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Jacob 7:13-14

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Jacob 7Â*

13 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much.

14 And I said unto him: What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true? Yet thou wilt deny it, because thou art of the devil. Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine.

Quotes for Discussion

Sign Seekers

…Whenever you see a man seeking after a sign, you may set it down that he is an adulterous man.

Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 157

Because signs—miracles, gifts of the Spirit—always follow belief in the true gospel, it is inevitable that nonbelievers who are in open rebellion against the truth (subject as they are to the direction and promptings of Satan) should attempt to disprove the Lord’s work by taunting his ministers with the challenge: Show us a sign….

Actually, sign-seeking…is an evidence of supreme and gross wickedness on their part. “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,” the Master said….

Even among the saints there occasionally are those spiritually weak persons who seek signs….

To seek the gifts of the Spirit through faith, humility, and devotion to righteousness is not to be confused with sign-seeking.

McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 714-15

First of all, the people of the world cannot presume to command God to provide them with signs. A person can neither be a disciple and command the Master nor can he require “perpetual renewal of absolute proof.” Some behave, the however, as if they would set forth the conditions under which they will believe—complete with specifications; they then invite God to “bid” on their specifications! …Sign seekers, like adulterers, often do have a clear preference for repeated sensation. Those who do not understand why adultery is intrinsically wrong will also fail to understand why faith is a justified requirement laid upon us by God. We are to walk by faith and to overcome by faith (see D&C 76:53)….By contrast, the faithful, who are intellectually honest but are confronted with new and present challenges, sing of the Lord, “We’ve proved Him in days that are past.” …Those who are adulterous have also a strong preference for “now” rather than for eternity. Impatience and incontinence, quite naturally, team up.

Such erring individuals or generations also have a strong preference for meeting the needs of “me” over attending to others, a lifestyle which speeds selfishness on its endless, empty journey.

By making demands of God, the proud would attach conditions to their discipleship. But discipleship requires of us unconditional surrender to the Lord. Hence the proud neither understand nor really love God. Therefore they violate the first commandment by seeing God as a sign provider upon request; as a function, not a tutoring Father.

Neal A. Maxwell, Sermons Not Spoken, pp. 58-59

“It is a wicked and adulterous generation,” repeated President Joseph F. Smith, “that seeketh after a sign. Show me Latter-day Saints who have to feed upon miracles, signs and visions in order to keep them steadfast in the Church, and I will show you members of the Church who are not in good standing before God, and who are walking in slippery paths. It is not by marvelous manifestations unto us that we shall be established in the truth, but it is by humility and faithful obedience to the commandments and laws of God. When I as a boy first started out in the ministry, I would frequently go out and ask the Lord to show me some marvelous thing, in order that I might receive a testimony. But the Lord withheld marvels from me, and showed me the truth, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, until he made me to know the truth from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and until doubt and fear had been absolutely purged from me. He did not have to send an angel from the heavens to do this, nor did he have to speak with the trump of an archangel. By the whisperings of the still small voice of the Spirit of the living God, he gave to me the testimony I possess. And by this principle and power he will give to all the children of men a knowledge of the truth that will stay with them, and it will make them to know the truth, as God knows it, and to do the will of the Father as Christ does it. And no amount of marvelous manifestations will ever accomplish this.

Gospel Doctrine, p. 7

When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was first founded, you could see persons rise up and ask, “What sign will you show us that we may be made to believe?” I recollect a Campbellite preacher who came to Joseph Smith…and said that he had come a considerable distance to be convinced of the truth. “Why,” said, he, “Mr. Smith, I want to know the truth, and when I am convinced, I will spend all my talents and time defending and spreading the doctrines of your religion, and I will give you to understand that to convince me is equivalent to convincing all my society, amounting to several hundreds.” Well, Joseph commenced laying before him the coming forth of the work, and the first principles of the Gospel, when [the minister] exclaimed, “o this is not the evidence I want, the evidence that I wish to have is a notable miracle; I want to see some powerful manifestation of the power of God, I want to see a notable miracle performed; and if you perform such a one, then I will believe with all my heart and soul, and will exert all my power and all my extensive influence to convince others; and if you will not perform a miracle of this kind, then I am your worst and bitterest enemy.” “Well,” said Joseph, “what will you have done? Will you be struck blind, or dumb? Will you be paralyzed, or will you have one hand withered? Take your choice, choose which you please, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ it shall be done.” “That is not the kind of miracle I want,” said the preacher. “Then, sir,” replied Joseph, “I can perform none, I am not going to bring any trouble upon any body else, sir, to convince you.”

Journal of Discourses, 2:326

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