In the Book of Mormon, God tells Nephi, the first contributor to the Book of Mormon “I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have” (2 Nephi 28:30
). There are three points to take away from this: First, knowledge of God and how we should live doesn’t come all at once, but a little at a time. Second, if we follow what has been given, we will receive more. Third, if we aren’t willing to follow God’s counsel and live by it, that which was given to us will be taken away.
I take this to mean that we will forget the knowledge of God that we had gained.
Throughout my life there have been many things that I haven’t understood about my religion– why I was asked to do this or not do that and so on; the answers were not immediately available. However, as I have sought to understand, understanding has come. For me, the Holy Ghost always confirms this understanding. When this happens to me, it is an epiphany. All of the cards fall into place and I understand the why.
It is similar to climbing to the top of a peak, I cannot always see where the trail leads or what it will look like from the top. However, once I reach the top I can see further than I ever could on the trail below and I can understand better where I am. Furthermore, the view from the top is always worth the struggle. It is the same with living God’s commandments. Sometimes it is hard to do what is right, but once I make up my mind that I am going to do it (choose to do it) the Holy Ghost always confirms that I have made the right choice. These experiences with the Holy Ghost are always worth the effort, because I know that I am acting according to God’s will and that is when the understanding comes, “I can see for miles and miles.” As I have moved from one level of understanding to the next, my belief in God and his prophets has grown and so has my willingness to follow their counsel. Thus, I know that there is always a why, there always has been and I know that there will continue to be an answer even if I don’t immediately understand.
I want to illustrate this point with a personal example that may appear absurd to many of you. During my first year of college I grew a magnificent beard. It was thick and black, and I loved it. However, I felt that I should prepare myself to serve as a missionary for my Church. I knew that this would mean that I had to cut my beard and shave for two years. Nevertheless, I vowed that the day that I returned from my missionary service would be the last day that I shaved for the rest of my life. Begrudgingly I cut my beard and left for my mission.
In the middle of my service in Russia, I was at a meeting with the president of our mission. He was talking about our appearance and how it influences how others see us. He said that everyday it is possible to meet someone who might have a large impact on our lives; therefore, we should always look presentable so as to give them the best possible impression. At that moment, the Holy Ghost filled my heart and I knew that I was being asked not to grow my beard again. I understood the reason behind the rule. The “why.” This might appear silly, but the point is I had progressed in my understanding of why I was asked to keep myself clean-shaven. I am not saying that this applies to everyone else, but it applies to me and I am happy to follow this understanding that I have gained.
Finally, we shouldn’t criticize or judge others if they do not see things or live their life the way we do. Perhaps they haven’t progressed in understanding the way we have or maybe they are beyond us in understanding God and his mysteries. In the context of progression, if we judge others we are saying that we know best and that we are better than others. We should have charity for all people regardless of the choices they make or the lives they live. God loves all of his children and we should do the same and leave the judging up to God, because only he knows our thoughts, desires and intents. Furthermore, he is the only one who truly knows where we are on the path of progression