Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Harry Potter. Faith to Move Mountains. C4. Dynamite. Jesus Christ. Salem Witch Trials.

When I was in my senior year of high school I realized I had been raised to believe many things that I actually wasn't sure I believed. As I studied political socialization in my AP Government class I began to realize that I had been heavily socialized to think a certain way. Did I really believe I was a child of God, or had I sung the lyrics so many times that I thought they rang true? Was my family actually going to be together forever, or was I swayed to believe the irresistible notion because it was a catchy sentence repeated again and again in LDS culture? There was a list of questions that I slowly pondered and prayed about over the next year or so that I gained my own testimony of. Even after I built a testimony out of the timbers of basic principles, I found myself going back often and adding a reinforcing log here or an extra nail there.  As I progressed through my college career my testimony solidified and began to be as strong as I had always wished it was. The most well tended to plank of my testimony over the years has been faith in Jesus Christ.

I have long hated the phrase, "the faith to move mountains" and it took me quite awhile to figure out why. A few years ago as I overheard a conversation between a group of naive girls discussing the probability of them getting married I realized that too often people use the phrase flippantly and incorrectly. Faith has always been fused with the Lord's will and action in my mind. Those gospel triplets all have to be present if anything miraculous is going to occur through the hands of man. When I heard people say things such as, "If you have the faith to move mountains, anything is possible. You will definitely be accepted into grad school. Just fast and pray!" I always wanted to interject, "You know, and maybe you could like actually try in class and study for the GRE and ask Heavenly Father if he even wants you to go to grad school. I don't know. Maybe? It could help? Maybe find a job that will contribute to your application and future career desires too or something. Hmm? Yeah?" I politely vocalized something similar to this once and a few of the conversation participants looked at me as if my happy meal sized portion of faith would clearly be my downfall. Oh the joys of a freshman ward at BYU. I envision that the Salem Witch Trials actually started in a manner similar to this. Some poor girl probably tried to give practical advice that harmoniously synthesized gospel principles with real life application and then she was accused of being a witch because people who think that faith is a noun instead of a verb didn't like the idea that faith would never give them a magic wand. So in a twist of unrealized irony, they accused her of being the wand holder. Faith, unfortunately, will never make us Harry Potter. If anyone would know that, it would be me. I've tried.

Hagrid will never greet me with the phrase, "You're a witch, Amanda!" Though it is heartbreaking, faith doesn't work that way.

We can only move mountains if two other things happen; first and foremost, it has to be the Lord's will for us to displace the geologic monument. Moroni touches on this when he says, "And Christ had said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." (Moroni 7:33). If this scripture was a scientific formula, there would be no result without expedience. Faith wouldn't be enough for a reaction to occur. Faith+expedience=power.

Second, we have to be willing to move each and every single rock fragment from its current location to its new one with our own efforts. Something amazing happens when we start to act out of faith instead of wish out of faith. There's a pretty low success rate for hoping a mountain into moving. If we start to chip away at it instantly and have faith that Christ will help us though, then we will start to see miraculous things. We may be blessed with a few sticks of dynamite, a wheel barrow, and work gloves at first. As we continue to show faith, we could be handed truck loads of C4, a semi for loading and hauling away rock, and a skid loader to pick up and transport buckets of marble and shale from the mountain to the semi. We will probably be blessed with health to complete our task, extra stamina and strength to endure, and good weather too. When we've reached a point where we can't go any further, then we may be blessed with an earthquake that will completely level the portion of the mountain we have yet moved.

Faith in Jesus Christ can move a mountain, but only if the Lord and creator of this Earth wants it moved, and if we're willing to be the movers.