There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”D&C 130:20-21
One principle of the gospel that should give us faith and confidence in the Lord’s goodness is that He works by eternal law, and is no respecter of persons. Consequently, any of the blessings, miracles, or revelations that we read about in the scriptures are just as accessible to us as they were anciently. All blessings are obtained by the fulfillment of certain laws and conditions. If we learn and fulfill the conditions, we will have a right to the same blessings. Furthermore, God does not love Enoch, Moses, or Nephi more than He loves you or me, and anything He was willing to do for them, He is willing to do for us.
As the Lord told Moroni, “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 is the key phrase on which these blessings hinge? “Faith… even as the brother of Jared.” Notice it is not predicated on what calling you hold, your marital status, age, occupation, or anything else. All these things may be affected by whether or not you exercise great faith, but the only condition upon which these blessings flow is having the same degree of faith that the brother of Jared had. The individual circumstances of our lives will vary from person to person, depending on the course the Lord takes to get us there – but when we fulfill the law, we will receive the blessing as did Enoch, Moses, Mahonri, and many others.
This principle of equal privilege is made clear in the Lectures on Faith:
“But it is equally as necessary that men should have the idea that he is a God who changes not, in order to have faith in him, as it is to have the idea that he is gracious and long suffering. For without the idea of unchangeableness in the character of the Deity, doubt would take the place of faith. But with the idea that he changes not, faith lays hold upon the excellencies in his character with unshaken confidence, believing he is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that his course is one eternal round.
“But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons; for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character, and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him, because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all, but all must be confusion; but no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point, that he is no respecter of persons, than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life the richest boon of heaven, because God is no respecter of persons, and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege.”
(Lectures on Faith 3:21, 23)
Should we find ourselves in need, pleading with God for certain blessings or revelations, it’s our duty and privilege to seek out what the Lord has done for His people in times past, and by meeting the same requirements, reap the same blessings.
There is a price associated with every blessing. When the Savior instructs us to ask, seek, and knock (Matt. 7:7-8), He is doing more than suggesting we make passive wishes to a genie. He is inviting us into a process whereby our desires lead us to become the kind of person who can receive what we’re asking for. For example, those who seek the blessing of making their calling and election sure must first learn the conditions upon which that blessing is given. Upon studying what those conditions are, they will learn that they must have unconditional faith; an unrelenting obedience to everything God reveals to them. What they then are truly seeking is to become the kind of person willing to serve God at all hazards, no matter the cost. Their prayers will not be fleeting wishes for a place in God’s kingdom, but rather for humility, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. They will ask the Lord to take them through whatever kinds of experiences are necessary to obtain those things, and will willingly submit to whatever He asks of them. They will seek His grace for strength, perspective, and understanding. They will knock by humbly petitioning the Lord for that grace, and learning the laws whereby they obtain it.
When viewed in this light, the scriptures become a catalog of blessings. God blesses His children by eternal law. If we will therefore study out the price associated with each blessing, we will be empowered to obtain them. Whether we seek divine for intervention for physical protection of our families (like Helaman and the stripling warriors), to reclaim wayward children (like Alma, Mosiah, or Lehi), to heal sickness and disease, to entertain angels, or to obtain revelation and personal guidance—all these blessings and more have conditions that can be discovered by studying the experiences of others.
From Bruce R. McConkie:
“Unless we enjoy the same gifts and work the same miracles that marked the lives of those who have gone before, we are not the Lord’s people. The Lord our King is the same yesterday, today, and forever. A soul is just as precious in his sight now as it ever was. He is no respecter of persons, and anytime any of us exercise the same faith that moved the ancients in their pursuit of righteousness, we will enjoy the same gifts and blessings that attended their ministries.
“It is an eternal law that ‘these signs shall follow them that believe.’ (Mark 16:17.) They ‘never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.’ (Moro. 10:19.) At any moment when we have the faith of the ancients, we shall also enjoy the same gifts and blessings that they possessed.
“I think the proper course for us to pursue is to turn to the holy scriptures and learn what the Lord has done for the people of his church in days of old. The more we know about the way an unchangeable God has operated in days past, the greater surety we will have that he will repeat himself in days present.
“The faith-promoting stories in the scriptures will accomplish their purpose if we will let them, and that purpose is to create faith in our hearts so that we will trust in the same Lord who blessed our forebears and thereby inherit the same blessings that he poured out upon them.” (McConkie, The How and Why of Faith-promoting Stories, 1978)