11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
In an effort to solve a practical problem — how to provide light to a group of travelers in an enclosed barge — the brother of Jared made a very unusual request. He created sixteen clear stones, which looked like they were made of glass. Then he carried them to the top of a mountain and prayed, asking the Lord to touch the stones with His finger so that they would shine. (See Ether 3:1-5.)
I’m interested in the relationship between knowledge and belief in this experience. The brother of Jared knew that God had answered his prayers in the past. He believed that God would answer him again, even though what he was asking was unbelievably bold. Even though he asked God to touch the stones with His finger, it’s not clear what he thought that would look like. When he actually saw the finger of the Lord, he was startled to see that it looked like the finger of a man. (See Ether 3:6-8.) So even though He believed that God could perform this miracle, he hadn’t realized how literally his request would be fulfilled.
After overcoming his initial shock, and beginning to grasp the implications of what he had seen, the brother of Jared requested to see the Lord. The passage above describes the conversation which followed. The Lord asked the brother of Jared if he would commit to believe what he was about to hear. The brother of Jared answered that he would believe because of what he knew: “I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth and canst not lie.” The Lord responded, “Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence.”
The more I think about the brother of Jared’s response, the more it makes sense to me. We are willing to believe because of what we know. His prior experiences with God had convinced him that God always tells the truth. Therefore, he was willing to commit to believe what God was about to tell him without knowing what it was. His knowledge provided the foundation for his belief, which in turn enabled him to see through the veil. (See Ether 3:19-20.)
Today, I will choose to believe because of what I know. I will remember the spiritual experiences which have contributed to my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I participate in General Conference, I will commit to believe and act upon what I will hear because of my knowledge that the men and women who will speak are called by God to represent Him and that I can receive revelation from Him as I listen to their words.