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.