Do yourself a favor and read this letter from Hugh B. Brown, the former member of the First Presidency.
First, I have found that periods of doubt and skepticism, of negative reactions and disbelief have always been characterized by darkness, refrigeration of spirit, pettiness, cynicism, and general misery, even to a point of wishing for oblivion. Whereas, periods of faith, hope, and positive reactions have been times of buoyancy and cheerfulness filled with a desire to be and to become, to lift and encourage, and to point with confidence to something even more about to be. Here, life had cadence and lilt and zest and value, and I gloried in the thought that I could extend these benefits and joys and possibilities to my children.
From the selfish standpoint of personal satisfaction then, I have chosen to swim in the clear, cool stream of faith rather than wallow in the turbid, enervating, stagnant swamp of doubt and cynicism. In other words, faith pays dividends of joy as we go along.
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Excellent. Thank you for posting these wise words.
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That was a good letter. Given the nature of some current doubts, it doesn’t exactly answer, but it is nonetheless a delightful testimony from the dust of the joy faith brings to our lives.
I highly recommend taking the time to go beyond just reading the highlight that Geoff included and following the link he provided to read the whole letter. I found it very worthwhile.
A beautiful letter, thanks for sharing! He says he has had valleys of doubt in between peaks of faith, and that the faith stands out more strongly for the valleys they come from. So the experience of doubt is a positive one in this respect for Pres. Brown.
Not to doubt was for him, a choice, because it felt more positive, and doubt felt more negative. As far as evidence for God, all he really points to are the wonders of nature as proof of a “designer,” and “bending the knee has opened the shutters of my soul.”
Most beautiful of all is this phrase: “I cannot bring myself to believe that…human personality and love…must be destroyed.”
It’s a very natural faith, very universal, not exceptional in any way by virtue of some profound revelation, miracle, or his call as an apostle. This modesty is all the more interesting given what we know about President Brown from David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, which details his troubled relationship with the more conservative members of the quorum and his removal from the 1st Presidency after Pres. McKay’s death.