July 15, 1970
Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle
Chauncey C. Riddle, professor of philosophy at BYU, currently serves as dean of the Brigham Young University Graduate School.
Dr. Riddle joined the BYU faculty in 1953. previous to his appointment as dean, he served as chairman of the Department of Graduate Studies in Religious Education, He was named Professor of the Year in 1962, and in 1967 he received the Karl G. Maeser Award for Teaching Excellence.
A native of Salt lake City, he received his Bachelor of Science degree from BYU in 1947, the Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1951, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Columbia University in 1958.
A devoted Church worker, Dr. Riddle presently serves as a member of the Sharon Stake High Council; he is a former bishop of three wards.
When one approaches such an opportunity as this, it’s a temptation to want to give a grand bombast. But perhaps more realistically, a few simple observations and conclusions which I have come to in my life and experience would be what I would like to leave with you today.
First of all, I would like to make a remark or two about education. This is the business in which we are all principally engaged. I think it important to know that education is a do-it-yourself program. Education is not something that someone else can give to you. In my own experience I think one of the great things which has happened to me was suddenly to realize that if I was ever to know anything for sure and to be very good at it, I would have to assume the responsibility for that myself. I couldn’t leave it up to any professor or any schedule or curriculum or university but would have to seize upon it and do something about it.
Another thing that I came to (and unfortunately rather lately) is the realization that in education the most important thing is not acquiring facts and ideas, but it is acquiring the tools whereby to create and judge facts and ideas. In other words, tools are really the essence of a genuine education. And I mean by tools, first of all a mastery of one’s mother tongue. This is, of course, the absolute indispensable; unfortunately, it is not particularly prized in our society today. I think that is one reason for much of the fuzzy thinking we see going on.
Next I would put foreign languages. Of all the languages I have studied, l find that the Latin that I took in high school has been by far the most pervasively valuable. Next to that I would put my little smattering of Greek, and then German and French. I found that the better I know these tools, the more I am able to use them. We hear people say once in a while “Well, I studied languages for my Ph.D. and have never used them since.” I think that most unfortunate. I think people must be hiding from opportunities when they say that; because opportunities abound and to be able to use language tools is a great benefit.
But after all is said and done about education and tools, I take the standpoint that whatever a man says then, having used his tools and having thought about the world and about his discipline and about life, must be taken as his testimony — his reaction to the world. I wish somehow we could drop the indicative mood from the English language. To be very blunt about it, I think that that indicative mood is presumptive of the powers and prerogatives of deity. If somehow we could speak in the subjunctive we would be much more humble and much more careful as to what we say. If we would say, “It seems to me” or “If it were such and such,” then I think we would be speaking more honestly, relative to our own knowledge. When any man speaks, even in the field of his expertise, he is sharing his conviction. It would be very unlikely that he is really describing the universe the way it is. He may be approximating the way it is, but to take any man’s word as final on any topic at any time and any place, I think is disastrous for an educated person. I think a person should take what a learned man says as something worth listening to, but not to be believed. He should not believe anything until he has come to a conviction of it through his own investigation and resources.
Well now, on to philosophy. Having spent a few years in philosophy, I have discovered that at any one point in time my ideas are not the same as at other points in past history. I would like to share with you some of my conclusions. I don’t suppose I will believe all of these next year. And so don’t you believe any of them. But I hope you find some stimulus for your own thought in what I have to say about philosophy, because the things that I say have come to me in a rather forceful way and I don’t say them lightly. I say them in the subjunctive, “This is as it were,” “This is my frame of reference.”
One of the interesting things about the word “philosophy” is the shift in the meaning of the sophia part. Originally sophia in the Greek meant “practical ability to do something.” In later times as philosophy became a discipline of its own, the sophia came to mean “discourse.” And I suppose this is why philosophy has gained a bad name and the epithet of sophistry has become rather widespread. But I think that the original route is more meaningful.
I take it that the business of philosophy is to prepare a man to do something in his life, not just to talk about it. People who can talk glibly are a dime a dozen in the world, but the people who can solve problems and really accomplish something are rare. I like to think that philosophy really is a preparation for life and for doing rather than just to be able to debate and discourse. Not that debating and discourse are not good in and of themselves but they are surely not enough. A person should achieve what Socrates would call the “examined life”–a life that is structured by thought that is deliberate, that is grounded in something more than fantasy. This is the real business of philosophy. And this always is a personal thing.
Achievement is not a public objective enterprise; it is something that is private. Philosophy ultimately will prepare a person to think through his own mind and ideas and to live a life in accordance with these ideas. Now thinking is a rather specialized enterprise. The idea of thinking scares a lot of people. It’s amazing the trauma that is associated with certain kinds of thinking. Mathematics has acquired a bad name because of the poor way it’s taught most of the time. I notice that in teaching logic, when one gets any- where near the mathematical aspects, blinds come down in people’s minds and fear arises to shut out any further learning. So much fear attaches to all the thinking processes; but it should not. Thinking is a rather simple thing. If studied without fear, it can be mastered rather readily.
There are a few basic thinking processes that one ought to know. One ought to be aware, for instance that though it is good to have a rational structure in our minds, we need to be consistent in what we think and believe that there is no such thing as being a rational person. The old idea of man being a rational animal is one of the great myths. Human beings are not rational, that is to say, out of the deductive reasoning process man does not fashion a life. Reasoning is after the fact in life. Man rationalizes. Man is a rationalizing animal. What happens basically is that people decide what they want to do, and then they think up good reasons for doing it. This is not to demean man to say this; it is just to describe the nature of the way he actually thinks. If you haven’t hitherto known this fact, you might simply contemplate that reasoning depends upon premises. Premises themselves cannot depend upon reasoning. The premises come from non-rational sources; therefore, reasoning itself is based in a non-rational faith. Whatever we assume as premises–the basis of our thought–is the governor of our thought. We can never be rational about that. That is something we simply pull out of thin air in accordance with out desires, our prejudices, our feelings, We need to be very explicit about that fact and not pretend that somehow I am rational and somebody else is not. That’s a bit of hypocrisy; that does not become a learned man.
Another thing to know about language, logic, and thinking is the very peculiar fact that truth or the existence of the universe is always very particular and very specific. But when we think about the universe, we have a very difficult time thinking about the specifics; and therefore, we generalize. Our language consists of class names, and classes are always generalizations. If you will notice when we speak of our language being true, the more general our language is, the more chance it has of being true. The more specific it is, the less chance is has of being true. But then on the other hand, truth itself, the existence of the universe is extremely specific. We have, there- fore, this strange phenomena of people trying to speak truly about the universe in which they must speak most generally to speak most truly, and yet, truth itself is most specific.
Herein lies many of the problems that philosophers get into. For example, suppose that there are no words for red in the English language; only words for the discriminable particular shades of red and every time you mention the color of something, you must use one of these shades. Now there are thousands of discriminable shades (I don’t know how many there are of red). But if you used a particular shade name every time you wanted to mention a particular object in tho universe, you would probably get the wrong one every time because of the difference in light circumstances. You might get one close to it, but you would speak wrongly every time you used a color name. That is why when we wish to speak truly we speak very generally. But truth is specific.
Another important thing to know about language is that our knowledge of the world is based largely on induction. Induction is always guesswork. We have a very wonderful, complicated system of statistics that we study in the world. Statistics is the attempt to make induction good instead of bad. But the interesting thing about it is that no matter how skillful we are about our deductions and our statistics, it all comes back to the fact that we are jumping from the part to the whole. We are guessing. There is no way of certifying this guess by induction. You hear talk about probability in statistics. Probability is merely a second-order induction. It’s an induction on inductions which is guesswork upon guesswork. While we can do better guessing rather than poor guessing, it’s still guesswork. We need to remember that when we describe the world, by making general conclusions about the world, we are guessing. And therefore we must always be ready to admit a fault in our generalizations.
Going on to epistemology. Epistemology is basic. Probably the most fundamental thing to know about any human being is why he believes what he believes. If you can find out where he gets his premises, what the source of his evidence is, you’ve got an understanding of that person. And there are some important things to know about epistemology. It’s important to know for one thing that wherever a man gets his evidence or his premises about the world, he must have preconceptions. Descartes tried desperately to eliminate all pre-conceptions from his mind and get back to his fundamentals. His is a classic case. But it is impossible. He had to assume something. He assumed that he had thought. He didn’t mention the other premise that he assumed, namely that thinking things exist, which enabled him to conclude that he existed. But nevertheless, you have to start with some premises. It is so important to realize that the premises that we adopt always control our inquiry. There is no such thing as starting off with a blank slate in this world, of pretending to be “objective.” We always start with premises, with preconceptions; these control inquiry.
It is important to note that there is no such thing as being strictly empirical. We like to think sometimes that we’re going to the world and being hard and cold about the facts that are there, but we aren’t. There’s no such thing as a hard, cold fact. They don’t exist in the universe. The things we call hard, cold facts are very carefully marshaled bits of evidence which are fully interpreted in the light of prejudices and preconceptions. Hard, cold facts have a way of changing and flipping. It just doesn’t pay to be dogmatic and say “Let’s just go to the evidence.” The evidence frequently is a matter of rationalization. We must pick and choose evidence in this world. It’s impossible to take all of it; and as we begin to pick and choose, we’re not going to the evidence, we’re going to our evidence. And our evidence almost always is what we want to believe. That doesn’t make us very happy, perhaps, but nevertheless, if that’s the way it is we’d better face the nature of the beast.
The world we live in then, the world we think we know, the world we describe when we speak of it as accurately as we can, is a world of construct. It’s a world of imagination something that exists within our minds. There is probably a universe out there somewhere, but the world we live in is within our own skulls. It’s a function of our own imagination. We create it. We invent it. We live in it. We fashion it. Sometimes we’re willing to take account of the things out in the world to change our construct. But all of us have the problem that we cannot afford to believe what our senses tell us. You see our senses are not objective. They are very perspectival. They do not give us the universe as it really is. When you look at railroad tracks and see them converge in the distance your mind must reassure you that they do not actually converge. You cannot afford to believe the way it looks. We must know that the real universe is somehow different from the way it appears. But on the other hand, is what we construct it to be in our minds the truth of the Universe? With proper humility we have to say no. Each of us constructs a universe and then lives in that hoping that somehow there is a sufficient correspondence between our constructed universe and that which actually exists.
Now that which actually exists of course is the domain of metaphysics. And this is again crucial to our thinking–to the way we live our lives. But our metaphysics depends upon our epistemology. How we get our answers deter-mines what we believe about the universe. You hear a lot of noise in metaphysics about idealism and materialism. Many people in the world claim to be materialists–the Marxists for instance, and many of our humanist friends claim to be materialists–their world is material and they base their ideas on evidence; objective evidence about the physical world. The problem with that is that when you examine so-called materialists, when you go into their thinking and ask them what the metaphysical basis of the world really is, you find that what they are telling you is a platonic ideal. I personally have never met a philosopher who claimed he was a materialist who wasn’t an idealist. In other words, the material world he claims to believe in is actually an ideal.
My test for telling whether a person is a genuine materialist or not is simply to ask him if he knows what the universe is. If he says, “No,” he has a chance of being a materialist. I say that simply, because you see, we are so constructed as human beings that our consciousness is within our bodies. We don’t see out through our bodies. What we see is apparently something that is cast on some kind of a screen on the back of our brain. We don’t see in our eyes. We don’t touch in our fingers. We don’t hear in our ears. All these sensations take place in the back of the head; therefore, we never see the world.
We never have any direct contact with that part of the reality of the universe. The “outside world” is a function of the sensory mechanisms of this body plus our imagination. For instance, we don’t visually observe a third dimension in any way, and yet you think you see one, don’t you, as you look at me. You think you see depth. But that’s something that is pure imagination. There is no vision about depth at all, because the eye is a two dimensional surface. It doesn’t project depth at all. There are cues to depth, but the eye projects only two dimensions; and therefore, when we think of the third, it’s strictly imagination. Would that we could know how much more of the universe we think that we directly perceive is also imagination. You see this is one of the tricks of life to figure out how much you’re imagining and how comes through sense. We’ll probably never find out. The one thing we do know is that we don’t see the universe directly; and therefore anybody who pretends to know the truth of the universe is not a materialist. He is assuming that his ideas are the universe, and therefore he is an idealist.
One of the problems in metaphysics is the question concerning how many kinds of things there are in the universe. The popular conception today is monism, the supposition that there is only one basic kind of substance in the universe. I personally find monism to be a rather terrible philosophy, terrible simply because of its many unhappy consequences. People who are monists go around decrying and belaboring the fact that they can’t find any meaningful freedom in the universe. The peculiar thing is that you believe in a monism, if you believe there is only one kind of substance and one kind of law operating in the universe, you cannot have a meaningful concept of freedom. Determinism must govern all pervasively and effectively. That’s a real fatalism. And that’s what people are trapped into if they are consistent monists.
So people who are born and bred in our modern society believing in the scientific approach they’re given to the universe almost always are monists. And it’s not surprising that they grow up believing in monism. In jurisprudence it is thus commonly held that people don’t really have any agency; and therefore, there’s no point in punishing a criminal. You see, what traps them, what keeps them from being free is their preconceptions–their metaphysics. I find that a dualism, or better 3ùet, a pluralism is a better way to conceive the universe. I can’t find any basis for genuine freedom for human beings short of at least three basic kinds of things in the universe. So I’m a pluralist. And using this system of thought, I can make some very meaningful distinctions. The monist might say to me, “But of course that’s your presumption.” Then I simply say back to him, “But monism is only your presumption.” There is no possible way to demonstrate either monism or pluralism. A person believes what he believes about metaphysics simply because he wants to. And the sooner we all find that out and acknowledge it, perhaps we will stop burning people at the stake for their beliefs. I find this a terrible thing to think that human beings could be so ignorant of their own knowledge processes that they would think to take another man’s life because he doesn’t believe like they do. And yet, you see, the inquisition is not dead. We have a social inquisition that goes on in very much the same way in our society today, if you would care to search it out, which has an exact parallel to the inquisition of the sixteenth century.
Going on to ethics. Usually when people talk about ethics they talk about various kinds of goods and so forth. I’d like to just jump over all of that and point out a few things that I think are crucial and fundamental. First of all, when people talk about what good for man really is, they usually make the mistake of assuming that all men are identical. This is a metaphysical assumption. It goes along with monism. But I find it impossible to believe that every human being that I know is cast in exactly the same mold and that ultimately the only differences are differences of particularity of environment. I just can’t find that to be a meaningful way of thinking about human beings. To me, I find that “the good,” that pleases a man, is something quite personal. I don’t believe there is an absolute good in the universe. I think it’s entirely relative and personal to the individual involved. We can’t say what is good for someone else. It is up to every individual to find for himself what is good for himself. I think that one of the great obligations of being an intelligent creature is to cut through all the acculturation we receive in our education and our environment and find out for ourselves what we really like.
But then at the same time I think we need to recognize that good and right are two very different creatures. Usually they are not distinguished. Most philosophers confuse them. The scriptures usually do not differentiate them, but they are two separate questions. I take it that when we have freedom we can do what seemeth to us good, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean we’re right in doing it. I take right to be what we ought to do. It’s a truism that every man will do what is good to him. Ultimately, when he becomes free, he will choose that which pleases him most. You don’t have to worry people doing what’s good, everybody does that. Everybody does his own good. But you see, the real question in ethics is what is right. What “ought” a man to do. Is there any “ought”? I think there is an “ought.” And I think the “ought” is supplied within us. I think the “ought” comes when a person says, “What is my concern in this universe?” If my concern is only my personal pleasure then the only “ought” that I can muster is the “ought” of pleasure.
But on the other hand if I see a genuine concern for other people I take it this is the basic meaning of the word “right”. Right is a social thing. And that the social relations that should govern us so that we can all find our own good or our own happiness is what makes the “right.” This is an objective thing. I think this is absolute. I think it is something that a person must wrestle with if he wishes to have any concern for others, he must come to grips with the fact that when he starts trying to help someone else that is not a subjective thing. He must do what actually helps that other person, And that becomes objective, that becomes universal, that becomes absolute.
So I think that we cannot hide behind the fact that good is relative and pretend that all things are relative. They are not, some are relative and some are absolute.
Going on to religion, I define religion as the way a person orders his life. In the latin relago. It is analogous that every man has a religion. And the religion is simply the pattern by which he lives. Not every man has a church, but every man has a religion. I find it paradoxical that I can hardly find anybody whose professed religion is the same as his actual religion. Most people tell you they believe in one thing and they’ll do quite another. It’s like Chrysler Corporation got into this box a few years ago they went and asked everyone what they would like if they had the ideal car. So people described the ideal car, it was an economy vehicle, no trim on it just the absolute transportation. So they produced it, nobody bought it, because what people really wanted was a plush car with the trim. And that’s what they bought. You see, we are very much that way about religion. We think we believe one thing, we go to great pains to give certain theological answers, but then go out and act entirely as if those answers didn’t exist. As I say, the rarest thing I know among human beings is a being whose professed religion and his actual religion are the same thing. I take it that is one thing philosophy can help a person to achieve. To help him think through what he is doing in connection with what he says and thinks he believes to see if they are all consistent. But that’s a rare bird.
Consistent with this is the idea that every man has a god. The word god is a contraction of the word good. A person’s god is simply his good. There is something in every person’s life which is a greatest good to him. And that’s his god. Again I find it amazing to see how few people who claim that Jesus Christ is their god actually have him as their good. It seldom happens. I think there are a lot of people who would like to. But you see, that’s what I guess the business of repentance is. It’s getting our mind shaped around to where we are consistent. Where we don’t say one thing and profess another.
The word `repentance’ in the Greek is metanoya which means “change your mind.” I find it very enlightening to construe repentance that way. Getting our thinking straightened out is probably the biggest challenge we have in this life. And to think consistently; to get our religion, our god, our goods all lined up and going the same direction; that’s a great achievement.
One problem in the religion that always bothers people is the problem of evil. And I find that I have a conclusion on that subject which not very many people share. My conclusion is with Liebnitz: that this is the best of all possible worlds. I wish we had time to go into this into some detail, because I think that this, when you understand it, becomes a delightful concept. I mean to say by that the universe as we know it, the world we live in today, is the best is could possibly be. Now knowing what you know of the world. I think you’ll find that hard to swallow. I hope you won’t swallow it, of course. But I think you’ll find it hard even to understand that a rational creature could say such. Or a rationalizing creature, pardon me. But nevertheless, I find this to be a deliberate conclusion. To put it very briefly, I happen to believe in a God who is all powerful, and who is good, and who has this world completely in control. If there were any way it could be better, I am convinced he would change it to be that. And since he doesn’t, since he has ordained it to be the way it is, I am convinced that this world is the best of all possible worlds for us. Now I think it will have to change, the world changes from moment to moment in accordance with your actions and my actions. But I think that from moment to moment, especially when you and I do what we know we ought to do, the world continues to be from moment to moment what it ought to be. It is the perfect place for what it is designed to be. Namely, a place to try men’s souls. To purify them, to prepare them. And I find that I cannot fault the Lord in any way, he has done a marvelous job in constructing this world. I am not very happy with many of the things that are going on in it, but nevertheless as I stop and contemplate it philosophically, I have to acknowledge these things that I see happening (and I say this both out of the particulars of my own suffering and the suffering I see others engaged in) I have to admit that God is good. He is achieving marvelous things with all this evil and this suffering that is going on in the world.
A word about science. The basic problem that most people are concerned about in connection with science is the conflict between science and religion. Many people will say there is no conflict, I find myself that there is a vast difference between science and at least LDS religion. I sure there are some religions that are indistinguishable from science. But between LDS religions and science I find a vast difference. However the conflict arises only when one insists upon making science a religion. It’s quite possible to do that. But I don’t find it necessary to make science our religion to be a scientist or to be scientific. We can be perfectly scientific without giving it our ultimate allegiance. Without making “it” that chimerical, mythical “it” (there is really no such thing as science, you know) that is merely an idea in our minds. There are lots of particulars in the world that we catch under this rubric, but there is no such thing as the rubric itself. When a person makes science his god, or his good, I think somehow he is in spiritually trouble (obviously) but intellectual trouble as well. Because he may not be aware what science really is as an enterprise. But that’s where the conflict comes.
A person must declare his allegiance; he must give his allegiance in our church either to the gospel, or to something else. And I find many in our church who give their allegiance to science. And then for them there does become a very definite conflict, they cannot stomach many of the things that go on in the church. Which is the beginning of their departure.
I find there is little true science around. Science is the business, I take it, of reorganizing concepts of the world in order to think of the world more effectively and more economically. Technology, on the other hand, is taking concepts which have been thus formulated and adjusting the world in accordance with them. As I look at science books, I find almost no science in them. They’re almost 100 percent technology. I believe that is one reason why America has never excelled in science. We excel in technology because we teach technology. European institutions do a much better job of teaching scientific thinking; and that’s why most of the great discoveries have come out of European institutions.
Dipping into politics for just a moment; I have a bad time in politics because every time I listen to liberals, I know I’m not one of them. Every time I listen to conservatives, I know I’m not one of them, And both of them think I’m the other. Those labels don’t mean an awful lot. To be very blunt about it and frank with you my own political persuasion is that I’m a revolutionary. I am utterly disgusted with this world the way it is. And I am bound and determined to do something about it. The force of my life and strength is to be spent in changing it. But I’m a little different from most revolutionaries. The battleground for my revolution is within my own breast. I find it a terrible species of temerity for people to launch revolutions to try to force other men to conform to their ideas when they haven’t got themselves straightened out. For some reason I can’t find any sympathy with people who want to go out and burn and shout and force other people. I think that’s a very non- intelligent kind of revolution. I think that if I will put my own heart and mind in shape, then perhaps I can be an asset to this universe. Until then, I’d better stick to home and get the work done. If I ever should become an asset to this universe, then I think I could through persuasion show other people and maybe help them, not by any force, but simply by persuasion, a way that we could better our society and circumstances. To me that is the true revolution.
To go back to what I said about good and right, I think you can do good using force, but never what’s right. Right is always a thing that needs freedom and persuasion. The integrity of the individual must be preserved, or right cannot be involved. And those who would force good upon the world ultimately are simply denying the integrity of the individual.
I think you probably observe in all that I have said that though I have been talking about philosophy, my thoughts have never been far from the gospel. I would find it personally a terrible travesty to have it any other way because I happen to know the gospel is true. For me. I can’t claim it to be true for anyone else, but I know it’s true for me. I know that as my thinking gets better and better, speaking of it in relation to its internal consistency, speaking of it in relation to the evidence I have from the world, that the more my thinking grows and gets better the more it approximates the gospel. What I know from the scriptures and from listening to the brethren. My own propensities force me to bring everything I think professionally in terms with what I know in the gospel. I cannot have two pockets. They must be consistent. My life must be a whole. And so of necessity I continually compare my own thinking and philosophy with what I learn in the gospel, and I find the two complement each other beautifully. They enhance one another. But I must be careful to put one as ultimate, namely that the things of the gospel are ultimate.
Now, one of the problems that bothers a lot of the people in the Church is the fact that we don’t have unity on what we believe. I find this not too disturbing. I can get along very well with a man who disagrees with me as long as he will work beside me in the kingdom, I find it important that we disagree simply for the reason that I know that I haven’t arrived yet and I don’t think he has arrived yet. If we can’t disagree and change our minds, neither of us will come to the truth eventually. The ability to err is also the ability to repent. I’m grateful for the fact that the brethren give us a lot of latitude in this Church to think false doctrine. Where they are strict is on what we do and I think that is just the way it ought to be. If we work together in the Church, if we ever get the priesthood harness on, I think we will come more and more to a unity of the faith. We will come to see eye to eye. I think there will come a day when people will believe exactly the same. That’s the day they become Christ-like. They will have the same opinions on politics and food and recreation. This doesn’t mean they will lose their individuality completely, but they will come to see eye to eye on all things. And I hold this as a great and wonderful goal. But in the meantime, I’m not at all disturbed that we don’t have that. The unity that I think we ought to be concerned about is the unity of our action and support of the brethren in moving forward the work of the kingdom.
Well, as I come to conclude now, I suppose that something I have said has been disagreeable to you. I hope so, because that means you have been thinking for yourself. You could not have had all the experiences I have had in my life, and therefore if you come to my conclusions it’s perhaps unfortunate. You ought to come to the conclusions that your life brings you to. I hope that we will deal with each other in ways that pay more attention to what we do rather than what we say. What a man does is really the measure of what he believes and thinks, not what he says. I hope we all will do good things. I hope we will put our minds and lives in order, some of us think we are so great, let’s see what we can do with it. What kind of happiness we can bring into this world through the struggle that we have to purify and correct ourselves.
Finally, I come down to this point. The only thing that I am sure about in this world that I can really anchor my thought and mind and hope to is Jesus Christ. I know his voice as he speaks to me through the Spirit. And I find that to be most precious. And I would encourage everyone who has a hope in any of the things that the gospel promises to try to come unto the Savior and to live knowing something of his Spirit. That is living. The Spirit is sweet, I don’t know about you, bu I can taste it. It tastes sweet and it is most delightful. I know of nothing more satisfying than to know that I am in accord with him who speaks to me through the Spirit. I’ve never seen him. I hope someday that my faith can be pure enough that I can. But I know that he is good, he is light, he is truth, because of the progress that he has enabled me to make.
And one further thing that I have come to see so clearly in my own life. Namely, that sanity and righteousness are identical and that sin and insanity are identical. I’m not talking about people with organic disturbances that can’t think, but I’m talking about those of us who can think. I’m convinced that when we sin knowingly it is simply because we cannot accept the truth. We are insane. It’s no mistake that Satan is the Father of lies and that the Savior is the truth. He is the truth and the light. He is clarity. He is reality. Satan is an inconsistent deceiver.
In all these things I would simply like to leave you with my testimony. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I am most grateful for that. And I’m grateful for the chance to associate with you and to say these few words. And I bear my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.