The backdrop for Elder Holland's talk is from:
A man comes to ask that his son be healed. He asks, "If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us.." ..the Lord replies, "If thou canst believe..." and the man "straightway" replies, "Lord, I believe", then acknowledges that he needs help, "help, thou, my unbelief".
Elder Holland emphasizes the point that this man had a strong desire to believe, and as we learn from Alma, we can let this desire work in us until it becomes belief. The son is healed, and we learn great lessons about faith.
Elder Holland makes three main
points in his talk:
- HOLD ON
He says, "In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited......hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes."
We've all heard the saying, when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. We can rely on our faith-building experiences and the testimony of the truths we do believe in when our faith is shaken or we have questions and doubts. These become the 'knots' we hold onto. Many sisters shared experiences that are ones that have helped their faith. Sue Green reminded us that a great way to HOLD ON and remember our faith is to write our experiences and testimonies down so when we start to forget we can read and remember.
What do we hang on to? What experiences have shaped your faith?
faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains. The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue - it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know. I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have."
It's interesting that he uses the word "integrity" in relation to the faith we already have. When he goes on to talk about the seed, it makes me think of the potential that little amount of faith has.
Do we have responsibility when we are given even a small amount of testimony? Integrity is keeping our actions consistent with our belief, so what is the action we should take in relation to our little faith?
I think it has something to do with "Don't let those questions stand in the way of faith working it's miracle". Even our little faith produces miracles, like the mustard seed. We seem to think that those who do good works are those with big faith, but they aren't. They are simply people who act on the little faith they have. They exercise integrity.
"This is my constant prayer because it is the best I can do, and, it is enough. I believe. Help Thou Mine Unbelief. What I know is that I have experienced God in this Church, notwithstanding every other doubt, dry spell, stupid thing someone has done, painful points of our history - I have experienced God. I'll keep that. I have question marks in my scriptures all over the place. I add new ones all the time. Over time, my question marks become periods and even exclamation points as answers or peace finally come."
- HOPE ON
Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not.
The Book of Mormon calls "the greatness of the evidences." "Ye shall know them by their fruits," Jesus said, and the fruit of living the gospel is evident in the lives of Latter-day Saints everywhere. As Peter and John said once to an ancient audience, I say today, "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard," and what we have seen and heard is that "a notable miracle hath been done" in the lives of millions of members of this Church. That cannot be denied.
Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don't hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will.
Everyone is to walk by faith -- leap of faith, footsteps of faith -- faith is action.
"In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith." Faith is hope for something we cannot see. We believe in the gospel truths and the teachings and hope that all things will work together for our good.
With the knowledge that each of God's children are required to walk by faith and that no one on earth has or ever will be perfect except Christ himself, we need to be patient and kind with them. We shouldn't let the faults of our church leaders and teachers affect our testimony and shake our faith.
- JOURNEY ON
What would happen if this was posted in every bishop's office? Why are you here today? Does it require faith to be a member of our church? We are all human.
Even the term 'walk by faith' denotes that faith requires action. Therefore, we need to use our faith to JOURNEY ON. Elder Holland says, "When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we want it as humbly and honestly as this father did (referring to the story in Mark)... God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief."
Each of us has a quest for knowledge and testimony. This requires effort on our part. He's asking that as we hold on to what we know, have hope that things will work for our good and work to obtain a testimony of the things we don't know, we will find peace and comfort.
Elder Holland said, "I said I was speaking to the young. I still am. A 14 year old boy recently said to me a little hesitantly, "Brother Holland, I can't say yet that I know the Church is true, but I believe it is." I hugged that boy until his eyes bulged out. I told him with all the fervor of my soul that belief is a precious word, and even a more precious act, and he need never apologize for "only believing." I told him that Christ Himself said, "Be not afraid, only believe," a phrase which, by the way, carried young Gordon B. Hinckley into the mission field. I told this boy that belief was always the first step toward conviction and that the definitive articles of our collective faith forcefully reiterate the phrase "We believe." And I told him how very proud I was of him for the honesty of his quest."
Elder Holland bears a strong testimony of things he knows. He says, "What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is Gods' very truth and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."
May each of us
"Fan our Flame of Faith"
each day so that our testimonies can
grow and be strengthened.