Michael Goodman, associate professor of the Department of Church History, dedicated his July 12, 2016 devotional address to the importance of knowing and discovering truth and the three tools Heavenly Father has provided us in order to do so.
He explained that our ability to share and disseminate information increases with the progress of technology, which causes our confusion to increase in the face of so much knowledge.
“We live in a world filled with differing views, opinions, and philosophies. Never have we had more access to information,” Goodman said. “Our task is to decide what is true and what is false.”
Goodman recounted the story of a man who watched as his wife reflected on her appearance in the mirror. Since her birthday was coming up, he asked her what she would want. After a moment of thought, she answered “I’d like to be six again.”
Her husband planned a day full of fun as he was eager to fulfill her wish. They ate Lucky Charms for breakfast, visited the Six Flags theme park, went to McDonalds for a Happy Meal and finished off the day with a movie and some popcorn and candy.
Driving home, he asked her how it had felt to be six again. She opened her eyes and after a pause said, “I meant my dress size.”
Goodman explained that, like the husband in this story, people might feel hopeless and unable to understand and know the truth.
“For many – even within the Church – there appears to be a crisis of confidence in our ability to know truth. The unfairness of life challenges our understanding of the results of righteous living,” Goodman said.
It’s imperative, he continued, that people understand the difference between asking questions and doubting. He said we don’t want to end up like the character in C.S. Lewis’ classic book “The Great Divorce” who becomes so obsessed with questioning everything that he ceases to believe there are answers.
“Once you were a child… there was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again: even now,” Lewis writes.
We have three tools that our Heavenly Father has given us in order to find those answers, Goodman explained.
The first tool we’re provided with is our best thinking. Logic and reason should be employed in our search for truth since blind faith leads nowhere.
The second tool is our lived experience here on earth.
“We were not sent here to simply gain a cognitive knowledge of truth but rather to live by truth to become as He is,” Goodman said. “For this reason… (lived experience) seems perfectly designed to augment and deepen what we can learn through our best thinking.”
The third, and final, tool is revelation. Goodman said the other two tools are useless without this last one. If we don’t listen to God’s counsel and commands, our efforts to know truth will be fruitless.
“Jesus Christ is not simply the truth we are trying to ascertain, He is also the deepest, most poignant, most sure means of knowing that truth. He will reveal Himself… and all truth to us,” Goodman said.