“What Will Ye That I Should Do”

In these verses we read of the Lord’s instructions to the brother of Jared concerning the manner in which the barges should he built that would carry them across the ocean. What is doctrinally significant about these verses is not so much the content of the Lord’s instructions concerning the shape of the barges, the means whereby oxygen was made available, or the lighting of the interior, but rather the process whereby the brother of Jared came to acquire this important information. “What will ye that I Should do ... ?” was the Lord’s response to the brother of Jared’s prayerful petitions that outlined the group’s predicament and their special needs.

Implicit in the Lord’s question is the Lord’s expectation-he expects Moriancumer, and expects each of us as well, to use his intellect and his common sense as he seeks solutions to his problems. Oliver Cowdery learned this lesson the hard way, when the Lord told him that he could not translate because he had erroneously assumed that He would grant him his desires merely for the asking.

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right.” (D&C 9:7-8, italics added.)

It may be that approach our prayers the way Oliver did. It may be that all too often when we are praying about our problems and our own unique needs the Father may be saying to us: “What will ye that I should do?” We may be forfeiting greater personal revelation and inspired instructions from the Lord because, expecting the Lord to do all the work, we give no serious study or thought to the solutions but merely ask. Receiving revelation is often a strenuous endeavor that requires intellectual effort coupled with faith and spiritual yearning.

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet -

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4