If you are like me, every time I read about something wonderful and spectacular in the scriptures, I want to know if it is happening today – and if I can do it too. I would like someone to just stand up, raise their hand and say – I did that very thing last night – and this is how you do it. We yearn for modern evidence that such things happen in our day.
Even when we read of promised blessings that the scriptures hold out to us in this day, we want to know if someone has already done it, or was this meant for someone more righteous than I. We appreciate evidence that these things are not only true, but that they are happening today. We think it builds our faith and gives us hope that we too might partake.
The problem is that evidence does not bring us to faith – it actually operates the opposite direction, that faith brings us evidence. Faith must come first. This is always true. If someone tells you they have conversed with angels, it does not increase your faith or belief that you can, only that they did. No person, by their personal experiences, can assure you that you can too.
This is the rightful place of the scriptures. Those scriptural promises are true, and they are for you. They resonate with your spirit. Those promises give us not only faith, but also the firm belief that we can, and we should.
Most often we read the scriptures far too casually. We don’t transcribe the words from the printed page into our hearts. Even when we have faith that they are true, we must choose to accept and believe that they apply to you and I, powerfully and personally.
Moroni 7:36 is teaching us that it is our unbelief, not our lack of faith, that limits our access to angels and every other blessing we hope to embrace.
It is extremely significant that “Angels speak the words of Christ” (32 Nephi 32:3). It means that we deal with angels all day long. It means that they are intimately involved in our progression. If they are already present, and we hear them, then it is a small leap to be able to see them as well.
It is ponderously important that angels “cause men to behold his glory” (Alma 12:29). We are striving to return to the presence of God. According to the temple, the angels are intimately involved in this process.
It is of eternal consequence that angels fulfill and do the “work of the covenants of the Father”. (Moroni 7:31). We rely upon these covenants for everything. We place every hope, and every future joy upon the scales of the covenants of the Father. And, it is angels, those beings we interact with unknowingly, but constantly, who are working to fulfill them in our lives.
All of these amazing blessings remain dormant until we choose to believe they apply to us personally. Angels are like the Liahona, which God prepared for Lehi (Alma 37), to point a straight course through the wilderness. Even though the Liahona was actually crafted by the hand of God, and was undoubtedly unique and powerful and endowed with godly gifts, it still could only operated when they believed it could. When they doubted, it stopped. When they believed, it saved their lives.
It isn’t vital that we have seen angels. What is vital is that we believe that we will see them when it is time. It isn’t vital that we have seen visions. What is vital is that we believe that we will see visions when we need to. It isn’t vital that we have raised the dead or worked miracles. What is vital is that we believe we should and can and will do these things when the voice of revelation sends us forth. Then when the still small voice instructs, we will already believe – belief bordering knowledge – that we can and should – and then the heavens will part, the angels will appear, and the miracles will occur.