by President Dallin H. Oaks
and Brian K. Ashton
I have thought a lot about truth and specifically how two opposing forces can both lay claim to it. Shouldn’t there only be one victor? How can two opposite sides claim truth? Is there even such a thing as truth? How can I make sure I’m leaning on truth and not popular opinion?
Despite my many ponderings on the subject I don’t have an answer for you.
But President Oaks does.
While I listened to his talk I was reminded of that time in the Book of Mormon right after Christ was born in Bethlehem. The people on the American continent witnessed miracles and even saw the star and recognized all of what they had seen as signs that Christ had been born.
But yet, in 3 Nephi 1:22, “And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen; but notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord.”
Even those things that we experience with our senses – sight, hearing, touch – can be distorted until we no longer believe what we witnessed. In short, a true moment can be filtered or forgotten unless we diligently preserve the memory of it. Truth does exist and we probably have had brushes with it several times in our lives. But there is opposition in all things so along with truth comes lies and falsehood. The great feat in life is learning to recognize and follow truth.
Perhaps the greatest truth we can acknowledge is that there is a God who lives. A loving God we refer to as ‘Father’ because that should signify our relationship with him. An often quoted teaching from Joseph Smith instructs us that we need “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections and attributes” in order to have faith in Him (Lectures on Faith , 38). Once we learn about our loving Heavenly Father the plan of salvation will fall into place.