Chapter 48: Faith: “Evidence of Things Not Seen”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 394–401


Map Chp. 48

Letter to Hebrews—Believed Written by Paul, ca. A.D. 65 (Hebrews)

 

Hebrews

By Faith the Worlds Were Made

11:1–3

Why Abel’s Sacrifice Was Acceptable

11:4

The Doctrine of Translation

11:5, 6

Faith Saved Noah

11:7

Abraham Sought a Heavenly City

11:8–16

Why Abraham Was Commanded to Sacrifice Isaac

11:17–19

Patriarchal Blessings Came by Faith

11:20–22

Faith of Ancients Centered in Christ

11:23–31

Faith and Miracles Are Inseparable

11:32–35

Faith Enables Men to Endure Sufferings

11:35–40

“Whom the Lord Loveth He Chasteneth”

12:1–8

Premortality and Exaltation

12:9, 10

Peace and Holiness Lead One to See God

12:11–17

Exalted Saints Belong to the Church of the Firstborn

12:18–24

“Our God Is a Consuming Fire”

12:25–29

“Some Have Entertained Angels Unawares”

13:1–3

Marriage Is Honorable

13:4–7

Christ is Everlastingly the Same

13:8

How Christians Offer Sacrifices

13:9–25

Interpretive Commentary

(48-1) Hebrews 11:3. “Through Faith … the Worlds Were Framed”

“By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him.

“Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute—for it is an attribute—from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture First, vss. 15, 16.)

(48-2) Hebrews 11:3. “Things Which Are Seen Were Not Made of Things Which Do Appear”

“A difficult and obscure passage? Not really. Paul is simply saying that created things were not made of or by ‘things’ which are seen. That is: All created things, this earth and all that is thereon—all things were and are made, not by man’s power, not by some undirected forces of nature or of the universe. There was no happenstance in creation, no chance creation of life in primordial swamps, no development up from one species to another by evolutionary processes. The creation was planned, organized, and controlled. It came by God’s power—and faith! It came by a power that does not appear and is not seen and understood by the carnal mind or the scientific intellect. The creation is God’s doing. Things came into being by forces which do not appear to man and can in fact be known only by revelation. And as God created all things by faith, even so his created handiwork can be known and understood only by that same power, the power which is faith.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:195.)

(48-3) Hebrews 11:4. “By Faith Abel Offered … a More Excellent Sacrifice than Cain”

Many have wondered why Cain’s offering was refused and Abel’s accepted (Genesis 4:3–5; Moses 5:19–21). What was the nature of Cain’s sin? Was it only that Cain received his command from Satan whereas Abel received and obeyed the Lord’s command (Moses 4:18)? Joseph Smith explains:

“By faith in this atonement or plan of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission; and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 58–59.)

(48-4) Hebrews 11:4. “He [Abel] Being Dead Yet Speaketh”

“How doth he yet speak? Why he magnified the Priesthood which was conferred upon him, and died a righteous man, and therefore has become an angel of God by receiving his body from the dead, holding still the keys of his dispensation; and was sent down from heaven unto Paul to minister consoling words, and to commit unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of godliness.

“And if this was not the case, I would ask, how did Paul know so much about Abel, and why should he talk about his speaking after he was dead? Hence, that he spoke after he was dead must be by being sent down out of heaven to administer.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 169.)

(48-5) Hebrews 11:5. “By Faith Enoch Was Translated that He Should Not See Death

The only information we have in the Bible concerning Enoch, aside from this statement of Paul’s, is that given in Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” This one passage, together with Paul’s inspired comment, has given rise to endless speculation regarding Enoch’s destiny. What is the meaning of “and he was not; for God took him”? Took him where—to heaven? to paradise? Once again Joseph Smith, the great prophet of the last dispensation, has helped provide the answer: Enoch and his entire city was so righteous that they were taken from the earth to a place where they could “dwell in safety forever.” (Moses 7:18–21; see especially verse 20.) Speaking of Enoch and the doctrine of translation, Joseph once said: “Now this Enoch God reserved unto Himself, that he should not die at that time, and appointed unto him a ministry unto terrestrial bodies, of whom there has been but little revealed. …

“Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fulness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fulness as those who are resurrected from the dead.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 170.)

(48-6) Hebrews 11:9, 14. What Does It Mean to Be Heirs with Abraham?

“In an initial and preliminary sense, they deal with lands and temporal seed. They and their children after them are to inherit the land of Canaan, and their posterity (figuratively) is to be as innumerable as the sands upon the sea shore and the stars of heaven. (Gen. 12:1–3; 17:1–22; 22:15–18; 24:60; 26:2–5; 28:1–15.)

“But in a fuller and more complete sense, the promises deal with celestial marriage, with the continuation of the family unit in eternity, with eternal increase, with having spirit children forever so that (literally) they will outnumber the particles of the earth and the near infinite number of stars in all the galaxies of the sidereal heavens. And in this greater and more important sense, all of these same blessings become the inheritance of all saints who live the law of Abraham and enter into the same order of matrimony which blessed his life and that of Isaac and Jacob.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:203–5.)

(48-7) Hebrews 11:10, 16. “A City … Whose Builder and Maker Is God”

The city referred to in this passage is the “city of Zion” or the city which Enoch and his people built. Translated from the earth because of the righteousness of its inhabitants, the city of Enoch became an example of that to which all men who studied and practiced righteousness might seek.

Abraham certainly did, as Paul informs us here. We are also told elsewhere that the people of Melchizedek, contemporaries of Abraham, “wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world.” (Genesis 14:34, Inspired Version.)

Those of succeeding generations likewise continued to seek for this standard, but as the Lord informs us in latter-day scripture, they “found it not because of wickedness and abominations; And confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth; But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.” (D&C 45:12–14.)

The scriptures contain a promise that the city of Enoch shall someday return to earth. This promise is reserved for fulfillment during the coming millennium of peace. The Lord told Enoch that in the latter days of earth, He would prepare “an Holy City … and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. … Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us. …” (Moses 7:62, 63.) The city of Enoch shall return to earth.

(48-8) Hebrews 11:17–19. Why Was Abraham Commanded to Sacrifice Isaac?

“In all history there is scarcely a more soul-wrenching moment than that on Mount Moriah nearly 4000 years ago when faithful Abraham, at God’s command, raised his knife to slay Isaac, ‘his only begotten son.’ (Gen. 22:1–19.) Who can conceive of a more severe test of faith than the heaven-sent order to sacrifice the heir of promise, the heir whom God must then raise from the dead that his promises concerning Isaac might be fulfilled. (Gen. 21:12.) Is it any wonder that in all succeeding generations the seed of Abraham have looked back with awe and reverence upon a scene which tested mortal man almost beyond mortal power to obey?

“Why did Deity devise such a test? Certainly it was for Abraham’s blessing and benefit. There can be no question that the harder the test, the higher the reward for passing it. And here Abraham laid his all on the altar, thus proving himself worthy of that exaltation which he has now received. (D. & C. 132:29.) And immediately following his conformity to the divine will, he received a heavenly manifestation of the glory and honor reserved for him and his seed. (Gen. 22:15–18.)” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:206–7.)

In addition to the personal test of Abraham’s faith, this commandment foreshadowed Christ’s coming atonement. Abraham’s sacrifice was in “similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.” (Jacob 4:5.) Elder Melvin J. Ballard has given us this insight of Abraham and Isaac:

“They ascended the mountain, gathered the stones together, and placed the fagots upon them. Then Isaac was bound, hand and foot, kneeling upon the altar. I presume Abraham, like a true father, must have given his son his farewell kiss, his blessing, his love, and his soul must have been drawn out in that hour of agony toward his son who was to die by the hand of his own father. Every step proceeded until the cold steel was drawn, and the hand raised that was to strike the blow to let out the life’s blood. When the angel of the Lord said: ‘It is enough.’

“Our Father in heaven went through all that and more, for in His case the hand was not stayed.” (“The Sacramental Covenant,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1919, p. 1029.)

(48-9) Hebrews 11:35. What Does Paul Mean by His Reference to a “Better Resurrection”?

“Now it was evident that there was a better resurrection, or else God would not have revealed it unto Paul. Wherein then, can it be said a better resurrection? This distinction is made between the doctrine of the actual resurrection and translation: translation obtains deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of the body, but their existence will prolong as to the labors and toils of the ministry, before they can enter into so great a rest and glory.

“On the other hand, those who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, received an immediate rest from their labors. ‘And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for from henceforth they do rest from their labors and their works do follow them.’ (See Revelation 14:13.)

“They rest from their labors for a long time, and yet their work is held in reserve for them, that they are permitted to do the same work, after they receive a resurrection for their bodies.” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 170–71.)

(48-10) Hebrews 11:40. Why Can’t the Dead Be Made Perfect without Us?

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle says, ‘They without us cannot be made perfect’; (Hebrews 11:40) for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times—a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.

“Now, I will speak of them. I will meet Paul half way. I say unto you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us. It is necessary that those who are going before and those who cone after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 356.)

(48-11) Hebrews 12:5–13. “For Whom the Lord Loveth He Chasteneth”

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. …” (Orson F. Whitney, as cited in Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 98.)

(48-12) Hebrews 12:18. “The Mount That Might Be Touched, and That Burned with Fire”

Paul compares the situation of the children of Israel in Moses’ day with the people of his own day. In Moses’ time the children of Israel were forbidden by divine law to touch Mount Sinai on penalty of death; it was not so in Paul’s day, nor is it in our own. Elder McConkie commented:

“No longer is there a restraining barrier to keep the people from seeing and communing with their God. The mountain is no longer Sinai but Zion. And all those who have cleansed and perfected their souls, shall be welcomed on the heavenly mountain, and in the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, the city of exalted beings. And there, in that heavenly realm, where the saints shall see and know, as Moses alone did in Israel, shall be found such might, display, splendor and omnipotence, that the doings of Jehovah on Sinai, incomprehensibly glorious as they were, shall be but a blurred image in comparison.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:229.)

(48-13) Hebrews 12:23, 24. What Is the “General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn”?

“Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who so devote themselves to righteousness that they receive the higher ordinances of exaltation become members of the Church of the Firstborn. …

“The Church of the Firstborn is made up of the sons of God, those who have been adopted into the family of the Lord, those who are destined to be joint-heirs with Christ in receiving all that the Father hath.” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 139.)

The phrase “the Church of the Firstborn” has no reference to the apostate group of the same name.

(48-14) Hebrews 12:24. How Does “the Blood of Sprinkling” Speak “Better Things than That of Abel”?

The blood of Jesus Christ was shed as an atonement for the sins of all men. Precisely what Paul had in mind by his allusion to Abel is not certain, but it must be remembered that Abel too had his blood shed, though not as an atonement for sin. Elder McConkie has written:

“Is Paul here alluding to the ancient heresy that the blood of Abel was shed for the remission of sins? Had this false doctrine lingered among some of the Hebrews of that day? As the first gospel martyr (Gen. 4:1–10; Moses 5:17–35), the shedding of Abel’s blood had gained great significance among the descendants of Adam. By the time of Abraham, however, the true understanding of Abel’s sacrifice and martyrdom had been so lost and perverted that Deity felt disposed to say to the Father of the Faithful: ‘My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers; And they have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them; But have turned from the commandment, and taken unto themselves the washing of children, and the blood of sprinkling; And have said that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins; and have not known wherein they are accountable before men.’ (Inspired Version, Gen. 17:4–7.)

“But whatever the then prevailing views of the Hebrews may have been, Paul is here teaching: ‘The blood of righteous Abel’ (Matt. 23–35), together ‘with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw’ (D. & C. 135:7; Rev. 6:9–11) cries unto the Lord for vengeance against the wicked; the blood of Christ, on the other hand, was poured out as a propitiation for sins, and through it men are empowered to repent and be reconciled to God. Thus the voice of Abel’s blood is one of death and separation and sorrow; the voice of our Lord’s blood is one of life and reunion and eternal joy. Truly his blood speaketh better things than that of Abel!” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:231–32.)

(48-15) Hebrews 12:29. “Our God Is a Consuming Fire”

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ When our flesh is quickened by the Spirit, there will be no blood in this tabernacle. Some dwell in higher glory than others.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 367.)

The Savior’s second coming is said to be “like a refiner’s fire” (Malachi 3:3) in which “all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly shall be stubble” before its burning force (Malachi 4:1; D&C 29:9). The very “presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil” (D&C 133:41), and all the wicked shall be consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of his coming (D&C 5:19). In addition to having a destructive effect, the fire will cleanse every corruptible thing. Read D&C 101:23–25.

(48-16) Hebrews 13:9–14. “We Have an Altar”

The altar Paul refers to is the sacramental table spread by the atonement of Jesus Christ, which may be partaken of by all who covenant with Christ. “Those who serve the tabernacle” has reference to the Levitical Priesthood holders who performed the ordinances in the ancient tabernacle and temple.

Points to Ponder

You Must Be Tried, Even as Abraham

As he entered my office, I could sense from the look on his face that he was disgruntled. When he sat down, however, he continued to brood in silence for a few moments, long enough for me to ask him the inevitable question, “What’s the matter?”

“Oh, it’s Abraham. No, it’s not Abraham. What I mean is, it’s God.”

“And what’s the matter with Him?”

“Well, it’s the way he treated Abraham.”

“What do you mean?”

“Didn’t Abraham come out of a background where people offered human sacrifices? And wasn’t he appalled by it?”

“Yes.”

“And doesn’t the Pearl of Great Price teach us that Abraham came very close to being a sacrificial victim himself and thus knew, personally, the horror of that experience?”

“Yes.”

“Then how could a loving God ask Abraham to ascend Mt. Moriah and there sacrifice his own son? It doesn’t make sense. Would God really try a man’s faith in that way?”

Would he? Would God try a man’s faith in that way? And if he did, would he not try the faith of others also? Would God try your faith? The answer is found in D&C 101:1–5. Study it carefully for what it has to say to you.

Suddenly the test of faith does not lie solely in the past with Abraham and other great prophets but also with you and with your immediate future. Why did Abraham respond as he did? Didn’t he know that human sacrifice was wrong? Read again Hebrews 11:17–19.

Obviously, God, who does nothing that is nonessential, had a purpose in trying the faith of his servant Abraham. Can you develop the kind of Abrahamic faith to help you meet the challenges of your own “Mt. Moriah”? Paul felt that you could. Thus, in the course of his treatment on faith, he has more to say about Abraham than any other prophet. It seems apparent that he wanted the saints, ancient and modern, to develop that kind of faith.

(48-17) The Word Faith Can Describe Different but Related Phenomena

The word faith in the scriptures is used to describe a number of different though intimately related phenomena. Faith, when used in one passage of scripture, may not mean exactly what it does when used in another passage. It is often necessary to decide from the context in which the passage appears just what the writer meant when he used the term faith.

(48-18) Developing Faith Is Active Belief, Which Is More than Just Belief

“The terms faith and belief are sometimes regarded as synonyms; nevertheless each of them has a specific meaning in our language, although in earlier usage there was little distinction between them, and therefore the words are used interchangeably in many scriptural passages. Belief, in one of its accepted senses, may consist in a merely intellectual assent, while faith implies such confidence and conviction as will impel to action. … Belief is in a sense passive, an agreement or acceptance only; faith is active and positive, embracing such reliance and confidence as will lead to works. Faith in Christ comprises belief in Him, combined with trust in Him. One cannot have faith without belief; yet he may believe and still lack faith. Faith is vivified, vitalized, living belief.” (Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 96–97.)

(48-19) Faith Is a Principle of Action and Assurance

“The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, in the eleventh chapter of that epistle and first verse, gives the following definition of the word faith:

“‘Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’

“From this we learn that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen, and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture First, vss. 7–9.)

(48-20) Fully Developed Faith Is Power

“… faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. Thus says the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, xi. 3—

“‘Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.’

“By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him.

“Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God. Without it there is no power, and with out power there could be no creation nor existence!” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture First, vss. 13–15, 24.)

Do you see how one grows in faith? At the beginning, faith may be no more than belief, but as an individual acts on that belief it is transformed into a positive reliance and confidence in Jesus Christ. Consider the following illustration: a teacher once asked his class this rather straight-forward question on a true-false examination: “The first principle of the gospel is faith. True or false?”

The answer is “false.” The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a critical and essential point. Why? To find out read Acts 4:12.

Do you see that only faith in Christ brings eternal life? Faith in any other thing or being will not. Why? Again the answer is found in the scriptures. Read Ether 12:4.

Did you notice as you read that he who believes in God (that is, exercises his faith) has produced within his soul a sure hope “for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God”? This hope in turn becomes “an anchor to the souls of men.” As a result, their faith is strengthened and good works abound. Thus men learn to call on God with confidence and assurance. They have what Paul calls “the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1.)

But there is still one higher level of faith. Paul alludes to it in these words: “Through faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God. …” (Hebrews 11:3.) Joseph Smith spoke on this same Theme as you just read. (See 48-20.)

What did he mean by that? This kind of faith is the ability to work through the Holy Ghost, to work for God under inspiration, literally to produce miracles by the power of God. This is what the Lord may have had in mind when he said that he had created worlds without number “by the word of my power.” (Moses 1:32.) Amplifying this, Joseph Smith explained: “God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order by reason of the faith there was in HIM.” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture First, vs. 22.)

You too can learn to have this kind of faith. Joseph Smith taught that man, as he adheres to the standards of the gospel, can gain power to work in the realm of the spirit. The Prophet wrote:

“Joshua spake, and the great lights which God had created stood still. Elijah commanded, and the heavens were stayed for the space of three years and six months, so that it did not rain: he again commanded and the heavens gave forth rain. All this was done by faith. And the Savior says, ‘If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, say to this mountain, “Remove,” and it will remove; or say to that sycamine tree, “Be ye plucked up, and planted in the midst of the sea,” and it shall obey you.’ Faith, then, works by words; and with these its mightiest works have been, and will be performed.” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture Seventh, vs. 3.)

As you develop faith in Christ you will also develop your powers of spirituality, as others before you have done. That is what Paul was telling the Hebrew Saints, and it works! Every man of faith knows that it works.

We might diagram our present understanding of the principle of faith as follows:

Power Principle in God and Man
The ability to work with and through the Holy Spirit
Assurance of Christ
Testimony of Holy Ghost added to faith
Faith in Christ
Commitment to keep his commandments
Active Belief
Commitment and action in response to the belief
Belief
Simplest level at which all begin

(48-21) It Is through Faith, Not by Knowledge, That Salvation Comes

“It is said that during an epidemic of cholera in a great city, a scientific man proved to his own satisfaction, by chemical and microscopical tests, that the water supply was infected, and that through it contagion was being spread. He proclaimed the fact throughout the city, and warned all against the use of unboiled water. Many of the people, although incapable of comprehending his methods of investigation, far less of repeating such for themselves, had faith in his warning words, followed his instructions, and escaped the death to which their careless and unbelieving fellows succumbed. Their faith was a saving one. To the man himself, the truth by which so many lives had been spared was a matter of knowledge. He had actually perceived, under the microscope, proof of the existence of death-dealing germs in the water; he had demonstrated their virulence; he knew of what he spoke. Nevertheless, in a moment of forgetfulness he drank of the unsterilized water, and soon thereafter died, a victim to the plague. His knowledge did not save him, convincing though it was; yet others, whose reliance was only that of confidence or faith in the truth that he declared, escaped the threatening destruction. He had knowledge; but, was he wise? Knowledge is to wisdom what belief is to faith, one an abstract principle, the other a living application. Not possession merely, but the proper use of knowledge constitutes wisdom.” (Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 99–100.)

(48-22) By Faith We Work with and through the Spirit to Accomplish God’s Will

A story is told about a certain district president who was a man of great faith. He was called to the hospital to administer to a baby girl who had been born without a fully developed diaphragm. The doctors felt that there was no way the child could live. When the president arrived with his companion, they placed their hands on the infant’s head and, under inspiration, promised the child not only that she would live but that she would become a mother in Israel. The mother who tells the story says that after the administration was complete, there was an almost instantaneous change in the child, as though some one had pulled a blanket down over her body. Her color changed from blue to pink. Within a few days the baby was released from the hospital with a fully developed diaphragm. That little girl is now a mother in Zion. (Based on a personal experience.)

Your Faith Is the Source of Power to Gain Eternal Life and Exaltation

The story you just read about the district president is true.

Can you imagine the feelings of that mother toward the Lord and his servant who, under inspiration and acting in the power of God, spoke the words of faith whereby the child was healed? At another time, in another way, and with sufficient faith, you too could reach out and save a life. It might not be in a physical way. Perhaps your words of faith will heal a broken heart or a rebellious spirit. But if you are prepared, you will find yourself speaking and healing and serving under inspiration and by the power of the living God. That is faith.

Once you have an understanding of what faith is and what it can do in the lives of those who possess it, you are ready to consider your own personal relation to it: “How can I develop faith in Christ in my life?” Some are overwhelmed by the prospects and hesitant to begin. “I can never exercise the kind of faith that Abraham did; or Noah; or Enoch.” Remember that each of us has to begin somewhere and sometime. Why not begin where you are now? In fact, where you are now is an excellent place to start if you are willing to begin the quest. The way is not complicated. The prophet Alma explained the necessary steps quite clearly. Turn to Alma 32:26–28, 33. Did you notice Alma said that even to desire to believe was exercising a particle of faith? But what should you desire to believe? For the answer turn to Alma 33:14. What is the seed that you should plant? Compare your answer with Alma’s in verse 23.

Can you see that one example of the seed is the testimony of the prophets, both ancient and modern, that Jesus is the Christ? But you may ask, How can I make their testimony grow within me until it becomes the kind of faith I would like to have? Alma has the answer. Read Alma 32:37. How do you nourish the seed with great care? Read verse 41 for the answer.

Did you note the four things that are your responsibility? Isn’t it interesting that Alma mentions that the seed is nourished by faith—that is, the simple kind of faith called active belief. Next he stresses diligence coupled with patience, and finally he speaks of the “looking forward,” which we call hope. If you want greater faith, your job is to do those things which will nourish it. Faith is a gift of God. (See Moroni 10:11.) It is God’s responsibility to give the increase. That is the reason patience and diligence are so important. As you strive with all diligence to serve at whatever level of faith you have, waiting patiently for the Lord, he will give the increase; then you will feel your faith grow and bring great joy as you serve your Lord and your God. The way for you to achieve the tremendous powers of faith is clear and uncomplicated. All you are waiting for is you.