FAREWELL TALK

Nothing is Foolproof to a Sufficiently Talented Fool

1. As fallible humans, we can be sure of nothing.
Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.
Aren't we all fools?
Compared to the global and timeless pool of knowledge, we know an increasingly infinite nothing.
We live our miniscule lives according to our completely subjective experiences, giving us all a limited, imperfect, and entirely human system of reason and logic.
Because of this weakness, we will inevitably be "wrong" on occasion.
*Except for my mother, who is never wrong. I know this because she told me she is never wrong. And she's never wrong.*
We learn this principle of fallibility from First Corinthians: "If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing" (1 Corintians 8:2).
This idea is repeated even more anciently when Socrates quoted "The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing".
But Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

2. We are searching for truth.
We are all searching for truth.
The author, Walt Whitman, described this universal search in a portion of his poem, "A Noiseless, Patient Spider":
"And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in the measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere,
O my Soul.”
Humanity is constantly and ceaselessly musing and venturing over eternal questions; until the bridge we need is formed and our gossamer thread catches.
Given humanities instinctive fallibility, it is understandable to doubt truth.
However, as Yann Martel, a popular author, explained: "To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation".
Doubt will not act as a sufficient vehicle to navigate life’s journey.
Belief comes before knowledge.
Conviction breeds power.
Accordingly, increased spirituality may predate personal growth.
In scripture, we have been instructed to search for and find personal truth and testimony.
John 8:32 explains, "And ye shall know the Truth, and the truth shall make you free".
So truth is available to us through personal revelation.
Again, Matthew 13:11 reiterates "It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Through personal revelation, we can develop a testimony, or an inner conviction of knowledge, of sacred things because it is given us to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
We find personal meaning, we find religion, we find belief, we find faith, and we find God.
Or does God find us.

3. There is a dichotomy between carnal and spiritual comprehension.
There is a dichotomy between carnal and spiritual comprehension that I believe evidences the nature of the mind of God.
We can learn the philosophies and knowledge of humanity, but generally those ideas are not accompanied by the deep inner satisfaction that mirrors the greater light and knowledge of the gospel.
Because of this dichotomy, often-times, spiritual knowledge comes into conflict with carnal beliefs.
Vice is contradictory to God, and the world is built upon principles of vice.  
Mosiah 3:19 informs us: "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam".
Because of this, spiritual truth can be dreadful to the natural man.
An understanding of Godly perfection is dreadful to the sinner, the murderer, the adulterer, and the addict.
But we learn from John Steinbeck that "there's more beauty in truth, even if it is a dreadful beauty".
And the perfection of God and the beauty of His plan is beautiful.
Because of this archetypal war between the natural man and the Godly equivalent, a complete change in mind, heart, and behavior is essential to reaching our potential.
We learn from the example of the repentant people of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon,, when they describe a "mighty change in...[their] hearts" as they felt the "surety and truth" of the king's words through "the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent", and that they had "no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2).
King Benjamin described this newfound commitment in the manner of being "spiritually begotten", or reborn in Christ through a complete change of heart (Mosiah 5:7).
The description continues, "And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free" (Mosiah 5:8).
And again, John 8:32 comes to mind: "And ye shall know the Truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

4: Through spiritual preparation, we can ultimately realize divine truths.
I don't believe that spiritual truths will manifest themselves without personal preparation.
1 Timothy 4:6 admonishes humanity to be prepared by "The words of faith and of good doctrine".
Good doctrine is self-explanatory; Good and true doctrine will always serve as necessary preparation for spiritual comprehension.
But words of faith is slightly different. Words of faith suggests that we cannot hope to understand everything.
The book of Romans in the New Testament states “For who hath known the mind of the lord?” (Romans 11:34).
There are certain concepts and truths that elude human knowledge.
The principle of faith is often looked at as foolish and childish; belief without evidence or proof to back up assertions.
However, I would fight for the validity of faith in the modern world.
Faith, to me, is an understanding that knowledge often comes after action.
John 7:17 states "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17).
Additionally, we learn in James that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead”...and that “I will shew thee my faith by my works”.
So faith necessitates a belief and hope in a cause or truth without absolute surety of the validity of that cause or truth. Faith requires that action act as a precursor to knowledge.
Spiritual truth and comprehension are best understood by faith and action.
I believe that comprehension of God's plan is central to our purpose on Earth.
Jesus Christ told us in Luke 1:4 to come to "a certainty of these things" (Luke 1:4)
We have been sent to a mortal world with the plan that various experiences will permanently change our life.
We learn in Mosiah that we can "Experience a mighty change in heart that we have no more disposition to do evil" (Mosiah 5:2)
So essentially, our goal is to be prepared by "the words of faith and of good doctrine" in order to "experience a mighty change in heart".

5. After knowledge, we can become “new creatures” through covenant experiences with God
Elder David Bednar, a notable authority figure in The Church of Jesus Christ, stated that "Fidelity to covenants, constancy of commitment, and offering our whole soul unto God are required if we are to receive the blessings of eternity".
A change in personal identity; in self, seems to be a common theme in those who develop an intimate and spiritual relationship with God.
We learn in Mosiah about the thriving community of the time and their collective spiritual progression: "And thus they become new creatures: and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God" (Mosiah 27:25-26)
The ancient prophet Moroni also relates: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness to become new creatures“(Moroni 10:32).
Again, Elder Bednar relates: "The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon "the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah (2 Nephi 2:8). "
These quotes relay a common theme of submission.
Submission to God.
Submission to change.
Submission to religion.
Submission is religion.
Submission is a little child praying to feel the love of Christ.
Submission is a confused adolescent looking to anything to gain an identity.
Submission is a woman sacrificing her health to give birth to a living baby.
And submission is the broken and beaten body of Christ, decadently hanging by the strain of His bloody hands on the cross.
"Be still, my soul: The lord is on thy side; With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain".

7. I have chosen to go on a mission
I am going on a full-time mission to Belem, Brazil, where I will "Serve with all [my] heart, might, mind and strength" for two years (D-C 4:2 ).
I have previously been asked why I want to go on a mission.
On the “mission-blog” that my mom hosts, this is my written response:
Religion has always been a huge part of my life.
Whether it's family prayers, weekly youth activities, or Sunday church, God constantly and continually surrounds me in my thoughts, words, and actions.
I'm grateful for the values my religion has taught me in my life.
I highly value the comfort and peaceful serenity that can be found in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has given me so much.
When I think of the distribution of wealth worldwide, I am reminded of my obligation to share what I have.
When I think of the uncertainty and discontent found in the religious lives of many, I feel compelled to share what I believe.
When I think of the indelible mark the gospel of Jesus Christ has made on my own life, I feel moved to share what I feel.
I believe that serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the greatest things I will ever do.
I believe that I will learn invaluable life lessons and build moral strength and character by the experiences I will have.
I believe that lives will change by the message I have to share.  
I believe that I will help others to faithfully and humbly reach out for God and in return He will touch their souls.
I have a growing hope and faith in Christ and in his atoning sacrifice. I believe in the logic and power of a loving God, and I love the LDS faith and view of life’s purpose.
I love my family. I love this ward. I love this community. I love God, and I know that He loves me.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.








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