The Fourth Article Of Faith

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We believe that the first principles and aordinances of the Gospel are: first, bFaith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, cRepentance; third, dBaptism by eimmersion for the fremission of sins; fourth, Laying on of ghands for the hgift of the Holy Ghost.

The fourth Article of faith expresses the 4 fundamentals of the gospel ordinances and principles that are essential for our salvation. A brief summary declaring the basic steps necessary for our progress through mortality. There is quite a bit to say about each of the 4 principal and ordinances that this article of faith references. The 2 principles (faith and repentance) and the 2 ordinances (baptism by immersion and gift of the holy ghost) are necessary in order to achieve our exaltation.

1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: Joseph fielding smith said of this principle “we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we must accept him as the Son of God; we must put our trust in him, rely upon his word, and desire to gain the blessings which come by obedience to his laws.”

What does this mean and what is faith exactly. Faith can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Specifically faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something that is automatic nor exist simply because of our faith that there is a God. Our Faith in Christ is a lifelong journey. I know for myself I did not have Faith till I was in my early 20’s. It is not something that simply happens but something you must learn and grow with. Our faith may be small and seem insignificant, even as small as a mustard seed.

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When we feel this way we must remember what Christ said in Mathew 17:20 “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your aunbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have bfaith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this cmountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be dimpossible unto you.”

Faith is the power to perform miracles. Faith can move mountains. But how does one get faith to begin with. For me, I received my faith by putting the gospel into action. We must put into practice what the gospel teaches and then experience the results first hand. Our faith is something that starts with a desire that can then lead to action to test the words given to us by those who have faith. In Alma chapter 32:27 Alma is telling those whom he has preached to that they must test the words they have been taught and see the results for themselves.

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words”

2) Repentance: From Joseph Fielding Smith:we must repent of our sins; we must forsake the world; we must determine in our hearts, without reservation, that we will live godly and upright lives.”

Repentance is the process by which we purge our selves from the sins of the world and become clean again. There are 4 basic steps that we take when we repent of the sins which we have committed.

a) We must first recognized that what we have done is wrong. When we acknowledge this we can and are better equipped to overcome our weaknesses. This is key in strengthening ourselves against sin. Recognizing when we have done wrong helps to us to be more aware of the choices we are making. This first step is vital in repenting of our wrong doing. Without out recognition we can’t repent

b) We must make a covenant with God and in some cases with the one we have wronged to not commit that sin again. In my experience covenanting with God is a lot easier than making a promise to the one we have wronged. Especially when those sins involved destructive habits that persistently plague you and thus affect your relationships with those whom you love. I thank God everyday for a loving and supportive wife who always seems to find it in her heart to forgive me. It can be a lifelong struggle.

c) Make restitution: This is not easy and can’t always be done effectively, however the concept is simple enough. If you stole something, pay for it or return it. If your break something fix it or replace it. Make right what you did wrong to the greatest extent possible. Seek forgiveness from the one you have wronged. Part of making restitution is confessing our sins to those we have sinned against. Confession to God is easy by comparison in my experiences with more severe sins from my past but is important to do this. Ask the one we have sinned against what we can do to make it right.

d) Forgive our selves: This is something that can be hardest of all. Especially for someone like myself. I tend to be hard on myself and tend to set a high bar and struggle to forgive myself when I fail to meet that bar. I can tell you that this can serve to hold you back however. Forgiving our selves is critical in giving us the ability to move on from our sins and face the world with confidence in our ability to become perfect and avoid such mistakes again.

3) Baptism: From Joseph Fielding Smith ” we must be baptized in water, under the hands of a legal administrator, who has power to bind on earth and seal in heaven; we must through this sacred ordinance enter into a covenant to serve the Lord and keep his commandments.”

The ordinance of baptism by immersion represents the burial and resurrection of Christ. His redemption from the grave and gives us hope for eternal life if we keep the covenant made by this ordinance as explained in the sacramental prayers found here and here. 

These prayers which are said every week before the administration of the sacrament help us to remember our covenants made at baptism and serve as a good reminder of how we are to live throughout the week.

4) Laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost: From Joseph Fielding Smith “we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; we must be born again; we must have sin and iniquity burned out of our souls as though by fire; we must gain a new creation by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

The gift of the holy ghost can only be given by one having authority and ordained to that office by one who has been given the keys of the priesthood. This also must be done under the direction of the proper priesthood authority. This concept I will discuss in more detail in the Fifth article of Faith so stay tuned for that post upcoming in the next few weeks.

The gift of the holy ghost is one of guidance and comfort. Through this gift we can be taught the gospel, learn to separate lies from the truth. We can be warned of danger that we can’t see. I am so grateful for this gift and a story comes to mind of how the influence of the holy ghost can keep us safe.

When I was still a young boy playing with my friends we lived where their was a small ravine right behind our homes. We would often go play in this ravine and build our forts and have little wars with other kids who had their forts. We had a club house in this ravine where we would spend much of our time during the summer. One day during the summer when I got together with a few of my friends we were all about to go down to our little club house when I had a sudden overpowering prompting and force restrain me. I cannot explain it but I do remember that I could not take another step from where I was. A voice as firm, and powerful spoke to me saying 5 words to me with such force That to this day it has left an impact on my mind. The voice said to me “STOP. TURN AROUND. GO BACK!!” Interesting that I was told to stop when I could not move anyway.  I was so shocked by this event, It was so powerful in my mind and body that I obeyed almost as if I was not consciously aware of what was happening. I told my friends that we need to go back and can’t go right now but we could go later.

A while later after we had forgotten all about this we decided to go again. Again I was stopped by a force I cannot explain and the command came with even more force to my mind with the same words “STOP. TURN AROUND. GO BACK!!!” Again we returned to our home completely confused on what the problem was. We attempted this a third time a little bit later with the same result more powerful each time. To this day I do not know why this happened or what would have happened if we had ignored or disobeyed the command. But this I do know, if we had not heeded this command something bad would have happened.

The Holy Ghost will be our companion and protector. This is a priceless gift given to us by a loving heavenly father who cares only for our well-being.

Apply these principles and ordinances in your life and you will live a life of happiness. You will have the strength to endure to the end. And may God bless you.

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Children: A Trial and A Blessing

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A little more than 10 years ago I became a father of a beautiful baby girl. Now I have 3 Beautiful girls. My love for them is incomprehensible and I do not believe I can even grasp just how much they have become part of me and my life. I could not imagine life without them. My girls bring me so much joy and happiness I never would have known without them. They are a true blessing. I thank God for them everyday.

One of my proudest moments as a father was baptizing my little Girl. She is not so little any more. She is 10 now and turns 11 this September. She made me so proud that day and in many ways continues to do so. She is a lovely child with a good heart. She can be so kind and sweet in so many ways. She is smart kid and a great friend to those whom she is friends with. She tries so hard to be the child we can be proud of and while certainly far from perfect and has her struggles she is still a great kid whom I have grown to love in so many ways. She is strong-willed, stubborn and determined. traits that will serve her well throughout life. I see so much of me in her. I thank her for that.

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Here is my second oldest daughter. she is 4 now and about to start school in the fall. She fell asleep in the middle of her party completely pooped out from playing with her friends during her birthday. Sweet, tender loving and all around good kid. She bring such joy to me and I can’t help but be happy at the site of her. Her sweetness inspires me to be a better father. More loving and tender. She makes me smile and brings a fresh perspective on things. Like all kids she can be disobedient and grumpy at times but is quick to turn around and overcome temporary frustrations. God bless her for it. She brings balance to our children that can be sorely needed at times.

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Our 3rd and final daughter turns 2 on may 16th. She was my birthday gift from my wife. Born on my birthday it was a day I will never forget. She is adorable and quite the monkey. I am pretty sure she will be a gymnast and join Cirque du Soleil when she grows up. She climbs and swings on everything. She is a shrimp and quite small for her age but you wouldn’t know it from watching her. She is a wild child and can’t be contained. Climbs over beds, play pens, child gates, shelves, furniture of all kinds. She does not want to stay contained. She almost always has a smile on her face. She has not hesitated to climb up on my lap when I am frustrated or angry and offer me hugs and kisses. I know I must get better at accepting such offerings from her. She makes it hard to stay mad.

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My children have been a great blessing to me and my wife. They have also been very trying at times. Raising children is not easy and is likely the hardest thing you will ever have to do. There are challenges on both sides of the equation. Children struggled to understand what their parents expect of them. They may openly rebel when they feel the tasks given to them is 2 hard and difficult. Or if it is a task that they generally don’t like they may rebel as well.

One thing I have learned in my feeble attempt to raise my children is that we can feed off of each other. When one gets upset and rebels the other can get upset as well. Escalating frustrations can lead to escalating anger. From proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” I have learned this by experience. While I am not far from perfect It is a principal that I must work hard at remembering in my moments of weakness especially when you and your child can be equally strong-willed and stubborn. Sometimes it can be hard to just step back and take time to calm down.

I am not known within my family for being a man of patients and when the stresses of life build up, patients with disobedient children run thin. I have a bad habit of getting angry when I should remain calm.

In all this frustration and stress we need to remember that God has sent his children to us and has trusted us with their care and up bringing. We have a responsibility to them as much as to God to ensure that they are being raised right and properly. Trials associated with raising children can be some of the hardest and most difficult trials of our lives. I know that it has been for me in many ways.

It is imperative to have a home where children feel loved and safe. They need to feel that their parents love them for who they are. When our children struggle it is not easy to see them suffering and when we can see no solutions it can be even more frustrating for us as parents. It is so important to not take that frustration out on our children. That can be hard at times. I tell my children every day I love them. I hope that my actions will show that more often than not.

Children bring happiness and love to our home in so many ways. Just hearing my toddler saying to me with a smile on her face and arms our stretched “daddy” melts my heart every time. My 4-year-old waking up in the morning and saying “good morning daddy I love you” just makes the start of my day so much better. Having my 10-year-old talk to me about her life are moments I have come to cherish. They are all such beautiful and good kids. They all have their strengths and weaknesses as do we as parents. Ultimately the challenge is how do we let those strengths and weaknesses affect how we parent our children. Do we learn from them? Do we recognized how our weaknesses are impacting our children and seek to better control them?

Children are the heritage of the Lord. Christ called the children unto him and said “suffer the children to come unto me”. Despite our trials and struggles with managing children we need to remember that Christ loves them as much or more than we do as their parents. They are as much children of God as we are. This is something that we need to keep in mind when dealing with children who will challenge you at times.

For those that are struggling and feel like you have reached your limit I know that you are struggling. I won’t pretend to understand your unique circumstances but I will say that God loves you and keep doing the best job you know how. Never Give up on raising your children. Divine help is just a prayer away.

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By Andrew McLean Posted in Orginals

An Open Letter to Students: On Having Faith and Thinking for Yourself

I have always believed that science compliments religion and actually serves to validate and enhance my religious faith in so many ways. I expressed this belief when I wrote Bill Nye has it right, sort of. This article by C. Terry Warner. This article talks about that concept but from a different perspective than I Took. Enjoy

My dear friends,

Has it ever troubled you that many intelligent and highly educated people don’t share your religious beliefs? Why do men who have spent their lives in learning often regard faith as a compromise of intellectual integrity because—or so they claim—it is not backed up by objective evidence? Why don’t worldly knowledge and reason lead men to faith?

If you’ve discussed this problem with fellow believers, you may have received a frustrating response: “It gets you into trouble to think so much”; or, “What you need to do is exercise more faith.”

Opposing pressures from these two kinds of people may have made it seem that only two choices were open to you: either become an “intellectual” and abandon religion or else turn off your brain. Faced with this dilemma, you may have become despondent and longed, perhaps even wept, for a solution. I’m writing this letter to suggest that there is another alternative besides unthinking belief and faithless reason and that it’s a genuine and satisfying solution to the problem.

A Misconception of Knowledge

There only seems to be opposition between secular knowledge and faith when, as is usually the case, they are misunderstood. When the misunderstanding is cleared up—and I hope it will be in this letter—the appearance of antagonism between them vanishes.

According to the common misconception, human knowledge is a collection of facts that fit themselves together into the one true picture of reality. It is thought that this picture, though still incomplete in places, is generally accurate; additional facts, which it is the business of the natural and social sciences to discover, simply add more detail.

For most people, this erroneous view of knowledge goes hand in hand with an erroneous conception of faith. Because they think of science as objectively testing its theories against evidence and because they suppose that knowledge and faith are somehow opposites, they regard faith as an attitude of clinging to theological beliefs in spite of any evidence which might be found: an attitude of closing one’s eyes to and stubbornly refusing to be swayed by the facts. They believe scientific knowledge to be unbiased and proven because obtained in the cold light of inquiry, and faith to be subjective and wishful because acquired in a search not for evidence but for the warm security of believing in divine beings and eternal rewards.

The temptation to think of faith in this faulty way will disappear when the foregoing idea of knowledge is seen to be in error. I’ll try to indicate how it is in error and to sketch conceptions of knowledge and faith that are both tenable and compatible with each other. (Keep in mind that it is a misconception of science and knowledge that I am challenging, not science and knowledge themselves. Indeed, as you will see at the end of this letter, I believe our faculties for thinking and learning about our world are God-given, and, when properly used, productive of much knowledge and much good.)

Maps

Up-to-date developments in the philosophy of science and the theory of knowledge are overwhelming against the foregoing erroneous conception of human knowledge. In order to express the general trend of these developments, which are highly technical, I shall use an analogy.

A person’s knowledge is not like a picture of reality; instead, it is like a map. Think about maps for a moment. Many different kinds of maps can accurately represent any given area. There are maps that show elevation; others, highways; still others, geological formations. Plant growth, population distribution, and political boundaries can be represented on maps. No map can show everything about the area it represents. Indeed, in order to be intelligible, a map must drastically simplify things; it must leave out all but what it means to represent. Maps are selective, then. Any one map represents or symbolizes only a fraction of the sector of reality to which it applies.

When a cartographer makes a map, how does he know what to represent on the map and what to ignore? The answer is found in the fact that he wants to accomplish a certain purpose with his map: he includes in it everything that will promote this purpose and excludes everything that’s irrelevant. For example, he may want to make a map that enables motorists to travel most efficiently across the country. On this map he symbolizes the freeways and toll roads and elevations, but he makes no indication of fishing holes or lilac trees or shops that sell imported cheese. What he selects for inclusion on a particular map depends on what he desires to accomplish with that map.

Similar statements can be made about any person’s system of knowledge or network of ideas. It is like a map in that it is selective; that is, only certain things are represented on it while others are left out. And it is like a map in that it represents those things that are most conducive to the person’s desires and goals.

Some of the goals that shape a person’s individual “map” or outlook are those typical of his family and society; as he grows up under the influence of parents, teachers, and peers, learning their language and customs, he tends to adopt their ways of seeing the world as his own. But in addition to this social factor, his individual desires and goals also play an important part in the development of his “map” of reality. So powerful is this individual factor that two people having different desires and attitudes can grow up in the same environment and yet have strikingly different “maps,” and a person whose desires are different from those of his countrymen can end up (as did Abraham, Moses, and Joseph Smith) repudiating much of their way of seeing the world and can be thought by them to have peculiar ideas indeed.

“Maps” Influence the Way We See the World

Eskimos (an Eskimo told me) are able to discriminate nine kinds of snow. Koreans make sense of spoken sounds that are meaningless to me. Meteorologists can see a storm coming when certain kinds of clouds are on the horizon, but most people can see only the clouds. What Eskimos, Koreans, and meteorologists thus clearly perceive is in an important sense invisible to others. The trouble with the others is that, though they have perfectly good eyesight and hearing, their “maps” of reality—their networks of ideas—are deficient.

Think about hiking in the mountains with a map indicating that a certain creek, a clump of leafless trees, and a triangular lake are crucial spots along your homeward route. The map enables you to see the creek, the trees, and the lake as landmarks. Without it, they would have no more significance for your journey home than any other parts of the landscape; they would be visible as a creek, a tree, and a lake, but they would be invisible as landmarks. A person sees things only in the way that his “map,” or network of ideas, represents them.

This is as true in matters of faith as anywhere else. Much that is invisible to those lacking the gospel “map” of reality is clearly perceived by men of faith. An associate of mine recently wrote:

“In the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants … the Lord speaks of … ‘great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures’ [see D&C 89] … As I pondered the meanings … of the phrase ‘even hidden treasures’ it suddenly became apparent to me that I had received many treasures of knowledge that had been completely hidden from me during the time when my life style kept me away from the Church … [L]ike any seeker after hidden treasure one [desiring these spiritual treasures] must follow correctly the maps which point out the way. Faith that the maps are correct can only be established by the verification of the landmarks described on the maps. Those who do not possess the maps will certainly find no significance in the landmarks as they encounter them; but to those who have the gospel map, the landmarks are the fulfillment of the promise [of treasures of knowledge].”

Without the gospel “map” a man can encounter things of great spiritual significance but be unable to recognize them as such; to him they are merely temporal. In one sense he sees them, but insofar as they are spiritual, they are invisible to him.

Alma and Korihor

Consider, as cases in point, Alma and the antichrist Korihor.

Korihor labored under the misconception that without divine help man can acquire full and “objective” knowledge of things; and, indeed, he professed to have such knowledge. Since he believed, he said, only in what he could perceive with his senses, he thought faith a figment of human fancy and denounced talk of prophecy and sin and Christ as either lunacy or lie. There is no evidence, he insisted, of God’s existence.

In Korihor’s eyes everything in the world had a merely temporal significance, and it is precisely for this reason that he could recognize no landmarks or evidences of spiritual things. Whereas Alma, with his very different sort of “map,” could discern sin and righteousness in men’s acts, Korihor said he saw evidence of neither. For Alma a certain burning in one’s bosom was an experience of the Lord’s Spirit; Korihor, had he felt it, might have thought it some inexplicable surge of happiness or perhaps a sudden case of heartburn. Anything spiritual would inevitably be interpreted as merely temporal by Korihor, who therefore said he never saw evidence of God’s existence. Alma, by contrast, saw such evidence on every hand, testifying, “… all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it … do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44.)

Actually, my portrait of Korihor is simplistic. Because he had known something of the gospel and rejected it, spiritual evidence was not wholly inaccessible to him; the fact is not that he never noticed it, but that he always rationalized it away. (Someone wholly unacquainted with the gospel would have no occasion to rationalize such evidence away because he could not have taken notice of it in the first place.) This Korihor admitted during a moment of personal crisis. He had explained away all evidence that might discredit his atheistic “map” because he loved the selfish and carnal gratifications, which his “map” allowed him to justify, more than he loved the truth. In other words, he held onto his “map” because it helped him accomplish his purposes. He confessed: “And I have taught [these things] because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I have taught them … insomuch that I verily believed that they were true.” (Alma 30:53.) Korihor could never have tried to justify his immoral conduct towards people as he did had he admitted their divine parentage.

Alma gloried in evidence that Korihor rationalized away. Because his heart was pure, he was receptive to the Lord’s efforts to shape his outlook on the world; for he had no need, as Korihor did, to rationalize away experiences that could provide evidence for his faith. The difference between Alma and Korihor was not a matter of objectivity and evidence, but of character.

Faith and Evidence

Now Alma, in bearing his witness, was not making the mistake of claiming that the existence of God can be proven. In the sense of the word proof that prevails in the scholarly world and that I am using in this letter, it can’t be proven. Proof in this sense must be indisputable, so that every rational man (no matter what his “map”) is compelled to agree. Proof in religious matters, were it possible, would therefore have to be based solely on merely temporal evidence. A person limiting himself to such evidence—a person with an atheistic or agnostic “map”—would be powerless to discriminate facts that have a bearing on the question of God’s existence from those that don’t. He would be like the person who, without a proper map, loses his way in the presence of many landmarks simply because he cannot recognize them as landmarks.

That principles of faith can’t be proven does not mean that they can’t be solidly based on evidence. In science, too, proof is impossible, and for reasons similar to those that make it impossible in religion; but scientific theories can be well-confirmed by evidence. Such theories and “maps” of faith lead one to expect certain things to happen, and the more they do happen, the more one can justifiably put confidence in those theories and “maps.” This is an exciting subject, raising important questions concerning bias and falsifiability in theory confirmation; but it’s too complicated a subject to explore here. The main point is simply that just because the nonbeliever can’t find evidence for God’s existence, it does not follow that others, with more suitable “maps,” can’t find it either. Joseph Smith once revised Psalms 14:1 to read: “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no man that hath seen God. Because he showeth himself not unto us, therefore there is no God.” [See Ps. 14:1]

Faith, like science, is based on evidence. It is no more subjective and ignorant of evidence than secular knowledge is objective and unbiased about evidence. Having abandoned the idea that knowledge is like an objective picture, that it is in all respects to be contrasted with faith, we can see that faith and knowledge are similar in important ways. Instead of looking away from the facts of the real world, faith is one way, among many others, of looking at the world.

Thus faith need be no less intellectual and well-founded than a scientist’s belief about the temporal world, provided the faithful person is pure in heart, is honest and unrationalizing about the evidence he receives, and throws his energies into blessing others’ lives. When he does this, he constantly encounters and recognizes spiritual landmarks—“hidden treasures of knowledge”—that allow him with complete intellectual integrity to bear witness of the accuracy of the gospel “map” that he has personally verified. As the scripture says, “faith cometh not by signs”—again, you can’t build faith on merely temporal evidence—“but signs follow those that believe.” (D&C 63:9.) (Indeed, as I understand it, faithfulness in heeding spiritual landmarks can ultimately lead one to his spiritual destination in which he may be privileged to behold spiritual things directly.)

Faith Can’t Be Disproven by Nonbelievers

Each man tends to find in his experience evidence for what he has always believed. We saw why this is so in discussing the way “maps” influence the way we see the world. Because they do, a person tends to see just the kinds of things he already represents on his “map”—the kinds of things he has seen before. He thereby becomes more and more convinced that his “map” is a good one; for, relying on it as he must, he interprets the world in its terms and in so doing, systematically filters out evidence for opposing points of view.

It is for this reason that what you believe theologically can never be disproven by a nonbeliever. To gather the facts that he would use against you, he must examine reality in terms of his own “map”; he has no choice. But in doing this, he filters out in advance any evidence that might support you and discredit him. The spiritual significance of temporal things escapes him. Therefore, his gathering of evidence is hopelessly prejudiced where spiritual things are concerned. In slightly technical language, we would say that in order to gather the evidence, he must assume as true the very “map” he wants to prove true and thereby assume as false the “map” he wants to prove false; this means that his argument is circular, that it “begs the question,” that, in short, it is logically worthless. The nonbeliever can’t put faith to the test and so is not in a position to discredit it. For the very same reason that merely temporal evidence can’t serve to prove the existence of spiritual things, it can’t be used to disprove it either.

Someone may object: “The defense you are giving of religious belief is going to backfire. According to you, the believer Alma says the atheist Korihor is wrong, and Korihor says Alma is wrong. There is no way to decide who is right. Each one simply believes what he wants.”

When you see how this objection is based on a misunderstanding, you will have the knowledge versus faith problem solved. The objector would be right if Alma and Korihor were in fact accusing each other of being wrong. But it is not that simple. Korihor says that there is a temporal reality but that there is no spiritual reality. Alma says that there are both temporal and spiritual realities. So Korihor is denying the existence of something Alma believes in, but Alma isn’t denying the existence of anything Korihor believes in. Whereas Korihor’s position can be disproven by any spiritual experiences that Alma has, Alma’s position can’t be shown wrong by any temporal experiences that Korihor has. It follows that there is no way for Korihor to back up his claim that Alma is mistaken; but Alma can back up his claim that Korihor is mistaken simply by confirming the accuracy of his own “map!”

Alma’s “map” includes more than Korihor’s. This means that just because Korihor’s “map” of the temporal world helps him accomplish his purposes of deceiving others and aggrandizing himself, it does not follow that everything in the universe is represented on that map. Just because a map indicating highway routes, gas stations, restaurants, and motels guides one successfully across the country, it does not follow that there are no fishing holes, imported cheese stores, or lilac trees. And just because scientists can use their “maps” or theories to build bridges, land on the moon, transplant hearts, and predict economic growth, it does not follow that nothing exists besides what is mentioned in those theories. This point should be written in ten-foot red letters. For all too often it is fallaciously supposed that just because a map seems to be accurate for a particular purpose, it is therefore a complete picture. Nothing, in my judgment, could be more philosophically naive. (If you’ve ever thought that Mormons have a narrower outlook on life than most people, you have reason to believe otherwise now.)

Some Conclusions Pertaining to Your Life

1. If “intellectuals,” experts on certain secular subjects, reject your religious position, they have no good reasons for doing so. Hence, the fact that they are often nonbelievers should not cause you to doubt. For their purposes, their “maps” seem to have worked tolerably well. But, as we’ve seen, those “maps” are not pictures; there are “more things in heaven and earth … than are dreamt of in [the] philosophy” of nonbelievers, including things that only the faithful can discern.

2. It is good to learn all you can from academically trained nonbelievers in their respective professional areas, where your purposes and theirs coincide. But where your desires and purposes differ from theirs—where, for example, you are seeking eternal life and they are not—their “maps” will not help you. It would be unintelligent in the extreme to choose turpentine for a transfusion after loss of blood just because it helped another man paint his house. And it would be unintelligent in the extreme to use an academician’s “map” of society or of nature in your quest for eternal life just because it served him well in some secular project.

3. You can integrate a secular “map” into a gospel one, but not the other way around. This is because the latter represents more than the former. Many university students abandon faith because they think they’ve discovered intellectual problems in the gospel when, in fact, they have uncritically supposed that the viewpoints of their professors are “maps” of all of reality. What they in fact show by their discovery of such problems is the inadequacy of worldly “maps.”

Indeed, I would go so far as to say that accepting the world’s way of looking at reality is the problem of all so-called intellectuals who profess to find serious intellectual difficulties with the gospel. The power of the secular “map” of reality is so insidious that the Lord, referring to it as the creeds and precepts and traditions of men, calls it “the very chains and shackles and fetters of hell.” (D&C 123:7–8.) Those who accept it and see life in terms of it cannot perceive spiritual things: “… a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;

“But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.” (D&C 45:28–29. Italics added.)

4. Intellectually speaking, you are in a powerful position. Yet, strangely enough, you can’t convince the non-believer of this by reasoning with him. For he will interpret whatever you say in terms of his present “map” so that what he hears will be different from what you mean.

How, then, can you make an impact on others with your faith? Recall that a person’s “map” is shaped (1) by social factors—his training and education in which the values and goals of his family and society are passed on to him—and (2) by individual factors—his own desires and goals. Many of the people on your campus have in growing up acquired a “map” of reality that is not well suited to their own goals in life. For example, a person may have learned that men are essentially animals, made up of physical bodies and nothing more, so that they act for selfish purposes; yet this same person may long for a society in which men treat one another selflessly. His “map” of reality will not help him bring about his dreams. He will feel a vague dissatisfaction about life, as if something important were missing.

In my opinion you can reach such a person by capitalizing on the discrepancy between his desires and his inherited “map.” For although he may think your religious ideas are peculiar in our supposedly enlightened age (remember, he has inherited a “map” in terms of which such things as revelation and ordinances appear foolish), he cannot help but see, if he is honest, that you have achieved what he wants in life. You and your Latter-day Saint friends are, as a result of your purity, filled with love for each other and for nonmembers; to him your group is a kind of inviting Camelot that exhibits what he longs to have. You with your gospel “map,” your faith, are achieving his goals; while he, with his supposedly sophisticated view of life, is not. If he really wants what your lives embody, he will be persuaded to learn about your faith, try the gospel “map” on for size, and abandon his worldly way of looking at things. Reasoning won’t budge him, but what you are, if you are what you ought to be, will call into question all he’s been taught to believe about religion.

5. Finally, although the knowledge versus faith problem has dissolved, a new problem has arisen in its place. We have seen that if a man wants to acquire the gospel “map” of reality he must (1) undergo appropriate training and (2) purify the desires that have led him in the past to overlook the gospel. (See Alma 12:10–11.) Only by these means can he gradually come to see reality more and more in the way the Lord sees it. Thus, the new problem that has arisen is that of changing and developing ourselves so that we can comprehend the things of God. (Strangely, the solution to so-called intellectual difficulties with the gospel is not intellectual at all, but spiritual. Indeed, I would say that there are no intractable intellectual problems with the gospel; there are only “intellectuals” with problems with the gospel.)

I commend to you, as a solution to the new problem, two courses of action: (1) an earnest striving for a “mighty change of heart” according to the instructions to be found in the scriptures and the words of modern prophets; and (2) intense study of these inspired texts. Why these writings rather than others? Because they contain the core of the Lord’s “map” of reality insofar as it can be adapted to our understanding. You should read, make notes on, and reread the scriptures and the conference reports, pleading with the Lord that your heart will be softened and that these writings will, line upon line, grow comprehensible to you.

If you do this, you will find that instead of running into dead ends of irreconcilability between knowledge and faith, your thinking will uncover more and more rich and thrilling connections between gospel truths and knowledge about our temporal world. Because your heart has become purified, you’ll be able to use your mind to your heart’s content. You’ll realize, in short, that there is nothing to fear from the use of one’s mind, but only from the use of a mind that is subservient to impure desires. For it is like any other faculty you have—benighted and even destructive unless sanctified by the power of God; but if so sanctified, glorious.

With a prayer that you may find excitement and peace in your studies.

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