From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2017 10:49 AM
Not much time today, so I will just share what happened on Sunday. Elders’ Quorum was really strange. We went from discussing the definition of faith to the doctrinality of reincarnation. That said, some really good insights were shared, and the Spirit taught me something really important. We were discussing the differences between “hope” and “faith”, so I got thinking about the relationship between the two. My thoughts carried me to a similar relationship with “knowledge”. Here is what I came up with:
Listen/Search –> Hope –> Reason/Ponder –> Faith –> Action/Pray –> Knowledge
The primary injunction to “search, ponder, and pray” from that famous hymn is a lot deeper than I originally thought. When we listen to a sermon or search the scriptures, it stirs a feeling of hope within us as the plan of God is laid out. Then, as we ponder and internalize those facts that we deliberated upon, that hope becomes faith as it begins to all come together and make sense in one harmonious knowledge of the gospel. As we act upon what we now believe and/or pray for a confirmation of the truth, it becomes evident to us that it indeed is the truth. Then it is knowledge and no longer faith. Ether 3:19-20 says this:
“And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.”
A spiritual manifestation is more powerful and impressive than a physical manifestation, so I included the witness of the Holy Ghost as contributing to the progress from faith knowledge as well. That’s why those who have truths confirmed to them in one or both of these two ways can say “I know” in testimony meeting. Because they have listened to, reasoned with, and acted upon principles of the gospel. Brothers and sisters, the gospel is true. It is one giant perfect sphere of truth that just grows and grows as your experience and knowledge increases and its positive effects are endless. Daily, I have one gospel truth or another confirmed to me as my companion and I review the day and look for the hand of God in our lives. As my companion and I say often, “God dey,” meaning God lives. He truly does.
Excerpts from other letters…
I have gained a much greater appreciation for the Duty to God program. It really teaches you how to rely upon your Heavenly Father and build a strong relationship with Him that is essential to life…This Christmas will be the last time we video call! I come back May 14th so I don’t really see the benefit of video calling you on Mother’s Day, two days before I see you face to face. Maybe I’ll voice call you just to figure a few things out and then we can all cry when I get off the plane.
…I don’t think that I am doing anything for Thanksgiving, but my Christmas plans are already in motion. Bacon cheeseburgers with root beer floats. I have like 8 other elders who want to join, so I’ve found all the prices and am assigning different people to buy ingredients. There will be a 50,000 Le advance payment made for this exclusive event. Christmas here (in Freetown as opposed to the rural interior) will definitely be more celebratory since people here are more affluent. I will also be continuing the crepe tradition. I put a recipe for that in the recently-completed cookbook…