Which are true

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Alma the Younger said the following about faith:

[Faith] is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. (Alma 32:31)

So how does one determine something is true before developing faith in it?

12 thoughts on “Which are true

  1. I don’t think you can. I think there may be something different in your question and what Alma is saying. Does it make sense to say that Alma is saying we hope for things that are true even though they can not see it? There is still the element of hope involved – not a sure knowledge of truth. As in you hope what you have faith in is true.

  2. I think there are two components of faith. The largest component of faith rests on knowledge. Put simply, I have faith in things that I have some evidence for. The second, and I believe smaller, component of faith is faith based on hope. I expect that the part of faith that is hope-based is a natural extension of the other type of faith. We can have a pretty reasonable expectation that the thing is true because it is connected to the faith we have that already rests on knowledge.

    It is easier to have faith to move a mountain, for example, when God has revealed to you that he will do it. You have faith-knowledge, based on your revelation, that God will help you in your task. You also have faith-knowledge in God’s past demonstrations of power. You only have faith-hope in how the actual moving of the mountain will occur.

  3. If you could determine that something is true before exercising faith in it, you would have no need of faith.

  4. Alma is referring to things “that are true” in the sense that they exist, are real, and are independent facts which do not rely on anything else for their existence or veracity.

    For example, “the Lord exists” is a true statement regardless of whether I believe it or not, have faith in it or no. He is independent of us and is real, whether we believe it or not.

    Alma isnt talking about discerning truth first and then developing faith, he is talking about developing faith in things that are real and true. Establishing something to be real and true beforehand is not what Alma is suggesting.

  5. “he is talking about developing faith in things that are real and true.”

    Doesn’t that entail we determine beforehand what is real and true? If we are to develop faith in that which is real and true and not in that which is false or pretend, then it stands to reason that we somehow need to determine what is real and not and what is true and not.

  6. I don’t know if this adds anything or not. There are a lot of things out there that are true that I have not seen or personally verified. This includes things like the existance of God and the existance of Australia – never seen either. I have faith that they are there.

    Also, I think Alma is talking about ways other than sight to gain knowledge. I have had spiritual experiences that lead me to say that I know that Christ is the Savior. I have not had that knowledge through sight but through other means. But just because my eyes have not seen something does not mean it is not true.

  7. “So how does one determine something is true before developing faith in it?”

    We don’t. We have to experiment. There’s a little trial and error involved.

    I like Lamoni’s father’s prayer of faith: “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, …”

    His prayer is such an experiment. We can experiment upon the spoken words of others or upon the words of the scriptures. We can then either proceed or alter course based on the results of the experiment.

  8. “The second, and I believe smaller, component of faith is faith based on hope”

    Mormon said it is the other way around in Moro 7:40–42:

    “How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.”

  9. I think the only way to determine the truth of something unseen like Alma says, would be to receive a confirmation of the spirit.

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