One of my favorite scriptures has always been a declaration by Nephi:
“I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” – 2 Nephi 33:6
I love the simplicity of Nephi’s testimony. And I love that he rejoices in simplicity and truth.
My love for this scripture hasn’t waned. In fact, in times like election years, I find myself wishing that there were more people who rejoiced in truth.
Of course, Nephi’s declaration also makes me think about myself. Do I truly rejoice in truth?
What is truth?
Several years ago, I had a college professor who was a self-proclaimed post-modernist. (The whole idea makes me laugh. You don’t hear things like that anywhere but in college, it seems). I went to college in Utah, and there were many professors who loved to shake things up by questioning religion, especially the Mormon faith. This professor was no exception.
One day, he started in a tangent about truth. He said, that there was no such thing as “truth with a capital-T”. Everything was just relative. It seemed to me that he had the notion of truth confused with beauty (Truth is in the eye of the beholder.) He challenged us to define Truth.
The challenge was rhetorical, but I knew the answer. Earlier that week, I had been in an institute class where we discussed truth, and the divine definition of truth:
“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;” – Doctrine and Covenants 93:24
Can you think of a better definition? This is the answer to what truth is. Truth isn’t the popular belief at the time. Truth is the knowledge of how things are. And it is more than that. It is the knowledge of how things are, eternally.
After the class, I went to tell the professor my definition of truth. I remember his response. He dismissed me before I even finished my sentence. Maybe he didn’t rejoice in truth. He couldn’t refute it. He just said, “Well, that’s what you believe.” (I didn’t mention that this was from the scriptures. I just said, “Here is how I define truth…”) So. I feel pretty satisfied – Truth Exists. Incidentally, I rejoice in this fact.
How to come to know the truth.
So…maybe it is still tough to understand what truth is, let alone rejoice in it. We don’t need to fear. We have a way to find out the truth.
“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.” – Moroni 10:4-5
Spiritual Scientific Method
- Receive things – We make an observation.
- Ask God – Ask A question. (don’t you love this?! Heavenly Father wants us to ask questions. He wants us to know. He doesn’t want us to follow Him blindly. He wants us to follow Him firmly.
- Have a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ – Make a hypothesis and experiment. We need to come up with some kind of resolution. The Lord has told us – we need to study things out in our minds.
Additionally, we need to experiment. How on earth do we expect to have our hypothesis proven or disproven if we haven’t experimented? The idea is ludicrous.
- The Holy Ghost will tell us the Truth of all things – In this phase, our hypothesis, through appropriate experimentation and observation, will be either proven or not. We can then choose to accept the hypothesis or reject it. Either way, the Holy Ghost will tell us what is actually true.
Why does it matter?
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32
Truth leads to freedom. Have you ever seen this in your life?
I will give a fairly dramatic example.
In my first marriage, I was married 7 years. Throughout my marriage, I had no idea of the truth. I thought that I was married to a man who respected me and honored God. Anyways. I didn’t. He lived a double life. He was having many affairs and was living in a way completely contrary to the gospel and to what I had agreed to when marrying him.
The entire situation came to me as quite a blow. The Truth, stung me in a way that I can’t describe. It was a shock. I remember someone asking me if it would have been better if I didn’t know.
Of course not!
And there were two reasons:
1. Even though I was married, things were amiss in my marriage, and I never could determine the problem. I prayed about it. I went to the Lord. Nothing ever seemed to be resolved. I learned why once I found out about my ex-husband’s affairs: the Spirit cannot bear false witness. He could never make me feel better about my marriage because it was a lie.
2. As difficult as finding out the truth was, I was so grateful for it. The truth led me to shedding the shackles of a very bad marriage. I believe it was also better for my ex-husband. He could be relieved of his duties and obligations as a husband. Because I knew the truth, I was able to be freed. As much as it hurt, I felt better, I felt free.
Truth leads to freedom in every instance. For me, I rejoice in truth because I’m pretty happy about freedom.
Jesus Christ is the Truth
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” – Doctrine and Covenants 84:45
The word of the Lord = Truth → light → Spirit → the Spirit of Jesus Christ
This also makes me think of what we know about the Devil:
“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.” – Moses 4:4
We can find the source of truth with Christ. If something is not true, we know who is the author of it.
Our Response to Truth
Those who have a charitable heart, respond to truth with rejoicing. We will be like Nephi who “glories” in it.
If we don’t have charitable hearts, and if we don’t cleave to truth, we may hate it.
“And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear.
And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” – 1 Nephi 16:1-2
Nephi teaches us the ways both the righteous and the wicked feel about truth. The righteous are justified by the truth. They find solace, peace, and ultimately freedom in truth. Those who are wicked are pained by the truth – it cuts them to the core.
How do you respond to truth? Do you like it? Glory in it? Do you try to avoid it? What are ways that you can improve? Do you find that sometimes it is easier to believe a lie rather than truth? How can you develop more charity so that you begin to rejoice in truth?