Thursday, September 2, 2010

Perplexed, Portland

There's been a question burning in my soul for quite some time now, one that I've alluded to before but that I would like to now formally pose to you all:

Where do trials come from, and are we supposed to fight them?

Let me illustrate my confusion with a quote from George Q. Cannon:

"Do not allow darkness and gloom to enter into your hearts. I want to give you a rule by which you may know that the spirit which you have is the right spirit. The Spirit of God produces cheerfulness, joy, light and good feelings. Whenever you feel gloomy and despondent and are downcast, unless it be for your sins, you may know it is not the Spirit of God which you have. Fight against it and drive it out of your heart. The Spirit of God is a spirit of hope; it is not a spirit of gloom."

It seems straightforward enough, but here's what I don't get: Aren't darkness and gloom just like any other trial we mortals are subjected to? And aren't trials, after all, very good for the development of our characters, and indeed necessary for our eternal progression? My understanding is that (correct me if I'm missing something), while gloom and despondency themselves may not come of God, they are still vital experiences that He allows us to suffer for His own wise purposes. I've certainly felt in my life that the pains which have so alienated me from everything light and truth have also, paradoxically, drawn me closer to Him, and for this reason I would never trade those experiences.

Why, then, would I ever want to fight these feelings that ultimately improve me? Who would I be without these refining experiences?

And if these refining experiences are the will of the Lord, as I believe they are, then who am I to think that my own feeble efforts could do anything to remove them anyhow?

I just don't know. While you're pondering that, here's my pix from Portland last month:

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Mish, you are waxing a little Bryce in your ponderings. This is a good thing, but your questions extend far beyond my feeble base of understanding. In conversation, however, I'm willing to say lots of things I'd never type, so let's discuss this next month during our reunion. Wahoohoo!