One of the first times I read the Old Testament as a teenager, I noticed how often a writer would source a biblical story by saying “And that story’s in such and such book” which was nowhere to be found in the canonical writing. I made a list at the back of my Bible of books mentioned, but not included. Then years later, when I started looking for references to those books, I happily discovered some of those missing books had been discovered and translated. Although they’re not canonical, I love reading everything I can get my hands on.
The Book of Mormon also references books not extant in the Bible. For example, Book of Mormon prophets quote Zenos and Zenock from their version of the pre-Babylonian conquest Old Testament.
A portion of the Book of Mormon itself, the “sealed portion,” wasn’t translated. Moroni’s descriptions of the amazing revelations in the sealed portion tantalize every eager reader.
Why was a portion of the book sealed?
Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them.
And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.
Promises that More is To Come
Throughout the scriptures, the Lord promises to bless His people with knowledge individually and collectively.
God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.
Prophets and Apostles Speak of Continuing Revelation
Latter-day prophets challenge us to seek for knowledge the Lord eagerly waits to give us as soon as we can receive it.
From President Wilford Woodruff:
There is yet much for us to learn concerning the temple ordinances, and God will make it known as we prove ourselves ready to receive it.
From Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
There is more revelation to come relative to salvation for the dead and all other things. The last word has not been spoken on any subject. Streams of living water shall yet flow from the Eternal Spring who is the source of all truth. There are more things we do not know about the doctrines of salvation than there are things we do know.
When we as a people believe and conform to all of the truths we have received, we shall receive more of the mind and will and voice of the Lord. What we receive and when it comes are in large measure up to us. The Lord has many things he wants to tell us, but so far we have not attained that unity and spiritual stature which will enable us to pull down knowledge from heaven upon us.
We praise God because he has seen fit to give to us what we have received, including these two revelations on salvation for the dead, and pray that we may believe and obey with that faith and devotion which will cause the Lord to give us more of his eternal word. The more we know, the more scripture we receive, the more we have in our standard works, the greater is our chance of gaining eternal life in our Father’s kingdom. We can never live a law until it is revealed to us. Can any of us know too much? Can we receive too much revelation? Can we add too much to our holy writ?
What a wondrous thing it is to worship a God who still speaks, whose voice is still heard, whose words are without end!
From Elder Orson Pratt:
God has ordained a building of a different pattern wherein laws, statutes, judgments, and ordinances are to be revealed for the benefit of his people…a place wherein the angels may come and visit, as they did the ancient Temple; a place wherein you can receive all those ordinances which the Lord has revealed, and which he will hereafter reveal, from time to time, preparatory to the great day of the coming of the Lord.
And in referring to the New Jerusalem Temple, Orson Pratt taught that
Every ordinance that will be administered in that temple will be administered by holy hands, and you will understand and know the meaning thereof. The Lord will reveal these things in their day; he will reveal everything that is needful, so that the knowledge of God may rest upon you, and that there be no darkness with you.
Choose to Receive
The Lord instructed Moroni that all of His words could be available—even sealed portions.
For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
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.
So the ball is in our court. The Lord promises we can receive and understand all of His revelations. What a glorious promise available to us during this fulness of times!