“Tell them to Have Faith in Me”

Christ at the Door

Short note: This post is going to be directed more to an LDS specific audience. If you are not LDS, you are more than welcome to read on, but keep in mind all the jargon may or may not make sense to you. And if you’ve got questions, ask. Or, if you disagree, that’s totally cool too.

Maybe I’m still riled up about this whole Ordain Women/Excommunication thing still, but I’ve got a couple of things to say on the matter at hand–which, if I’m reading the tea leaves right, is actually expanding beyond just Ordain Women.

Over the past several days, I’ve read a number of posts (can you see what I do with my spare time?) that call into question certain aspects of the church and often outline a discrepancy between what the church says and what the church does. They point out President Uchdorf’s big-tent Mormonism and the idea that we excommunicate people that we disagree with or that don’t share our view points. Further, they accuse the leadership of the church of doing things that seem wholly worldly with the idea that the LDS church functions more like a corporation than as the literal kingdom of God on the earth. Things like buying up land in Florida, groundbreaking for shopping malls and apartment buildings and a host of other so-called temporal actions that somehow demonstrate the church is more interested in it’s holdings than it is in holding the faith of it’s constituents. All of this, to me, demonstrates a profound lack of faith. Not in the church or it’s leaders, but in God.

I teach gospel doctrine in my ward. Every two weeks, I’m preparing a lesson on this topic or that topic and I do my darndest to ensure that I give a lesson that invites the spirit and nourishes the members of the class with the good word of God. I’m not perfect. I’ve given lousy lessons before. I have much to learn. But I believe in giving lessons that challenge us, make us think, but ultimately, build our faith in God. I’m not interested in building my faith in a man, or a group of men or even an institution. In fact, the church doesn’t ask me to build my faith in the church. It asks me to build my faith in God and Jesus Christ. And so that’s what I try to do and what I try to encourage my class to do. And, as I prepare for my class and while I’m teaching, I’m trying to constantly be aware of what it is that God would want me to say that would help people in their struggles and in their own lives. You know the answer I get almost invariably from God?

Tell them to have faith in Me.

Whenever I get that direction, I always question it. Faith is, after all, the first principle and ordinance of the gospel. Most wouldn’t be in the seats in that classroom unless they had faith in the first place. And so, I do what I always do. I ask, “are you sure?” Always the reply. Yes. Tell them to have faith in Me.

And so I do. And you know what happens? The spirit. Uplift. Comfort. Joy. Happiness. Not only for the class, but I’m sure, most especially for me.

I see so many people out there among the church who have so many questions. Why does the church do this? Why does the church act like this? Why do our leaders seem to contradict themselves at times? Why can’t we just go back to the times of Joseph Smith? Because those things never happened in Joseph’s time either. Honestly, if you look throughout the scriptures, the prophets are CONSTANTLY having to tell the Saints to have more faith. Believe in God. Trust in Him. I just got done teaching much of the Israelites 40-year wanderings in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt. You know what seems to happen? They lack faith. They think they had it good in Egypt and they want to go back. Reading Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy is like watching a bad 80s TV show with an obvious formula. Something bad happens. Everyone freaks. They blame Moses. They curse God. Moses pleads with them to have more faith. They get angry and want to overthrow his leadership. God chastens them in some way. Some repent, some fall away. Rinse and repeat. And it all comes back to a lack of faith.

Tell them to have faith in Me.

Guys, God is in control. If you doubt that, then I implore you to ask Him about it. He’s not going to give you specifics as to why the church engages in some of the activities it does. But what He will do is say to you, I’m in control. I know what’s going on. I know what I’m doing. Are there mistakes made at the highest levels? Yes, there are. Does that mean God isn’t in control? Nope. Sure doesn’t. Do General Authorities say things in Conference that I may not agree with? Yep. Does that mean that God isn’t in control? Nope. Is the institution of the church and it’s members and officiators perfect? Nope. Does that mean God will let the institution falter, crumble and disintegrate? Maybe. He has in the past. But if He does, it will be for good reason.

Tell them to have faith in Me.

Faith is an easy concept to understand and hard concept to practice. But, remember, God does not ask us to have faith in the world, it’s people, processes or procedures. He asks us to have faith in Him. He asks us to have faith in a loving God who is in control of the world. He asks us to influence for good in the sphere of influence that we are in and do our best to help those that we can. As Elder Holland has said, don’t lead with your doubts. Lead with your faith. Then you will have peace in this life and an understanding of your place in it. God does not want you to fix all the problems in this world. He knows you can’t. But fix what you can. And do so in a way that will build up others around you. In that way, you’ll gain faith in God, His purposes and His ways.  And then He can come to you and say:

I’ve always had faith in you. Now, tell them to have Faith in Me.

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5 thoughts on ““Tell them to Have Faith in Me”

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!

    Over the last three years I’ve watched my closest and dearest friend leave the church. All of the arguments you listed were her arguments and then some.
    Time and time again I was reminded that we just need to have faith in God AND the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
    He has always taken care of me! Have bad things happened in my life? Yep— is my life terrible because of those things— nope.
    God is in control and he loves us. He knows what we need and if we trust in Him and the power of the atonement we will be ok.

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  2. I forgot to also add, well done son!! I totally agree. The people sometimes make me crazy and I want to run away from church meetings, but that would not be Christ-like and totally lacking in faith. I would suggest a followup post on loving the people, which is the second great commandment. It’s the hardest for me, actually.

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  3. Good call. Sometimes as you right, you forget certain things. Faith is not an ordinance.

    And thanks for the kind words, both of you guys. Sometimes it’s hard to get your point across when you don’t always know how to phrase your thoughts.

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  4. You are so correct … and so timely for me. Most certainly sometimes the people want to make me run away from the church, but I have to take a deep breath and remember why I am there. It is not for them: it is for me. And if I feel completely looked over in church, it must be because I am not someone’s target and perhaps that is not such a bad thing after all.

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