For more information on this topic read “You Know Enough,” by Neil L. Andersen, Ensign, Nov 2008, 13-14. At the end of this post.
Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. [We] need to choose faith. (Neil L. Andersen, “You Know Enough,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 13-14.)
“Nephi’s Courage,” Children’s Songbook, p. 120.
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:36)
Ask the following three questions of your family.
What would happen if you sat in one of the chairs in the room? (It would hold you up.)
What would happen if you turned the light switch off? (The lights would go out.)
What would happen if you pressed a pencil against a paper and moved it around? (It would write.)
Now try all three of the “experiments.” Afterward ask the family how they could know the results of the experiments before they happened.
They were able to know because they have experienced these things over and over again. They have begun to trust the results. Share an example. The first time a baby turns a light switch off and on, it surprises him. But as he does it again and again it doesn’t surprise him anymore. He has developed faith in that light switch.
Help family members understand that that is the way spiritual faith is developed also. Share another example. If you are sick, father gives you a priesthood blessing. You begin to recover quickly.
At first this surprises you. As you grow up you receive more blessings when you need them. Gradually the results don’t surprise you anymore. You have developed faith in the priesthood power.
Heavenly Father desires to help us in our lives. He wants us to trust him with our needs. If we will go to him, he will answer our prayers each time. Gradually our faith will grow.
Discuss what things can we seek Heavenly Father’s help with? Point out that all the ideas they came up with are opportunities to strengthen their faith.
Shortly after I was called as a General Authority, I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was willing to be obedient but saw no possible way for me to do as he counseled me to do.
I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in the direction I was counseled to go. He said, “The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.” I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness, then the light will appear and show the way before you.” Then he quoted these eighteen words from the Book of Mormon: “Dispute not because you see not, for ye receive no witness until after after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).
Choose one person to be the “hunter” and one person to be the “deer.” The hunter and the deer are both blindfolded. They stand at opposite ends of a long table. The hunter attempts to catch the deer, and the latter tries to avoid being caught as they both move around the table. The family should remain quiet so that the hunter can stalk the deer through any movements he makes. The game is exciting for the spectators as well as for the players.
Sometimes, to add to the fun, the hunter is allowed to make an occasional noise by rapping on the table. This gives the deer more chance to get away. The variation is amusing, for often the hunter decides to rap just when, without knowing it, he has practically caught the deer.
You Know Enough
ELDER NEIL L. ANDERSEN OF THE PRESIDENCY OF THE SEVENTY
Neil L. Andersen, "You Know Enough", Ensign, Nov. 2008, 13–14
As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. … In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith.
I rejoice with you in being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As President Monson shared the wonderful news of five new temples, I thought how across the world, on every continent, in large cities and in small villages, we are a great family of believers. Together, we have begun our march toward eternal life. It is the journey of journeys. We go forward, taking upon us “the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.”1
While there are many experiences like the one we are having today, full of spiritual power and confirmation, there are also days when we feel inadequate and unprepared, when doubt and confusion enter our spirits, when we have difficulty finding our spiritual footing. Part of our victory as disciples of Christ is what we do when these feelings come.
Nearly 40 years ago as I contemplated the challenge of a mission, I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?” I believed in the Church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling came: “You don’t know everything, but you know enough!” That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field.
Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.)
We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord’s answer will be, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough”—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. Remember Nephi’s words: “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”2
I once visited a mission in southern Europe. I arrived on the day a new missionary was preparing to return home at his own insistence. He had his ticket to leave the next day.
We sat together in the mission president’s home. The missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I don’t even know if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and forceful feeling come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows it.”
I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder, I’m sympathetic to much of what you’ve said, but I must correct you on one thing: you do know God loves you. You know He does.”
As I said those words to him, the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began to cry. He apologized. “Brother Andersen,” he said, “I do know God loves me; I do know it.” He didn’t know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission.
Brothers and sisters, we each have moments of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must sink them deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our spiritual home storage for moments of personal difficulty. Jesus said, “Settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.”3
Several years ago a friend of mine had a young daughter die in a tragic accident. Hopes and dreams were shattered. My friend felt unbearable sorrow. He began to question what he had been taught and what he had taught as a missionary. The mother of my friend wrote me a letter and asked if I would give him a blessing. As I laid my hands upon his head, I felt to tell him something that I had not thought about in exactly the same way before. The impression that came to me was: Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. He would need to choose faith.
My friend did not know everything, but he knew enough. He chose the road of faith and obedience. He got on his knees. His spiritual balance returned.
It has been several years since that event. A short time ago I received a letter from his son who is now serving a mission. It was full of conviction and testimony. As I read his beautiful letter, I saw how a father’s choice of faith in a very difficult time had deeply blessed the next generation.
Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts—these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”4
Through the years we take these important spiritual steps over and over again. We begin to see that “he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”5 Our questions and doubts are resolved or become less concerning to us. Our faith becomes simple and pure. We come to know what we already knew.
Jesus said, “Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”6
Hadley Peay is now seven years old. Hadley was born with a very serious hearing impairment requiring extensive surgery to bring even limited hearing. Her parents followed with tireless training to help her learn to speak. Hadley and her family have cheerfully adapted to the challenge of her deafness.
Once, when Hadley was four, she was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store with her mother. She looked behind her and saw a little boy sitting in a wheelchair. She noticed that the boy did not have legs.
Although Hadley had learned to speak, she had difficulty controlling the volume of her voice. In her louder voice, she asked her mother why the little boy did not have legs.
Her mother quietly and simply explained to Hadley that “Heavenly Father makes all of His children different.” “OK,” Hadley replied.
Then, unexpectedly, Hadley turned to the little boy and said, “Did you know that when Heavenly Father made me, my ears did not work? That makes me special. He made you with no legs, and that makes you special. When Jesus comes, I will be able to hear and you will get your legs. Jesus will make everything all right.”
“Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Hadley knew enough.
Jesus is the Christ. He is resurrected. He is our Savior and Redeemer. All will be made well when He comes again. This is His holy work. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, His priesthood was restored upon the earth and His prophet today is President Thomas S. Monson. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.