First Presidency Message

“Be Not Faithless”


Gordon B. Hinckley

“Be Not Faithless”

This month the Christian world celebrates Easter in remembrance of the Resurrection, when the risen Lord appeared first to Mary Magdalene, and later that day to the the ten Apostles, Thomas being absent.

“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas, like so many then and now, said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25.)

Have you not heard others speak as Thomas spoke? “Give us,” they say, “the empirical evidence. Prove before our very eyes, and our ears, and our hands, else we will not believe.” This is the language of the time in which we live. Thomas the Doubter has become the example of men in all ages who refuse to accept other than that which they can physically prove and explain—as if they could prove love, or faith, or even such physical phenomena as electricity.

But eight days later the Apostles were together again, this time Thomas with them. “Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”

Singling out Thomas, he said: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

Thomas, astonished and shaken, “answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:26–29; italics added.)

Believe in Jesus Christ

To all who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited the western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.

John says of the creation that “all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3.)

Can anyone who has walked beneath the stars at night, can anyone who has seen the touch of spring upon the land doubt the hand of divinity in creation? So observing the beauties of the earth, one is wont to speak as did the Psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1–2.)

All of beauty in the earth bears the fingerprint of the Master Creator, of those hands which, after they took the form of mortality and then immortality, Thomas insisted on touching before he would believe.

Be not faithless, but believe in Jehovah, he whose finger wrote upon the tablets of stone amid the thunders of Sinai—“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3.) The Decalogue, which is the basis of all good law governing human relations, is the product of his divine genius. As you look upon the vast body of legalisms designed to protect men and society, pause and know that it has its roots in those few brief and timeless declarations given by the all-wise Jehovah to Moses, the leader of Israel.

Believe in him who was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who was the source of inspiration of all the ancient prophets as they spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. They spoke for him when they rebuked kings, when they chastised the nations, and when as seers they looked forward to the coming of a promised Messiah, declaring by the power of revelation, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14.)

“And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isa. 11:2.)

“And the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6.)

Doubt not, but believe that it was he who was born to earth in a manger when there was no room in the inn. Well did an angel ask a prophet who had forseen these things in vision: “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” (1 Ne. 11:16.) I suppose none of us can fully understand that—how the great Jehovah should come among men, born in a manger in a vassal state, among a people who would hate him. But at his birth there was an angelic chorus that sang of his glory. There were shepherds who worshipped him. There was a new star in the east. Later, there were wise men who traveled far to bring tributes of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. One can surmise they touched those tiny hands in wonder and awe as they presented their gifts to the new king.

Herod the Great, who knew of the prophecies, feared those hands and sought to destroy them, and in the horrible slaughter of the innocents brought blood upon his own hands and head.

Believe that John the Baptist spoke by the power of revelation when he declared of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29.) And that it was the voice of the Almighty that declared above the waters of Jordan, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17.)

Believe and know that he was a man of miracles. He who had created the world and governed it as the great Jehovah understood the the elements of earth and all the functions of life. Beginning at Cana, where he turned the water into wine, he went on to cause the lame to walk, the blind to see, the dead to return to life—he, the Master Physician, who healed the sick by the authority inherent in him as the Son of God.

He was the comforter of the burdened of his time, and of all the generations who came before and who have come after who have truly believed in him. Said he to each of us:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)

Sustaining Faith

I spoke one day to a friend who had escaped from his native land. With the fall of his nation, he was arrested and interned. His wife and children were able to get away, but for three years and more he was a prisoner without means of communication with those he loved. The food was wretched, the living conditions oppressive, with no prospects for improvement.

“What sustained you through all those dark days?” I asked.

He responded: “My faith; my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I put my burdens on him, and then they seemed so much the lighter.”

On one occasion while the Lord was traveling through Samaria, he wearied and thirsted. Pausing at Jacob’s well, he rested and requested a drink from the woman who had come to draw water. In the conversation that followed he declared the saving power of his teaching, saying: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him … [it] shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13–14.)

In that same conversation he declared his identity when the woman at the well spoke of the promised Messiah, “which is called Christ.” He, without equivocation, said, “I that speak unto thee am he.” (John 4:25–26.)

“I Am the Resurrection”

Doubt not, but believe that he is the Master of life and death. To the sorrowing Martha he declared his eternal power, saying: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25–26.)

Were words so great as these ever spoken for the comfort of those who have lost loved ones? Thomas was present when those words were given and also when Lazarus afterwards was called forth from the tomb. Yet he doubted the Lord’s power to bring himself forth after the terrible death upon the cross, asserting to his fellow Apostles that except he feel the wounds in the hands he would not believe. Small wonder that Jesus said to him, “Be not faithless, but believing.”

Other Evidence of Christ’s Divinity

We, like Thomas, are prone to forget the evidences of Christ’s matchless life and power. Those evidences are not found alone in the Bible, the testament of the Old World. There is a testament of the New World which was brought forth by the gift and power of God to the convincing of Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ. It is the Book of Mormon, and it contains another testimony, beautiful in language and powerful in spirit.

Jesus in his earthly ministry spoke of other sheep of another fold from those he was then teaching and declared that they also should hear his voice, “and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16.) At some time following Christ’s resurrection, a voice was heard from the heavens among a people who were gathered together in the Land Bountiful somewhere on the Western Continent. It was the voice of God, and it said unto them:

“Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.

“And … they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them,” declaring unto them:

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.” (3 Ne. 11:7–8, 10.)

He invited them, as he invited Thomas, to feel his hands and side, and they were astonished and cried, “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” (3 Ne 11:17.)

They doubted not, but believed, as have millions who have read this marvelous witness of the resurrected Lord. If one will read prayerfully, he shall know of the truth of this remarkable new witness for Christ.

And there is yet another testifier, for as certainly as the voice of God declared the divine Sonship of Jesus at the waters of Jordan, and again on the Mount of Transfiguration, and yet again at the Land Bountiful, even so again that same introduction was made in the opening of this latter-day gospel dispensation in a glorious vision in which God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared and spoke to the young man Joseph Smith who had come seeking, and who in the years that followed spoke as a prophet of the risen Lord, even giving his life testimony of him who had died upon the cross.

With so many evidences, and with conviction borne in my heart by the power of the Holy Ghost, I add in words of soberness and sincerity and love my testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ: wherefore, O man, “be not faithless, but believing” in him who is the living Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer. Live his teachings, keep his commandments, and receive his matchless guidance and comfort in your life.

Ideas for Home Teachers

Some Points of Emphasis. You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussion:

  1. 1.

    In today’s cultures, it is common for many to want empirical evidence in spiritual things as did Thomas, saying, Prove it before our eyes, else we will not believe.

  2. 2.

    The Lord has called us not to be faithless, but to believe—believe that he is the Son of God, the Creator of the earth, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Messiah of the New Testament; that he ushered in the final dispensation; and that he lives today as our Savior and Redeemer.

  3. 3.

    Scriptural evidence that Jesus is our resurrected Lord is found in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and in the vision of the Father and Son to the young Joseph Smith.

  4. 4.

    Faith in these truths can sustain us throughout the trials and challenges of life.

Discussion Helps

  1. 1.

    Relate your feelings about maintaining faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. 2.

    Are there some scriptures or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?

  3. 3.

    Would this discussion be better after a pre-visit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the bishop or quorum leader?

[photos] Photography by Don Riding

[illustrations] Illustrated by David Hoeft