With the semester winding down I have been really busy lately so I haven’t really gotten an opportunity to do a post in a while. Even now, I should be doing schoolwork, but I have to put it off in order to write something here today. I sort of intended to poach an old post from my personal blog but it just didn’t convey what I wanted to say.
This past weekend was the 183rd General Conference for The Church. While having not one, but two women pray was a major feat, and moved me in a way I didn’t anticipate that is not what I want to write about today. I am sure there are blogs all over the bloggernacle discussing it this week and much more eloquently than I could. I want to talk about Elder Holland’s talk.
Elder Holland’s talk at Conference this weekend was (for me) the highlight of Conference. I am a mix of sort-of Old Testament fire and brimstone, and New Testament love your neighbor so his delivery style doesn’t put me off. I love religious fervor. It is actually what attracted me to Mormonism (the passion of the early Saints). Holland has that style; he is direct without being condescending. His invitation to in essence lead with our strengths, faith-wise, was a revelation. It was a healing balm to those who struggle.
I have never lost my faith in the Gospel, but I know all too well both the ebb and flow of faith, and the desire to have none. I have screamed mightily to the heavens hoping it would not be true, hoping that God would just leave me alone. It didn’t work though. As much as I wanted to not believe, I could not do it. This is why Holland’s talk was so important to me. That is why it was important for him to make a clear separation between knowledge and faith; a separation that gets lost every Fast Sunday.
In discussing this talk, I have come across now quite a few people who I hold dear who were hurt by his words. I could not understand how what I perceived to be a light in the darkness could be just further darkness for another. I am glad that a friend went into detail for me. My friend had indicated that while the effort was appreciated, from the talk it was clear that Holland did not understand what unbelief actually feels like. That struck me very forcefully because it reminded me of myself. I too have never known what unbelief felt like (though I wished I could). I am glad my friend recognized that in Elder Holland’s limited capacity (like my own) that we are trying to understand. We are trying to reach out and show that at least on an intellectual level we know that doubt does not make man a sinner. That doubt and questions are a normal part of our human existence, and even an essential part. What can we ever really know if we don’t take the time to question?