My Faith

I have come to think of faith, hope and charity as a spiritual progression. I believe many people combine faith and hope into one thing and call it faith. I think this makes faith more difficult than it needs to be to define, and leaves us without an appreciation for what hope means in the gospel sense. I occasionally feel like sharing my thoughts and feelings, or my testimony, regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wanted to break this down into three layers – my faith, my hope, and my charity. I hope you enjoy this series.

I have faith that there is a God. It is not something that I really feel that I earned. My faith in God is somewhat based on simple observation. I share the feelings of Alma that were expressed to Korihor that all things denote there is a God. I see evidence of His existence everywhere. It is something that I simply and gladly accept. I have not seen Him nor met Him. He has not spoken directly to me. I have not been convinced by someone else about his existence. I have always felt that God existed. I really do not feel that I need anything more to persuade me. I have faith in God.

I have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the savior of the world. This faith is quite different. My faith in God is more general. It could be any God that exists. It is my belief in Christ that makes this faith specific. It is not just any God that I have faith in, it is God the Father. The Christian God. This faith did not come naturally to me. It required thought, effort, sacrifice and experience. I have had a couple of spiritual religious experiences, mainly through the process of repentance, that helped develop this more specific faith. I have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the savior of the world.

I have faith that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. This faith required effort as well. I have read the Book of Mormon several times. I find the content of this book quite fascinating. It would be difficult for me to understand someone sincerely reading it without coming to the conclusion that it is the word of God. This conclusion has strings attached however. The claims of the origins of the book, and the role of Joseph Smith in producing it, can not reasonably be ignored. If the Book of Mormon is the word of God then many other things follow. Joseph Smith must then be a prophet, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints must be all that it claims to be. I have faith in the Book of Mormon, and all that goes with it.

My faith in these three areas serve as a foundation for much of my life. The word faith in the Book of Mormon almost always refers to a persons religious beliefs. Faith comes first, and leads to hope, which leads to charity. I do not believe it is necessary to have a perfect faith in order to begin to have hope, but I do believe faith must initiate the process.

Next week I will express my feelings of gospel hope, which comes from faith.

7 Responses to “My Faith”

  1. 1 m&m March 7, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Eric. Amen, I say!

  2. 2 Kullervo March 12, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    One of my problems with Mormonism is intimately connected to Faith.

    For most of Christianity, it is sufficient to have Faith in Jesus Christ- his divinity and mission. Everything else, from the Bible to the prophets to doctrine, can be inferred from that central touchstone. It all flows more or less logically from the single point of faith, especially since Christianity is rooted in a concrete historical context.

    With Mormonism, on the other hand, at a bare minimum I have to have separate and independent faith in Joseph Smith and/or the Book of Mormon. If I believe in one or both of those, then the rest of the Church and the Gospel can be logically inferred- that’s certainly what the missionaries teach.

    But Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon cannot be logically inferred form Jesus Christ and his divinity and mission. So whereas a mainstream Christian can have faith in Jesus and infer the rest, a Mormon at least has to have separate faith in Joseph Smith (ot the BoM). To me that’stheologically problematic, since there’s really nothign else that requires separate and independent faith. In other words, from the perspective of Faith, Joseph Smith and/or the Book of Mormon are equal to Jesus Christ.

    Furthermore, I believe that many Mormons actually don’t have separate and independent faith, but instead have the Book of Mormon and/or Joseph Smith as their touchstone of faith, and from there they infer Jesus Christ and his divinity and mission. That’s even more problematic!

    At the very least, the scriptures- both the Bible and the Book of Mormon- are clear that it is not just faith we are supposed to have, but specifically faith in Jesus Christ (Article of Faith 4 says it, to boot). But a Mormon can’t simply have faith in Jesus Christ- s/he has to also have faith in something else.

    Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have no real evidence to back them up. They require the believer to exercie faith in order to believe. I’m not disparaging that or saying that they are therefore false. What I am saying, however, is that it bothers me because that means you have to either elevate them to the level of Jesus Christ, or even above Jesus Christ, at least in terms of precedence in our belief framework.

  3. 3 Eric Nielson March 12, 2007 at 1:48 pm


    Thank you for your comments. I think you have stated them well, and I appreciate the respectful tone of your comment. I nearly completely disagree, but you have spoken well.

    My perspective is that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon give clarity and specificity (is that a word) to one’s faith in Christ. I think this is a good thing. I think you seperation idea is very forced.

    I think there is a logic to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. How does one know of Jesus and his gospel? Through the prophets and scripture. That is what the Bible is all about. So why not today? The pattern does continue – the Mormon says. The pattern has stopped – the protestant/Catholic say.

    I think you are quite wrong about what is the touchstone of the Mormon faith. The content of the BofM is centered on Christ. Modern prophets testify of Christ. That consistently point to Him. Are there any Mormons who accept the BofM and modern prophets who reject Christ? I do not know of any.

    Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have the same evidence backing them up as Christ has. The spirit confirms truth. Christ must be accepted on faith also. When you say that we need to elevate JS and the BofM to the level of Christ or above, I really shake my head. This is about as backwards as it gets.

    I hope my reply is not taken in the wrong tone. I may not have expressed myself as well as you have. I simply disagree with you on nearly every point.

  4. 4 Kullervo March 12, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Hey, I said it was problematic for me, and something that bothers me. reasonableminds might surely reach different concusions.

  1. 1 My Hope « Small and Simple Trackback on March 14, 2007 at 8:18 pm
  2. 2 My Charity « Small and Simple Trackback on March 21, 2007 at 8:27 pm

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