Sunday, 6 July 2014

Quotes for Sunday

This is long, but I loved it and I've been meaning to post it for a while. It's from Henry B. Eyring's book, "To Draw Closer to God."

Persons with doubts often want to talk about what they think are the facts or arguments that have caused their doubts, and about how much it hurts. They may well want to explore some scientific theory, some historical study, some political position, or some reported failures in the leaders of the Church or in its members, which they see as the source of their doubts.
Many good people have spent effort, and some have spent much of their lives, providing such exploration. Some have written scholarly books. Others have organized various meetings and other exchanges to allow those with questions and doubts to discuss them, with the hope that the doubts will be resolved. I admire their intent and their effort. But my observation is that the chance of success of such approaches, based on what scholars consider evidence and reason, is severely limited.
...But even at its best, the resolution of doubts by reason and appeal to evidence cannot take us far. It is helpful to meet a brilliant mind who defends gospel truths with fact and logic. There is comfort in finding that such a person has confronted the same questions with which you struggle and has retained his faith.  But there is a hazard. Even the most brilliant and faithful person may defend the truth with argument or fact that later proves false. The best scholarship has, at least, incompleteness in it. But even flawless argument has a weakness if you come to depend on it: What happens to the next doubt, or the next? What if no physical evidence or persuasive logic can be produced to dispel it? You will find then what I have found--that faithful scholar who reassured you with logic did not base his faith there. It was the other way around. His faith reassured him that someday, when God told him how it was all done, he would see all the truth as perfectly logical, transparently reasonable. In the meantime he was enjoying discovering what he could muster. 

And then President Eyring quoted President Ezra Taft Benson:

When a teacher feels he must blend worldly sophistication and erudition to the simple principles of the gospel or to our Church history so that his message will have more appeal and respectability to the academically learned, he has compromised his message. We seldom impress people by this means and almost never convert them to the gospel. This also applies to our students. We encourage you to get your higher degrees and to further your education; but let us not forget that disaffection from the gospel and the Lord's church was brought about in the past by the attempts to reconcile the pure gospel with the secular philosophies of men. Nominal Christianity outside the restored church stands as an evidence that the blend between worldly philosophy and revealed truth leads to impotence. Likewise, you teachers will have no power if you attempt to do the same in your educational pursuits and classroom teaching.

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