Faith in Christ and Nothing Else
The Church is increasingly being held hostage by detractors using everything that has ever been said or done by all leaders throughout its history to highlight incongruities. Ignoring the fruits of discipleship, the world’s wisdom today boldly declares, “By their roots ye shall know them.” We have no control over what happened in the past. We don’t know all that will happen in the future. Our test of faith lies in the present, in how we respond to the current prophets, practices, and revelations. In an ever-changing world, our faith must be built on Jesus Christ alone, not past quotes, policies, programs, or people.
We also distance ourselves from heaven and set ourselves up for failure when we try to dogmatically define that which the Lord has intentionally left as a “gray area” for each to wrestle with on his or her own. Over-zealousness can easily lead to judging others who do not accept or live up to our self-created standards. This is often manifest in extreme or pet practices in areas such as Sabbath observance, the Word of Wisdom, politics, media usage, or activity in a variety of Church-related activities or programs. It is expected that disciples of Christ will set standards for themselves within all of these areas. Problems arise, however, when we hold others accountable to our personal standards and condemn them when they fall short of living “according to the dictates of our own conscience” (Article of Faith 11; emphasis added).
Burden of Proof
Those who seek to destroy belief in God use devilish tactics. One of those techniques is to boldly declare, “If you can’t answer all of my questions, then I won’t accept any of your answers.” Detractors would seek to define us by what we don’t know rather than what we do know. They want us to believe that the question marks in our mind are more valid than the exclamation marks in our hearts. Elder M. Russell Ballard reminded us, “Sometimes we can learn, study, and know, and sometimes we have to believe, trust and hope.”3
Even though the non-existence of God cannot be proven by nonbelievers, the devilish tactic is to place the burden of proof on believers. Elder Gerald N. Lund explained that proving God’s nonexistence would require a person to explore every cubic meter of the vast expanse of the universe and find no trace of God.4 The trouble is, God can move. Therefore, a person would have to see the entire universe in an instant, which is something only a God can do. God’s existence or nonexistence is not something He intended to be proven; He purposely has made it a matter of faith. Alma’s testimony was not enough for Korihor. He still demanded a sign before he would believe.