9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.
After withstanding Zeezrom’s verbal attack and seeing that Zeezrom has become humble and teachable, Alma teaches him and the rest of the people in Ammonihah how to learn and understand spiritual truths, which he calls “mysteries”. The formula is very simple: the more you harden your heart, the less you will know, and the less you harden your heart, the more you will know.
I like Elder Gerald N. Lund’s explanation of what it means to harden our hearts:
The heart is a tender place. It is sensitive to many influences, both positive and negative. It can be hurt by others. It can be deadened by sin. It can be softened by love. Early in our lives, we learn to guard our hearts. It is like we erect a fence around our hearts with a gate in it. No one can enter that gate unless we allow him or her to.
In some cases the fence we erect around our hearts could be likened to a small picket fence with a Welcome sign on the gate. Other hearts have been so hurt or so deadened by sin that they have an eight-foot (2.5-m) chain-link fence topped with razor wire around them. The gate is padlocked and has a large No Trespassing sign on it….
The condition of our hearts directly affects our sensitivity to spiritual things. Let us make it a part of our everyday striving to open our hearts to the Spirit. Since we are the guardians of our hearts, we can choose to do so. We choose what we let in or hold out. (“Opening Our Hearts,” General Conference, April 2008).
Today, I will choose to open my heart to the influence of the Holy Ghost. When I sense that my heart may be tightening up, becoming more rigid and less adaptable, I will strive to calm down and eliminate the internal noise that can prevent me from receiving knowledge through the quiet and peaceful voice of the Spirit.