Ludicrous. Absurd. Ridiculous. Outlandish, unreasonable, and irrational.
And I’m just getting started.
Maybe you have heard these terms echoed by those who do not share your religious beliefs. If so, you’re not alone. Church history and the Book of Mormon are wrought with experiences of those that ridiculed the teachings and beliefs of Christ, not the least of whom was Korihor.
O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? (Alma 30:13)
That is a fair question. Though I don’t believe Korihor was the least bit sincere, I feel many have been deceived to feel similar sentiments that he expressed. Today I am addressing these concerns. I am a logical-thinking man, so let’s tackle these questions based on that premise.
The Gospel is All-encompassing
I was walking around my neighborhood recently. Buildings, construction, homes, gardens, and many other projects are everywhere. I watched many workers scale heights to install windows, complete roof construction, and toil on countless other projects.
Though the men pounding in the nails, sawing boards, or tightening the pipes don’t necessarily envision the entire project, somehow, these homes, multi-story buildings, and cities come together beautifully because the participants follow a plan.
I work in the heart of the Silicon Slopes. When I look south out my window, I see what looks to be a hotel under construction. It has many windows and four levels. Months of work have gone into its production. It didn’t just pop up quickly, but perhaps that is because I have been noting the progress every day.
The framing is nearly all wood and yet the building is coming along well. The windows are aligned. The floor and walls are square to each other, and I continue to marvel as it takes shape. The building is still in its early stages, so I don’t actually know what it will be just yet. I am sure it will be evident soon enough.
Out my east window is another structure. It too is in the middle of construction, but the metal beams and size indicates that is will be another 6-8-10-story office building like the many in the area around it.
Though its finished size is not yet evident, it too is plumb, straight, and true. And these buildings are coming of age in their proper timing. No one criticizes them because they are not finished yet. Both are in the middle of construction. With great anticipation, we await their completion and know they will be beautiful, helpful, valuable, and convenient.
You too have goals and ideas of your own. I venture to guess that you expect to accomplish many of your objectives by following a plan as well. I hope so.
So if we create and follow a plan to achieve our goals, how is it that we could assume that the God of heaven and earth doesn’t also have and follow a divine plan to accomplish His designs? He does. To entertain anything else is preposterous. Of course he has a plan!
Yet the adversary wants us to believe that the Great Plan of Happiness can’t succeed, that it doesn’t work. He wants us to believe it is all a hoax, so that he can drag us down in his clutches and keep us from having the eternal joy that will surely be ours if we follow God’s plan. And that is not just my way of thinking. I love Alma’s response to Korihor’s claims. I have copied an excerpt below:
And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.
But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I also know that it is true. I have spent a lifetime seeing the realization of its promises, witnessing the evidences of its verity, and enjoying manifestations of its power. There is no question in my mind that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
Logically, it makes perfect sense.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (Luke 14.28-32)
Jesus Christ’s teachings are perfect. His parables give us hope. His covenants and true principles provide evidence of the promises He will keep. Even the unlikely are remembered, cherished, and sustained.
The Gospel is Full of Compassion
A grand jury returns a bill of indictment when it finds evidence that persuades the jurors that the accused is guilty. They are empowered to conduct official proceedings and investigate potential criminal activities and determine whether charges should be levied.
This decision may hinge on the testimony of a key witness or the evidence presented to solidify the case. We are all familiar with these kinds of situations. So if a key witness or irrefutable evidence can sway the outcome of a trial, rhetorically speaking, how is it that millions of witnesses and convincing testimonies are not enough to persuade us to believe the truth of the gospel?
I can only answer for myself. I have seen in my own life, when I am feeling alone or vulnerable, that I am not adequately applying the hope that the gospel brings; the hope that anchors me to the important things of life. At those times, I was far away from the solace and confidence that is readily available through Jesus Christ.
For example, have you ever been slighted at a time when what you were expecting was much different than what you received? I am not just talking about failing to receive the birthday gift you anticipated, but perhaps life didn’t turn out as you had hoped and expected. Or perhaps your job never materialized like you thought it would, retirement didn’t transpire for you the way you had planned, or your family arrangements are not the ideal. Insert your latest challenge here.
Maybe you have felt that you didn’t get what you think you should have.
Gratefully, none of us receives what we deserve. Because of the love and grace of the Savior Jesus Christ, we qualify for a life and future far beyond the actual consequences or outcome we deserve.
The Gospel Can be Spiritually Confirmed to Each of Us
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a hoax. It has been verified many times—millions of times. And you can know for yourself, just as I know for myself, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
Despite all the physical evidences, my testimony is not built alone on the factual indications of others. Don’t misunderstand me. That, too, is significant and important, but my testimony is founded on a lifetime of experiencing its certainty. The promised feelings and outcome of obedience to the commandments can be realized and experienced individually. The burning testimony from the top of the head to the tips of ones toes is real. Many of you have experienced that.
Truth may be known through obedience.
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17)
“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Those who follow the commandments learn for themselves that there is a God and also that Christ is our Redeemer and has come to reveal all truth.
To believe otherwise is, as many have lobbied against us, ludicrous.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.