Saturday, October 11, 2014

Faith, Uncertainty and Testimony

(This is a talk that I gave a couple of years ago in Sacrament Meeting.)
          I’ve been asked to speak today about increasing faith in Jesus Christ. I’m going to begin my remarks by reading a testimony that might hypothetically be shared in a church setting, such as a fast and testimony meeting.
Brothers and sisters, I cannot honestly say that I know God lives. I see much in the world that I cannot easily reconcile with the existence of a loving God. However, I do hope that such a God exists, and most of the time I believe that he does.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Seeing the Good in the World

(This is a talk that I gave in Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday.)
          I have been asked to speak today about “protecting the family” and “being in the world, but not of the world.” As I considered how best to address this topic, I thought of Chaim Potok’s novel, The Chosen. The story is set in Brooklyn, New York toward the end of World War II, and it centers around two Jewish boys: a Hasidic Jew named Danny Saunders and a Modern Orthodox Jew named Reuven Malter.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Life Is A School, Not Merely A Test (And What That Means About Repentance)

(This is a talk that I gave in sacrament meeting yesterday.)

I am going to begin my remarks by sharing two scriptures. The first scripture comes from the Book of Abraham, which describes a pre-mortal council in heaven in which the Lord says, “[W]e will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:24–25). According to this scripture, the purpose of this mortal life is to test us to see whether we will do everything that God commands us to do. 
The second scripture comes from the Doctrine and Covenants: “[I]t is not meet that [God] should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant.” Instead of expecting God to “command in all things,” we are counseled to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:26–27).
This presents an interesting paradox. The passage in the Book of Abraham suggests that the purpose of life is to see if we will do everything that God tells us to do. But according to the passage in the Doctrine and Covenants, God wants us to do things without his having to tell us what to do.