2 Nephi 32 is one of the most pivotal chapters of the entire Book of Mormon, in my opinion. What does it mean to come unto Christ? What does it mean to make our calling and election sure?
1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?
2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief*, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.
After we were baptized, did we receive the Holy Ghost? Or did we take for granted that it was placed upon us like a mantle to give it no further thought? Now that we have all of Nephi’s words, have we followed them? He laid out his life for us, giving us a precise pattern to follow that we might be brought to the veil. And now if none of this makes sense, even after Nephi plainly explains to us in his two books, it is because we have not asked or knocked. This is what he tried drilling into Laman and Lemuel’s thick skulls:
6 And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations.
7 And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.
8 And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?
9 And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.
10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?
11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.
His brothers argued about doctrine. This is something we see often in life. Why? Because we do not inquire of the Lord. And is our faith sufficient to inquire earnestly? Furthermore, are we worthy of further light and knowledge? These are two important factors, as Nephi indicates in 2 Nephi 32. If we have received the Holy Ghost–if we have taken it to be our personal guide; if we have become sanctified, it is because we have put off the natural man. King Benjamin discusses this as well in the book of Mosiah.
We may need to read First and Second Nephi over and over and over again until we see the pattern–until we understand why we are still under condemnation, and how we can have this condemnation removed from us individually.
And why does Nephi write about the Spirit and of Angels and of Christ manifesting Himself in the flesh? Didn’t he experience these things? He is giving us the pattern. He is telling the reader, “what are you waiting for?” If you have entered in by the way, if you have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit and have put off the natural man–in other words, we have absolutely no desire to go back to our old sinful ways. We have no desire to be idle or idolatrous. Monday night football doesn’t mean anything to us anymore. Television, video games and all other worldly time killers seem so meaningless now. By this time, we have experience the Holy Spirit in our lives so profoundly that coming unto Christ becomes our sole desire and our primary pursuit. So Nephi asks us, “what are you waiting for?”
“Have ye inquired of the Lord?”
And if we’re still puzzling about this, read the book of Enos. Read it again.
While we LDS believe in modern day revelations, ministering of angels, and communion with our Savior, do we really believe that it is something available to each of us today? If not, then we have completely missed what Nephi and so many others have tried to teach us. Moroni makes a summary of these teachings in one final effort before sealing up the record, which we read in his seventh and tenth chapters. In chapter seven he gives us the words of his father, Mormon:
26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying:Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.
27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
28 For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.
29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of *unbelief, and all is vain.
38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.
What? We are not fit to be numbered among the people of Zion? Why not? It is because we have not diligently sought to come unto Christ. Angels call us to repentance, they teach us sacred truths. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring us to Christ and if we knock as Enos knocked, it will be opened–the veil will part for us. And Christ will teach us greater things. And He will introduce us to His Father.
This is the pattern. This is what Nephi painstakingly explains to us. This is what he experienced, as did Jacob and Enos, and many others. This is the entire point of of Jacob’s explanation of the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees. We are the fruit of the harvest. This is what Jacob was so excited to teach his people. It’s up to us to follow in their footsteps. This is what the Book of Mormon is about.
Have you experienced miracles in your life? Have you experienced the ministering of angels? Have you heard the Saviors voice? Have you parted the veil and found yourself in His embrace? Have you received the Second Comforter?
Have ye knocked?
Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves; by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it. –Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 299