Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's the Point?

I am taking an ethics class this semester. It's my last general education class so it'll be all upper division science classes after this. It has been interesting to see many views of ethics from different philosophers like Socrates, St. Augustine, Nietzsche, Mills and Kant. My ethics professor does not believe in a God, so it is interesting to hear things from a point of view so different from what I would think. Even when I don't agree with him, I can often see where he is coming from and respect his opinion.

One thing he said recently made me laugh at its simplicity. He said that one of the problems with religions that believe in a God is the contradiction that we have free will, but God is omnipotent so already knows what we will choose, so what is the point?
What is the point? Heavenly Father knows each of us and has known us and he really does know what we will choose, but we have been given the opportunity to show him and to show ourselves. We aren't here just to prove ourselves to him, but to us. Just as Heavenly Father knew that Abraham would be willing to sacrifice his son if asked, but Abraham himself didn't know at first that he would be obedient. He learned and grew from the test of faith. He was able to know that he is valiant and would do very difficult things if the Lord asked because he loved the Lord more than his desires, however righteous, and he had faith that if he was asked to do it, there was a reason, even if he didn't know the reason.

"In these defining moments, the crisis doesn't create one's character, it reveals it."
Lynn G. Robbins, "Tithing, a Commandment Even for the Destitute," Ensign, May 2005, 34

We have to be working on faith before we need it, not when the crisis arises. And rest assured, a crisis will arise. It is easy to say that we are faithful when our faith isn't being tested or that we could resist a temptation when we aren't being tempted. Or maybe to say we would give up our spot on the lifeboat to someone else if we were ever on a sinking ship, but we don't actually know what we would do until we are in the situation. So we are often put in situations that give us the opportunity to reveal our true character.

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
John Wooden

Of course, if we fail to pass one of the tests we've been given, we can learn from it and change so that we are stronger and more faithful. There will be another test and we want to be ready for that one. What is the point of progressing? While others do not share our belief, we know that our Father is using these tests to help us progress so that if we prove ourselves worthy, we can also become Gods and Godesses. We cannot be ready for that with just theoretical teaching, without experiencing all that we experience, making mistakes, learning and showing what we have learned by passing the next test.

What a beautiful plan we are a part of. What a loving Heavenly Father we have. What a blessing I have to have a knowledge and testimony of it.

“Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstance, ‘all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … for [our] good’ (Doctrine & Covenants 122:7).” Elder Robert D. Hales, "Waiting Upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done", October 2011, General Conference


  1. Beautiful thoughts. Once again you share your testimony so well.
    I can't imagine how difficult these classes must be.
    You are my hero.

  2. oh, i ADORE that john wooden quote, seriously-so!
    this post is phenomenal. i love hearing truth resonate in every word you shared in this post. your professor, whether he believes now or eventually, is blessed to have the influence of your strong, valiant spirit in his class! ::hugs::

  3. I had never even thought about it :-)
    However, this was very well written and thought provoking.
    We really do need to know for ourselves who we are and the "stuff" we are made of!
    Sounds like a very interesting class.

  4. I have always loved that quote about"Crisis doesn't create character it reveals it." I am starting to learn first hand how true that is! Thanks Valerie for your inspirational thoughts.

  5. Wonderful thoughts! I'm so grateful for free agency. Now if I could just get myself to always make the right choice.

    Did you send a link to your teacher?

  6. I absolutely LOVE THIS POST!!! The quotes are so insightful as are your own words; thank you for sharing! I am a firm believer that we don't always know what we would do in a given situation until we are placed in that situation. And once in a situation, it is God who strengthens and makes us able to endure and do right... so there is no room for pride. :o

    I'm very thankful that our Father in Heaven sent us here to learn and grow. I love learning about myself and about others. I love challenging opportunities and moments of conquering! :D And furthermore... even if I believe I am SURE that I can do something, the satisfaction derived from that belief does not compare to satisfaction and inexpressible joy I feel from actually bringing an accomplishment into reality!


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