The Lesser Portion of the Word

To those who harden their hearts, which is another way of saying, to those whose minds are darkened by unbelief, (D&C 84:53), God gives the “lesser portion of the word.”

10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:10-11.)

Notice that the “greater portion” is enshrined within the mysteries, and the lesser portion is to know nothing of the mysteries. This is not to say those individuals know nothing of the truth, or nothing of the gospel, or do not have a testimony; it is merely to know nothing beyond that. The grand dividing line is that those with the greater portion have not hardened their hearts. Those who harden their hearts eventually know nothing of the mysteries until they are in fact “taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction,” after which they find themselves bound by “the chains of hell.”

The scriptures inform us that there is one great hallmark of those who harden their hearts, which is that they shut out the voice of the Master.

And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; (Doctrine and Covenants 29:7)

And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept, that will not hear my voice but harden their hearts, and wo, wo, wo, is their doom. (Doctrine and Covenants 38:6)

Anyone who inhibits the revelatory voice, or even who filters it through incorrect beliefs, is by definition “hardening their hearts”. In this condition they cannot even see, much less understand, the exalting “mysteries” of godliness. They who are caught in this hardened condition, who do not repent, cannot become the “elect of God”. They will never learn the exalting mysteries, reach their fullest potential, or become a part of the latter-day Zion.

These unfortunate folks are left with the non-mysterious, the saving but less-exalting, the commonly known, the oft-spoken and commonly understood “portion of the word.” All of us begin there, but must not remain throughout our lives. As a matter of divine law, the “lesser portion of the word” is the only portion that is spoken out loud; it is the portion which God grants “unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9) This is the gospel portion which we have been taught all of our lives. Very little of the “greater portion” has entered our ears, and if it did, we most probably were unprepared to comprehend it.

There must be an evolution toward spiritual maturity, and the promised blessings flowing from the “greater portion” of the gospel. We all start as spiritual babes, performing our labors and services for service’s sake. We naturally believe what we see and feel, and enjoy the fellowship and rewards of membership. These are glorious things, true things; saving things! Nothing being observed here is meant to denigrate or lessen the power of these things. However, it is not the purpose of the gospel that we should remain in an infant state. We are to become god-like men and women, to company with angels, to have miracles and visions and godly powers commonplace among us. Clearly, we must catch the vision of who we can truly become, the vision of Zion, and pray with all fervency that we can evolve beyond the “lesser portion of the word,” or we shall ever remain outside of the embrace of the vast blessings.

As the latter-day holy scriptures sadly accuse, our minds are (not were—are) darkened by unbelief (which means, among other things, that we have not yet begun to believe in our greater potential), and hence, we are not seeking and finding the greater portion of the word, which is to say, the mysteries of Godliness.

Without these mysteries, these great blessings cannot come, miracles are haphazardly received, the heavens do not open, angels do not descend, the higher ordinances and promises are seen through a glass darkly, and relative darkness settles upon the minds of mankind. It is “relative” because there is the full light of the “lesser portion”, but in the absence of the greater light and glory that is being rejected because of unbelief, that which remains is only a dusky portion of the brighter light that should have been.

Tomorrow we will consider the Greater Portion of the Word, for there is a glorious and greater portion which is readily available to enlighten every part of our pathway, bestowing every hoped for blessing we can imagine – and many we cannot without actually experiencing them.

Brother John

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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2 Responses to The Lesser Portion of the Word

  1. Terry says:

    Great thoughts John. Thank you!

    Reply to above: We know that the Lord takes into consideration levels of accountability. Those with no accountability will be given high consideration. Will those with “some” level of accountability be given “some” consideration? If the lessons of the Parable of the Taletns apply here, then the answer is yes. However, the one talent of the slothful servant was given to the servant with 10 talents, and not to the servant with 4. This indicates the principle taught in D&C 130:18-19 – “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” What does the word “advantage” mean? We do not know for sure but some order or ranking or preference will be attained. There is plenty of motivation in the here and now to gain intelligence of the mysteries of Godliness, that safe, sure anchor to our souls! The things of the next life will take care of themselves if we access a relatively high degree of intelligence here, in spite of our handicaps. The Lord WILL make up the difference!


  2. K-Jo says:

    I would like to rate this one a 10, but the scale only goes to 5 🙂 The following quote from your message above is of interest to me: “Anyone who inhibits the revelatory voice, or even who filters it through incorrect beliefs, is by definition “hardening their hearts”. ” Sometimes we do hold incorrect beliefs….or belief systems. I think in some ways we all do. They condemn us and they dam our progress. I think they can sometimes be called “the traditions of our Fathers”. They are handed down to us and we function from them. At some point in our eternal progress don’t we need to have these false belief systems taken from our eyes in order to appropriately use our agency to accept or reject the true message of the gospel? What kind of accountability does a person have for things that have been handed down to them as such. Like the Lamanites who followed the incorrect traditions of their fathers. I know that in His infinite mercy the Lord will judge fairly, but I am just wondering what happens when it does seem like such things really aren’t fair here. Surely there must be some recompense or compensation made. Can you help me with this one?


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