Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On Searching the Scriptures (Part 4): Doubt, Pragmatism, Truth, and Godliness

Earlier, I had posted the first three installments of excerpts from the latter section of my unpublished work-in-progress A Testimony and an Exhortation.  The present excerpt does not follow immediately after the third, but some of the intervening material isn't needed here, and it also includes this quote from Hugh B. Brown.  Here, I felt the need to address the recent General Conference talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on doubt and faith, as well as a troubling strain of pragmatic perspectives that I see cropping up sometimes among Latter-day Saints.

My pledge is to lay my personal testimony, precious though it is, on the table and test it against fair and godly standards.  For your spiritual journey, I extend to you this challenge: to also put your testimony to the same test, and to let me help you do it as we walk together.  Both of us must carefully examine our own beliefs and one another's beliefs, and we can do it together.  This all is no less spiritual than seeking prayerfully after a testimony-experience.  After all, one way that God guides us is by "the findings of truth through earnest seeking and research".1  This sort of seeking can be uncomfortable and unsettling, precisely because it is challenging.  But this challenge is an important one, because in the words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit".2  I should hope that neither of us wishes to stifle the work of the Spirit - but that means we must relentlessly question, think, and ponder, leaving no stone unturned in our mutual quest for a better grasp of the truth, even if it means calling into question and rethinking some of the contents of my testimony or of your testimony.

But, some Latter-day Saints have understandably asked me, what of President Uchtdorf's plea for Latter-day Saints to "first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"?3  President Uchtdorf's counsel is by no means new to him, as similar statements can be found in much twentieth- and twenty-first-century Christian literature.4  Depending on what is meant by the phrase, it may be quite wise.  It could be taken to mean that, if we think that we have grounds to be skeptical of Christian or LDS beliefs, we should subject those grounds to the same scrutiny that we apply to the Christian or LDS beliefs themselves.  Or, with a very similar effect, it could mean that when we bring a questioning attitude of critical inquiry toward the beliefs we hold, we should bring that same attitude toward investigating all alternatives, again out of fairness.  These are certainly excellent counsel.  Furthermore, if our doubt is an emotional state, or if our intellectual doubts are irrational, then surely we should resist letting these baser forces overwhelm us.  (It is this sort that is no doubt - pun intended - spoken of in, for instance, James 1:6.)  In all of these senses, President Uchtdorf's advice is wise.  Certainly, there are sorts of doubt that are unhealthy; and certainly, for more respectable sorts of doubt, they must at least be handled fairly.  We must have faith - but we must also be reasonable in order to make sure that our faith is rightly placed. 

On the other hand, President Uchtdorf's words could be read as advising people to simply dismiss their questions out of hand, to relegate them to a mental shelf, as has too often been advised before in LDS culture.5  I doubt that this is what President Uchtdorf intended to convey, especially because in the same talk, he rightly observes that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took its origin in "a young man who asked questions and sought answers".6  Taking Joseph Smith's own account at face value, if he as a young man had 'doubted his doubts' in this sense, could there have ever been a First Vision, or an encounter with Moroni, or an organization of the Church in the latter-days?  Or, when their experience with the Book of Mormon or with early LDS missionary preaching made some nineteenth-century persons doubt the faith that they had grown up with, should they have 'doubted their doubts' and remained where they were, rather than following through on the questions raised with a willingness to be led into something new?  Should modern investigators of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at least those with some sort of prior religious background, thusly 'doubt their doubts' about their current beliefs, i.e., dismiss any doubts or questions that the missionaries' preaching might have raised for them?  (Investigators then and now did not just indefinitely suspend all their questions about their prior faith on the assumption that "we just need a bit more patience".7)  If they acted rightly in actively wrestling with their important questions, and if Joseph Smith likewise acted rightly in actively wrestling with his important questions, then surely there is no wrongdoing in a modern Latter-day Saint - or a modern Christian from any of the denominations of the church - likewise embracing reasonable questions and reasonable answers as a process by means of which to progress in knowledge, in truth, and even in holy love.

In this sense, I believe that we ought to follow the advice of President Hugh B. Brown: "Some say that the open-minded leave room for doubt.  But I believe we should doubt some of the things we hear.  Doubt has a place if it can stir in one an interest to go out and find the truth for one's self".8  Doubt, in this sense of that word, really does have legitimate purposes,9 precisely because "the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding".10  I believe, therefore, that questions are to be embraced as a means of progress; and the same is to be said for serious but friendly reasoned dialogue, even - perhaps especially - when it raises questions.

As I said above, for my part, I hope to engage in gentleness, honesty, charity, respect, and Christian love.  These are as needful as speaking the truth, because "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) is what is critical, where this love is that greatest virtue that binds all other virtues together in unity (Colossians 3:14).  Even if, in the end, I perhaps may or may not end up convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" as it claims to be (D&C 1:30),11 I want to hear, to be familiar with, to understand, and to appreciate all the reasons why someone might believe in its teachings.  I want this because I want to have the most fair and sympathetic understanding of your religion as possible.  I want to know, not just the experiences you've had, but also what about the teachings makes sense to you and why.  I want to know where in the scriptures you see these teachings and why you read the scriptures that way and how you engage substantively with those who read the scriptures differently.  I want to hear how it affects your life, how it shapes your hopes and goals and dreams.  But above all, I want to see every worthwhile basis why someone might believe the things that your church has taught and does now teach, because I want to leave no stone unturned in giving your faith as much credit as is fair and honest.  Similarly, I hope that you have the same ardent desire when it comes to what I believe.

But ultimately, our goal should be to see us together come to an agreed knowledge of the truth.  The truth is important, and we may be fully confident that "there is indeed such a thing as absolute truth - unassailable, unchangeable truth".12  If a path is not the Lord's, then all the serenity, comfort, and moral improvement in the world is nothing but a subtle temptation, an exchange of the one best thing for a variety of merely good things.  God offers the truth to be found, and that truth is a 'pearl of great price' worth the sale of all other things (cf. Matthew 13:45-46).  If the truth really is, as one LDS hymn puts it, "the fairest gem that the riches of the world can produce", then why should we not treat it as the hymn suggests, as "an aim for the noblest desire"?13  God wishes all to "come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).  "Truth in itself leads to good; knowledge tends to virtue, holiness, purity, and everything that is Godlike, or Divine, because that is its origin, nature, and character", it has been beautifully said.14  Therefore, to be "walking in truth" is a "commandment of the Father" (2 John 1:4).  No practical advantage in where we find ourselves now is worth disobeying God's commandment about walking in the truth - and if we discarded that commandment, how would we avoid coming under Elder Russell M. Nelson's condemnation of "the cafeteria approach to obedience" that is sure to "lead to misery"?15  After all, in the words of President Joseph F. Smith, we must be "willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come", since "the truth must be at the foundation of religion, or it is in vain and it will fail of its purpose".16

The matter at hand, therefore, is not just about a pragmatic decision, or about a personal preference or subjective taste, or about what religious path 'works for you' or 'clicks for me'; it is about reality, about truth.  Even if traditional Christianity happens to 'work for me' or 'click for me', even if it were especially 'comfortable' and 'practical' (and I can assure you that the real way of the Lord Jesus is certainly neither!), it would not be worth following unless it were true, really true, an accurate portrayal of the truth about God and God's involvement in the world.  The same is the case for the LDS faith: if it is not true, it is not worth living out.  (I stress this because, to my great sadness, I have met some Latter-day Saints who, when asked whether, if the LDS Church were not true, they would want to know this fact, have said no; they have chosen, by their own decision, that they would rather believe in the LDS Church even if it were false, and they would not wish to know otherwise.  I have met other Latter-day Saints who have rejected the hearing of any other perspective (which they often call 'anti-Mormon'), no matter how fairly or gently or lovingly presented, and they are of the same maddening mindset as the first group.)  But God has commanded that we should pursue true things, not merely things that 'click', 'work', 'feel good', are 'comfortable', 'make us happy', are 'practical', or 'keep the peace'.

Truth matters, because it is about far more than a sterile set of disembodied ideas.  The 'ideas' we are discussing here have real meat to them; they are not only about 'orthodoxy' (correct belief), but they reveal a lot about the way we act in the world ('orthopraxy', correct practice) and about what is most pivotal: the condition of our hearts ('orthokardia', correct heart) as we are confronted by the loving reality of the one and only holy God.  God commands us - and no command is greater - to love him with an integrated love, one that involves right understanding ('all our mind', orthodoxy and critical thought) and right practice ('all our strength', orthopraxy) and right disposition ('all our heart', orthokardia).  My earnest desire is that we should grow in all three of these areas together.  We cannot afford to leave any of these out as we walk by the Spirit of Truth toward the open heart of God that has come near to all the world in the glorified brokenness of Jesus Christ, who offers real freedom from all bondage and who invites us freely and openly into "the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).  Consider, after all, these rightful words of President N. Eldon Tanner:
Freedom is based on truth, and no man is completely free as long as any part of his belief is based on error, for the chains of error bind his mind.  This is why it is so important for us to learn all the truth we can from all the sources we can.  We need particularly to search the scriptures, for in them are the words which, if accepted and lived, will lead us to eternal life.  The scriptures give us evidence of the reality and personality of God and his Son, Jesus Christ.  In order to believe in God it is necessary for us to understand his nature and attributes.  Our faith in him must be based on true principles.  Faith will avail us nothing if it is based on a false premise.17 
For my part, I am resolved to obey God's commandment in this matter.  Because Jesus is the Truth and because I have covenanted to follow Jesus, I wish by the grace of God to follow the truth no matter where it leads, even if it is uncomfortable or demanding, even if it doesn't feel good, even if it were to cost me greatly, even if it leads me into something that seems to not 'fit' me or 'click' with me or 'work' for me.  What we believe matters.  In fact, it matters greatly.  It isn't for no reason that LDS apostle Bruce R. McConkie once wrote, "We will be judged by what we believe among other things.  If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned.  If that belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray and we will lose our souls".18  But "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul" (Mark 8:36)?  After all, "whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 1:9).  I know, then, that the truth is worth following, because I know that Jesus Christ is both the Way and the Truth, just as he is the Life (John 14:6) - and so it is in living the truth along the way that we walk full of eternal life.  I am sure that you love Jesus Christ and also want to follow him, and so I am sure that you will want to follow God's commandment to relentlessly pursue the truth that he offers.  And that means paying serious attention to what we believe - for have not generations of Latter-day Saints sung that "truth is reason"?19

It is precisely in that spirit that I want to challenge and invite you to join me in a continuing dialogue of sharing, reasoning, listening, and examining - a dialogue aimed, not at a perpetual superficial conversation, but at real understanding and at coming to agreement in the truth.  As a wise man once said, "The aim of argument is differing in order to agree; the failure of argument is when you agree to disagree".20  There is, after all, a sacred duty, as Joseph F. Smith said, to "persuade each other to receive the truth, by teaching it"21 - that is, teaching it persuasively by making a reasonable case for it being the truth.  I yearn to partake in this sacred duty with you, because I firmly believe that it is an act of worship to the Heavenly Father whom I love and serve - and is it not written in your eleventh Article of Faith: "We claim the dictate of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may"?  I urge you then to grant me this privilege of worshiping Almighty God in accordance with my conscience, which dictates that I reason with you from the scriptures concerning what truths I have found.

Whether you were raised LDS or non-LDS, I would challenge you to consider what I say with a truly open mind and heart, looking at it with fresh eyes and hearing it with fresh ears.  Neither of us should insulate ourselves from the possibility of changing our minds and converting, should the truth require it.  As President Hugh B. Brown taught, "The greatest enemy of truth is man's tenacity in clinging to unjustified beliefs.  You must always be ready to reinterpret your concepts when they fail to pass the test of newfound facts".22  I concur readily with President Brown.  If the facts and arguments uncovered in our discussions together show that my concepts fail to pass the test, so much the worse for my prior concepts, even if I had mistakenly thought them to be confirmed by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit; I must change them anyway.  If those facts and arguments show that your concepts fail to pass the test, I of course hope that you will put the truth ahead of your previous beliefs, no matter how dear they were to you before the light of reasoned investigation showed a better way.

It was once written in an LDS periodical: "If the Mormon Elders, so-called, show that a belief is not in accordance with reason and Scripture, had it not ought to be pleasure to forsake the old for the new?  Verily yes; unless you are of those who love darkness rather than light".23  I agree with this: if a Latter-day Saint showed me that my beliefs were neither reasonable nor scriptural, it should be a pleasure for me to forsake those beliefs; and if I did not do this, then it would be a sign that I loved darkness rather than the light.  But I do love the light!  As a lover of the light, I am duty-bound to follow reason and scripture where they lead, and I am resolved to do precisely that.  Similarly, if I or anyone else were to show that an LDS belief is "not in accordance with reason and Scripture", then any LDS lover of the light is bound by that love to abandon that belief.

Following the truth can, I freely admit, be a costly and frightful thing, especially when it risks putting us in jeopardy with our social lives, our friendships, our families, or our traditions - but we must keep in mind that "true religion should not originate from what pleases men or the traditions of ancestors, but rather from what pleases God, our Eternal Father".24  This is a difficult course to take, but following the truth is the right course; therefore, "do what is right; let the consequence follow".25  No form of social pressure should ever be allowed to stand in the way of following the truth.  The truth is valuable in itself, regardless of the social consequences.  I pray that God would grant both of us the gift of an open heart of flesh rather than a closed-off and stony heart (cf. Ezekiel 36:26), and open minds and eyes rather than ones blinded to the "glorious gospel of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4).  My hope is that all who read these words will "examine this evidence with a prayer on their lips and in their hearts",26 and naturally I will seek to return that kindness.

"Truth certainly can lose nothing by investigation",27 and so in seeking to speak truth to one another in love, we offer each other a benefit, not a detriment or harm (cf. Galatians 4:16).  I speak out of no malice but as a gesture of friendship, because true friends are those "who love me enough to tell me the truth, and protect me from error".28  After all, as President John Taylor once remarked, "a full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret or underhanded, and for one I want no association with things that cannot be talked about and will not bear investigation".29  Real honesty and forthrightness about what we believe and why is a necessary virtue, and should of course be expressed in a gentle yet bold way.  We may trust that, as we listen carefully to one another and carefully test all things against the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Spirit of God will work in our hearts so that, if we are truly honest with ourselves and with the facts, we shall be in good hands.  Ultimately, I would have us both remember the wise saying: "The honest investigator must be prepared to follow wherever the search of truth may lead".30  I know this saying to be true, and I promise you that God will bless us if we truly follow it - and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

1  Richard L. Evans, "Communication", address delivered on 5 October 1963 at General Conference, as printed in the October 1963 Conference Report, page 41: "This brings us to the question of communication between God and man, between a loving, all-knowing Father and his searching, seeking children.  This communication includes prayer, inspiration, impressions from the divine source upon the mind of man, the findings of truth through earnest seeking and research, and also what is called revelation, to which the ninth Article of our Faith refers in these words: 'We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.'" 
2  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Acting on the Truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ", address delivered on 11 February 2012 to the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting. <http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/worldwide-leadership-training/2012/01/acting-on-the-truths-of-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng>. Accessed 20 January 2013.
3  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Come, Join with Us", address delivered on 5 October 2013 at General Conference, as printed in Ensign 43/11 (November 2013): 23.
4  For instance, Christian pastor Charles F. Deems, as quoted by Arthur T. Pierson, offered this pithy albeit unhealthy counsel: "Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.  Never make the mistake of doubting your beliefs and believing your doubts" - see Pierson's The Divine Enterprise of Missions: A Series of Lectures (New York, NY: Baker & Taylor, 1891), 38.  But compare this, however, with Deems' other statement: "Would it not sometimes be better that preachers should have at least once a month a sermon open to question and open to reply?  [...]  Would it not really be better that a man of learning and ability should have an opportunity to meet and answer the objection on the spot than that the hearer, creating an objection in his own heart and mind, should go away feeling that no one could answer it?  [...]  Now and then a real good, honest doubter - a man quite as ready to doubt doubts as to doubt doctrine - frankly expressing his opinion, might be of considerable service to the cause of preaching" - see his Chips and Chunks for Every Fireside: Wit, Wisdom, and Pathos (New York, NY: Hunt & Eaton, 1890), 541.  Later, faith-healer F. F. Bosworth - whose book is cited in the footnote for President Uchtdorf's statement - once wrote, "Any man or woman can get rid of his or her doubts by looking steadfastly and only at the evidence that God has given for our faith.  Seeing only what God says will produce and increase faith.  This will make it easier to believe than to doubt.  The evidences for faith are so much stronger than those for doubting.  Don't doubt your faith; doubt your doubts, for they are unreliable" - see his Christ the Healer, 8th ed. (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1973 [1924]), 12-13.  In more recent years, charismatic author Sergio Scataglini wrote, "If you are saying, 'I am not sure if all my sins are forgiven,' come to Jesus.  If you are doubting, doubt your doubts and believe your faith" - see his The Fire of His Holiness: Preparing Yourself to Enter God's Holiness (Ventura, CA: Renew, 1999), 83.  Four years later, speaking of the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness, popular Christian author Max Lucado wrote similarly in his book Next Door Savior (Nashville, TN: W Publishing, 2003), 120-121:  "Jesus' survival weapon of choice is Scripture.  If the Bible was enough for his wilderness, shouldn't it be enough for ours?  [...]  Then we should do what Jesus did.  Rely on scripture.  Doubt your doubts before you doubt your beliefs."  Even more recently, Presbyterian pastor Timothy J. Keller wrote a lengthier passage of quite high quality on the same themes in his book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York, NY: Dutton, 2008), xvi-xviii:  "People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.  A person's faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.  Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts - not only their own but their friends' and neighbors'.  [...]  But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning.  All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternative beliefs.  [...]  The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubts and then to ask yourself what reasons you have for believing it.  How do you know your belief is true?  It would be inconsistent for you to require more justification for Christian belief than you do for your own, but that is frequently what happens.  In fairness you must doubt your doubts.  My thesis is that if you come to recognize the beliefs on which your doubts about Christianity are based, and if you seek as much proof for those beliefs as you seek from Christians for theirs - you will discover that your doubts are not as solid as they first appeared."  Keller's seems to be the healthiest and most respectable of all the uses of the 'doubt your doubts' phrase.
5  For instance, see Spencer W. Kimball's wife Camilla Eyring Kimball, as quoted in Caroline Eyring Miner and Edward L. Kimball, Camilla: A Biography of Camilla Eyring Kimball (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1980), 126:  "I learned early to put aside those gospel questions that I could not answer.  I had a shelf of things I did not understand, but as I have grown older and studied and prayed and thought about each problem, one by one I have been able to understand them better."  See also Neil L. Andersen, "Never Leave Him", address delivered on 2 October 2010 at General Conference, as printed in the October 2010 Conference Report, page 41:  "I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval.  You will know that you are becoming more like Him.  Will we understand everything?  Of course not.  We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time."  For important matters, this is exceptionally unwise counsel.
6  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Come, Join with Us", address delivered on 5 October 2013 at General Conference, as printed in Ensign 43/11 (November 2013): 22:  "In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth.  It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves." 
7  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Come, Join with Us", address delivered on 5 October 2013 at General Conference, as printed in Ensign 43/11 (November 2013): 22.
8  Hugh B. Brown, in Edwin B. Firmage, ed., An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1999), 135.
9  John Ortberg, Faith and Doubt (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 148:  "There is no other way to trust Jesus than to think and question and wrestle and struggle until you come to see that he is really true.  One purpose of doubt is to motivate us to do that." 
10  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Come, Join with Us", address delivered on 5 October 2013 at General Conference, as printed in Ensign 43/11 (November 2013): 23. 
11  Again, see not only D&C 1:30 but also, e.g., Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher's Manual (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1999), 99:  "Testify that although other churches teach some truths and do many good things, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth because it is the only church that has the complete gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood authority to perform ordinances in the name of Jesus Christ" (emphasis original).  With all due respect, the testimony I have received, along with the scriptures (which are far more important), shows me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is missing out on the "complete gospel of Jesus Christ" and has constructed systems of priesthood contrary to that which Jesus Christ established for his living temple-people, namely, his own sole high priesthood 'after the order of Melchizedek' that renders the Aaronic Priesthood totally defunct for our age of the new covenant. 
12  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "What is Truth?", Church Educational Services (CES) devotional talk delivered on 13 January 2013. <https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2013/01/what-is-truth?lang=eng>. Accessed 2 March 2013.
13  John Jaques, first and second stanzas of "Oh Say, What is Truth?", hymn #272 in Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985).
14  "Ignorance and Knowledge", The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 23/45 (9 November 1861): 724.
15  Russell M. Nelson, "Face the Future with Faith", address delivered on 2 April 2011 at General Conference, as printed in the April 2011 Conference Report, page 32:  "Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments to keep and ignore others that they choose to break.  I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience.  This practice of picking and choosing will not work.  It will lead to misery."
16  Joseph F. Smith, address delivered on 4 April 1909 at General Conference, as printed in the April 1909 Conference Report, page 7:  "We believe in all truth, no matter to what subject it may refer.  No sect or religious denomination in the world possesses a single principle of truth that we do not accept or that we will reject.  We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come; for truth will stand, truth will endure.  No man's faith, no man's religion, no religious organization in all the world can ever rise above the truth.  The truth must be at the foundation of religion, or it is in vain and it will fail of its purpose."  This statement is likewise excerpted in Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News, 1919), 1.
17  N. Eldon Tanner, "Ye Shall Know the Truth", address delivered on 1 April 1978 at General Conference, as printed in the April 1978 Conference Report, page 20.
18  Bruce R. McConkie, letter written to BYU professor Eugene England, dated 19 February 1981, page 7. <http://www.eugeneengland.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/BRM-to-EE-Feb-80-Combined.pdf>. Accessed 26 January 2013.  Compare to his statement in Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1965-1973), 2:363:  "The fact is that a major part of the testing process of mortality is to determine how much of the truth the saints will believe while they are walking by faith rather than by sight.  And the more truths they accept, the clearer will be their views on spiritual matters, and the more incentive and determination they will have to work out their salvation and gain eternal glory hereafter.  Heresies and false teachings are thus used in the testing process of this mortal probation."
19  Eliza R. Snow, third stanza of "O My Father", hymn #292 in Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985). 
20  G. K. Chesterton, newspaper column dated 1 April 1911, in Laurence J. Clipper, ed., The Illustrated London News, 1911-1913, The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton 29 (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1988), 62.
21  Joseph F. Smith, address delivered on 6 April 1902 at General Conference, as printed in the April 1902 Conference Report, page 86:  "I cannot save you; you cannot save me; we cannot save each other, only so far as we can persuade each other to receive the truth, by teaching it.  When a man receives the truth he will be saved by it.  He will not be saved merely because some one talks to him, but because he received it and acts upon it."  Quoted also in Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News, 1919), 3.
22  Hugh B. Brown, "Man and What He May Become", fireside address delivered on 25 March 1958 at Brigham Young University, <http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=112>. Accessed 10 October 2013.
23  Untitled snippet, Latter Day Saints Southern Star 1/47 (21 October 1899): 372.
24  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Faith of Our Father", address delivered on 6 October 2008 at General Conference, as printed in the April 2008 Conference Report, page 73. 
25  Chorus of "Do What Is Right", hymn #237 in Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985).
26  The Master's Church: Course A (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Sunday School Union, 1969), 95.
27  Oliver Cowdery (probably), untitled editorial, Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 3/1 (October 1836): 394.
28  Stephen L. Richards, "The Priesthood Quorum: A Three-Fold Definition", address delivered on 7 April 1939, as printed in Improvement Era 42/05 (May 1939): 294, and quoted also in Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord: Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide 1978-79 (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978), 152.
29  John Taylor, address delivered on 2 March 1879, as printed in Journal of Discourses 20:264.
30  Hugh B. Brown, "The Quest for Truth", address delivered on 6 October 1962 at General Conference, as printed in the October 1962 Conference Report, page 42:  "The honest investigator must be prepared to follow wherever the search of truth may lead.  Truth is often found in the most unexpected places.  He must, with fearless and open mind 'insist that facts are far more important than any cherished, mistaken beliefs, no matter how unpleasant the facts or how delightful the beliefs.'"  

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