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Come Unto Him In Prayer And Faith

Source: Liahona » 2009 » March (local copy)

Let's examine a few things written therein.

"If our desire is to discard all doubt and to substitute therefore an abiding faith, we have but to accept 
the invitation extended to you and to me in the Epistle of James: If any of you lack wisdom, let him 
ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

James is speaking to a Christian audience.  He is saying to ask God for wisdom, not to ask God to know
whether something is true or not.  Knowledge is different than wisdom.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with 
the wind and tossed.”

This promise motivated the young man Joseph Smith to seek God in prayer. He declared to us in his 
own words:

“At length I came to the conclusion that I … must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length 
came to the determination to ‘ask of God,’ concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked 
wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

“So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the 
attempt. … It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties 
I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.”

Joseph Smith's particular problem was that he lost all confidence in the Bible.  During his time, three 
mains groups of Christianity (the Methodists, Presbyterians, and the Baptists) were vying for converts 
and apparently they were not teaching the same doctrines.

Joseph Smith said, "But so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, 
that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to 
come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong

His thinking was that Christ's true church was some denomination and that he must find it.  He did
not realize that Christ's true church is a collection of the body of believers.

Are you the same way today?  You think that one specific church is the true church and that all other
churches are wrong?

Well, this is the way Joseph Smith was thinking. He went into the woods to pray to God to know 
which church was true and to which to join.

How do we know that Joseph did not have confidence in the Bible?  It is revealed in verse 12 of History
of the Church, volume 1:

"Unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion
of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all 
confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

Are you the same way too?  Is your confidence in the Bible destroyed when you hear certain people
teach differing doctrines and you cannot determine what is truth and what is false?

Or do you believe that the Bible is sufficient when it says: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, 
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the 
man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17)?

It is obvious Joseph Smith did not.  Before asking God for wisdom, we should believe His word is

What about you?

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