Cast Not Therefore Your Confidence Away
Elder Holland’s talk entitled Cast Not Therefore Your Confidence Away is one of my all time favorite talks because it’s scripturally deep as well as spiritually inspired. This week, this talk was incredibly relevant in my life.
I am a senior at Brandeis University and have been debating whether or not to graduate early ( in December) for a while. I originally came up with the idea because of the threat that my father would no longer support me if I were baptized into the church. I needed a way to minimize cost in order to be able to continue to afford studying. When my father moved to approve my decision that was no longer necessary. I suggested to him that I’d considered graduating early, and he actually became an advocate for the idea. I decided that graduating early would help me to get some work and save up some money in order to be able to contemplate serving a mission. A semester would cost 12,000 dollars and while I would not myself be getting all of that savings, having my father saving all of that would be beneficial. I was very doubtful about my decision and the paper work for December graduation was due this Thursday.
Wednesday night I went to the temple and prayed about it. I often go to the Boston Temple with my questions and invariably leave with much clearer answers than when I came. I don’t even have to go into the temple to do baptisms, just coming and praying outside the temple has that effect on me. This decision had been torturing me for weeks, and on Wed. I got a fairly clear feeling that it was the correct decision. I experienced a pretty great comfort that things would work themselves out well
I put in the papers on Thursday early in the afternoon, and almost immediately got struck by the most severe and intense doubts. Most frighteningly, I have been trying to be guided by the spirit in this decision and strongly felt what seemed to be spiritual promptings that I’d made a mistake. I literally had to summon the words of Elder Holland’s talk to my mind in order to make sense of it.
“But Moses’ message to you today is, “Don’t let your guard down.” Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous illuminating moment, or the opening of an inspired path is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over. What happened to Moses next, after his revelatory moment, would be ludicrous if it were not so dangerous and so absolutely true to form. In an effort to continue his opposition, in his unfailing effort to get his licks in later if not sooner, Lucifer appeared and shouted in equal portions of anger and petulance after God had revealed himself to the prophet, saying, “Moses, worship me.” But Moses was not having it. He had just seen the real thing, and by comparison this sort of performance was pretty dismal.”
I sat in my car overwhelmed with a sense of anguish. I still had two hours to go ask them to remove my graduation form I thought to myself…It was then that I thought back on what I had felt the night before at the temple. I knew that whatever I felt there would not be deceptive but would be the real thing.
“Like Moses in his vision, there may come after the fact some competing doubts and some confusion, but they will pale when you measure them against the real thing. Remember the real thing. Remember how urgently you have needed help in earlier times and that you got it. The Red Sea will open to the honest seeker of revelation. The adversary does have power to hedge up the way, to marshal Pharaoh’s forces and dog our escape right to the water’s edge, but he can’t produce the real thing. He cannot conquer if we will it otherwise. “Exerting all [our] powers to call upon God,” the light will again come, the darkness will again retreat, the safety will again be sure.
As I waited and prayed, telling the darkness to dissipate from my mind, I was able to recapture the sense of calmness that I’d felt before. I was able to go into my apartment and do other things until it was too late to reconsider and my decision was final. It required an enormous amount of spiritual energy and power to resist the clouds that were hanging over me. I realized that they were certainly inspired by the adversary to confuse and distort my desires.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. . . .
. . . If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. . . .
. . . We are not of them who draw back unto perdition. [Hebrews 10:35–36, 38–39;]