The Process of Learning by Faith

D&C 88:118

“118. And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

This passage is a secondary option for those of us who “…have not faith.” Notice, we turn to the words of wisdom from one another and from the best books when we don’t have faith.There seems to be two roads. The high road being learning by faith and the low road being learning- from one another and the best books- words of wisdom.

Joseph Smith said, “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject”(TPJS, p. 324; cf. HC 6:50). He also said, “the best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching” (TPJS, p. 191).

Which method would you consider more effective:

  1. Learning from books
  2. Or gazing into heaven for five minutes to receive divine teaching?

When put into those terms, it’s pretty clear to me which option would produce more joy, and… in a significantly less amount of time (five minutes?). Because of my lack of faith, I have spent over 75% of my life in education. By man’s measuring stick my “degrees” have status. But in terms of heaven, I view my understanding as did Christ when he said, “O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth” (Helaman 12:7).

We must choose how we will view ourselves. If we see through the eyes of the world then Hollywood, science, universities, magazines, fashion gurus, etc. will decide how you measure up. The standard for the world is constantly changing. However, if you are to measure your standing before God, whose standard is the same yesterday, today and forever, we must begin with an examination of faith and what it means to learn by faith.

First let me clarify what I understand faith means. Then I will explain my understanding of the process to learning by faith. Then it will be up to you to judge with your heart if you agree or not.

The common definition on faith is found in Alma:

Alma 32:21

“21. And now as I said concerning faith- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

This verse is not a definition of faith. It tells us what faith is not. Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things. And… it tells us an indicator of someone who has faith. If someone has faith, they will “..hope for things which are not seen which are true.” This is not a definition, it is only an indicator. Those who have faith, will also hope for things which are not seen which are true. Not a definition.

Tradition and repetition has etched in our minds that this is the definition of Faith. I am going to share with you my definition of faith and then briefly explain why. It will be your responsibility to ask God if it is true. My definition of Faith is:

“Faith is knowledge of the mind and will of God the Father.”

If eternal life is defined by John as “…to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ…,” then the more we get to know them, the closer we get to eternal life. President Uchtdorf stated in a recent general conference that what we desire is what we think. What we think is what we do. And what we do is who we become. So if the final objective is to know God and Jesus, then the beginning of the journey would be to understand his mind and will. At first there will not be a perfect knowledge, just as Alma 32 says. But eventually all things can be revealed. Alma 12:10 says, “…until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.”

If you are not convinced, good luck on your search for faith. All truth is circumscribed into one great whole. That great whole is God. God is where all truth comes from. If you have faith you will hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

For those who can agree with me, I’ll ask …what is the definition of Zion? Isn’t it one heart and one mind? Whose heart and whose mind? God’s heart and Gods mind. Christ is one heart and mind with God. Christ desired that we too will be one with him. Christ prayed to God for us saying, “…I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one” (3 Nephi 19:23).

How do we become one with God and Christ? It is through learning by faith. The process I have extracted to learning by faith is as follows:

  1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ- Learning the mind and will of Christ and the Father concerning Christ. The Holy Ghost is there to confirm the truth of the mind and will of God.
  2.  Exercise faith- this is the application of Gods mind and will in your life circumstances. We stumble and fall and go back to the drawing board to correct, until we get it right.
  3. Successful experience- Success is the only thing that has the power to motivate. Inspiration is short lived, but success is what people build there lives around.
  4. Conversion- multiple successes in this process guarantees that you will never leave. Those who eat from the bread of life and drink from the waters of life will never hunger nor thirst. When the rains fall and the floods rise, their house will be built upon a rock, a sure foundation.

This is learning by faith. The next few blogs will cover this process, through scripture, more extensively, one step at a time.

Here is a brief summary of the process to learning by faith:

  1. Faith (Mind and Will of God- testimony)
  2. Exercise (Practice by Implementation)
  3. Success (Understanding through victories- line upon line)
  4. Becoming (Conversion)

Until the next post you must judge and ask if it is right. If you ask with a sincere heart and with real intent, we are told that the Holy Ghost will manifest all truth to you. Are you willing to ask the question and learn the truth?