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Joseph McConkie describes the work involved in getting knowledge from God

"It is in the accepting of our lot and moving forward with what the Lord has asked of us that we discover that the Holy Ghost enjoys our company, angels feel constrained to join us and the heavens open to our vision," emeritus professor Joseph F. McConkie told students as he spoke about finding answers at Tuesday's devotional.

For rebroadcast dates of the devotional, please see

McConkie walked students through several principles for finding answers to life's many problems.

The first principle he taught was to learn to solve your own problems. A son of the late apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Prof. McConkie said he went to his father once with some gospel questions and received the response, "Look Junior, you have the same sources available to you as I do to me."

McConkie honored his father and two grandfathers who devoted their lives to the study of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and who also taught him to get answers for himself.

"They are now gone," he said. "Questions continue, as does the confidence that the same sources that were available to them are available to me."

A principle of honest work applies to gaining secular and sacred knowledge, he said.

"There is a measurable difference between a student coming to my office to seek clarification on something they have read or that was taught in class and the student that comes asking to be taught what they missed because they chose not to come to class or complete the reading assignment."

Those who work to learn the truth can rely on the companionship of the Holy Ghost, McConkie said. "The fact that every member of the Church is given the gift of the Holy Ghost is the evidence that the Lord wants to reveal things to you and through you."

When no sure answer comes, McConkie said, it may mean that the Lord leaves some matters to our own discretion, and it may mean that we are failing to ask the right questions.

Questions carried with a spirit of doubt and questions intended to challenge rather than build faith are not effective, he said. The Book of James requires that we seek wisdom in faith, "nothing wavering."

"Of those who 'waver' James says, 'Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.'" (James 1:5-7.)

On the other hand, McConkie reassured students that we have a sure promise that "if we pray in the manner prescribed by Christ and ask for that 'which is right' our prayers will be answered.

"The path we seek will always be clearly marked by the covenants we have made and the callings we have received."

Writer: Alexis Plowman

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