I have been giving a lot of thought to success and failure as of late. I have recently taken a national exam to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have yet to receive the results, but should in the next day or two. With that said, I have been preparing myself to either celebrate like crazy, or figure out how to pick myself up and get back on the horse. I have been doing a lot of thinking about my family, and how much they mean to me. They have been a huge support in this whole process, an I know they will continue to stand by me. Then I watched a video blog by Glenn Beck (don’t worry, no politics will seep in here). He gave a list of successful men who had at one time failed in their lives’. I’d like to name just a few here: Milton Hershey, Henry Ford, Walt Disney. I thought of others: Billy Joel, Harlin Sanders of KFC fame, Phil Knight of Nike, Glenn Beck himself, and the list goes on. There have been church leaders try and fail in ways to follow The Lord. Joseph Smith learned a valuable lesson after losing the 116 pages, when he failed to listen the first time to The Lord. There have been times in my life I did not heed the whisperings of the Spirit and was worse off because of it. We try and fail every day in what we do. As the cliche goes, everybody makes mistakes. Christ is the only one in my memory who never failed in doing what he was asked to do. He executed with perfection, the commandments given him by our Father.
Now, what does this have to do with Apologetics and defending the Church? I was thinking about times in my life and about experiences from others where they may have felt inadequate to speak up, or else feel they did not accurately answer a question posed to them by a critic, or even a friend. We receive a lot of questions on the FAIR list from Bishops, Ward Mission Leaders, Missionaries, and others seeking answers to questions. One thing to keep in mind, there is always some answer to the question. Another thing to tag onto that last statement is: The answer can be “I don’t know.” There is nothing wrong with this at times. It gives us a chance to learn, explore, research and grow in our knowledge. We can then go in search of an answer to the critic or sincere question. Even if we do put forth an effort to find an answer, there may not be one out in the open. Critics have scoffed at us when we are asked to “shelf” an answer. I will say that there are answers to many questions, there are times in life where “shelving” a question or concern is perfectly OK. If we are not in tune with the promptings of the Spirit when searching for answers, we could bring more problems to our situation than good. It is OK to fail in finding answers right away, it may take years to find the answer, and if we never do, it is alright. We must remember that the core questions of the truth are there, and we must keep faith in them. The rest is gravy to go along with the core building blocks of our faith (Christ Lives, Joseph Smith is and was a prophet, Book of Mormon is true, God speaks to a prophet today). Those are the things I consider vital, I may be missing some, but you get the idea. Failure to answer a critic’s attack or the perceived inability to answer a sneer about what we believe is not the end all. Fair, The Maxwell institute, and others give us great material to work with, and it is there to be utilized in defending truth. We can use these things to succeed where we may have failed before. Combine these resources with those the Church gives and the things that come to us through the Holy Ghost, and we have before us a strong arsenal
Failure in anything can be seen as a stepping stone for success. This is the same with Apologetics and answering the questions that can and will come to us from others, and even from ourselves. Stay close to the core, eternal truths of the gospel, and with that will come the answers, or else the peace the gospel brings. For those of you seeking answers, I wish you the best, and may you be blessed in your search. For those of you giving answers and who are engaged in the fight for truth, keep your head up, eyes open, your knees worn from prayer, and remember, failure is acceptable in life, as it often serves to make us stronger and more determined in our journey.
**Comments posted here represent my own views, not the views of FAIR, The Church of Jesus Christ, or others who participate on this blog.