Dusty Smith’s Trial of Faith

I recently found Dusty Smith’s book Trial of Faith (also by Kimiko Christensen Hammari). It sort of waved me down. It was next to a larger book at waist level on a shelf at Deseret Book in Spanish Fork. I was not having a great day but it was about to get better. Something said, “You’ll want to pick up that book.” I took it in hand and bought the intriguing little volume forthwith.

I finished reading it the next day. It moved me. Dusty’s story is not candy coated. I was amazed by his honesty. He confesses his online antagonism —bitter, hate-filled, and frequent over two decades. But then something changed and his heart started to soften. The patience, understanding, and good humor of his now good friend Mike Robertson helped a lot.

Miracles came. Many, many miracles. Miracles so convincing that they seem more real than “reality.” Like the time (starting on page 60) when Dusty was deathly ill and his son innocently let a pair of missionaries into the house when he was not up to seeing anyone.

“You’re sick,” the missionaries observed.

“I’m not just sick,” replied Dusty, “I’m dying. Now please get out of my house.”

“Can we at least give you a blessing first?”

A hinge point. “If it’ll get you out of my house, then yes.”

They gave him a blessing and this is what happened. “I felt instant relief,” he reported. “I was immediately and completely healed. My fever broke, and I was able to get out bed even though I wasn’t able to just a few minutes before. I walked the missionaries downstairs and asked them to never come back . . . [but] I was left with a nagging feeling to read my mission journal, and I kept thinking about the Church. Was God trying to tell me something? Why did the missionaries just happen to knock on my door that day?”

That’s just one of many miracles that led a man who once had a Korihor-rible (John Bytheway’s word) attitude about the Church to someone who had his testimony resurrected, was rebaptized, came back into full faith, and had his story retold in general conference. Dusty’s tale was shocking to me, eye-opening, encouraging, heart-warming, and miraculous. I highly recommend the book.

When we adopt—or readopt—God’s wisdom as the guide to our lives, our lives change, and I was changed by this amazing story. Thank you, Dusty, for your example of faith and humility. I’m grateful to have made your acquaintance through your book.

Our King

Adapted from the words of S. M. Lockeridge and Chuck Missler.

Our King is
the King of the Jews,
the King of Israel,
the King of righteousness
the King of all the ages,
the King of Heaven,
the King of Glory,
the King of Kings and
Lord of lords.

I wonder, do you know Him? Do you really?

Followers of Christ wave palm leaves as Jesus enters Jerusalem.

He was a prophet before Moses,
a priest after Melchizedek,
a champion like Joshua,
an offering in the place of Isaac,
a king from the line of David,
a wise counselor above Solomon,
a beloved, rejected, exalted son like Joseph.

The heavens declare His glory,
and the firmament His handiwork,
He who is, who was, who always will be,
the First and the Last,
the Alpha and Omega,
the Aleph and the Tau,
the first fruits of them that slept,
the “I AM that I AM,”
the voice out of the burning bush.

He is the Captain of the Lord’s host,
He is the conqueror of Jericho,
He is enduringly strong,
He is entirely sincere,
He is eternally steadfast,
He is immortally graceful,
He is imperially powerful,
He is impartially merciful.

He is the greatest phenomenon to ever
cross the horizon of this world.

In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead,
our Kinsman-Redeemer,
our Avenger of Blood,
our City of Refuge,
our eternal High Priest,
our perennial prophet,
our reigning King.

He’s the loftiest idea in literature,
He’s the fundamental doctrine of theology,
He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism!
He’s the Miracle of the Ages,
the superlative of everything good.

We are the beneficiaries of His love letter,
written in blood on a wooden cross,
erected in Judea 2,000 years ago.
No means can measure the limits
of His limitless love.

He was crucified on a cross of wood,
yet He made the hill on which is stood.
By Him were all things made that were made, and
without Him was not anything made that was made,
and by Him all things hold together.

Jesus is nailed to the cross.

What held Him to that cross?
It wasn’t the nails!
It was His love for you and me.

He was born of a woman
so we could be born of God.
He humbled Himself
below all things
so we could be lifted up.
He became a servant
so we could be heirs with Him.
He suffered rejection
so we could become His friends.
He denied Himself
so we could freely receive all things.
He gave Himself
so He could bless us in every way.

He’s available to all,
to the tempted and the tried,
He blesses the young,
He cleanses the lepers,
He defends the feeble,
He delivers the captives,
He discharges the debtors,
He forgives the sinners.

He franchises the meek,
He guards the besieged,
He heals the sick,
He provides strength to the weak,
He regards the aged,
He rewards the diligent,
He serves the unfortunate,
He sympathizes and
He reaches down to save.

A portrayal of Christ's empty tomb after his resurrection.

His offices are manifold,
His reign is righteous,
His promises are sure,
His goodness is limitless,
His light is matchless,
His grace is sufficient,
His love never changes,
His mercy is everlasting,
His Word is more than enough,
His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

He’s indescribable,
He’s incomprehensible,
He’s irresistible, and
He’s invincible!

The heavens cannot contain Him
and man cannot explain Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him and
found they couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find fault with Him,
the witnesses couldn’t agree against Him.
Herod couldn’t kill him,
death couldn’t handle Him, and
the grave couldn’t hold him!

He has always been and always will be.
You can’t impeach Him and
He isn’t going to resign!
His name is above every name
and at the name of
Yeshua Mashiach
every knee shall bow and
every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, who
reigns in power and glory,
forever and forever.
Amen and amen.

Mary Magdalene speaks with Christ after His Resurrection.

All images courtesy of Gospel Media © IRI.

The Keys to the Mansion

Columbia River Temple. Courtesy LDS Media Library.
Columbia River Temple

At our branch family home evening this week, I learned a lesson from Tom, a former branch member who was visiting. He told me that he’s been “having fun” with the scriptures lately and that after he recently read John 14:2, he felt inspired to share the verse with a friend.

Tom called Brian, age 82. I’ll paraphrase their conversation.

Tom asked, “Can you think of the largest mansion in the valley?”

“Yes,” said Brian.

“The owner is probably famous, right? And you might be familiar with him on something like Facebook or Twitter, true?”

“Sure.”

“If you asked the owner to give you the keys to his mansion, would he?”

“No. You’d have to have a relationship with the owner before he loaned you his keys.”

“Brian, ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ Think about it. How are you going to get the keys to one of those mansions unless you have a relationship with the One who built them?”

Brian paused. “You’re right, Tom. You’re absolutely right.” They discussed it for awhile and then hung up.

When he called back about a week and a half later, Brian’s wife told Tom that Brian had died.

Do you think Tom was inspired to call Brian for a reason? I know it wasn’t by chance he told me that story.

I Heard This in Sacrament Meeting Today

A woman who gave the closing prayer in our sacrament meeting today thanked the Lord for “believing in us and having faith in us,” His children. I am not sure I have ever thought of it in that way, but when she said it, I felt in my heart that it was true.

The Lord Himself believes in and has faith in you! What a remarkable and encouraging thought. I am so grateful to know this now. I really needed to hear it today. It was a gift. 

You Don’t Know What You Can Accomplish

Last week, we went to a local restaurant as an entire family—all of our kids and grandkids. The restaurant had an arcade, too, and after dinner, we played a few games. My wife and I were playing skee ball. You can score between 1,000 and 10,000 points per shot, depending on where the ball lands.

While we were playing, my four-year-old grandson came along.

“Do you want to try?” I said to him.

Of course he did.

I handed him a ball. Without much thought, he threw it and up the ramp it went, and it landed smack dab in the 10,000 ring! One try, that’s all.

He did not realize what he had done. I was laughing so hard, I could hardly talk for several minutes. When I leaned down and explained what he had accomplished with one shot, my little grandson wore the biggest smile. He was surprised, but also pleased with himself. I was stunned and thrilled for him.

I’ve noticed over the years that we can often accomplish far more than we think we can accomplish.

But, more often than not, we tend to limit ourselves. We believe the negative things we hear and accept them as true. Things we hear as children, teenagers, and even young adults. Things like “You can’t do that. You’re crazy.” Or “Why don’t you pick a different major. What are you going to do with that one?” Or “Why don’t you try something more practical.” We listen to our teachers and leaders and friends and siblings and parents and we find a safe zone where all attempts to stretch beyond our limits are hidden from the view of others. We back into our shell and close it tight.

When you’re four, you haven’t usually absorbed the negativity that floats freely around you. You are innocent and pure and see no reason to not try. But when you are 34 or 44 or 54, you are more and more guarded. You don’t want others to see your weaknesses and you usually do a great job of camouflaging them. You are less and less inclined to try new things. You hide your true self from others, wearing what some call the social mask. You even hide yourself from yourself.

I was like that for most of my adult life. Then certain things came along that have shaken me to the core, things that forced me to believe in myself and to trust God like never before. I am sure the Lord has placed you in similar circumstances. Your strength and your willingness to try new things has grown out of loss and trials and even devastation, from pain so acute we hardly know how we will survive, and from facing those trials with faith.

In the aftermath of trials, we often learn that we can accomplish more than we thought we could, that we can be more than we thought we could be. We are often surprised at what we can do, like my little grandson was.

I believe you have a spark of divinity in you and that that spark can be fanned into a flame. I believe that the Lord is stretching you so that you can know that there is no end to what you can do if you believe in yourself and Him.

There is no reason to be hard on yourself. Yes, evaluate and change and repent when necessary, but don’t beat yourself up. There is every reason to believe in yourself if only you will just be yourself.

I believe in you. I think you can do anything you put your mind to, “for with God, nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).