portion of the Letter next week, but in closing on this section, I just wanted to leave you with a few final thoughts.
A few years ago, President Nelson said the following:
If Joseph Smith’s transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.
… In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”
You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.
I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], 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.”
… Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.
There may be times when you feel as though the heavens have closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you.
I can’t speak to Jeremy Runnells’s heart and mind while he says he was searching for answers. But, judging from the comments we’ve highlighted from the Letter itself and from his Reddit history, I think it’s safe to say that he wasn’t following President Nelson’s guidance during that search. He wasn’t humbly expressing gratitude for his blessings, increasing his purity and obedience, daily feasting on the words of Christ, or committing time to temple and family history work.
He was writing hateful letters to Apostles of the Lord. He was making public comments about being devastated by saying goodbye to the temple while making snide jokes about the temple ceremonies in the Exmormon subreddit. He was purposely trying to lead others away from the Church by making the Letter as manipulative and overwhelming as possible. He was using quotes from Church leaders to prime readers to expect the truth, and then dropping multiple bombs on them specifically to destroy their faith. He was purposely arranging the Letter so as to best “hook” readers and deliberately target the spiritually vulnerable.
I don’t pretend to know what led to this behavior, but I do know that his public comments do not match his comments to his friends in his favorite subreddit. I do know that his actions did not match the actions President Nelson urged.
Framing matters when you’re seeking answers to your questions. The Lord stands ready to give us so much knowledge and assurance, but we have to seek it humbly. We can’t dictate to Him what the answers should be or how soon they should arrive. We have to allow that He knows what’s best for us, and what’s best for us right now might be waiting. It might be wrestling with the questions for a period before finally getting the answers. It might be a patient, “Not yet” in response to an earnest prayer. He might have lessons for us that only time will teach. Anger drives away the Spirit. But by committing ourselves to God and to following His teachings, we can better prepare ourselves for receiving revelation and answers to our prayers.
Sources in this entry: