Dallin H. Oaks on the limits of non-Mormon leader reason
Many discoveries, achievements result of God-given revelation
”We seek learning by studying the accumulated wisdom of various disciplines and by using the powers of reasoning placed in us by our Creator,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve said in a conference address in April 1989.
”We should also seek learning by faith in God, the giver of revelation. I believe that many of the great discoveries and achievements in science and the arts have resulted from a God-given revelation. Seekers who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified by inspiration.”
Elder Oaks said the acquisition of knowledge by revelation is an extra bonus to seekers in the sciences and the arts, but it is the fundamental method for those who seek to know God and the doctrines of His gospel. ”In this area of knowledge, scholarship and reason are insufficient,” he said.
”A seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation. I believe this is what the Book of Mormon prophet meant when he said, ‘To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.’ (2 Ne. 9:29.) It is surely what the Savior taught when He said, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 16:17.)
”The way to revelation is righteousness. Marveling at the Master’s teachings, His enemies asked:
How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:15-17.)
Elder Oaks said the Book of Mormon teaches that those who diligently seek shall have ” ‘the mysteries of God . . . unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.’ (1 Ne. 10:19; see also 1 Cor. 2:4-16; Alma 18:35; D&C 121:26.) The prophet Jacob declared the impossibility of uninspired man’s understanding God: ‘No man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.’ ” (Jacob 4:8.)