Stand Steady: Faith and Fear are Antagonistic

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Boyd K. Packer

Fear and faith are antagonistic to one another, and it is our obligation to promote faith, not fear; so stand steady. There is always the temptation—it's true in Church schools, it's true in seminaries and institutes, it's true of the missionaries out in the mission field, it's true of the bishops and stake presidents—there is the temptation always to want to fight. We have much to gain by learning to turn the other cheek. The Lord had something there for us when He said that.

Let me give you an example. When I was mission president one of the newspapers in the area in New England published an article about the Church. It had picked it up from another paper that was scurrilous. It was filthy; it was evil; it was entirely wrong. It had headlines across an inner page of the paper about the Church, and the article was a kind of hark back to some of the untruths to which we were subjected a few generations ago.

The missionaries got all excited about it. Some of them drove a hundred miles to bring that newspaper for me to see what had happened. I read it and said, "Thanks. Go back now and preach the gospel." They couldn't understand why I wasn't excited about it. They couldn't understand that I was excited about it and tried not to show it, I guess.

They said, "What shall we do?"

And I said, "Go about your work; preach the gospel."

"But aren't you going to call the editor, and aren't you going to demand equal space and answer this?" The answer was no, because I didn't have time.

All it takes is one critic or one heckler to take you right out of commission if you feel the necessity of answering everything that comes your way. Why don't you teach the students that? Why don't you teach the students to relax; and if they are bitten by a fly, to scratch the bite and go back to work? You see, if I had called that editor and said, "Now, look," and, "We demand," and so on, I suppose it's possible that we could have had him print a retraction of it—maybe a two-line retraction on the last corner of that last page in the want ads where nobody would see it. He might have been persuaded to do that much.

We did nothing until later; then we began to cultivate his help and suggestions. All we did was have two missionaries go to see him and say, "We are two missionaries, and we don't know very much. We're here without any compensation, paying our own way. We are supposed to preach the gospel in this town, and nobody seems to want to hear us. Now, you are the newspaper editor, and you're in touch with the people and know how they feel and how to communicate with them. Tell us what to do to get our job done. Will you help us?"

Who could resist that? And he didn't. So the day came within the year when there was another article in that same newspaper, headlined, "Latter-day Saints Have Dual Reason for Celebrating Christmas." Then in columns side by side were quotations from the New Testament and quotations from the Book of Mormon that sustain and bear witness of christ; there was an explanation of the fact that we had a double reason for our worship, a double reason for our witness that Jesus is the Christ.

Why don't you stay at your posts and just not get excited? When the kids come running to you all upset about this and that, why don't you just say, "What else is new?" You know, we have a good deal more to gain by staying on course, standing steady, than we have by trying to put out brush fires. So that would be my first element of counsel to you—just be there, be secure, have faith, and be steady. Be the anchor, and all will be well.

...I bear witness to you that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just what you teach it to be—the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth. I bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, and that the Church was formulated for strength in difficult times. Steady as she goes. Now I leave for your contemplation these words about another storm at another time:

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
And they awake him, and say unto him (as many say in our day), Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:37-39.)

I bear to you my witness, now the special witness, that Jesus is the Christ. This I know. I invoke His blessings upon you as teachers..., praying that you will be sustained. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Excerpt from an address given by Boyd K. Packer at BYU to seminary and institute personnel June 1970