Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
According to that definition, to have faith is to be comfortable with ambiguity—in other words, it is not to have a “perfect knowledge” of things. But that doesn’t mean that one has to give up on the hope of knowing gospel truths. Alma simply says one “cannot know of their surety at first”—not that one couldn’t know of their surety at some point in time (emphasis added).
Having a sure knowledge of the gospel is possible through the power of the Holy Ghost, who testifies of the truth of all things. This was demonstrated in last week’s Come, Follow Me studies in Alma 30:39, where Alma testified to the anti-Christ Korihor that he did know of the reality of God.
“For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come,” he said.
So how does one come to a knowledge of the truths in the gospel? What personal growth is required in order to testify as Alma did? Here are a few study tips to get you started in answering these questions as you study Come, Follow Me this week.
Mark Your Scriptures
But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
Here are some of the words highlighted by podcast guests Jenny Reeder and Laurel Christensen Day:
- • Awake
- • Arouse your faculties
- • Give place for a portion of my words
“I love that he's not asking for a perfect faith or belief,” said Reeder. “He's asking for us to give place for a portion of the word.”
Later, in verse 28, Uzelac Hall suggests podcast listeners also highlight “it will begin to swell” in verse 28:
Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts.
“The thing I like about this that I want you to mark is where it says, ‘It will begin to swell,’” she said. “It doesn't say, ‘It might begin. It might swell.’ That word ‘will’ is a surety. Like it will absolutely do this, all of these things that he's written. And then he says this idea of swelling and enlarge, like what does that even feel like? Can we describe that? Have you had that experience?”
What words stand out to you in these verses discussed in Sunday on Monday? Are they the same or different from what was mentioned in the podcast? What insights do you find from the words you highlight?
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original presented by LDS Living. You can access the full study group discussion through the Bookshelf app. Listen to a segment of this week's episode above or listen to the full Sunday on Monday episode here.
Desire to Believe
Come, Follow Me explains that faith in Jesus Christ and the redemption that He offers begins with a “desire to believe.” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has explained this concept in many talks, including “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe,” stating that desiring is a very real part of the process in developing faith.
“There is no magic to belief. But wanting to believe is the necessary first step! God is no respecter of persons. He is your Father. He wants to speak to you. However, it requires a little scientific curiosity—it requires an experiment upon the word of God—and the exercise of a “particle of faith.” It also takes a little humility. And it requires an open heart and an open mind. It requires seeking, in the full meaning of the word. And, perhaps hardest of all, it requires being patient and waiting upon the Lord.
“If we make no effort to believe, we are like the man who unplugs a spotlight and then blames the spotlight for not giving any light,” he said.
In “The Fruits of the First Vision,” Elder Uchtdorf also gives a promise that as long as we have the desire to believe, then our souls and understanding will grow.
“As we experiment upon the words given to us by the scriptures and the living prophets—even if we only have a desire to believe—and do not resist the Spirit of the Lord, our souls will be enlarged and our understanding will be enlightened,” he said.
Set a Goal
After discussing the week’s lesson with your family or class, see what goals you can set as a group to apply the topics you’ve discussed and encourage each other to accomplish these goals throughout the week. Here are a few ideas of goals you might like to set.
- • Consider ways in which you can improve your personal prayers or family prayers this week to grow your faith.
- • Who do you know who is struggling with the desire to believe? Consider reaching out to them in a way that you feel inspired and share your experiences with friends, family, or other loved ones as you are prompted within the week.
- • This week’s lesson talks about choosing to be humble. Consider doing a personal evaluation of yourself and identify something you could give up this week to have more humility and invite the Spirit more into your personal life. Find more insights about humility here.
► You may also like: The power of context in the newest Book of Mormon Video on faith in Jesus Christ
As you study Come, Follow Me this week, keep in mind the promises that are in store for you as you make the conscious decision to choose humility and to have faith in your life. Consider writing those promises down and refer to them throughout the week.
In his talk, “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice,” Elder Neil L. Andersen highlights a great blessing of having faith, stating that it “is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe” and that it is a principle of power in this life and the next.
“My dear friends, your faith did not begin at birth, and it will not end at death. Faith is a choice. Strengthen your faith, and live to be deserving of the Savior’s approving words: ‘Great is thy faith.’ As you do, I promise you that your faith, through the grace of Jesus Christ, will one day allow you to stand with those you love, clean and pure in the presence of God.”