I am going to be going a little bit out of order in my posts on talks from the April 2016 General Conference. Today in Priesthood, we had a lesson on the talk Do I Believe from the Sunday Morning Session by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President.
She began by sharing a powerful story of a mother flying with her child in a helicopter headed to Primary Children’s Hosptial in Salt Lake City. As she looked out of the plane, she could see the Draper Temple directly underneath the plane. And as she looked out, she could see at least three other temples (Jordan River, Oquirrh Mountain, and Salt Lake) in the distance. As she contemplated the possibility of losing her son, she asked herself, “Do you believe it or not?” In this time of crisis, she had to figure out for herself whether she simply knew the fact that families can be together forever, or whether she truly believed it. And in that moment “the Spirit confirmed to my heart and mind the answer I already knew—I DID believe it!” And that knowledge brought peace of mind and confidence which allowed her to endure great trials.
We all will sometime in our lives be required to ask that same question. Do we simply know gospel truths with our mind, or do we truly believe and know these things with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength?
Right after I graduated from my undergraduate and just about six months after my baptism, I had a job going door to door raising money for non-profit organizations. On several frigid evenings in the midst of the Boston winter, I walked house to house. And as I did so, I struggled with lots of self-doubt and uncertainty. I was in the midst of trying to make the agonizing decision of whether to serve a mission. As I walked around in a then unknown neighborhood, I cross over the peak of a hill and in the distance suddenly saw the Boston Massachusetts Temple. In the dwindling twilight, the Angel Moroni glistened like a lighthouse beacon. And in that moment, I had to decide as the woman in Sister Oscarson’s story, did I truly believe or not?
Both before and after that night, there were many moments where I had to look deep and decide whether I truly believed. But I thought particularly of that moment when I heard this talk. In the light of the temple, I had to make a choice. I chose to believe. And I chose to serve.
At times, our faith can become commonplace and we can be complacent. We can “fail to fully comprehend the miracle and majesty of discipleship in the Lord’s true church…” We can lose sight of “the profound claims we make as a religion.” We can be blinded by temporal distractions and doubts and forget that what our faith offers is far more profound. As we stay in the church, we have access to covenants, priesthood blessings, and saving ordinances that are essential for returning to our father in heaven. We have access to the gift of the Holy Ghost and the fullest measure of the atonement of Jesus Christ. We have the promise of eternal sealing ties that bind us to those we hold most dear. We have the blessings of exaltation and eternal life before us.
“We have a knowledge of these things, but do we believe them? If these things are true, then we have the greatest message of hope and help that the world has ever known. Believing them is a matter of eternal significance for us and for those we love.” We need to “get the gospel from our heads into our hearts!” “We all need to seek to have our hearts and very natures changed” And this is a choice wemake daily—to choose faith over doubt.”
In our day to day lives, we may not be aware that we are even making a choice. We simply press forward not always aware of the alternatives around us. But in moments such as the one in the helicopter or my moment in the bitter New England frost, we are faced with a choice and must ask ourselves if we truly believe the things we have learned.
I bear witness from my personal experiences, that in those moments of trial, we can fully come to know from the promptings of the spirit. We can be given certainty and understanding. And that knowledge can give us the strength to overcome all the challenges in our way.