Hope–A Breathtaking Virtue


Three Years ago, I KNEW that God existed.  Today, it’s a beautiful hope.  No longer do I KNOW with certainty.  Fortunately, I have some backup from the Apostle Paul who said, “Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”

He followed that up with, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:  but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  Over the past few years, I have been in the process of putting away childish things.  And embracing that which Paul said will abide, rather than vanish away.

Paul’s three great & enduring virtues are faith, hope, and charity.  Here’s my current interpretation:


I have placed my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.   I don’t KNOW if Jesus is real.  But, I do KNOW that the teachings and example ascribed to him are the “way, the truth, and the life.”  In other words, it is true that they provide a way to live a good, productive and fulfilling life.  The very kind of life to which I aspire.

When I speak of faith in the religious sense, I only place it in Jesus Christ.  I have 64 years of experience to KNOW that His teachings and example contain the truth for how to conduct my life.


I hope that Jesus is real in every aspect.

I hope there is a God.

I hope that there is a life after this.

I hope to be with my family and other loved ones in the next life.

Regardless of whether or not the things I hope for are real, I will pursue what I KNOW to be true…the teachings and example of Jesus.


According to Paul, this is the greatest of the three abiding virtues.

I am working towards having charity for ALL.  Perhaps it’s the greatest virtue because it requires the most conscious effort.  It may be easy for others…good for you.  For me, I learn to love one group and then I realize I’ve started to love another group less.  It’s a work in progress.

Charity never faileth.  Often mine does.  When it doesn’t, I witness marvelous and majestic things happen.

Why I am I writing this today?  A video.

For my family and most of my friends, the concept of not KNOWING that God exists is startling, weird, and frequently off-putting.  I had similar reactions…to myself, as I felt my knowledge “vanish away.”

But, something beautiful has now happened on two occasions.  These occurences would have been impossible if I had not stumbled into Paul’s footsteps.  These two transcendent experiences would not have occurred if my knowledge had not vanished.  If I had not put away my childish things.

A couple of months ago, my wife and I saw the movie ‘Dr. Strange.’  One of the main characters had lived for centuries.  A pivotal scene arrived where she was about to finally leave her earthly existence.  It was poignant.  Tears came.  Then the thought, “How beautiful is the idea that there is a God.”  More tears.

Today, a son-in-law shared a video.  It was a compilation of family events from the past few months.  The center piece being the birth of their third child.  As I watched, tears flowed.  Then the thought, “How beautiful is the idea that there is a God.”  More tears.

All my life, I have taken for granted the existence of God.  My former KNOWLEDGE was a gorgeous childlike belief.  But never once had I experienced the overwhelming awe and wonder of the thrilling possibility that there is a God.  Now that my knowledge has vanished…Now that I have put away childish things…Now that I’ve become a man…It really is breathtaking to experience the abiding virtue of hope.  Time & time again.

Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear

christmas-giftStake Conference was held this weekend.  Good speakers, good music, good friends.  I even got to sit with two of my little grandkids on my lap.  They were pleasantly & constantly distracting. Never-the-less, a few pronouncements from the pulpit still managed to penetrate my mostly unfocused mind.

Then the Stake President read an earth shattering scripture!    It immediately brought me to attention.  No longer was I preoccupied by the children playing games on my lap.

Moroni 8:16—Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear

As he quoted this scripture, the world went into slow motion.  Everything seemed to stop as the momentous meaning burst into my brain.  You see, for the past 2 years I have lived with fear.  I have witnessed others cope with fear.  I’ve seen fear spread far and wide throughout my church.  And now, here is a scripture from the most perfect book on the planet saying that perfect love must be perfectly absent.

Two Unwholesome Flavors of Fear

1)  Members who have questions & doubts are fearful to discuss them with church friends and leaders.  They’re even afraid to talk with family.  Instead, they grapple with their faith crisis in silence.  In painful solitude.  Why do they do that?  Why do they hide their concerns and excruciating journey from believing family and friends?

The prophet Mormon and my Stake President have provided the clear answer.  Where is the love that casteth out all fear?  Is it the questioning member who doesn’t have love in his heart?  Or is it the unquestioning family, friends and leaders who lack the appropriate love?  All I know, is that love is woefully lacking somewhere in the mix.  As a result, good people are forced into the closet.

2)  As a church, we are afraid to openly discuss our history, doctrine and current policies.  This stricture is enforced both by our culture and our leaders.  Why are we so afraid to talk in the light of day?  Why do we fear discussing the doubts and questions of our friends who are pondering in voiceless isolation?

Hallelujah!  Thank heavens for Moroni 8 and stake conference.  If there is fear in the church, and there is, love is the cure.

The Time Has Come

My mother resigned in August.  My siblings have mostly quit.  In the past 2 years, 5 families in my ward have left the church.  In the past 3 months, 3 couples in my stake have contacted me with stories of their terribly lonely treks.  Their faith now shattered.  Their families unaware.  Their bishop not told.  Their friends soon to be surprised.

It’s time!

It’s time to inject love…maybe even ‘perfect love’…into the mix.  We have unknown friends who are in unknown pain.  Hiding from us because we are failing to apply the charity that never faileth.

It’s time—to establish a SAFE PLACE in the church for those who doubt or question!!!

Thousands are Watching and Waiting

For 2 years, I have conversed with many, many people.  Members who have left.  Members who have resigned.  Active members whose faith has transitioned.  Active members who want to stay but are “hanging on by their finger nails.”

People have told me that they might not have left the church if there had been a safe place for discussion.  In fact, 2 wonderful people repeated that sentiment on Sunday.

We are about to celebrate what happened in that little town of Bethlehem.  At the same time, there are thousands of Mormons around the world who are anticipating what just might happen in the little town of Sugar Land.

Is there enough perfect love?

Is there enough unfailing charity?

Enough to cast out the fear that currently grips the church so tightly?

What a Christlike Christmas present it would be!!!  The gift of a safe place for our dear friends who are painfully plodding away.