Monday, October 17, 2016

The Healing Power of Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ

I spoke in the Acton ward this past Sunday on the Healing Power of Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ. I had looked forward to this assignment when I originally received my High Council speaking assignments back in February. I figured I could have a bit of fun with it as I spoke in the ward from which I and my siblings left on our missions. I could say something like: "ha, ha, remember me? I'm on the High Council now. Isn't that funny?" While I'm not sure I would have ever actually delivered on that plan, recent events in the ward indicated the need for a more professional tone.

While we receive our High Council speaking assignments for the whole year, we only receive topics for a quarter at a time. When I received the topic for this talk a few weeks ago (since it's the start of a quarter), I felt overwhelmed. How could I talk about THAT topic to THAT ward. I solicited help with writing my talk from many people, and then solicited more help from other people. As always happens, I learned a lot through preparing this talk, and hopefully somebody also learned from hearing it.

The High Councilors in the Nashua Stake are supposed to bring companion speakers with them this year. The goal there is to utilize recently returned missionaries, and to alleviate the burden of planning from local bishoprics. I struggled with deciding who to ask to accompany me, as I wanted to find somebody I could especially trust with the responsibility. While discussing it with my wife, she suggested her father. That instantly felt right so I asked him to accompany me. After some wailing and gnashing of teeth, he agreed to do it.

Of course, he gave an excellent talk. He took a completely different focus and approach than I did, which then made the two talks go really well together (at least, to me).  He led with an overview of the Savior's example of healing during his ministry, and then moved to how we can and should follow that example. I felt during my preparation that I had not covered that adequately, instead focusing on hope and how to secure more of it. He covered the area I felt I was deficient, and did so masterfully.

Unfortunately, I spent my father-in-law's talk and the special musical number actually listening to them, instead of modifying my talk for time and planning the transitions. So I ended up rambling and fumbling. I should plan items to chop off in the future and how to transition the shortened versions, so I can always pay attention to the actual program (which is what I should do anyway). For those who have an interest, here's the outline and additional notes:

Healing Power of Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ

  • Introduction
    • First things first
      • Hardest part of teaching in the church: time management
      • Gospel principles - Just gave up and lead off with the main point
      • Reorder - start with my testimony!
    • Learned helplessness - Martin Seligman
      • AP Psych class - I am not a psychologist nor do I play one on TV
        • Ms. Pamela Lynn - eccentric mannerisms, LeDoux, helplessness
        • Pavlov - dogs salivating for food: classical conditioning
        • Three groups - control, empowered, helpless - and two parts
      • Ancient Israelites with fiery serpents - symbol on the pole
The Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 17:41 "...he sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed;"
      • Oversimplification, generalization, and categorization
    • We are swimming in the murky depths and a mist of darkness has come over
      • Iron rod not enough - losing grip, not providing support
      • Speakers are essentially throwing life preservers into the dark
      • General Authorities in General conference: a gattling gun
      • Specific to me - “Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”
      • Strength to just endure another High Council talk!
  • Want to talk about healing: the purpose of the gospel
    • Traditional gospel healing - Carole M Stevens in most recent Women’s session
  • “First, the Savior, the Master Healer, has the power to change our hearts and give us permanent relief from the sorrow caused by our own sin.
  • Second, the Master Healer can comfort and strengthen us when we experience pain because of the unrighteous actions of others.
  • Third, the Master Healer can comfort and sustain us as we experience painful “realities of mortality,”13 such as disaster, mental illness, disease, chronic pain, and death.”
    • What does it mean ”to heal?”
      • A return to health: restoration. Making sound again
      • Incremental vs instantaneous
      • Change of trajectory
    • What does returning a child of God  to form mean? work and glory
      • 2 Ne 2:25
        Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
    • Plan of salvation, Plan of happiness
  • Faith, hope, and charity brings love and joy - a restoration
    • Work and His glory to bring love and joy - fruit of the spirit
      • Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead - Galatians 5:22
      • Ether 12:28Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.”
    • Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ - Zone Conference with Elder Abrea
      • Some have gift to believe on others, some DO NOT.
      • Elder Maxwell in October 1994 Conference (excellent talk on this topic)
        “Faith and hope are constantly interactive, and may not always be precisely distinguished or sequenced. Though not perfect knowledge either, hope’s enlivened expectations are “with surety” true (Ether 12:4; see also Rom. 8:24;Heb. 11:1; Alma 32:21). In the geometry of restored theology, hope has a greater circumference than faith. If faith increases, the perimeter of hope stretches correspondingly.”
    • Moroni 7:39,40-41,43 - Mormon preaches about hope in the atonement
      40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
      41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
      42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
      43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.”
    • Hope
      • 1 Thes 5:8 - “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”
      • 1 Cor 9:10 - “Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.”
      • Elder Maxwell again (also read his October 1998 talk):
        “Hope is particularly needed in the hand-to-hand combat required to put off the natural man (see Mosiah 3:19). Giving up on God and on oneself constitutes simultaneous surrender to the natural man.”
      • Ultimate vs tactical hope
    • Charity has many faces: my focus here is service
      • Sacrifice - a broken heart and a contrite spirit - 3 Nephi 9:19-20
      • Pay it forward
        • “I wouldn’t do all this if I didn’t know it was true” vs.
        • Perspective of experience - not a sacrifice - President Hinckley
  • From zero to one: what to do to find faith and hope; starting blank, lacking vision:
    • Elder Richard G. Scott (April 1994): “Your access to the Savior’s help comes in different ways. The most direct and often the most powerful way is through humble, trusting prayers to your Father in Heaven, which are answered through the Holy Ghost to your spirit.12 Yet this help is sometimes difficult to initiate and hard to recognize when you are learning how to pray with faith. If so, begin elsewhere. Trust someone near to you; then as you learn, that trust will extend to God and His healing.13 Begin with a friend or bishop who understands the teachings of the Savior. Often they have personally obtained healing through application of truth with faith in the Redeemer. They can show you how. Or start by reading, pondering, and applying the teachings of the scriptures. They are a very powerful source of assistance.14 While examples and anecdotes will help to understand principle,you will find that power comes from scriptural doctrine, as these quotes illustrate:
      • “I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.”15
      • “Come unto me with full purpose of heart.”16
      • “Return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you.”17
      • “Turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, [and] if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.”18
    • Traditional patterns work
      • Prayer - ask for it
        • Elder Boyd K PackerNo message appears in scripture more times, in more ways than, “Ask, and ye shall receive.”’
        • President Russell M Nelson (Conference two weeks ago) “How, then, can we claim that joy? We can start by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”15 “in every thought.”16 We can give thanks for Him in our prayers and by keeping covenants we’ve made with Him and our Heavenly Father. As our Savior becomes more and more real to us and as we plead for His joy to be given to us, our joy will increase.”
      • Scriptures - The Word - seed
        Alma 32:27,28 - Faith is a seed
        27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
        28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.”
    • Grattitude
      • Not a hard counter, but definitely another arrow in your quiver
        • Dr. Vaughn E. Worthen, March 2010 EnsignCurrent case studies and research show that cultivating and practicing gratitude can reduce symptoms in cases of mild to moderate depression and anxiety.”
      • Count your many blessings - Hymn
“1. When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.”
    • People around us
      • Friends and families
      • Hero worship - we want to have hope
        • Fictional heroes
          • Dad’s farewell talk - Hercules
          • Alice cheering when the Hulk shoes up
          • Facing the horde and say “but it is not this day”
        • Elon Musk - going to Mars
        • Mormon, Moroni, and Paul
          • prophesied destruction/apostasy
          • How did they deal?
            • “O ye fair ones” - expressed grief
            • Joy in small victories
            • Ultimate hope
        • Local leaders - secular achievements outweighed by spiritual calls
  • Conclusion
    • Elder Jeffrey R Holland
      • “You have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love”
      • “There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the ‘light that is endless, that can never be darkened’ [Mosiah 16:9]. It is the very Son of God Himself.”
    • Christ and Peter on the water - Matthew 14
      28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
      29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
      30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
      31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
      32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
  • Testimony - Christ’s atonement - healing

Extra notes

Canker sores
MTC - stress related, meditation and breathing
Corpus - lysine and diet
Counselor - medication for stress

Political climate - opposite of hope
Climate change - point of no return
Doomsday clock

Silicon valley, innovation district
Horatio alger - American dream
Dystopian novels
Media and Satan like to pull down heroes
I like tragedies - Magnificent 7, The Great Escape

Cyber security - full stack, defense in depth, cyber kill chain, cloud native, SecDevOps
Synergy - weird al song on business buzz words

Michael Mclean - You’re not alone -

2 Ne 31:20 - a perfect brightness of hope


Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does—every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds—is for our eternal happiness.8
With this kind of faith, though we may not understand why certain things happen or why certain prayers go unanswered, we can know that in the end everything will make sense. “All things [will] work together for good to them that love God.”9
All will be made right. All will be well.
We can be certain that answers will come, and we may be confident that we will not only be content with the answers but we will also be overwhelmed by the grace, mercy, generosity, and love of our Heavenly Father for us, His children.
Until then, we walk by whatever faith we have,10 seeking always to increase our faith. Sometimes this is not an easy quest. Those who are impatient, uncommitted, or careless may find faith to be elusive. Those who are easily discouraged or distracted may hardly experience it. Faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring.
It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness.

Elder Hales - if we love the savior more would we hurt less. My yoke is easy and my burden is light
Elder Garnish - Stop comparing to others. Do not rationalize or rebel
Elder Anderson - Guilt has an important role. Battery in gasoline car
Evan A Schmutz - an eternal compensating reward

“For a variety of reasons, brothers and sisters, today’s society seems to struggle in order to be hopeful. The associated causes and effects co-mingle ever so subtly.”
“Ultimate hope is a different matter. It is tied to Jesus and the blessings of the great Atonement, blessings resulting in the universal Resurrection and the precious opportunity provided thereby for us to practice emancipating repentance, making possible what the scriptures call “a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Ne. 31:20).”
“Faith and hope are constantly interactive and are not always easily or precisely distinguished. Nevertheless, ultimate hope’s expectations are “with surety” true (Ether 12:4; see also Rom. 8:24; Heb. 11:1; Alma 32:21). Yet in the geometry of the restored theology, hope corresponds to faith but sometimes has a greater circumference. Faith, in turn, constitutes “the assurance of things hoped for” and the proof of “things not seen” (JST, Heb. 11:1; see also Ether 12:6). Thus hope sometimes reconnoiters beyond the present boundaries of faith, but it always radiates from Jesus.”
“Nevertheless, because proximate hopes are so vulnerable to irony and the unexpected, there is an increasing and profound sense of existential despair in the world. A grumpy cynicism now pervades politics. Many feel burdened by society’s other accumulating anxieties.”
“Real hope keeps us “anxiously engaged” in good causes even when these appear to be losing causes on the mortal scoreboard (see D&C 58:27). Likewise, real hope is much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spiritual spine. Hope is serene, not giddy, eager without being naive, and pleasantly steady without being smug. Hope is realistic anticipation which takes the form of a determination—not only to survive adversity but, moreover, to “endure … well” to the end (D&C 121:8).”

Hope for vs. hope in

For some years, brothers and sisters, there has been an increasing and profound sense of existential despair in the world. This mortal hopelessness both reflects and affects much of mankind. Whether tribal or national, wars constitute “the continued experience of twentieth-century man” (Paul Fussell,The Great War and Modern Memory, London: Oxford University Press, 1975, p. 74). A grumpy cynicism pervades politics in so many places on this planet. Holocausts, famine, pestilence, and tides of refugees have taken a terrible toll on human hope, with much of that toll coming from man-made, avoidable disasters. Causality can be assigned to one or another form of iniquity. No wonder, as the scriptures say, despair comes of iniquity! (See Moro. 10:22.)”
“Having ultimate hope does not mean we will always be rescued from proximate problems, but we will be rescued from everlasting death! Meanwhile, ultimate hope makes it possible to say the same three words used centuries ago by three valiant men. They knew God could rescue them from the fiery furnace, if He chose. “But if not,” they said, nevertheless, they would still serve Him! (Dan. 3:18.)”
“Though “anchored” in grand and ultimate hope, some of our tactical hopes are another matter. We may hope for a pay raise, a special date, an electoral victory, or for a bigger house—things which may or may not be realized. Faith in Father’s plan gives us endurance even amid the wreckage of such proximate hopes. Hope keeps us “anxiously engaged” in good causes even when these appear to be losing causes (see D&C 58:27).”


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