The Sacredness of the Sacred Grove

The story of the Sacred Grove is well known to most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although some, both members and non-members alike, will argue the consistency, or lack thereof, of the various accounts, in a nutshell the story goes like this. Joseph Smith, Jr. was reading and pondering the scriptures, and he had a question for our Heavenly Father. To seek an answer to his question, he went to a grove of trees near his home and knelt down to pray. In doing so, he received an answer to his question. The specific scripture that motivated Joseph to go into the grove of trees was James 1:5, ”If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

All else that followed was an outgrowth of Joseph doing specifically what this scripture had suggested he do. He had a question, so he asked for Heavenly Father’s guidance.

James 1:5 closely follows the Savior’s own words in Luke 13:10-13.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 

The idea is really quite simple and profound. If you have a question for God, ask God.

We, being evil, often layer qualifiers and caveats on this simple idea. We can obscure this simple truth with coats of complicated and perplexing dogma and doctrine. We can demand that certain selects serve as intermediaries, that those seeking answers to their questions must ask their questions in a particular order, or seek a pre-determined answer, or ask in a particular way, or while wearing a particular garb, or while standing, or kneeling, in a particular place. We can opine in the conceit of our own hearts that our Heavenly Father only answers his most favored children, most likely those like us. The scriptures don’t share this narrow view of how we can access Heavenly Father’s wisdom.

Heavenly Father seeks to bless all his children. Heavenly Father wishes for all of us to recognize our blessings, and to preserve them, and to share them with other of his children, liberally, and upbraideth not. And maybe even to recognize that his other children may have some of His wisdom to share with us.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.