"The scriptures repeatedly invite the reader to inquire about and receive an understanding of the mysteries of God. Mysteries are spiritual realities that can be known and understood only by revelation because they exist outside man's sensory perception; but our scriptures record them, our prophets teach them, and the Holy Ghost reveals them to the diligent seeker. In fact, the whole gospel is a collection of mysteries - truths pertaining to salvation that would not be known be men in the mortal probation did God not reveal them."
I am an avid learner. I love to read and learn new things. I love to hypothesize and experiment and prove and conclude. I love to relearn, redefine, discover a hole, and figure out how to fill it. I devour books and essays and radio programs and documentaries.
But I have discovered that this strength is also my weakness. I trust too deeply on the scientific method, the learning method of the world. I have always been determined that, even in things spiritual, there must be a way to prove it, to back it up, to match up a scripture verse, to lay it all out plainly.
While God has not left us with nothing but a requirement of blind faith, He has introduced us to another conduit of knowledge: the Holy Spirit. In the past I understood this simply as a way to receive an answer to a prayer, more as a form of guidance than a form of knowledge.
The above quote helped me realize that learning through revelation is equally valid to learning through books. If I want to learn how to make a cake, I must read a cookbook. If I want to learn what the Sacrament entails, I must receive the answer through revelation.
This notion really became clear to me a few weeks ago as I sat waiting in the van to pick the boys up from their school bus. With Benjamin and Juliette in the back seats, with traffic rushing by, and without the preparation of scripture study, quiet pondering, or personal prayer, it certainly did not fit the standard definition of a place and time to receive revelation. But, as I sat there, a single thought entered my mind: "You do not have to convince anyone of the truth of the Gospel. That is up to God alone."
The clarity of the thought was staggering, and I immediately knew of its truth. Quite simply, this was a "spiritual reality" or truth, of which the true understanding happened through revelation. This experience led me to believe this statement in the same way I would believe how the law of gravity works if I read it from a physics book. Both statements came from one who knew and understood that truth - the wisdom of the world from a human who wrote it in a book, and the wisdom of heaven from God whose power is over all.
Suddenly I have a newfound understanding of the power of revelation. I don't feel the same urgency to be able to prove every detail through man-made methods.
"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
- John 20:29