Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Faith and Ambiguity

If I could pinpoint one class of my undergraduate career that had the biggest influence on my life, it wouldn’t be one that started with REL. It wouldn’t be the classes spent studying the scriptures or Christian history or even marriage and relationships. Rather, it would be one class—Media Law—that introduced me to a new take on life and how to approach everything and anything.

In early 2009, I took a required media law class, which proved to be a very difficult time for me (though it was also filled with a lot of growth). I honestly remember very little about the class. It was taught once a week for 2.5 hours by a practicing lawyer, Derek Brown. I do remember he was fun, hilarious, and showed some interesting examples when explaining creative license and law.

However, it was the last day of class that had the biggest effect on me. We were assigned to read a BYU speech by Bruce C. Hafen titled “Love is Blind: Some Thoughts for College Students on Faith and Ambiguity.” It’s a great talk that helped explain many of the things I was (and am still) struggling with. (Seriously, go read it. But only after you're done here.)

We discussed the speech in class, with Mr. Brown pointing out some correlations between law, the gospel, and life in general. Again, I don’t remember specifics of the discussion (and I'm kicking myself that I didn't take any notes), but I know that his testimony at the very end struck me enough to write him an email—something I’ve never done with a professor.

I didn’t expect a response. I just wanted to thank him. But I think his response was even more powerful than the testimony he gave in class.

And now I’m in a similar situation to the one I was in when I first read and heard that testimony. It’s a time of change, which I’m resisting because, like most people, I like what I know and what is comfortable. However, like before, I know that change is good and will allow me to grow and learn even more.

I don’t know all the reasons why, and all my decisions won’t be black and white. And sometimes I need to allow that moment for the Spirit to speak to me, without all my thoughts and doubts getting in the way. Three years ago, I learned that my answers come just how Joseph Smith and Brother Brown described—“a feeling of pure intelligence” and “a peaceful feeling that makes me think, ‘yes, I know.’”

Like Brother Brown, I believe that reason and faith can co-exist. Sometimes that’s how you know something is right. When it makes sense and you feel good about it, that could be the answer you are looking for. It’s not always going to be the easiest. And sometimes it hurts—a lot. Like, non-stop crying and a feeling like you don’t want get out of bed. But just know that you’re about to turn a corner to bigger and better things. Because you’re worth it.

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