Tag Archives: MSH

D&C 10 cunning vs wisdom


God’s wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

What the devil has is not wisdom, it is cunning. (Elsewhere in scripture we do have wisdom of the world and cunning mentioned together.) That might be a good point — the kind of wisdom that the devil can have or give is of the world, but God’s wisdom is always something greater than that. God’s wisdom is always greater than the devil’s cunning/wisdom.

There are at least four ways that wisdom is talked about in D&C 10:33-48. The first comes in verses 34-35. God says, “Here is wisdom” don’t show the translation to the world. And, don’t marvel because I said that — I’m trying to preserve your life! The second comes in verse 40. God says that the things which are on Nephi’s plates are the very things that he, in his wise view of the world, thinks should be brought to light. The third is in verse 43….and here we get to what is most commonly associated with God’s wisdom and the small plates. God is wise enough so that the devil can’t destroy his work. But if his wisdom so far has meant who Joseph shows this to, and the knowledge he wants brought forth, what does verse 43 mean now? The last of the four is in verse 45, and again has to do with knowledge he wants to bring forth. Because Nephi’s record “throws greater views” on his gospel, therefore God sees it as wise to include them.

So how do the verses around D&C 10:43 help us understand how God’s wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil? Does it mean anything more than outsmarting? Is it that God put a lesser version into Joseph’s hands on purpose so it could be lost? Is it that God had multiple copies and it’s handy that the one that remained was so great? If the small plates had been lost, would we be hearing good reasons why we had the abridgment still?

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Don’t they know the wise purpose?


Many times in the Book of Mormon, the authors say that God has commanded them to write their book for a wise purpose, which only God knows. And yet, other times in the book they seem to know exactly what the purpose is, that is, to convert future generations to God and that they can know of the covenants that God has made with Israel.

Mormon, for example, in Words of Mormon verse 7-8 says,

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

8 And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.

It’s as if he hopes that the purpose is to restore the Lamanites, but he isn’t sure enough to declare what God has in mind.

But then Mormon himself says, in 3 Nephi 5: 14-15,

14 And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, that the prayers of those who have gone hence, who were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith, should make a record of these things which have been done—

15 Yea, a small record of that which hath taken place from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem, even down until the present time.

And there are several places in the book where it’s laid out clearly that the prophets, or the fathers, had asked God to preserve their record and send it to the Lamanites when the time was right (see, for example, Enos verses 16-18). And it seems that Mormon is very aware of these verses, or at least of this promise.

So why the confusion? Why is Mormon unsure of the wise purpose that God has? Why is Nephi sometimes unsure? Is it simply that they know there might be other reasons? Has God communicated to them that there are other reasons? But then also, Nephi and Mormon seem to hope that the purpose is to restore their brothers. So sometimes it seems like they aren’t sure that that actually is a purpose, or something they just desperately hope will be a purpose.

So I remain a bit confused.


Verses about wisdom and brass plates, other plates


Also verses about the brass plates:

1 Nephi 3:19
19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers;

1 Nephi 5:22
22 Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise.

  • Mosiah 1:3

    3 And he also taught them concerning the recordswhich were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

  • Mosiah 8:19

    19 And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men.

    • Alma 37:8

      8 And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved; for behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls.

    • Alma 37:12

      12 And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.


Verses about wisdom, covenant, and the Book of Mormon


I’ve searched: wise purpose, plates, wisdom, wise, and record:

  • The Book of Mormon

    —Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—

  • 1 Nephi 9:5

    5 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

  • 1 Nephi 19:3

    3 And after I had made these plates by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord.

  • 2 Nephi 3:19

    19 And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.

  • 2 Nephi 25:18

    18 Wherefore, he shall bring forth his words unto them, which words shall judge them at the last day, for they shall be given them for the purposeof convincing them of the true Messiah, who was rejected by them; and unto the convincing of them that they need not look forward any more for a Messiah to come, for there should not any come, save it should be a false Messiah which should deceive the people; for there is save one Messiah spoken of by the prophets, and that Messiah is he who should be rejected of the Jews.

  • 2 Nephi 27:22

    22 Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.

  • Jacob 5:53

    53 And this will I do that the tree may not perish, that, perhaps, I may preserve unto myself the roots thereof for mine own purpose.

  • Enos 1:13-16

    13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation— [READ THROUGH VERSE 16]

  • Words of Mormon 1:7

    7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

  • Alma 37:2

    2 And I also command you that ye keep a record of this people, according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all these things sacred which I have kept, even as I have kept them; for it is for a wise purpose that they are kept.

  • Alma 37:8

    8 And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved; for behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls.

  • Alma 37:12

    12 And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

  • Alma 37:14

    14 And now remember, my son, that God has entrusted you with these things, which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations.

  • Alma 37:18

    18 For he promised unto them that he would preserve these things for a wise purpose in him, that he might show forth his power unto future generations.

  • Alma 37:19

    19 And now behold, one purpose hath he fulfilled, even to the restoration of many thousands of the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth; and he hath shown forth his power in them, and he will also still show forth his power in them unto future generations; therefore they shall be preserved.

  • Alma 42:26

    26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.

  • 3 Nephi 5:14

    14 And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, that the prayers of those who have gone hence, who were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith, should make a record of these things which have been done—

  • 3 Nephi 5:25

    25 And as he hath covenanted with all the house of Jacob, even so shall the covenant wherewith he hath covenanted with the house of Jacob be fulfilled in his own due time, unto the restoring all the house of Jacob unto the knowledge of the covenant that he hath covenanted with them.

  • 3 Nephi 21:6-7

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you;

     For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;

  • 3 Nephi 21:10
  • 3 Nephi 26:2
  • 3 Nephi 29:1

    1 And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled.

  • Mormon 2:17, also 6:6 and 8:4 (hiding plates)

    17 And now, the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed.

  • Mormon 5:13-14

    14 And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant;

  • Mormon 8:14 also 8:5, intent already written

    14 And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless.

  • Mormon 8:21-26

    21 And he that shall breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord, and against the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel, and shall say: We will destroy the work of the Lord, and the Lord will not remember his covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel—the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire;

     22 For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.

     23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.

     24 And he knoweth their prayers, that they were in behalf of their brethren. And he knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word.

     25 And behold, their prayers were also in behalf of him that the Lord should suffer to bring these things forth.

     26 And no one need say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one should speak from the dead.

  • Ether 5:1 when it’s wisdom to translate…
  • Ether 8:23
  • Moroni 10:3
  • Doctrine and Covenants 3:19(20 too)

    19 And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain these records—that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people;

  • Doctrine and Covenants 5:9

    9 Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;

  • Doctrine and Covenants 10:40 (lots in section 10)

    40 And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account—

  • Doctrine and Covenants 10:43

    43 I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

  • Doctrine and Covenants 10:45

    45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.

  • Doctrine and Covenants 10:48

    48 Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.


quick thought about wisdom and scripture


D&C 42

 68 Therefore, he that lacketh wisdom, let him ask of me, and I will give him liberally and upbraid him not.

Hmmm In thinking about MSH paper and wisdom, I might want to think about the fact that the Book of Mormon authors refer to things as a “Wise purpose” that God has, and that they hope it means that scripture is given to Lamanites for the purpose of conversion,

And what if we heard, for fun, that when Joseph read the verse about wisdom and asked for it, he received scripture in response????


Quick ideas on a MSH 2017 paper on wisdom


Wisdom — based on Mormon & Moroni, and D&C 10:

-Wise to create more than one set of records

-Wise to separate the location of these records when practical or possible

-The material is so important that it is wise to create more than one copy of the information

-Material was the gospel that many hoped would go to the Lamanites. (You can collect many references to that — Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Words of Mormon, Mormon, Moroni, etc. as well as D&C 10 itself!)

-When the pages are lost, God tells Joseph that what is important is that He can fulfill his promise, that certain information could come to the Lamanites

-Satan desires to destroy “my Work” and the testimony of Joseph regarding this work. What if their plan had succeeded, and no one would believe Joseph could translate, that he had found an ancient record, etc? Not only would there be no church, no further revelations for the church, no temple, etc., the promise that certain information would go to the seed of Lehi would not have been fulfilled. Perhaps the work of a new church and so on could have happened another way, even, but the record of Lehi’s people to Lehi’s people was promised to come forth, and that specific work would have been frustrated.

-If that specific work would have been frustrated, then in essence, the Abrahamic Covenant would have been frustrated.

-But, God’s wisdom is stronger than the cunning of the devil. And perhaps occasionally God lets it look like the devil is winning precisely so that we will appreciate His strength as He overcomes whatever the devil was doing. (This sounds a lot like places in scripture that talk about the Abrahamic Covenant, actually. When Pharaoh’s heart was hard, then God’s power could be shown to be strong; when Israel is scattered, God can show is power to the nations when He gathers them; when Alma’s people are in bondage, they see God’s hand in their deliverance, and so forth.)

-So God wisely makes sure that there is more than one way to accomplish His plans. And He also wants to make sure we know that His power is stronger than the cunning of the devil, which can only be seen if we also see the cunning of the devil. 🙂

Perhaps there is something here?