That Veil of Unbelief – Ether 4:15

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai (for the second time), his face was shining brightly. He was unaware of this until he saw the reaction of his people: They were afraid and unwilling to come near him. Only when he placed a veil over his face to hide the light were they willing to approach him and hear what he had learned (Exodus 34:29-35).

The apostle Paul later referred to this event as a metaphor for our unwillingness to receive the full light God wants to share with us. “We use great plainness of speech,” he said. “And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look… But their minds were blinded: for…even unto this day…the veil is upon their heart” (2 Corinthians 3:12-15). Then he added, “Nevertheless, when [they] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16).

After relating the story of the brother of Jared seeing Jesus Christ and being shown all things, Moroni added an editorial note. He wanted his readers to know that we can all one day see the same things the brother of Jared saw:

And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

Ether 4:7

What holds us back from receiving this blessing? Like Paul, Moroni uses the imagery of the veil to represent our unwillingness to open our hearts and minds to the revelations of God:

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.

Ether 4:15

In his first talk as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson quoted the following passage from Elder Neal A. Maxwell: ““To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!” (“Meek and Lowly,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 21 October 1986, quoted in “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2018). President Nelson urged us to increase our capacity to receive revelation.

Today, I will open my mind and my heart to the knowledge God desires to share with me. I will strive to avoid the fear of the ancient Israelites which prevented them from receiving the full light of God.

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