Blake Peterson, chair of the Department of Mathematics Education, encouraged students to hold to their faith in his devotional address on Tuesday, May 24.
Peterson began his talk by recounting his experiences leading up to his father’s death.
During that trying time he thought to himself, “I have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection, but am I afraid of death? Do I really believe that I will see my father again?”
Peterson then turned that question to the audience: “Do we really believe?”
“We don’t truly gain a testimony of the principles of the gospel until we exercise faith and apply it in our lives,” Peterson said.
For Peterson, fear was the main cause of doubt during the trial of his father’s sickness. However, comforting words came from his father, Ronald Peterson: “Hold fast to the things you know are true, and the answers to the rest will come to you in time.”
Peterson also quoted Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”
Hope will come as we hold to the things that we believe, even through the widespread emotions, Peterson taught.
He also raised questions every person will have to answer throughout their lives:
- Do we really believe that people can change?
- Do we believe in all the words of the prophet and turn to God for our inquiries?
- Do we believe that God will answer our prayers and that we will understand those answers?
According to Peterson, these and many more questions can be answered in two ways: first, by remembering what we do believe, and second, by turning to the Savior to seek help with our unbelief.
Peterson compared the attitudes of Nephi, Laman and Lemuel when they needed answers. While Laman and Lemuel took the “Facebook approach” and turned to other sources when they wanted answers, Nephi turned to the Lord.
“When adversity comes, don’t let something you don’t fully understand unravel everything you do know. Be patient, learn the truth and understanding will come,” Peterson said, quoting Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy.
Peterson concluded by saying the answers he desperately needed during the time of his father’s sickness did come and that the answers we need in our times of trial will also come.
“When you are faced with this question of whether you really believe some principle of the gospel, I encourage you to hold fast to the things you know are true, because the answers will come to you in time,” Peterson said. “And while you are waiting for those answers to come, live the gospel in a way that will allow those around you to know what you really believe.”