Rule 1, always stay in the boat.
- Most of us experience periods in our lives where the tranquil waters of life are appreciated. At other times, we encounter white-water rapids that are metaphorically comparable to those found in the 14-mile stretch through Cataract Canyon—challenges that may include physical and mental health issues, the death of a loved one, dashed dreams and hopes, and—for some—even a crisis of faith when faced with life’s problems, questions, and doubts.
- The Lord in His goodness has provided help, including a boat, essential supplies such as life jackets, and experienced river guides who give guidance and safety instructions to help us make our way down the river of life to our final destination.
He talks about this journey not being a one time event. This journey has to include continuous conversion regularly.
- We need to experience a continuing conversion by increasing our faith in Jesus Christ and our faithfulness to His gospel throughout our lives—not just once but regularly.
The study of the words of the prophets as our guide will lead us through the rough waters in our lives and bring us to safety on the other side of the rapids.
- I have discovered in my ministry that those who have become lost [and] confused are typically those who have most often … forgotten that when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak with a united voice, it is the voice of the Lord for that time. The Lord reminds us, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’
Rule 2 and 3, always wear a life jacket, and hold on with both hands.
- The words of the Lord are found in the scriptures and the teachings of the apostles and prophets. They provide us counsel and direction that, when followed, will act like a spiritual life jacket and will help us know how to hold on with both hands.
Elder Ballard concludes with encouragement to members to have questions about the gospel and to seek answers through study and prayer to those questions that trouble them. This church started through a young boy having questions that opened the heavens and that can be our experience as well.
- Having questions and experiencing doubts are not incongruent with dedicated discipleship. Recently, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding.”
- Remember, Joseph Smith himself had questions that began the Restoration. He was a seeker and, like Abraham, found the answers to life’s most important questions. The important questions focus on what matters most—Heavenly Father’s plan and the Savior’s Atonement. Our search should lead us to become kind, gentle, loving, forgiving, patient, and dedicated disciples. We must be willing, as Paul taught, to “bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
I am grateful to Elder Ballard to acknowledging that rough moments in our lives exist. We are not immune to troubles just because we are members of the church. We have doubt and concerns that are real to us and he provides encouragement to help us understand and get through those rough moments in our lives and come out the other side, better people. How grateful I am for leaders that encourage our doubts and questions and counsel us to seek answers through study and prayer. It is only because we know the answers can and will come from heaven that such encouragement can be given.