The practical application of section 76 is that we can and should receive revelation, and the way that we can obtain revelation is by studying the words of prophets. We need to be feasting on the words that the Lord has given us. When we do so, He is so anxious to give us more. Remembering past revelation also invites future revelation (see D&C 6:22-23).
76:2 – you would never guess the stuff that is in section 76, it would have to be revealed to you.
76:5 – God honors those who serve Him with truth/revelation from Him.
In reading verses 1-10 with the students I have them highlight specific words which emphasize the point the Lord is making in this section. Words like mysteries (7), wonders (8), wisdom (9), and secrets (10). The Lord is anxious to share with us more truth, more light than we currently enjoy.
Joseph and Sidney Rigdon not only see the Savior but they converse with Him as well – see verse 14. A great truth here that I shared in class was the fact that Joseph does not stand alone in his witness of truth. The Lord sends two witnesses to testify of truth. In the Old Testament, two witnesses were required in trials where the death penalty was involved (Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 19:15). I would ask, is there any more important life and death matter than salvation? The Lord will always send multiple witnesses to save His children.
At the end of the section the Lord gives more insights into the process of revelation. Skip to the end of the section– v116 – which God bestows on those who love Him and purify themselves before Him– this is the prerequisite to receiving revelation – love the Lord and seek to be purified.
Verse 116 also uses this phrase: neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit… Many sacred things can only be understood by the Spirit of God. Sometimes the Lord wants to share things with us, but in our current state we are not yet ready to receive what He has for us. There is no place for Him to “put” the answer. I shared some examples of this in class and invited the students to consider questions they have not yet received answers to that might come at a later time.
This is a great insight into why God cannot answer some of the questions that we have for Him, there is not a place for him to put the answer.
A pattern seems to manifest itself in this and other revelations: wanting to receive more, pondering, and receiving more light and knowledge- D&C 138 and Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life are great examples of this principle being illustrated in the scriptures. Any way that the students can see that their lives are blessed with more knowledge through opening their minds to the study of the scriptures is beneficial. Many students shared experiences with a particular verse that had helped them through a tough time in their lives. The more we can show that the scriptures are a manual to solve problems in the real world, the more the youth of the church will turn to them for direction.
In D&C 76:15 it states that Joseph and Sidney were “doing the work of translation” when they came to John 5:29 which discusses the resurrection of the just and unjust.
What is the catalyst that invites revelation? Clearly the scriptures invite the Holy Ghost into our mind and hearts, and this is a way that we can invite revelation into our lives.
President Ezra Taft Benson had this to say: “Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow. . .” (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 81-82).