Tag Archives: wisdom

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?


John Taylor – quote from his talk on wisdom. Have trust, and be willing to sacrifice


We have to conduct ourselves properly, and seek the assistance of the Almighty to direct us in all our affairs, and the Lord has promised if we would do that, he would show us that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. Well, he does keep showing that from time to time, and if we do right he will keep on doing it. But to ensure this there is something devolving upon us.
Says one, “If I could have so much money, such a farm, or this, that, and the other, I would feel satisfied.” I say, get the Spirit of God in your hearts! Let the light of revelation burn in your bosoms like living fire, then you will know something about God, something about the blessings of salvation, something about the benefits that will accrue to Zion.
“But, sometimes, I have to make a little sacrifice if I carry out the counsel given.” Well, make it then. If it is a sacrifice, it ought to be a pleasure to help build up the kingdom of God, establish righteousness, plant the standard of truth, and to be on the side of God, angels and eternal realities, to be saviors of men. To be thus situated is the most honorable position in this world or the world to come.
Now, God could not get the world to do anything towards building up his kingdom, they would not do it, they could not see it, and he had to get you baptized before you could see it; and seeing it now, will you barter it away for the follies of this world, for the smiles and promises of the ungodly? Or are you going to cleave to the truth, live by it, and, if necessary, die by it? What are you going to do?

John Taylor talk on wisdom – if God can command in great things, why can’t he help us in all things?


I came across this talk by John Taylor when I was looking for things on wisdom for my MSH paper.

….

Well, we are here, and God is going to build up his kingdom. He will do it, and we need not trouble ourselves about outsiders and their notions, or about foolish men or their thoughts, practices and calculations. It is a matter of very little difference to us. God is at the helm—he manages, he guides, he directs and controls, he influences his people, and he will continue to influence them. Well, we are here, in the capacity, say, of a kingdom, and people tell us that we are different from anybody else. Of course we are; we do not expect to be like others. It is true that smoke goes out of our chimneys, as out of the chimneys of others, because it is a law of nature. It is true that potatoes, wheat and corn grow here as elsewhere. It is true

we have to attend to the common affairs of life—eat, drink, sustain ourselves, clothe and keep ourselves warm, as others do, and we have to take care of and protect ourselves from the incursions and machinations of those who seek to destroy us. In all these respects we have to take the same course that other people do; but the difference between us is—we have an organization, a Church organization, given by revelation from God, and which does not exist anywhere else in this little world.

But what about other things relative to temporal affairs? If God can organize us as a Church, if he can unveil the heavens to us, draw aside the curtain of futurity, and enable us to penetrate the veil and gain a certain knowledge in regard to the future, certainly he can make known or reveal something about a few temporal things, such as plowing, sowing, building, planting, trading, manufacturing, making railroads, and a thousand other little things that have to be attended to in this world. If he can do the bigger things, I think he can do the less.
“Well, we are capable of doing that ourselves,” say some people, some of these philosophers I have referred to—they are all wise men, and you would think wisdom would die with them, but it will not be entirely extinguished when they are gone, not quite. God will still lead, govern and direct his people. “But,” say they, “we think we could do things so much better than somebody else.” Well then, go at it and try; there is plenty of room in the world for you to exhibit your intelligence.
We are in the hands of God. We have come here. What for? The Lord says, “I will take them one of a city, and two of a family, and bring them to Zion.” Jer. 3:14 What will you do with them? “Give them pastors

after my own heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding.” Jer. 3:15 It is a fact, today, that the wise men and great men, and statesmen, and men in position in various parts of the world, as they come here to visit, us with all our failings and infirmities, tell us that we are the best and most orderly people they have ever seen. And they say we have a beautiful country, and that we are governed by wisdom, by sage counsels, and by a high order of intelligence. That is the opinion of the leading statesmen of this day who pass through our midst, and many of them come through here. The question naturally arises, Where does this wisdom come from? Why, God inspired Joseph Smith; then he inspired President Young with the same kind of spirit and feeling. Then he inspired the devil, or the devil inspired his imps—one of the two—and drove us from our former possessions, and it all worked together, the Lord inspired on the one hand, and the devil on the other, and by hook or by crook, we got here, just as we are today.

We commenced to build a temple in Kirtland, and we built it. We built another in Nauvoo, and we are building another here. We are attending to the ordinances pertaining to the Church of God, temporal and spiritual, ordinances pertaining to the body, and ordinances pertaining to the spirit. And then, as men having to do with the world on which we live, with the Territory that we possess, we have to enact laws, and we have to conduct ourselves properly, and seek the assistance of the Almighty to direct us in all our affairs, and the Lord has promised if we would do that, he would show us that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. D&C 10:43 Well, he does keep showing that from time

to time, and if we do right he will keep on doing it. But to ensure this there is something devolving upon us.

Says one, “If I could have so much money, such a farm, or this, that, and the other, I would feel satisfied.” I say, get the Spirit of God in your hearts! Let the light of revelation burn in your bosoms like living fire, then you will know something about God, something about the blessings of salvation, something about the benefits that will accrue to Zion. “But, sometimes, I have to make a little sacrifice if I carry out the counsel given.” Well, make it then. If it is a sacrifice, it ought to be a pleasure to help build up the kingdom of God, establish righteousness, plant the standard of truth, and to be on the side of God, angels and eternal realities, to be saviors of men. D&C 103:9 To be thus situated is the most honorable position in this world or the world to come. Now, God could not get the world to do anything towards building up his kingdom, they would not do it, they could not see it, and he had to get you baptized before you could see it; and seeing it now, will you barter it away for the follies of this world, for the smiles and promises of the ungodly? Or are you going to cleave to the truth, live by it, and, if necessary, die by it? What are you going to do?
I am glad we have come here. I am pleased that these meetings have been instituted, that the people get together, and that we have a chance to talk with them, in their assemblies, about the things of God. We are God’s people, God is our Father, and we should spend a little time in these things. This is our duty, and we should feel an interest in them. That is what we set out for, and we mean to go forward, and we will go on and

on, for our motto is eternal progress. This kingdom will advance, the purposes of God will roll forward, and no power on this side of hell, or the other either, can stop it. God will sustain his people, and Israel will rejoice and be triumphant.

Now then, we come to the management of our affairs. Talking of the wise men of the world, why we have had many of them ever since the world was. And what have they accomplished in the nations of the earth? They have built cities, and some have raised themselves to fame by trampling under foot thousands of others. They have waded through seas of blood sometimes to get upon the throne of power. What to do? That they might trample still lower poor humanity, and bring men down, as it were, to the dust of death, and make serfs of them. What else have they done? They have established every kind of government, as they have every kind of religion. Do you not think that we need revelation about government as much as anything else? I think we do. I think we need God to dictate to us as much in our national and social affairs as in church matters. Some people are willing to have their souls looked after, but they think they are smart enough to look after temporal affairs themselves. In the world they want a doctor to look after their bodies, a parson to look after their souls, and a lawyer to take care of their property. In these respects we differ from them. We begin with God. Our light comes from him, our religion is from him, and we need his guidance and instruction in all these other matters. Is not that simple, plain and reasonable?

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.


D&C 3 and the purpose of the Book of Mormon (similar to “wise purpose” elsewhere)


I have been looking at the “wise purposes” mentioned in the Book of Mormon and in D&C 10. This is similar but just doesn’t use the word “wise.” But in other passages and this one, the purpose is to fulfill God’s promise to bring the words of the Nephite prophets to the descendants of Lehi.

16 Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has come unto the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people—

 17 And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers—

 18 And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations.

 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;

 20 And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.