Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Hope, by Steven E. Snow
Of the Presidency of the Seventy

The different uses of the word hope in social settings and in church lessons confused me when I was younger. At school I would say, I hope we have super nachos for lunch soon, but at church hope was spoken of among the noble peers of faith and charity. My usual usage could be defined as "it sure would be nice if such-and-such happened." I later learned that this type of hope isn't at all what was meant at church.

A memorable part of President Obama's campaign for presidency centered on the word hope. I don't think he was saying, "It sure would be nice if I were President." Rather, I think his message was for hope in a bright future accomplished through meaningful and focused work.

I know that the above image may stir different feelings in different readers. Some may still be inspired and filled with hope, while others may believe that the hope spoken of by Mr. Obama has gone the way of "many honorable hopes [that] have gone unfulfilled, shipwrecked on the reefs of good intentions and laziness." Regardless of where you stand on the political use of hope (and who are the ones being lazy today), hope is a part of everyday life.

Whereas I was once confused by the differing uses of hope, I now think of President Uchtdorf's comparison of hope as "one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity." Elder Snow reminded that President Uchtdorf continued to testify: "These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time." (Read more here.)

In addition to reminding me of something I readily remember, Elder Snow introduced me to another way to visual these three:

Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that "faith is rooted in Jesus Christ. Hope centers in the Atonement. Charity is manifest in the ‘pure love of Christ.’ These three attributes are intertwined like strands in a cable and may not always be precisely distinguished. Together they become our tether to the celestial kingdom."

Much like faith, hope, and charity may be hard to distinguish, we may find it difficult to distinguish the meaning of the word hope when we hear it used. We may think, "Do they mean a simple wish, or are they talking about hope in the Atonement?"

I think it's fine to use hope for its different meanings. I have hope that my children will "grow up to lead responsible and righteous lives." I will work to realize this hope by showing them the faith I have in Christ, the hope I find in the Atonement, and through examples of charity and by spending quality time with them.

I don't want my hopes to become shipwrecked on the reefs of good intentions and laziness.

But I do still hope to have super nachos sometime soon!

1 thought:

Shon Hawkes said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Ran across this blog searching for 3 legged stool and faith hope and charity to use for a lesson today. I don't know you , but I sure do appreciate your testimony and thoughts.
Shon Hawkes
Westlake Seminary, Saratoga Springs, Utah