Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Faith—the Choice Is Yours

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Faith—the Choice Is Yours, by Bishop Richard C. Edgley
First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

In the talk preceding Bishop Edgley's, Elder Cook gave the feeling that embracing faith is on the outs among some people (link). Bishop Edgley shared a similar feeling, but ended placing the outcome in our hands:

The reality of the Savior, His atoning sacrifice, and its universal application for all of us is challenged and often dismissed as a myth or the baseless hope of a weak and uneducated mind. . . This might be the reality of our world, but we can still choose how we react to it.

The preferred reaction is to choose faith! (As I put this logo together, my daughter asked if we were going to open a store. . . a faith store, my son guessed.)

Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.

We know that faith is the first principle of the gospel (see Articles of Faith 1:4), and we often hear the following scripture quoted regarding faith: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove” (Matthew 17:20), but I think it's important to clarify two things that may frequently be shared in a Sunday School setting:
  1. The comparison of faith to a mustard seed is not "faith the size of a mustard seed"—it's the faith OF a mustard seed. A small seed can become a great plant (compare Luke 13:19).
  2. The ability to move mountains may not require a shovel. Almost every time the moving of mountains is mentioned, someone will say, "Sure, you can move mountains, but it might be a shovelful at a time." Yes; faith is a principle of action, but there is no indication that the brother of Jared used a shovel (or any other earthly tool) to move the mount Zerin (see Ether 12:30).

Have you moved mountains? Have you ever seen anyone who has?

Bishop Edgley gives three examples of ways he has seen mountains move—I had never considered these before and really like them (I threw comic representations together, I liked them so much):

I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism.

Because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness.

And because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude.

Yes, I have seen mountains removed.

Before his talk, I would have said that I've never seen mountains removed. I'm grateful for the reminder of those who have moved real mountains, and for the reminder of the other mountains that I have seen removed in my own life.

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