There are treasures within us, but that is not why they are all ours. Our soul is alien to the very wings it treasures and does not know until it unfolds them. There is therefore a lack of knowledge of the wealth deposited within us. They are the treasures hidden in the soul
In the history of the church we find in Martin Harris an example of these hidden treasures. After losing the manuscript, Martin asks Joseph to see the plates. Receive this revelation
“…concerning the man that desires the witness—Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.” (D&C 5:23-24)
Martin Harris’ fervent desire to know the truth may be ours. The keys to knowledge are the same for him and us. In verse 28 he clarifies them
“And now, except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views” (28)
Before we see the brightness of the plates we must descend into our soul and discover the brightness of the truth in it. To face “the bad things we have done”. Then we will see, with the soul, the things that the eye cannot. Things that no angel can show us; the leaves of our life that we have to pass one by one before the sight of the creator. In this way, finding the truth within us and leafing through it in prayer, we prepare ourselves to receive the wisdom of the book of heaven.
The hunger of the soul
Focusing life with the eye of the soul requires familiarity with its landscapes and abilities. One of them is to distinguish their hunger from simple appetites.
Martin Harris, a wealthy man, was about to take time to travel for several months and leave the farm in someone’s care. But in reality, he was hungry and was looking for the answer to a murmur inside him in the distance of a trip. Just like babies who cry because of hunger, but don’t know they have it. They begin that way to listen and recognize the voice of their body.
Enos, like Martin, felt that way, but he didn’t travel.
“Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. And my soul hungered…” (Enos 1:3)
How did Martin know that the hidden treasures of the soul were on some ancient hidden plates? How did Enos know that his soul was hungry?
Sometimes the voice of the soul is hidden in trivial events. But we often notice an ancient pain, which does not incapacitate us but suggests us to analyze and meditate. Or something more advanced, to pray:
“and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul;” (3).
That winged creature that has inhabited us since time immemorial, that which we are, longs just as in its first youth, for clean garments. He seeks more light and knowledge according to his nature. And he aspires to power and glory, after the likeness of the offspring from which he proceeds.
Sometimes we weep like children, seek far away or go out to hunt to silence it, yet it carefully whispers to us, “…man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Deut. 8:3).
The treasures hidden in the soul
Pain is a sacred knowledge for the soul. And we acquire wisdom when we direct its impulse towards repentance. We must not interrupt the resulting movement designed by the heavens. That sacred movement may be bitter to follow. But the pain that pushes repentance also directs us toward light and knowledge.
A troubled Alma describes it to us “…in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul;” (Alma 38:8). Not all of us are going to have an angel to push us to repentance as Soul had, but all of us without exception, have as Lehi “a man, and he was dressed in a white robe” (1 Nephi 8:5) before us.
Walking behind him we realize that “[we] are in a dark and dreary waste” (7) That man in the white robe is the voice of our soul, seeking the pain of knowledge. Our soul drags us “after having walked in darkness for many hours” perhaps a lifetime, until we perhaps understand its message, that this world is truly a dark and gloomy desert. Uninhabitable for winged creatures like her.
Like Martin Harris or Enos, we sometimes seek therapy for the interruption of his piercing voice.. Something like going shopping to leave behind that indefinite craving, or a memory that torments us.
Identifying that painful message of the soul requires confronting the minotaur, a beast hidden in a labyrinth. It requires finding in our inner labyrinth, the sometimes terrible face of our natural man.
The Sacred Movement
That is why pain for repentance is the main source of knowledge. For it reveals to us the voice of the soul crying out to spread its wings. This is the principle of all wisdom. However, to justify ourselves for our faults is to “bind her with cords and mistreat her” (1 Nephi 18:11) the winged nature of the soul’s words, leaving us in the midst of the rough sea without Liahona.
Following that thread of Ariadne, which is our conscience, we will invariably be led before the truth. As we pray and confess (such vectors of force belong to that sacred movement) we observe our soul in the folds and corners of the dark desert. It is in that situation of deep knowledge, where the experienced traveler “begins to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.” (8)
Unlike those besieged warriors, under the command of Mormon, they breathed some hope into their warlord but “their sorrowing was not unto repentance…but they did curse God, and wish to die” (Mormon 2:14) In such a siege, Joseph Smith hears from the Lord “know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)
That sacred movement of prayer and pain for repentance awakens in our soul its ancestral faculties. The power to orient oneself toward the light as the birds in their transit home.
A new heart
King David in Psalm 51 implores
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow….Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:7)
David is in battle for his soul, before a great trial. He sent Uriah to his death to take his wife Bathsheba. The same one who said, “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.” (Psa. 61:4) He lost the voice of his soul, he did not feel in his heart the drift toward darkness.
When he asked God for a clean heart, this prayer was told by Nathan, that of a humble man who had only one way to feel again. To feel the joy and the pain, the voice of the soul warning of the borders of the dark desert. It was a simple historian, another powerful “but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it…” (2 Sam. 12:4). David indignant did not recognize himself before the mirror. Nathan, supplanting the voice of the soul responds “Thou art the man.”(7)
The first knowledge, a principle of wisdom is to know who is that man or woman of whom the soul speaks to us. For that it is necessary to encourage his voice, take care of it and attend to it when he speaks.
In the temple, we learn to nourish her with the eternal. We cannot give her anything but pearls of great price. Perhaps found in the profound knowledge of repentance. That is why pain, so vilified in this world, for the saints is the touch of the soul, a principle of wisdom. And though we do not seek it, we accept its cup, so that someday emulating the master under its wings “subject all things to us, retaining all power” (D&C 19:2).
The countries of the soul
The curvature of this world prevents us from seeing beyond its horizon. We cannot see beyond the present, nor death as the last frontier. The ancient legends of abysses where the earth ends frightened flat men, without the hidden curvature of faith. Our immortal soul belongs to those spaces beyond the horizon, beyond the visible. His kingdom is not of this world, a world that crucified its redeemer.
Denying our soul its heavenly citizenship and immortal condition, it despairs and manifests a mysterious sadness for the inhabitants of flat worlds. Denying their previous childhood, denying their family bond in the heavens, in fact denying their existence, we suffer from permanent orphanhood.
The orography of the plan of salvation is simple in the distance. But as we approach, the mountains and valleys of the great mountain range of restoration offer resting places for the soul, which finds accommodation among the revealed truths. Therefore, to walk in the doctrine of salvation is the sustenance of the wayfarer experienced in the dark and gloomy deserts.
Thus Lehi in his vigil “as he went forth…prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart” (1 Nephi 1:5) Receives an answer in the night when he dreams, as he went a path of shadows. His soul finds a man in a white robe that led him to “a great and spacious field…[there he saw] a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.” (8:9-10)
The house of Israel and its ordinances reproduce on this earth an image of the house of the heavens, of the longed-for home. Cultivated in its vineyard, grafted into the cultivated olive tree of Israel, the soul sprouts in hope. That which does not exist in a world governed by touch and sight. Both senses are incapable of engendering it.
The riches hidden in the soul
As we pray and confess our sins, we close our eyes, for we speak from the womb of the soul. From that darkness, similar to that of Sinai, we approach “the thick darkness where God [is].” (Ex. 20:21) Seeking forgiveness as if it were the lost coin, we find greater treasures than those sought “the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:2-3)
A desolate Mahonri, faced with the impossibility of seeing inside the ships, begs in prayer for an answer. The voice of his soul arises within him, leading him to the top of a mountain. There he melts sixteen transparent stones like crystal. It is as much like light as he can get. Worthy of being touched by the finger of the Lord.
But before the answer, it was the struggle. They lost the whisper of the soul. The mission entrusted became a simple journey without destination because “he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord” (Ether 2:14-15). After four years, repentant and anxious then for the soul and for the life of the soul, he finds in his wings the way to the top of Mount Shelem.
By praying and confessing his sins, Mahonri received not only light for the ships. He found the light of the world, yes “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;” (D&C 93:2) The treasures hidden in the soul are revealed before him in an unimaginable way.
Stepping on the bottom
To access these treasures is to obtain the first of them, the one Martin Harris had to acquire, to know the face of his natural man by doing what the Lord asked him to “humble himself and confess before me the evil things which he has done, and make covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me”. Thus seeing the face of our fallen nature, we understand as the people of Mosiah who “they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.” (Mosiah 4:2) and already treading on the bottom of our authentic nature, to lift ourselves up on the wings of the soul toward the redemption of our sins by exercising faith in the Savior.
This is the greatest of the mysteries, the greatest knowledge that we can obtain in this life.
“Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.” (Alma 12:34)
It is the key to all the other mysteries, this is the bread of heaven. Yet sometimes in exchange for a quail, we lose the voice of our soul that invites us to kneel and immerse ourselves in the depths of its hidden treasures.
“wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;;” (D&C 89:19)