The Eye of Faith

Shortly before His Crucifixion,
Jesus was taken before Pilate in the judgment hall. “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Pilate condescendingly asked. Jesus responded: “My kingdom
is not of this world. … I [came] into the world,
that I should bear witness [of] the truth. Every one that is of the
truth heareth my voice.” Pilot cynically asked,
“What is truth?” In today’s world, the
question “What is truth?” can be painfully complex
to the secular mind. A Google search for
“What is truth?” brings more than a
million responses. We have more available
information on our cell phones than in all the books of a
brick and mortar library. We live with information
and opinion overload. Enticing and alluring voices
pursue us at every turn. Caught in today’s
confusion, it is no wonder that so many consign
themselves to the words spoken 2,500 years ago by Protagoras
to the young Socrates. “What is true for you,”
he said, “is true for you, and what is true for
me, is true for me.” Blessed with the restored
gospel of Jesus Christ, we humbly declare that there are
some things that are completely and absolutely true. These eternal truths are the
same for every son and daughter of God. The scriptures teach,
“Truth is knowledge of things as they
are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” Truth looks backward
and forward, expanding the perspective
of our small point in time. Jesus said, “I am the way,
the truth, and the life.” Truth shows us the
way to eternal life, and it comes only through
our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Jesus Christ teaches
us how to live, and through His Atonement
and Resurrection, He offers us forgiveness
from our sins and immortality beyond the veil. This is absolutely true. He teaches us that
it does not matter if we are rich or poor,
prominent or unknown, sophisticated or simple. Rather, our mortal quest
is to strengthen our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
to choose good over evil, and to keep His commandments. While we celebrate the
innovations of science and medicine, the
truths of God go far beyond these discoveries. In opposition to the
truths of eternity, there always have been
counterfeits to distract God’s children from the truth. The arguments of the
adversary are always the same. Listen to these voices
2,000 years ago: “[You] cannot know of
things [you] do not see. … [Whatever a person
does is] no crime.” “It is not reasonable
that such a being as … Christ … [would]
be the Son of God.” [“What you believe is a foolish
tradition.”] Sounds like today, doesn’t it? With the Restoration
of the gospel, God has given us a
way to learn and know essential spiritual
truths: we learn them through the holy scriptures,
through our personal prayers and our own experiences, through
the counsel of living prophets and apostles, and through the
guidance of the Holy Ghost, who can help us “know the
truth of all things.” We can know the things of God
as we seek them spiritually. Paul said, “The things
of God knoweth no man, except he has the
Spirit of God. … [For] they are
spiritually discerned.” Look at this art
by Michael Murphy. From this perspective,
you would hardly believe that it is an artistic
rendition of a human eye. However, as you look at the dots
from a different perspective, you see the beauty of
the artist’s creation. Likewise, we see the
spiritual truths of God through the perspective
of an eye of faith. Paul said: “The
natural man receiveth not the things of
the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I did not know the subject
of Elder Hales’s sermon until he just gave it, but
didn’t he teach us beautifully about the eye of faith? The scriptures, our prayers,
our own experiences, modern prophets, and the
gift of the Holy Ghost bring us the
spiritual perspective of truth necessary for
our journey here on earth. Let’s look at the
proclamation of the family through the eye of faith. President Gordon B.
Hinckley introduced “The Family: A Proclamation to
the World” with this statement: “With so much of sophistry
that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception
concerning standards and values, with so much of
allurement and enticement to take on the slow
stain of the world, we have felt to warn [you].” THE PROCLAMATION BEGINS:
“All human beings–male and female–are created
in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or
daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a
divine nature and destiny.” These are eternal truths. You and I are not an
accident of nature. I LOVE THESE WORDS: “In
the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters
knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father
and accepted His plan.” We lived before our birth. Our individual identity
is stamped in us forever. In ways we don’t
fully understand, our spiritual growth there
in the premortal world influences who we are here. We accepted God’s plan. We knew that we would experience
difficulties, pain, and sorrow upon the earth. We also knew that
the Savior would come and that as we proved
ourselves worthy, we would rise in
the Resurrection, having “glory added upon [our]
heads for ever and ever.” THE PROCLAMATION IS
DIRECT: “We declare the means by which
mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of
life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.” Our Father’s plan encourages
a husband and a wife to bring children into
the world and obligates us to speak in
defense of the unborn. If we pick and choose what we
accept in the proclamation, we cloud our eternal view,
putting too much importance on our experience here and now. By prayerfully pondering
the proclamation through the eye of
faith, we better understand how the principles
are beautifully connected, supporting one another,
revealing our Father’s plan for His children. Should we really
be surprised when the Lord’s prophets declare
His will and, for some, questions remain? Of course, some reject the voice
of the prophets immediately; but others prayerfully
ponder their honest questions–questions that
will be settled with patience and an eye of faith. If the proclamation
had been revealed in a different century,
there would still have been questions,
just different questions than those of today. One purpose of
prophets is to help us in resolving sincere questions. Prior to being the
President of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson
said this: “Prophets see ahead. They see the harrowing dangers
the adversary has placed or will yet place in our path. Prophets also foresee the grand
possibilities and privileges awaiting those who listen
with the intent to obey.” I testify to the truth
and spiritual power of the united voice of
the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. In my lifetime, we have seen a
dramatic change in the world’s beliefs about many of
the principles taught in the proclamation. During my teenage and
early married years, many in the world walked
away from the Lord’s standard we call the law of chastity,
that sexual relations are to occur only between a
man and woman who are lawfully married. In my 20s and 30s,
many walked away from the sacred
protection of the unborn as abortion became
more acceptable. In more recent years, many
have walked away from God’s law that marriage is a sacred union
between a man and a woman. Watching many walking away from
the boundaries the Lord has set reminds us of that day in
Capernaum when the Savior declared His
divinity, and sadly, “many of his disciples
… walked [away].” The Savior then turned to the
Twelve: “Will ye also go away?” PETER ANSWERED: “Lord,
to whom shall we go? thou hast the words
of eternal life. “And we believe and are sure
that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” There are so many,
young and old, who are loyal and true to
the gospel of Jesus Christ, even though their own current
experience does not fit neatly inside the family
proclamation: children whose lives have been
shaken by divorce; youth whose friends mock
the law of chastity; divorced women and men who
have been gravely wounded by the unfaithfulness
of a spouse; husbands and wives who are
unable to have children; women and men who are married
to a spouse who does not share their faith in the
restored gospel; single women and men who, for
various reasons, have been unable to marry. One friend of nearly 20
years, whom I admire greatly, is not married because
of same-sex attraction. He has remained true to
his temple covenants, has expanded his creative
and professional talents, and has served nobly in both
the Church and the community. He recently said to
me, “I can sympathize with those in my
situation who choose not to keep the law of chastity
in the world in which we live. But didn’t Christ ask us
to be ‘not of this world’? It is clear that God’s standards
are different from those of the world.” For those desiring
to please God, faith, patience, and
diligence are surely needed. Often, the laws of man move
outside the laws of God. My wife, Kathy, and I have
known a single sister, now in her mid-40s, who is gifted
in her professional abilities and serves valiantly
in her ward. She too, has kept
the laws of God. She wrote: “I dreamed of the day
I would be blessed with a husband and children. At times, my situation brings
feelings of being forgotten and alone, but I try to keep
the focus off what I don’t have and instead on what I do have
and how I can help others. “Service to my extended family,
in my ward, and in the temple has helped me. I am not forgotten
or alone because I am part of, and we are all
part of, a larger family.” Some will say, “You don’t
understand my situation.” I may not, but I testify there
is One who does understand. There is One who
knows your burdens because of His sacrifice made
in the garden and on the cross. As you seek Him and
keep His commandments, I promise you that He will bless
you and lift the burdens too heavy to bear alone. He will give you eternal friends
and opportunities to serve. More importantly,
He will fill you with the powerful
spirit of the Holy Ghost and shine His heavenly
approval upon you. No choice, no
alternative, that denies the companionship
of the Holy Ghost or the blessings of eternity
is worthy of our consideration. I know the Savior lives. I witness that He is the
source of all truth that really matters and that He will
fulfill all the blessings He has promised to those who
keep His commandments. In the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

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