A Mormon, a Catholic and an Atheist were sitting around a dining room table studying for a European history exam. Don't worry...this isn't one of those jokes. If it were, they'd be doing something a little more exciting, like jumping out of an airplane or having a conversation with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. But this is a true story, and I was the Mormon. My friend Jennifer was the Catholic and our dear friend Andrea was the professed Atheist. We were high school students and we were studying the Edict of Nantes when Andrea surprised us by saying she thought religious people were "blind sheep." I never would have known, had it not been for Jennifer's reaction, that this wasn't a really great compliment. Wow, I first thought, These sheep she's talking about are so good at listening to the Shepherd that they can do it with their eyes closed! What amazing faith and skill.
Today, when I hear the phrase "blind sheep" it always brings to mind that initial impression. It makes me think of trust. It makes me WONDER if belief isn't intricately tied up with feelings of trust, just like those sheep who didn't need to see in order to follow the Shepherd whose voice they knew so well.
Elder Oaks also clarifies what it means to "believe all things." It means to "believe the doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the words of Latter-day prophets."
It is interesting that the Apostle Paul says "charity believeth all things." Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it cannot easily grace a life marked by pride and vanity. Maybe that is why those who "are learned [and] think they are wise...supposing they know of themselves" have a hard time believing all things that the Lord gives through the proper channels that happen to exist outside of themselves (2 Nephi 9:28). Aren't they in a much worse position than the blind sheep who at least have a taller, sighted shepherd to guide them to safety?
When we learn to trust the Lord and love Him we are gifted with being filled with His love also, which love is charity, which flows from Him to and through us and overflows back to Him and is what makes it possible to believe all things He gives us, whether they come in the form of the teachings of the scriptures or the words of His living prophets.
Trust and charity have everything to do with one's hard-earned ability to believe. The good news is: everyone has access to both. Trust? It is created by proving the Lord, time and time again and consistently watching Him keep His promises. Charity? It comes to those who pray for it, look for the good in others and serve them. Both are predicated on sincere, humble discipleship of Christ. The recipe is short, but the prep time is long. And those who are bakers of belief are some of the most skilled artisans of these last days.
What say ye?