Last time, we were commenting on a speech given on January 13, 2019 by Dale Renlund, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Ruth. They were talking on behalf of the Church’s leadership, who are concerned that its members are having doubts about their Mormon religion. The title of their address was “Doubt Not but Be Believing.”
They told a parable about a boy, who after being rescued from sea – complained about the condition of the boat and wanted out. The story was meant to illustrate the foolishness of abandoning the LDS Church. The Renlund’s remarks throughout their address trivialized doubting Mormon’s concerns and belittled them as individuals.
And he calls himself an apostle? Quite honestly, it was a very unchristian-like response to this sensitive issue.
His wife, Ruth, smugly made the comment, “You don’t have to be an ordained seer, like my husband, to know that slipping back into the water instead of staying in the boat is risky.”
What I found interesting – is that he quotes from Lectures of Faith written by Joseph Smith which says, “For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time.”
Anything from Lectures of Faith is suspect – since the LDS Church removed Lectures of Faith from its cannon of Scripture due to the inconsistencies taught in Smith’s lectures with current Mormon doctrine.
Renlund said that “Many who have had questions, who have had doubt enter their minds, and have had difficulty finding their spiritual footing have nonetheless stayed faithful and have remained on the covenant path.”
Faithful to what, though? Faithful to the Church? Or, faithful to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who is leading them to seek and search for truth, and for a stronger personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
Related to that, is the story of Peter walking on water – mentioned by Mr. Renlund.
The way I read it, only confirms the desire we all should have for a closer relationship with our Lord.
Matthew 14 takes us out to the disciples who were in a boat, on the Sea of Galilee in the middle of the night. The wind was blowing, and the boat was being tossed with the waves. Those men were probably feeling helpless in those cold wet conditions. It was then, when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea. Matthew wrote, Verse 26 “they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.”
Jesus, being full of love – quickly calmed them down. Verse 27 “But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
It must have been reassuring to hear the Savior’s voice calm their fears.
What we read next is perhaps one of the most amazing things ever to happen to a mere mortal man. Verse 28-29 “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he (Jesus) said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.”
I admire Peter’s love for the Lord. There were no waves or wind or darkness of night that were going to get in his way. The Lord was out on the water and Peter wanted to be with Him.
Peter was willing and ready to get out of the safety of the boat – to be with the Lord. Peter did in fact, walk on water! He is the only human being – who was not God in the flesh – to experience such a feat. And, remember he did ask the Lord before jumping out of the boat.
Jesus’ response to Peter was to “come.” This is the exact call Jesus has on every single person’s life. While others – like Mr. Renlund – is telling us to stay in the safety and comfort of the Church – Jesus is inviting us to step off the boat and walk with Him, in faith, and to not fear.
What if Peter had stayed in the boat? Remember, Jesus invited Peter to leave. That takes a tremendous amount of faith.
What is there to fear when seeking truth – answers to our questions and doubts? Members of the LDS Church should put their full trust in the Lord that He will be there to walk by their side and hold their hand as they navigate treacherous waters.
They might come to realize that their personal relationship with Christ has been strengthened and they are more secure in their spiritual journey than remaining in any boat.
As Peter was walking on the water towards Jesus, he became afraid and cried, “Lord save me.” Peter recognized there is no other name whereby men may be saved. Verse 31 “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
If Peter had little faith yet could walk on water temporarily. Think what would be possible in our lives if we have even that much faith.