Certainly Uncertain

My philosophical friend got me thinking tonight and now I’m wondering if I’m certainly uncertain or if I’m uncertainly certain. Here’s the quote and her thought that stimulate my ponderous reply:

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” -Voltaire

I love accepting uncertainty. For me, it makes faith and belief more tangible and hopeful.

Janelle Page:

you know what they always say. .. the only thing that is certain is death and taxes.

it was so funny because today I was in a board meeting where everyone was fretting about our upcoming event next year located in Orlando. . . the event is Nov. 2018 and they are freaking out because “What if there is a hurricane?” I was like, “Are you freaking kidding me?” Pick another location and there could be a fire, an earthquake, a terrorist attack… I mean a freaking tornado hit downtown SLC several years ago. I explained to them that we could include an Act of God clause as almost every event I speak at has me sign a contract that includes such clauses. It makes certain that any uncertainties won’t cause any party to be held liable.

Here’s reality: The only thing we can be certain of in this life is uncertainty. But because we are certain we have a loving Father in Heaven–who has a loving, divine, overarching plan–that uncertainty isn’t scary. It is what makes this life so splendid.

Roller coaster rides are full of ups and downs–that’s what makes it a ride. No one would dare climb aboard if they weren’t certain the ride would have a happy ending. And happy endings all really just depend on where you stop your story.

So now I’m no longer certain about uncertainty, faith, hope, and belief. I am certain, however, that because God is my loving Father, the ride will end up just fine. I think I’ll throw my hands up in the air and enjoy the ups, downs, and twisty arounds. 😉 Oh and I’ll keep thanking God for the fun friends he sent to ride alongside me.

Thanks for spurring some great thoughts tonight. I’m certainly uncertain. . . or is it uncertainly certain?

Talking About Beliefs

Looks like I’d better start talking about beliefs because tomorrow I’ve been asked to give a 10 min talk on honoring and staying true to your beliefs. That’s kind of an interesting topic for me to consider because personally, I believe that beliefs are fluid. They are always evolving and changing with time and experience. What I believe today is different than what I believed yesterday, and what I believe tomorrow will be different than what I believe today.

Some of my favorite thoughts on beliefs include:

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

~Bertrand Russell (British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate)

Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.

And of course, Morpheus is always profound:

In response to captain who said, “Not everyone believes what you believe”, Morpheus replies: “My beliefs do not require them to”

Your beliefs don’t make you a free thinker. Your ability to change your mind based on new information does.

Beliefs are interesting things. I can tell you what I believe and some of it may ring true to you and some of it may not. I may believe that BYU is the finest university with the finest collegiate teams. You, however, may believe that the U of U is.  Who is right? Who is wrong?

Here’s the reality. I grew up a die hard Cougar fan. My father bled blue, and so did my entire family, until my dad became a professor at the U of U, my brother attended graduate school there, and the Huntsman U of U Hospital saved 3 of my family members from cancer. With time and experience, our die hard belief that that the Cougars are the best has changed.  We now love the Utes just the same. Who changed?

So when it comes to beliefs, I don’t know that giving a talk telling you to “honor” or be “true” to your beliefs is really the most important message that can be given about beliefs because how do you know your belief is more valid than someone else’s? I think any worthy discussion on beliefs must begin at the beginning. One must ask, “How are beliefs born?” “What determines an individuals’ beliefs? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Beliefs are products of our nature, nurture, culture (societal, religious, familial), life experiences, geography, etc.  Have you ever wondered how your beliefs would differ from what you hold to be true today had you been born in a remote village in Nepal, India? Would you be sitting in a Mormon Sacrament Meeting today? What if you had been born an Eskimo in Eastern Siberia? Would you believe seal blubber to be the finest delicacy on the planet and prefer the freezing cold to the infernal heat? Check out this image:

What do you see? Who is right? Who is wrong? Those who first saw the old lady, were you right? Now that you see the young lady are you wrong? Or are both of you now just “enlightened” because you all now see more. Beliefs really are lame to talk about since we don’t really see things as they are, we see them as we really are.

You see, I don’t see a whole lot of merit in discussing the importance of standing for and honoring your beliefs because frankly, I don’t think beliefs are what make people great. No, I believe that it is our behavior, not our beliefs, that make us great. And the greatest way to behave is in LOVE. Love is the sine qua non (sahy-nee kwey non) or essential ingredient in greatness. Was it Martin Luther King’s belief in racial equality that made him great or was it the way he led the civil rights movement in love that inspired a nation to change? Would his “Dream” to “Let Freedom Ring” have inspired hearts had he bombed and blasted his way to greatness? No, Martin Luther King’s legacy lives on because he led in love. Gandhi was no different. His belief in a united, free India is not what made him great? No, it was his love for his fellow man. And what of Mother Teresa? Was it her belief in the Roman Catholic faith that made her great? And the way she defended those beliefs? Or was it her loving service that made her a literal saint?

Again I ask, what makes a man or woman great? Their beliefs or their behavior? Their religion or their love? Jesus, teaching on the shores of Galilee, said, “As I have loved you, love one another.” In the Sermon on the Mount, he proclaimed, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” And again, he spoke, “The first great commandment is to Love God with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength, and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (on these hang all the laws and the prophets)”. To which a lawyer responded, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered by sharing the story of the Good Samaritan. He concluded by asking, “Who of these three was neighbor unto him who fell among thieves?” To which the lawyer responded, “He that shewed mercy on him.” Jesus responded, “Go and do thou likewise.” Isn’t it interesting that it was the Pharisees, lawyers and scribes beliefs that kept them from seeing God when he came in the flesh as their savior?” Brothers and Sisters, if we are not careful, our beliefs can likewise prevent us from seeing God in the flesh. Our brothers and sisters are all divine beings, offspring of the Most High. It isn’t our beliefs that matter. It is our love, for God is love, and are we not all god’s in training?

May our beliefs lead us to greater love and I am now done talking about beliefs! You can read how well my talk was received here.


There are very few things I know. In fact, each day I realize how much I don’t know. And I’m okay with that, but it seems that others aren’t. Why do so many struggle with “not knowing?” So much so that they have to stand before others and testify that they “Do Know?”

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting at church and one individual stood to bear his testimony and it was unbearable because it was so overbearing. First, it felt like a contrived performance. Second, the gentlemen seemed to be shouting his convictions.  The theatrical display was so disconcerting because it felt like he was trying too hard to convince himself that what he was saying was indeed true. What it really felt like he was saying was, “I need desperately for what I’m saying to be true.” He was like a drowning man, grasping for something solid to hold on to.

The whole episode was uncomfortable and I was glad when it was over. What was it about him claiming to know that bothered me so? I was pondering on it when divine synchronicity stepped in. My dear friend–and I call him my dear friend because he has had such a profound impact upon my life–pinpointed exactly why the testimony yesterday felt so unbearable and overbearing in his post he entitled: Three Simple Words that Could Save Humanity.

It was an excellent entry and I especially appreciated this quote he shared by Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) 

You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.

My friend and I had a discussion about the gentleman’s testimony and Palmer’s post about truth and not knowing. We decided that obvious truths don’t tend to get us all excited. Nor do we feel the need to stand up in front of others and testify of them. In fact, the more intense people are when they testify and claim to know the truth the more it tends to push me away. Their intensity feels like an attempt to convince themselves that what they are saying is true. Instead of convincing others they simply reveal their insecurity in their beliefs and it becomes apparent that they are trying mightily to convince themselves of what they are claiming to “know.”

I love how Mr. Palmer closed his post on Not Knowing:

Because none of us truly know with absolute certainty who we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where we’re going, and who or what — if anything — is running the whole show, each of us has a fundamental choice:

  1. –Be afraid of not knowing, and in that fear, close our minds and hearts in an attempt to protect ourselves, or

–Be comfortable and at peace with not knowing, and in that peace, open our minds and hearts to love and acceptance.

Not knowing doesn’t have to be what tears us apart — it can be the very thing that brings all of humanity together.

Amen Brother Palmer. Amen. I don’t know if what you are saying is true, but it feels true to me and it’s what I currently choose to believe.