Mormon Media Observer: Te'o, Armstrong and 2,000 stripling warriors show power of stories

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 22 2013 2:50 p.m. MST

Others cling to religion as a comforting fable. Such fables are harmless in a cynical world, shielding us from the realities of life, in that view, but fables still. Call it the "Life of Pi" view of the world.

But Mormonism, as I have come to know it, has provided a tonic for all that cynicism. No, it's not that Joseph Smith was a perfect human being or that my ancestors' stories made them canonized saints — though I revere Brother Joseph and feel gratitude to the generations past.

My belief in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided something deeper. The gospel has provided a feeling of tangible proof won through hard study and prayer. (And if you think I am alone, watch the excited response of the young people of the church to the announced change in missionary ages here and across the church.)

I don't like much the idea of blind belief nor of comforting fables. What I like is the calm reassurance I feel from the story of the Atonement, the greatest story ever told. It's a story of deliverance from the terrible sorrow of the age.

There's a marvelous Book of Mormon story of 2,000 stripling warriors, wounded, threatened and facing daunting odds — in some ways metaphorically like the pressured world we face today. The story is their story and ours. This is the type of story that endures:

"Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him." (Alma 58:11)

Lane Williams teaches journalism and communication at BYU-Idaho. He is a former journalist whose scholarly interests include Mormon portrayals in the media, media and religion, and religion and politics.

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