Moses prophesied that his people would eventually forget the Lord and would be scattered among all nations. But he made a promise about what would happen next:
If from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul (Deuteronomy 4:29, italics added).
Many years later, about the time Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah made the same promise to his people. They would be conquered by the Babylonians, he said, and would live in captivity for 70 years. But eventually, they would turn their hearts toward God:
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13, italics added).
A casual desire to know God, an idle curiosity isn’t enough and never will be. God has promised that we can find Him, but not without some effort on our part:
I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him….
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost (1 Nephi 10:17, 19, italics added).
Nephi understood that he could receive revelation directly from God, just as his father had. But he also understood that he would have to do some work to receive that blessing.
At the end of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni makes a promise to the readers. He does not promise that God will reveal the truth to every superficial seeker. But he does provide guidance to those who really want to know if the Book of Mormon is true:
When ye shall read these things…
- remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men…
- and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things…
- ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;
And if ye shall ask…
- with a sincere heart,
- with real intent,
- having faith in Christ,
…he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:3-5).
As a teenager, Elder James B. Martino read this promise and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He did not receive an answer.
You might ask why Heavenly Father did not answer that prayer; I certainly wondered. I have learned since that the promise made by Moroni is accurate. God does answer our prayers about the truthfulness of the gospel, but He answers them when we have “a sincere heart” and “real intent.” He does not answer just to respond to our curiosity (“Turn to Him and Answers Will Come,” General Conference, October 2015).
Today, I will seek diligently for revelation from the Lord. I will remember that God is willing to answer my prayers, but that those prayers must be genuine, offered with sincere effort, with all my heart, holding nothing back.