Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dear Mom

I have been born of goodly parents. Not perfect parents. But parents, who, nonetheless, did what was within their knowledge and capacity to teach me the difference between right and wrong, encourage me to be an honest and hard worker, and motivate me to pursue my goals through education.

I would like to pay tribute to my mother, and share some keynote experiences which have been influential to me:

As a young child, I might have been 5 or 6 years old, my mother would take me weekly to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I don’t remember a lot of the specifics of those occasions, but I do remember the grand feature; throwing pennies into a water fountain. This tour was repeated consistently, and I believe there was instilled in me at that time a lasting appreciation for the House of the Lord. It is no irony to me that I watch over that House in a different capacity today.

When I was in elementary school it was considered humorous to knock over the orange cones at the crosswalk. Everybody did it, even to the point where it became a right of passage, a bragging right if you will. When my friend admitted to having performed this right of passage, I lied and told him I did the same. When he got caught he did what any good friend would do, and turned me in. As a result, my mother sent me to this crossing guard’s house, on a cold stormy day, to shovel his driveway. I suffered the punishment for a crime I admitted to, but didn’t commit.

I worked on a vegetable farm as a teenager. Some can appreciate this, its hard work. Five hours a day in the sun running, walking, picking produce, and lifting buckets and boxes. One day I decided I was tired, and felt that sleeping in was slightly more desirable than showing up for work. When my mother discovered this she promptly went to the field, told them I would be there in a few minutes, returned to inform me of her actions, and told me not to make a liar out of her. I didn’t. It is a son’s duty to defend his mother’s honor.

All who are familiar with my mother know she has a very unique personality. When I worked on an ambulance and we would arrive at a house, there was always somebody, a neighbor, which was either there to help, or bring a casserole. This is probably only humorous to those who are familiar our culture and social customs. Often those of the medical response would make fun of these people, call them the casserole posse or something of that nature. I would humor the jester with a smile, or a fake laugh, grateful that I didn’t work in the region of my mother’s residence.

Many aren’t familiar with the compassionate side of my mom. When my father’s grandmother was passing away, she spent countless hours at the retirement home helping and aiding her. The rank of boys, including my father, was gathered up each Sunday to visit Grandma Rose at the retirement center. When I was on my mission she was called by the Church to be a service missionary. This was a good fit for her. She would serve meals to those resistant to receiving aid, especially from a Church they didn’t like.

My mother also has weaknesses. Her compassion over-carries into her feelings, and she becomes too emotionally involved in her undertakings. She has difficulty setting issues aside, and reevaluating them at a later period of time. There is a genetic trait, which I share, of being high strung, slightly stubborn, and unrelentingly right. Those who have dealt with these traits patiently, as my wife has with me, can attest that my mother is over-willing to make concessions for reconciliation. Notwithstanding the aforementioned genetic personality difficulties, she is easy to be entreated, meaning, she is very approachable, and always willing to talk.

My mother spends her days in sorrow. She suffers a “capital” punishment for a “misdemeanor” crime. Only at this point in my life could I try and comprehend the wrenching pain that could accompany having a piece of your soul, your own flesh and blood, withheld from you for reasons you cannot fully understand, and for which you are ultimately and irreconcilably condemned. I know she would do anything, of which I have seen and do attest, to restore this piece of her very being, but is denied. I’m sorry you suffer these things mom. What adds to this difficulty is that the denial comes from good people. None of us are or will ever be whole without them.

You are a fantastic Grandmother. The children love you. You spoil them rotten. But even more important, you give them your time. You sit and read story after story with Meagan. This feat of patience I have not. When you’re with her, you’re not just in her presence, but you spend time with her and talk to her. You come to our aid in a moment’s notice. You provide frequent and meaningful service to our family, and have always done the same for me.

If I can quote Elder Holland, “In the name of the Lord you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you’ve been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you, and he will bless you, especially when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ having a perfect brightness of hope. “

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Knowing Spiritual Truths

Knowing Spiritual Truths

The dialogue between Pontius Pilot and Christ is fascinating. One, an influential worldly leader of the great empire of the day, and the other a King, who’s kingdom was not of this world. I think Pilot, though never considerate beyond necessity of the tradition of the Jews, and being himself under a polytheistic point of view, was nonetheless struck with some sense of wonder at the presence of One who was, thought uncomprehending to him, his very Creator. As they ended their primary interaction Christ declared “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Pilot responds in what I interpret to be sarcastic tones, “What is truth?”

As a young, inexperienced Latter-day Saint missionary I was placed in a foreign land where it was my charge to convince people of spiritual truths. Latter-day Saint missionaries had been in Argentina for decades, and as a result many people, particularly religious leaders of other faiths, had built up arguments, theological and otherwise, against us, and passed them onto their congregations as a type Mormon missionary repellant. I took many of these arguments and studied vigorously to thoroughly disassemble the misrepresentations and half-truths. At the time I believed that the way to convince men of spiritual truths was to dispute their errors by means of theological debate. But I would later learn a lesson, a lesson I have sometimes forgotten.

I had some successes. But, strange to relate, they never came by means of convincing somebody with whom I had engaged in said theological debate, sometimes termed “Bible-bashing.” Regardless of the sophistry, logic, backing, or dominance I thought to have displayed in my arguments, nobody ever stopped and said, “I never really thought about it that way. You’re right. I’m wrong. What was I thinking?” Instead I was met with hostility and hurt feelings. My father had a similar experience, and I later understood why it is he had counseled me to not “Bible-bash.”

I was transferred to city called Federal, and met with my new companion Elder Luke Stone. Elder Stone had had considerable success in the city, and I looked forward to learning from him. He was a tall, athletic fellow, who had a quiet dignity about him. His Spanish was impeccable, his convictions unwavering, and he had a broad understanding of scriptures and doctrine. I would learn that these factors, though contributing, were not the reason for his successes. Elder Stone’s success came because loved the people, and understood how spiritual truths were learned.

Elder Stone studied diligently to find the answers to gospel questions, and as previously stated had a broad knowledge of scriptures and doctrine. Notwithstanding his religious education he never succumbed to the temptation to dispute. If somebody had an honest inquiry, he would expound, but never in the name of supremacy. I haven’t always been able to maintain the restraint and nobility that Elder Stone taught me, particularly after my mission experience. But I can attest that the great things I was able to accomplish in my mission were a direct result of loving those who I taught, forgoing the invitation to contend, and coming to a knowledge of how one gains a witness of the truth of God.

Spiritual knowledge cannot be obtained by the scientific reasoning, scriptural debate, historical research, or otherwise. Though it is intriguing to align secular and scriptural geographical and chronological histories, or scientific and scriptural parallels, yet comprehending these alignments is insufficient to convince the human soul of the validity of the scriptures or of the spiritual truths contained therein. Some remain unconvinced of the spiritual truths due to seeming illogical and physics-defying occurrences such as a dividing sea, a burning bush that does not consume, or the chemical transformation of water into wine just to name a few. I think it would be easy from a non-Christian standpoint to dismiss the scriptures as little more than folktale. Thus in order to even engage in any Christian theological debate the parties involved must first have some mutual agreement on some Christian fundamentals. If these fundamentals are not agreed upon, there’s really no debate to be had. If they are, the debate never goes anywhere anyways.

How then can anybody know the truth of spiritual things? First, one must want to receive them. Desire cannot be forced. Frankly, most people don’t want to know or believe. They dismiss their apathy by claiming that religion subjugates its followers by binding them to regulations imposed for the purpose of depriving the same of their freedom and property. Incident to this philosophy leads the apathetic to “walk in [their] own way, after the image of [their] own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.” But for those who desire to believe is given the invitation, “Go ye fourth of (or from) Babylon.”

Second, if one desires to know a spiritual truth(s), they must live and obey the principles upon which the witness of that truth is based upon. Christ declared, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” If our only desire is to know God’s truths, but are simultaneously unwilling to live by them should they be made known unto us, why would He give us a witness of their veracity? Requisite to knowing God’s truth is witnessing unto Him that you are willing to take upon yourself the name of His Son, as daunting as that is. In so doing we develop a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ.

Finally, we are instructed to ask. Christ taught “I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” James implores, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Moroni declares, “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

Paul declared that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God (or the Holy Ghost): for they are foolishness unto him.” The only way to gain a witness of the truth, or to gain spiritual knowledge, is by the spirit, or the Holy Ghost. I attest that a man can receive this spiritual witness, insomuch that belief, through faith, can become knowledge. I do not know the truth of all things, but I know that the God of Israel is the one true God, that he loves His sons and daughters insomuch that he sent his Only Begotten Son to bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows, and act called the Atonement. I know that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. And I know that the Gospel in its fullness was restored through a true Prophet, who both saw and heard the Father and the Son, two distinct beings whose brightness and glory defied all description. I know these things because I have received that witness, as can all who so desire.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The YOU factor

The following is paraphrased from Dennis Prager, with my additions. In school we learn that there are essentially two elements that make product us, nature and nurture. We are the sum bonum of our genetic makeup and environmental factors. While there is some truth to this, it is, nonetheless, incomplete. There is another element, a third element, which transcends nature and nurture, and makes you who you are; YOU.

If we were only the product of genetics and environment, we would essentially be helpless as to our state of being, for we would be subject to two factors over which we have no control. Using the metaphor of a ship, the ship being your life, we have captain nature, captain nurture, and captain you. To believe that there are only two factors which make product us is to believe that steering the ship is captain nature, captain nurture, and we are only passengers. Essentially we have no real control over the direction of the ship.

The last two lines of William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” reads, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” While environmental factors and genetic makeup certainly play a significant role in our being, ultimately we can decide how we react, feel, and conduct ourselves. We are free agents unto ourselves. It is hard to convince a human being, myself included, that we actually have or can obtain control over these things.

Adversarial forces and secular society would have you believe that there is no “you” factor which makes up your being. You are, again, the product of forces over which you had no control. This is why most secular societies hate prisons. They see them in essence as being filled with victims to environmental and/or genetic forces. This philosophy negates a man from any personal responsibility for his actions, he being really nothing more than a created product, having no dominion over his own creation.

The same aforementioned forces encourage and promulgate the idea of victimhood. Satan, the master adversary, would have us believe that we are helpless as to our state of being, and that we have no control over our actions. He would have us believe that we are not free agents, or that we have no free agency. It is he who has sought to deprive it from us from the beginning. Fascinating since free agency is the one possession which is truly ours, a gift given to us from God, and which has been the unperceived motive behind nearly all the great battles and wars of history.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In versus From

All that I write here will be meaningless to the reader unless they possess a belief in Christ and a conviction that eternal lives comes only in and through Him. If that possession is not had to some degree, my words are nothing more than the ramblings of a religious zealot.

Helaman reiterated to his two sons an important doctrine taught by Amulek, another Book of Mormon prophet who lived on the American continent before the time of Christ. This doctrine has been weighting on my mind and I have felt impressed to write down my thoughts. Helman said to his two sons, “Remember also the words which Amulek spake . . .for he said . . .that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.

There is an important distinction, in this case, between the words in and from. I will make some attempt to explain the difference between being redeemed from our sins, and being redeemed in our sins, a void possibility. Christ did not come to redeem us in our sins, but to redeem us from them. Said He “Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.”

I have met some people who indulge in doing that which is strictly forbidden by God, yet profess some belief in Christ, and a conviction that by a large they are good people, and in the last day it will be well with them. I do not exempt myself from having fallen into this belief from time to time. To restate, many consider that in spite of their rebelliousness against the son of God He will save them at the last day . . . that he will save them in their sins.

Due to my line of work I have taken somewhat an interest in the idea of law. There is more legislation that exists than could ever be read and understood by one human being in a lifetime. For the most part I concentrate my efforts on the criminal code for the State of Utah. Even with this narrowing of subject comprehension there is an extensive and almost overwhelming amount of information. There is one section, however, that if nonexistent would render the entire book of law useless; punishments. If there were no punishments established, all written legislation would be entirely and utterly futile. Law cannot exist without justice, they coexist, and they are inseparable. If you say there is no justice, you must say there is no law, and vice versa.

To say there is no punishment for sin is to say that God has no law. If it is so, there is no need for prophets, revelations, teachings, scriptures, behavioral modification, repentance, or gospel ordinances such as baptism. None of this would be necessary because God’s law, therefore God’s justice, would not exist. Nothing would be required of us. “If there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.” Sin would not exist, for there would be no law whereby one could sin against. Men could do whatsoever they please without consequence. This is what the world desires, but this is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has established laws, which are eternal in nature. When these laws are violated, there must be justice, there must be a punishment.

All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. There is One who has paid the punishment for sin, and in some way incomprehensible to man has taken upon himself the sins of the world, an act we call the Atonement. Man can, therefore, lay hold on the mercy of God, through his son, and be saved from their sins. It is through the Atonement and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel that we may receive this mercy. We must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, or align our behavior in a manner consistent with the holy commandments, and ask forgiveness of Him whose laws we have violated. In addition the Lord has required that we be baptized by one having authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel. Mercy is something that we must accept in this manner. It is not something we earn or merit. It is a graceful gift from One who desire to give it to any who will receive it.

Belief alone in Jesus Christ is insufficient to receive his salvific gifts, or the fullness of his blessings. As James writes, “Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Many will profess a belief in their own personal interpretation of a god who will save them in their sins, or who, perhaps has a set of laws which differ to some degree with the God of the Old Testament. While it is true they may believe in god, they do not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel.

I know that our Eternal Father, the one true God of Israel, desires that all of his children return to him, and be saved. He has sent his beloved Son that through him, and by our obedience, we might receive His mercy and be saved at the last day. “There can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.”

If you think carefully enough about it, to believe that a man can be saved in his sins is to believe that the Son of God suffered and descended below all things that man might freely sin without consequence. This is the antithesis to the great plan of salvation set forth by our Eternal Father.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In response to President Packer's address

I’d like to share a story about President Packer told to me by Lyle Shamo, former Managing Director of the Audiovisual Department of the Church, a man who had dealt personally with President Packer on several occasions. This story was told to me and several other institute students in a classroom setting. Because there is no official publication of the story, the reader must trust my version of it as it was told to me.

Brother Shamo, who was at the time he was a Managing Director was also a Stake President, was traveling with then Elder Packer to Provo. In the Church when somebody commits grievous sin, and they wish to repent, they are scheduled to meet with a disciplinary counsel, a meeting where Church leadership counsel with those who have committed serious sin in an effort to restore to that person complete healing through repentance, if they so desire.

Stake Presidents are part of this disciplinary counsel. While en route to Provo Elder Packer asked Brother Shamo if he had recently held any disciplinary counsels. Brother Shamo responded that in fact he had. The man with whom the counsel had recently met had committed such severe acts that he was, at the time, being held at the State Prison.

After speaking at length about the man, Elder Packer informed Brother Shamo that he had an assignment for him. Elder Packer wanted Brother Shamo to go to the prison, meet with the man, and give the message, “you can be clean again.”

Brother Shamo did go the prison as Elder Packer had instructed. Upon meeting with the man he informed him that he was on assignment from Elder Packer, and he had a message for him. He gave that message, “you can be clean again.” Brother Shamo recounts that he did not get the reaction that he had expected. The man at first seemed confused, even wroth. He replied, “Excuse me, what did you say?” Brother Shamo restated the message. The man sat silently until he put his hands in his face, and began to weep. This time he asked, “Please, say it again?” In time this man did repent, and his blessings were restored.

I think some people are upset because they suppose that President Packer condemned them as individuals. It is important to differentiate between condemning behavior, and condemning an individual. The scriptures provide ample illustration of the difference. To the woman taken in adultery the Savior said, “Neither do I condemn thee.” Certainly we cannot ascertain the Lord did not condemn the woman’s behavior, for said He, “Thou knowest the commandments, do not commit adultery.” As the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament he wrote upon tablets of stone, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The behavior is most definitely damning. And so if the woman did not repent, and change her behavior, she might at that great and judgment day be found unworthy before the Almighty. Yet, at that point she could still be clean again. Thus the Master sent her away with the admonition, “go, and sin no more.”

Who would deny that the Savior is a Being of perfect love? And yet, he did not tell the woman taken in adultery that he accepted her lifestyle choice. He loved her, as he loves us all. He wants us to come unto Him. “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” But to come unto him we must keep his commandments. He understood this, for from Him was it set fourth. His prophets from the beginning have understood this. And President Packer, a modern day prophet, understands this.

President Packer spoke plainly against sin. The words that he spoke, which so many have reviled against, were not intended to condemn, but to inspire repentance. Many would have preferred that he say “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.” Certainly it would have been easier for him to speak such flattering words. But he did not, he cannot. He is called of God to cry repentance. And that he did. He simply stated that life giving powers are to be “shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever” He also states that the laws of God cannot be changed by battle, or by ballot, and that legalizing immorality will not make it not immoral. If one concurs that this is hate speech, they must also concur that words given on Mount Sinai are also such.

Some choose to be offended by President Packer’s words. That is not their purpose. They were not meant to inspire hate, persecution, bullying, high-mindedness, insult, or vilification. They were meant deprive any justification of sinful behavior, and convince any “confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion” to come unto Christ, repent, be made whole, and be clean again. Hear the pleadings of a man of God when he asks during the same discourse, “Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.” This was the most important part of his message. Can the laws of God be altered to become congruent with the popular social ideas of the time?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Mormon's view on homosexuality

I must commence with an important disclaimer. I do not represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or its members. My opinions are my own, and I take responsibility for them as such.

One of the great mentors in my life was a man named Nathan. When I worked for Gold Cross Ambulance Nathan was a Paramedic/Trainer. I had several opportunities to work with him, and we had many good conversations. One of the things I liked most about Nathan was that he cared about people. He treated patients with a high level of respect and dignity. As a trainer he would tutor every fine detail until each student understood and could perform the life savings tasks required of a medical provider. We have both since moved onto separate career and life paths. But I think if you asked him today, he would consider us dear friends. At least I hope.

Nathan is not the only gay friend I have had, or gay person that has had a positive impact in my life. I don’t think I stand alone as the only Mormon to appreciate the good works of many regardless of their differences in religious views, political ideologies, and/or sexual orientation. Any person, Mormon or otherwise, who belittles, mocks, degrades, or persecutes another due to the aforementioned differences is guilty of sin, and in need of repentance.

A few semesters ago, while enrolled in a “diversity” course, my teacher basically told me that, based off my views on homosexuality, I hated gay people. It was an ugly and hurtful accusation. He asked me, “Do you really think you can separate the sinner from the sin?” He went on to explain that by being at variance with somebody’s homosexual tendencies or behavior, I was “denying them their present reality.” I think he was trying to convey that in order to love somebody you have to accept everything they are, and everything they do.

I am reminded of an episode of Cosby when Theo decides that he’s not going to college. His Father, Dr. Hukstable, is clearly opposed to this decision and tries to convince Theo that he’s making the wrong choice. Theo says, “I thought about what you said, and I see your point. But I have a point to. You’re a Doctor, and mom’s a Lawyer, and your both successful and everything, and that’s great. But maybe I was born to be a regular person, and have a regular life. If you weren’t a Doctor, I wouldn’t love you less, because you’re my Dad. And so, instead of acting disappointed because I’m not like you, maybe you can just accept who I am and love me anyway, because I’m your son.” The audience claps and cheers at Theo’s remarks. Dr. Hukstable then responds, “Theo, that’s the DUMBEST thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

You can very well love somebody while simultaneously finding unacceptable the things that they do. Responding to my teacher’s comment; if it were not possible to love the sinner, but hate the sin, then God, the Father of us all, would not love us. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” God is a perfect being who hates sin, which we all posses to one degree or another, but He still loves us. He does not accept our sinful state, and has given us a means to escape it. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” Thus we see that even the most loving being of all does not “accept us for who we are,” so to speak. He loves us too much for that.

I think President Hinkley said it best. "People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are"

I sympathize with those who desire to align themselves with God’s commandments, and struggle with the “inclinations” mentioned by President Hinkley. I can’t imagine desiring to serve God, feeling those affections towards another, and know that acting upon said inclinations would be considered sin in His sight. It becomes a struggle as a Mormon Christian to see and feel the goodness of people who consider themselves gay or lesbian, and yet know with a certainty that homosexual behavior, or any other unchaste behavior, is not right in His sight. It is one of the least of my desires to give offense, but it is an ever lesser desire to betray my God by not standing for truth and righteousness. Perhaps one day my two desires will not be paradoxical.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Like most of my ambitious projects, this one will probably die as fast as it was born. But I will continue it for now as it seems to me an intriguing pursuit. There are two things which people hesitate talking about, which are, ironically, the two things they think strongest about; politics and religion. I find that my thinking is strongest, and my discoveries greatest, when my ideas are challenged. So it is with that intent that I have started this blog; respectful and insightful dialog, or poly-log, which confronts the ideas of this life (politics) and the life to come. (religion) It has been my experience that so long as parties sustain mutual respect they can disagree and still maintain love and friendship. If this is not the case, I will terminate the blog. Chances are I will only be writing to myself anyways.

I served an LDS (Mormon) mission in Argentina. The Mission President at the time was a man named Hyde Merrill, an electrical engineer who graduated with his Ph.D from MIT. A man who I try and model myself after. One day my companion and I were speaking with President Merrill. My missionary companion, an excellent missionary, but one who felt he needed to know all the answers to every question, drilled President Merrill with everything he could think of until finally President offered, "I keep two lists. A list of questions to which I have not yet found the answers, and a list of old questions to which I feel I have." I have thought over and over again about the profound wisdom found in that statement. Life is about inquiry. It can be an adventure learning who we are, what we're doing here, and where we're going hereafter. I find it a great blessing that the Lord has seen fit not to deprive us this adventure. But if we have to have all the answers before we accept any, how can we follow and obey God? All disciplines require faith at one level or another. No human being has all the answers.