No Christian can survive the trials and tribulations necessary to develop faith unto life and salvation without wrestling as Jacob did in order to receive a witness of Christ and the restoration of His church in these latter days. Once obtained, that sweet, peaceful, and calm assurance becomes more precious than any worldly promise or pleasure.
At the end of my first year of graduate school at Brandeis University, my major professor interviewed me to see how I was doing. When I mentioned that my faith had been deeply affected by the two semesters spent at his feet, he launched into what seemed like a standard spiel about not worrying if what I had believed had been disturbed. I waited until he had finished and then quietly told him that on the contrary the year had only served to deepen my faith and add nuance and meaning to my witness. Since that year I have never been confronted by a fact that has ever challenged my faith.
In fact, as I have continued to study and read and write, I have never found anything that disturbs my witness. I have found that all things testify of Christ and the truths that His prophets, ancient and modern, have given us. I am deeply touched by the multitude of the seemingly small and the unabashedly grand scale of the evidence for God, for His love, for His omniscience, for His omnipotence, and for His tender care for His creation.
As I have worked to become more full of faith, more committed to giving stricter heed, and more diligent in living my commitments, I have been pleasantly surprised by the things I have learned and the sacredness of spiritual manifestations. But most gratifying of all is the inner peace and deep satisfaction I find in living every day.
God is our Father. He has organized this mortal life for our benefit. He acts in our time and space to help us and bless us. Of this I have no doubt.
Paul Y. Hoskisson is a professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he formerly served as associate dean of Religious Education and currently directs the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies, both located within the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He has also served as an institutional representative on the Board of Trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Professor Hoskisson was born in Illinois, grew up in six different states, and graduated from Provo High School. After serving a mission to Austria, he earned a master’s degree from Brigham Young University with a thesis on a Yiddish play, and then proceeded to earn a Ph.D. in Mediterranean Studies from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, writing his dissertation on an Old Babylonian topic. While still in graduate school, he worked at the universities of Tübingen (Germany) and Zürich (Switzerland). His interests focus on Semitic philology and onomastics, as well as on the Latter-day Saint scriptural canon.
Professor Hoskisson is married to the former Joaquina Valtierra, from Spain, and they are the parents of four children. (She teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at BYU.)
Posted December 2009