Principles of Discovery, Part 10
We will call principle ten – The principle of planting and harvesting.
One of the best teachings in the Book of Mormon is from the book of Alma, Chapter 32, where it gives a dialog on this discovery of truth as follows.
“Now, as I said concerning faith–that it was not a perfect knowledge–even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
“Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves–It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
“Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
“But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
“And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
“Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
“And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
“And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because ye know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
“O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
“Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
“And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
“But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
“Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
“And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
“But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
“And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
“Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.” Alma 32:26-43
Notice that to discover whether a teaching is true that you do not search out the evil that may be therein, for until the truth is discovered it is difficult to sort out the good and the evil, the true and the false.
So what does this scripture tell us to do?
It tells us to “experiment.” And how do we do that?
The scripture plainly tells us:
“Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves–It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” Alma 32:28
This is one reason the scriptures tell us to “believe all things.” One cannot use this principle of discovery unless he places himself in a believing mindset. Now the trouble some have is a concern that the word may be from an evil source and thus prevent the completion of the “experiment.” But Alma here did not tell us to be concerned about whether the seed is good or evil because the experiment of faith will teach you that. And how is that? The scripture answers:
“Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.” Alma 32:32
You can’t tell if the seed is good by continual analysis alone. Instead, you tell by the fact that the seed grows in the light of the soul. If the seed or the word is not good what will happen? Will the good old devil come possess you? No. Instead nothing happens within your real self. The seed does not sprout and does not grow.
So why does the bad seed not grow? Because that which is not true is illusion and illusion is created from shadows and shadows are not real. That which does not exist and is not real cannot grow except in the world of illusion. The scripture tells us that it is possible to prevent even a good seed from growing if you “cast it out by your unbelief.” So if you plant the seed and fear it may be evil or useless and cast it out then of course, the experiment has ended and it will not grow.
But if we are successful with step one and plant the seed and feel it growing what will happen next?
“…behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves–It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” Alma 32:28
Now I know that there are many in this group who have performed this experiment. Many of you have believing hearts and have allowed the teachings I have presented in the Immortal and in this group into your hearts. Each time this has happened I have seen the seed planted begin to grow within you. Then I have witnessed the literal truth of this scripture as I have watched the seed swell and grow, enlighten your understanding and be “delicious” to your taste as it is to mine.
Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke
July 26, 2006
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