Another meaning of “the mysteries of God” is secret things that God reveals to individuals for their personal edification. In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith to a group of assembled elders, the Lord declared, “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61). In another revelation given to a group of elders, the Lord similarly explained, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24).
These verses suggest that those who want greater knowledge can obtain it from God for their personal benefit. In the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, Abraham says, “And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers” (Abraham 1:2).
A modern day example of someone seeking greater knowledge is that of Lorenzo Snow, who later became President of the Church. During the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Lorenzo had revealed to him a new doctrine that he reduced to the couplet, “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.” After receiving this revelation, Lorenzo was careful not to preach the doctrine until after he heard the Prophet Joseph Smith do so.
In the Book of Mormon, Alma explains that those who receive God’s mysteries must keep the knowledge to themselves. Alma said, “It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:9‒11.)