I attended a non-denominational Boy Scout troop when I was a teenager, which afforded me many opportunities and wonderful experiences. I also confronted challenges to my faith on several occasions. One of these occurrences happened on the way home from a camping trip as I sat next to a young man I admired and respected. He was a devout Catholic and began to ask me some questions about my faith. Even as a 13-year-old kid I jumped at the opportunity to share my beliefs. Then he pulled out a book.
This friend peppered me with accusations from this book, many of which I hadn’t heard of before. One question I remember distinctly was, “it says here that you believe you’ll be a god, is that true?” I replied quickly, “of course not!” When I arrived home, I confided in my mother the conversation I had engaged in on the way home. I told her dismissively that my friend claimed that believed we could become like God. “We do believe that we can become like our Heavenly Father,” my mother replied. “Okay, that’s something I believe now too,” I recall thinking without hesitation.
I recently listened to a newly released book on audio called “Faith is not Blind” by Bruce and Marie Hafen. It explained beautifully the faith process beginning with a simple, perhaps blind, faith that evolves into a complex faith when it is challenged and new questions arise and settle back into a “refined” simple faith. One is able to arrive at a refined faith when enough witnesses have been given to satisfy our inquiries that we no longer need to question our faith every time a new trial presents itself.
One of the more powerful passages in the book is attributed to Peter Wehner that states, “faith is prized within the Christian tradition [because] it involves trust that would not be needed if God were subject to a mathematical proof. What God is seeking is not our intellectual assent so much as a relationship with us.” My experience with my mother demonstrated a refined faith in her because we had developed a relationship. My faith in my Father in Heaven was still growing and many questions and trials along the way have allowed me to develop the same kind of relationship of faith and trust that I have with my mother.
The faith I have to say, “I will follow the Lord’s Prophet, regardless,” is not a blind faith, but a faith that has been refined by many fires and been given countless witnesses. The reason the Book of Mormon repeats the word “remember” over 200 times is just as Oliver Cowdery, we sometimes require a reminder that we’ve already received our answer. (D&C 6:22-23) Our Father in Heaven asks us to exercise faith in Him so that we can grow our faith to be big enough for when it is tried, and ultimately have a relationship and know Him unto life eternal.
- “And This Is Life Eternal” -Elder C. Scott Grow, April 2017
- Faith Is Not Blind, by Bruce and Marie Hafen.
- Credit to Peter Wehner, “How Can I Possibly Believe that Faith is Better than Doubt?” The New York Times, December 25, 2017.
You can follow Dustin on Twitter @TheDMT1232.