Sunday, February 18, 2018

Overcoming trials of faith

I spoke today in the Revere 2nd Ward. I had President Uchtdorf's talk from a few years ago, Come, Join with Us, as a text with which to start. I think that talk had a lot of great messages inside it, but I struggled over the last few weeks to make it my own. Eventually I decided to leverage the story of Corianton to try and teach some principles.

The previous speaker spoke on lessons from Liberty Jail, and it was not until I heard her talk that things really came together in mind for my own talk. She drew from a number of sources, but probably most directly from Elder Holland's CES Fireside Lessons from Liberty Jail. I found it interesting that she quoted Alma 41:10 from right in the middle of the counsel to Corianton I was about to use as the main mechanism for my talk.

In the end I only had about ten minutes to give my talk, maybe less. As usual, I had over-prepared material for even a full amount of time. So I cut my talk in half and tried to sew it all together on the fly. It didn't go horribly, but I definitely rambled a bit here and there.

Full disclosure: so far I haven't been recycling talks. 

In addition to seeing the text below, you can look at the Google Doc.

  1. Spend a little time today talking about Corianton.
    1. Alma’s third son
    2. always gets brought up when talking about the law of chastity
    3. I’m sure he really appreciates that association
      1. He’s probably a better person than me, so maybe he really does
    4. Let’s skip over all that stuff and look at rest, which is often overshadowed
      1. He had questions and doubts about the gospel
  2. Background on Alma
    1. Son of Alma, buddies with four of the sons of Mosiah
    2. Sermon in Zarahemla
      5:45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
      5:46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
    3. Mission to the Zoramites
      31:7 Now the eldest of his sons he took not with him, and his name was Helaman; but the names of those whom he took with him were Shiblon and Corianton; and these are the names of those who went with him among the Zoramites, to preach unto them the word.
    4. Counsel to his children: Alma 36 - 42, half of it to Corianton
  3. Corianton’s questions and doubts (and how Alma answers)
    1. Prophecy of Christ (thought exercise with questions)
      39:17 And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject. Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand. Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?
    2. Resurrection of the dead - the most interesting one IMO - (speculation, curiosity, recognizing limits of revealed truth, seeking and receiving revelation, an angel)
      40:1 Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead.
    3. Restoration (theological discussion)
      41:1 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee.
    4. Justice (combination of theological discussion and thought exercise)
      42:1 And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
  4. How Alma DIDN’T react
    1. Associating questions with wickedness
    2. Condescending
    3. Ask somebody else - although he did admit the limits of his knowledge
    4. Wizard of Oz - don't look behind the curtain approach - “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
  5. Afterword
    1. Corianton gets called on another mission:
      42:31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.
      43:1 And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth.
    2. Continues preaching and establishing peace:
      49:30 Yea, and there was continual peace among them, and exceedingly great prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren, yea, and by all those who had been ordained by the holy order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among the people.
    3. Went northward on a ship:
      63:10 And it came to pass in the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died also, and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship, to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land.
      Fun to speculate!
  6. We are all on both sides of that story:
    1. A crucible of faith and circumstance, wondering if it’s worth it
    2. Trying to help a loved one in that crucible
  7. Is it worth it? Do we know?
    1. Laxatives in pie for JD from Janitor - both eating pie, both in bathroom, “Totally worth it!”
    2. Leeroy Jenkins! “Alright, let’s do this!” “At least I have chicken!”
    3. Tithing, Sabbath day observance, Word of Wisdom, Time commitment, eternal
      1. Why would anyone want to join such a church”
  8. The mists of darkness swirl around us
    1. Negative experiences happen. Abuse, scandal, trials, and difficulties
    2. “And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
      I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.”
    3. please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”
  9. It is worth it!
    1. Priesthood blessings - get a blessing
    2. Temple worship
    3. Joseph Smith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
      1. Consecrate, then grow more so we can consecrate more!
      2. Muscle growth
    4. Service opportunities
      1. Your bishop, Relief Society, and quorum presidents need you!
        1. Give it time, they’ll put you to work
        2. I need you!
    5. Count your blessings - spiritual experiences
      1. Snow bank
      2. Softball
      3. Gospel principles class
  10. John 6 - After feeding of 5000, walking on water, following, Bread of Life sermon
    66 ¶ From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
    67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
    68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
    69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
    “There are times when we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?”

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