Defending the Faith: 'Through cloud and sunshine, Lord'

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  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    June 27, 2014 10:57 p.m.

    To the author - condolences on the passing of your loved one - please pass on to your kids as well. God Bless y'all.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 23, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    RE: Craig Clark. When Paul preached in Athens, the elite thinkers said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean’” (Acts 17:18–20).

    The Athenians would not have referred to his doctrine as a “new” and “strange” teaching. If dying-and-rising gods were plentiful in the 1st century, why, when Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead, did the Elite not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?

    The claim that Jesus is a copy of mythological gods originated with authors whose works have been discounted by academia, contain logical fallacies, and cannot compare to the N.T. Gospels, which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels between Jesus and other gods disappear when the original myths are examined. The Jesus-is-a-myth theory relies on selective descriptions,redefined words, and false assumptions

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 23, 2014 8:14 a.m.


    "....The primary reason why we can reject the idea that Christianity borrowed from ancient mystery religions is that the parallels simply are not there...."

    A book I highly recommend is The Story of Christian Origins by Martin A. Larson. Judaism and Christianity are both substantially influenced by religions of Near Eastern antiquity.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    June 23, 2014 12:41 a.m.

    When we lost our twin daughters after their premature birth, it was a great comfort to read the testimony of Joseph Smith that we would be able to raise them in the resurrection. Several of Joseph and Emma's children died soon after birth, or within a few weeks. Joseph knew the reality of God the Father and Jesus Christ, conqueror of death, and had spent many hours in the presence of a resurrected being, Moroni. In the company of others he met ancient prophets and apostles. His faith in eternal life was not wishful fantasy, but a stark reality, affirmed by those witnessses.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 21, 2014 7:12 p.m.

    RE: Tyler D,Death and Resurrection. Jesus answered them,“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:19-22). Versus,

    The Buddhism (Zen) question “the sound of one hand clapping”, belongs to a long tradition of those who systematically used such insoluble riddles and paradoxes in their spiritual guidance.

    RE: Smitxxx, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.( Heb 11:1) Verse 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds=(time ,G. aion)were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made =(receive being, G. ginomai) of things which do appear.(Heb 11:3). Creation Ex Nihlio. God who gives life to the dead and Calls into Being things that were not.(Romans 4:17 NIV).

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 4:28 p.m.

    I'm so sorry to read about your loss though I'm glad you have enough of a source of strength to help carry (certainly doesn't remove) such a painful burden. I pray this is the case for the rest of the family as well.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 20, 2014 4:05 p.m.

    To add to the above, I have my own reasons for being drawn to faith in Jesus Christ, and holding to that faith. I don't always share them publicly, and I understand that Church leaders might feel inclined to do likewise. But if you are going to hold yourself out as a "special" witness of the Savior, your faith must have some fundamentally different characteristic than an ordinary person's, such that your testimony is inherently more reliable. That's where the expectation of foundation may properly come in.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 20, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    1.96 Standard Deviations: "How can you disregard such witnesses?"

    An attorney would answer "Lack of foundation."

    Before a witness's claim to know a thing can be admitted into evidence, there must be a foundation laid to show the basis for his knowledge.

    An example would be a person who said your car ran a red light. The necessary foundation that must be laid for that testimony is evidence that he was standing near the intersection and saw you.

    The testimonies you quoted are indeed powerfully phrased. They would be even more powerful if the foundation for their knowledge were laid.

    The Apostle Paul laid the foundation for his testimony: He recorded how he saw the risen Lord. So did Joseph Smith. When was the last time a Church leader did?

  • smitxxx Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    Each time Dr. Peterson writes, we can expect some sort of counterargument from "The Scientist," "Tyler D," and others similarly disposed.

    Whether to believe or to doubt are choices we make. Faith is "the substance of things HOPED FOR, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN." Hope is the antecedent, and also a choice we make. Hope shows where our hearts are. Some hope for power, money, pleasure or fame; others hope for "a better world, even a place at the right hand of God," and "through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal," together with their families.

    Without the choice to hope and to believe, faith will not come, and one will never receive "the evidence of things not seen."

    Like Dr. Peterson, I have made the conscious choice to hope and to believe. As a result of these choices, the evidence continues to mount, to my satisfaction, that the unseen things I hope for are true. And it has produced fruits in my life, and in the life of my family, that are priceless--especially at the times of greatest trial and sorrow.

  • M_Hughes_ Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I want to add my heartfelt condolences to those that have already been shared. Take care.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 20, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    @Verdad – “With all due respect, the last sentence of your comment above suggests that you respond to Dr. Peterson's columns without reading them”

    Essays and articles typically make their case in the body section with the conclusion simply summing up their views. With that in mind, yes, I did not read closely his last couple paragraphs and missed the fact that his granddaughter passed away. For that I sincerely apologize.

    My comments here have always been motivated by a desire to participate in the marketplace of ideas, and not to make personal insults and certainly not to revel in someone else’s pain & sorrow.

    Again, I made a mistake and am sorry for any pain I caused… Dr. Peterson, you have my deepest sympathies.

    @sharrona – “CS Lewis likened these pagan resurrection myths as God giving “good dreams” to the world.”

    I agree with CS Lewis. The only difference between us is I think they’re all myths while he thinks all except one are myths.

  • Jonas Denver, Colorado
    June 20, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    We never truly know what we believe and what we will hold to no matter what, until we go through something like this--as Joseph Smith said, "That pulls our very heartstrings".God bless you and your family, Bro. Peterson.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 20, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    RE: Tyler D. The primary reason why we can reject the idea that Christianity borrowed from ancient mystery religions is that the parallels simply are not there. There is always some borrowing from the culture of the day for various reasons, but when it comes to the key doctrines of Christianity–especially the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ—the so-called parallels are not very striking.

    CS Lewis likened these pagan resurrection myths as God giving “good dreams” to the world. A sign pointing forward to the myth become fact. In his view even the pagan religions point to Christ.

    Philostratus is the source for of Apollonius where the Bible is multi-sourced. In other words, we have different writers writing about Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, etc.

    @Belief: But can unborn babies believe? Not by themselves, just like you and me. It takes a work of the Holy Spirit to make that happen. ( II Samuel 12:23) Suggests He might, “now that he is dead,… I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (I Cor 7:14) Suggests He might and John leaping in the womb at the presence of Christ (Luke 1:41)

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    June 20, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    Tyler D.: With all due respect, the last sentence of your comment above suggests that you respond to Dr. Peterson's columns without reading them -- or at least that you did so in this particular case.

    But that's not why I'm writing. There was a note from Professor Peterson on his Facebook page last night indicating that he's going to be looking at the historical evidence for Christ's resurrection -- the specific topic that you raise above -- at BYU Education Week in August. I thought that maybe you or somebody else here might be interested in that.

  • DeepintheHeart Lewisville, TX
    June 19, 2014 7:30 p.m.

    We will sorrow for losses, even knowing the end will be glorious. This is especially true when losing a baby.

    June 19, 2014 5:12 p.m.

    Bro Peterson,
    I am so sorry about the loss for your family and our friends. Your son and daughter-in-law are in our hearts and prayers. We will do everything we can to love and serve themmin a way that is helpful to them.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 19, 2014 2:01 p.m.

    Dr. Peterson,

    May God bless you and your family at this difficult time.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 19, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    @1.96 Standard Deviations – “How can you disregard such witnesses?”

    Quite easily actually…

    Regarding ancient history there are numerous stories of people being raised from the dead (e.g., Apollonius of Tyana, Cleomedes, Glycon, Asclepius, etc…) and for those living at that time it would have been unusually to NOT believe in this (given the widespread belief that the dead ascended to the clouds… why wouldn’t some come back?).

    Also, the gospels were written decades after the events when the proselytizing mission was in full force, so I hardly consider them solid evidence.

    As to modern visions, these are also ubiquitous in world religions. In fact you can go to India today and hear accounts of Biblical-type miracles and god-men walking among them.

    The better question then is “why don’t any of these stories inspire similar feelings of religious awe and devotion in you (yet they do for millions of others)?”

    I do not fear death either which likely baffles you, but it should make you wonder why.

    PS – I apologize if the timing of my comments were in poor taste (was not aware of a personal tragedy here).

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 19, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    Death comes to us all. Sorrow shapes our hopes and wishes but it can not alter the inevibility of the reality of truth and the grace of mans search and understanding of accepting truth and reality.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    Tyler D:

    It is quite a bold thing to declare life ceases to exist with mortal death considering the massive amount of witnesses there are of a resurrected Jesus Christ. Consider some modern-day witnesses of a resurrected Jesus Christ.

    1) "I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra."

    -HENRY B. EYRING, April 2013 General Conference, “Come unto Me”

    2) "Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded the following after a sacred experience: 'And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him' ...

    Their words are my words."

    -BOYD K. PACKER, April 2014 General Conference, "The Witness"

    How can you disregard such witnesses?

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    Tyler D:

    It is the exact opposite. Mortal life has much more meaning when one knows that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. A resurrected Christ means life is not over when we are dead. I also don't fear death since I am prepared to meet God when I die. I have repented of my sins, been baptized and am striving to endure to the end of my mortal life being faithful to Christ's gospel.

    I look forward to my own resurrection, and also the day when I am brought before God for the final judgement. The gospel gives me confidence that I will be held guiltless and forgiven at that time, and then I may enjoy eternal life in God's presence together with my family.

  • CherylM Lexington, KY
    June 19, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson,

    I have been reading your column for several years and have never made a comment until now. First, I want to say many, many thanks for all of the energy and time you give to write these regular columns, which have given substantial spiritual nourishment to my soul countless times, and have also been appreciated by many of my friends and family with whom I've shared them over the years. My heart aches for the loss that you and your family have experienced over these past few days. There are no words by mortals sufficient to fill the hole in the heart created by the loss of a loved one. Over the coming days and weeks, may you and your dear family feel with great power the strength of the Savior's words, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."

    All my best,
    Cheryl M.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    June 19, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    “Mortality offers happiness and sweet satisfactions, but also deep disappointments, intimidating obstacles and — sometimes — almost unbearable sorrows that pierce like a knife.”

    Here, and in the subsequent T.S. Eliot quote, Dr. Peterson touches on the underlying motivation for all religions – fear of death.

    We can either come to terms with this fact – as many secular people and even some religions (e.g., Buddhism) have – and not let it keep us from leading happy, fulfilling lives, or we can continue the strategy of our infantile ancestors of making up comforting stories about gods, deities, afterlife etc. and “desperately want it to be true.”

    I prefer the real world over the Matrix-like fiction of mythic religion…

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    Thank you for your inspiring article, and my condolences to your family.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better. Negative energy can not effect my mind, body or spirit. I have a friend in Jesus and I accept life, the way to the wisdom and the truth. I will protect my liberty and I will pursue happiness. But by the Grace of God go I. I'm more than enough.

    These are my words I say to my self over and over to reprogram my mind to move. The world will keep going. you have to keep moving.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    Sometimes we see things more clearly through the tears in our eyes and sense life more acutely through our aching hearts.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    The loss of our infant daughter tested my LDS wife's faith more than anything else she has encountered. She was handling it quite well until Church the Sunday following the burial of our little one.

    People stood up and "testified" that god loved them and, as proof of god's love, he saved their infant from death. Others testified that, although they lost a child (or loved one), they were blessed with "spiritual experiences" and "blessings" of various kinds.

    The hurtful implication for my wife was that god did not love her (us) enough to provide the miracles that others experienced. Or that god found her (us) too unworthy to qualify for a spiritual experience or blessing.

    It is still a very touchy subject for her to this day.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson, my heart is touched deeply by the events you have so beutfully and touchingly written for us. My heart goes out to you and your family. Would that I could do something. Thank you for sharing such a personal event. It has generated deep feelings of love for you and your family, none of whom I know. It also has generated a throbing hope in my soul that the tomb really was left empty. I know that the little, but no less sacred spot of ground into which the earthly remains of your precious granddaughter will be placed, will likewise be left empty. "Sunday will come."

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    The loss of a child is perhaps the most emotionally devastating experience a parent can ever have. Children are the essence of innocence...let's hope they all have a chance to grow up as healthy, vibrant, happy, and responsible adults.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 19, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    So sorry to hear of your heartbreaking loss. God bless.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    June 19, 2014 5:54 a.m.

    We had a similar experience with our newborn daughter 4 years ago. I am so sorry for this loss, Dr. Peterson. We likewise experienced special spiritual feelings during our grief.