“Lord, I Believe…”

[ 11 ] Comments

by RI Editors

Today’s post in our General Conference Discussion comes from Kaylie. If you’d like to start a forum discussion about a different talk please leave a comment on the original post: Reader Led General Conference Discussion.

Kaylie wrote:

elder-jeffrey-r-holland-lds-190785-print“I felt a lot of love coming from Elder Holland’s talk. In church, you hear a lot about having a testimony as if once you get that witness, that’s all you ever need, because if the Book of Mormon is true, then so is everything else and everything the leaders of the church ever say or do is perfect so don’t you dare question that because priesthood. I don’t believe that. Faith and belief are not linear, not for me, anyway. I build my faith line upon line, and sometimes branch off in ways I never would have expected. I love that he tells us to declare our faith first but also to be as candid in our questions as necessary.”

How do the doctrines that Elder Holland taught change your view of testimony?

What did Elder Holland’s talk mean to you?

Photo credit: lds.org

11 Responses to “Lord, I Believe…”

  1. Cheryl says:

    One thing I noticed in his talk was that he mentioned how people think declaring doubt was better (cooler?) than declaring faith. I’ve noticed that in a lot of places online, this is true. People claim they are better than others simply because they doubt more…? So, I appreciated how he said that we should focus MORE on the faith parts of our testimonies while we work out the doubt parts.

    • Corey says:

      Yes. Me too.

    • Buddy says:

      Yep, that was a great part. I admit I was a bit chastised by it. I think I’ve tended in some places to emphasize the doubt because I felt like it was a message not getting out that we don’t always have to have a sure knowledge of everything as one could think listening to testimony meetings. I like that he put this on the table, but then made clear that leading with our faith is still the fundamental point and where we start.

    • jendoop says:

      I like that he addressed that in another way as well: if we have doubts we should ask for help! It feels like we push self reliance in all facets of life so much that we feel that all of the answers should come directly to us from God. But as I’ve found on this site, and on others, and with family and friends in real life- asking questions leads to answers with the side benefit of building relationships. I think that is why God sometimes does not give us answers, he wants us to build connections with each other through questions and doubts.

  2. Bonnie says:

    I spent a lot of time the last couple of nights listening to a dear friend talk about wounds received in the house of her friends and this talk reached her. In our pursuits of doctrinal or policy truths it can be hard to remember that, in the end, it’s all about a personal pursuit of the Savior. If, in defense of the Savior or His Church, we drive people further from Him, whose side are we on? His talks are always on the level of the personal path, and I think that’s why they are so powerful for so many. We could take a leaf out of his book in our own testimony and focus. I’m reminding myself: lead with what I know, hold the ground I’ve won, don’t try to stuff a chicken through the beak. More people than we could ever imagine are literally exhausted.

  3. Gabriel says:

    I really enjoyed this talk, upon hearing it first (through an interpreter, in Spanish) and now again (in English). Most of all, i enjoyed what i felt as i listened both times.

    It was also very satisfying in that he reminds us that it is okay to doubt and to acknowledge that doubt, but acknowledging doubt should not mean displacing belief. We should nourish our faith at all times. I think this is a very important, often misunderstood principle. I have seen individuals leave the Church over doubts that became bigger and bigger as they read more and more from sources that were critical (or openly hostile) to the Church. Of course, this sucks the air out of the flames and the fire of testimony dies. The lesson for me is that when i have doubts, i need to make sure i continue to do the things that will keep my testimony alive (e.g., read the Scriptures, pray, etc.), and in due time things will make sense. The wholesale abandonment of that which strengthens faith in order to explore doubt can only lead to more doubt.

  4. SilverRain says:

    What struck me deepest about his talk is that it validated some of the choices I have been making. I have chosen to forgo searching for an eternal companion in order to focus on being a better disciple to my children, to my ward, my family, and myself. I know it is a commandment to marry. But I also know that it is a greater commandment to participate in the work of the Lord and develop charity. I do not know that I will ever be of a heart and mind that can trust a man again, or connect to one. But I do know that I can pray for and develop attributes of godliness.

    Though the choice to increase my charity to the abandonment of the one thing I am told I lack the most right now has wracked my soul and played upon my self-doubt, it does exactly what Elder Holland is bidding us to do: focusing on what we do know are true principles instead of agonizing over the things we do not yet know.

    Rather than focusing on a laundry list or perfect portrait of what we need to accomplish or be, he embraces our imperfection at the same time that he inspires us to move forward and do better. He doesn’t merely entreat us to be better, or hold up examples of people who are better. He descends to where we are, lifts up our weary heads, holds our hand and essentially tells us that he is right there along with us.

    In him, I see my Savior and the very attribute of charity I long after.

  5. Kate says:

    This is the talk from conference which stopped me, pierced me, touched me, and inspired me. This is one which was for me (and many others, I’m sure). In particular, the part about healing ourselves and our families was interesting to me, within the context of his topic. I feel that the leaders who speak are inspired to focus on topics which certain people need to hear, unbeknownst to them sometimes, I would imagine. That one was for me. I know it. And I know it works that way with us all. Our Father is aware of us and He loves us.

  6. jendoop says:

    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.

    I love, “In this church what we know will always trump what we do not know.” We act on the counsel we’ve been given. Not beyond it. Not altered for what we think it will be like in the millennium. It reminds me of the post by Brenda about questions that aren’t pertinent to our salvation. I think the reason some people shy away from far out there questions is because we are to live by what has been revealed for our day, not what we logically deduce will happen in the future. Here and now revelation is what we will be responsible for obeying.

    “Imperfect people are all God has to deal with. It must be frustrating, but he deals with it.” That seems to be one of the popular memes going around the web. It is a good reminder! Maybe it should hang in every bishop’s office so when someone goes in to complain they check themselves ;)

  7. Cowgirl says:

    This was my favorite talk of conference. I appreciated the reminder to focus on what I do believe and to find comfort there. I started with that because I am about to offer some context and it will seem to be a critique of the talk. It isn’t. It’s just musing on how to actually apply this practically in my life.

    I am definitely guilty of focusing on my doubts and questions rather than my faith. But I don’t do that because I think it is cooler to question than to believe. I think there are two reasons for it. First, questioning is easier. If I focus on questions then I am in a more passive mode. If I focus on what I believe it needs to lead to action.

    Second, the practical application of my beliefs seems to lead to more questions and even doubts. I am going to give an example to try to illustrate, dealing with modesty. This illustration may seem a little silly and it is obviously made up, but I want to avoid any current issues so that I can focus on my point. The church teaches us that we should be modest. I believe this is true, meaning we should dress and groom ourselves in a manner that reflects our divine heritage. Once upon a time (say, America circa 1967) modesty included not wearing a beard. This was because what a beard communicated to other people at that time and place was inconsistent with divine heritage. But in Sunday School I find I am unlikely to engage in a discussion of the principle of modesty. I am much more likely to be told “Wearing a beard is immodest.” Why? “Because the prophet said so. If a clean shave is good enough for him then it should be good enough for us.” Well, what IS modesty? “Modesty is being clean-shaven.” The belief I once had in the principle of modesty is eventually, through a hundred similar Sunday School discussions, supplanted by a belief in the principle of being clean shaven. Pretty soon I notice that this is quite silly and I suddenly doubt the principle of modesty.

    I often have questions about how to practically apply my beliefs. I’m one of those people who likes to have a conceptual framework. This can be difficult to build from principles and seems to require a bit of experience whether my own or shared. I think that church is a reasonable place to ask those questions and share those experiences. But I often find in practice that such questions are answered with a cliche or statement that I’ve heard a hundred time before. Further the application of the principles and doctrines is often treated as though it IS the principle or doctrine until I can’t tell which is which anymore. Once I have very serious doubts about certain applications I automatically have serious doubts about doctrines and principles.

  8. MSKeller says:

    Elder Holland has a way with words, a connection to the spirit that is rare. Maxwell is one that I’d equate with his mastery of expression. I think that more than the topic matter, which has been well discussed in the above comments, it was his humility and sincerity that reached deeply into my doubt and fears and snuggled them close with a whispered, “You know what is truth, don’t worry about what you don’t yet know so much. . .”

    That was enough for me to settle my soul and deepen my resolve.

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