Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I know [Ryan]

I’m not sure about the purpose of this particular blog entry. I think it’s coming from a number of needs — to prove my own faith to myself, to respond in kind to Elder Holland’s last talk in general conference, or to answer the challenge from various General Authorities to share the gospel over this newfangled thing called the Internet.

I don’t know where this blog is coming from, but I do feel the need to write it.

I encounter a lot of anti-Mormon stuff when I’m at work. It seems someone is always trying to bring the Church down. Sometimes they have understandable concerns, like people who despise the Church because its stance on same-sex marriage, and sometimes they’re just nutjobs, like the guy who wrote in last week saying the Ensign was part of carefully calculated plot by the LDS Church to manipulate the world’s thinking and take over various secular governments.

Sometimes, honestly, it makes me think. Is the Church off-base on gay marriage? What exactly is the deal with blacks and the priesthood? Does unfavorable DNA evidence disprove the Book of Mormon?

I’m slowly coming to an understanding of those and other troubling issues, but my purpose today is not to tackle the things I don’t completely understand. If you want to hear the arguments batted back and forth ad nauseum, go Google them.

But running down every argument will only get so far. There’s always compelling evidence for both sides. An argument based solely on logic can go on forever; logic is based on facts, which are subject to change as new facts are discovered and tested.

Truth, however, comes from somewhere else, and it never changes.

And it’s truth that is important here: It’s not what I don’t know, but what I do know that makes the difference.

Here’s what I know:

Jesus Christ’s sacrifice made it possible for us to fulfil our eternal potential.

In 1820, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon using divine power granted as a part of his calling as a prophet.

Joseph Smith’s successor continues to exercise that role as prophet.

There are some who would call my reasoning flawed — how could I know these things? How can I so callously dismiss logic and hold everything to the standard of knowledge that can’t possibly be proven?

Call it a leap of faith.

How do we truly know anything? Even the most godless, stoic atheist must accept that what he takes as absolute fact must still be taken with a degree of faith — what is reality? How do we know our conscious interpretations of the world are right? An ancient philosopher once asked, “I had a dream I was butterfly — or was I a butterfly awakening from a dream that I was a man?”

We all have to take the world on faith sometime. Every man has to be backed against that wall and make his stand. Sooner or later, we will have to accept that we cannot truly know anything without the assumption of faith.

This my faith. This is what I know because of it. What I don’t know shrinks in the face of what I do know with the promise that all will be made clear someday.

I’m nothing special, but somehow I got lucky and have been able to develop this knowledge. My words lack thundering rhetoric delivered over a pulpit, but you can be assured that they are not less heartfelt that the speaker of such words.

That's what I know.

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