By Dawn Norton
A few months ago I was asked to teach a short class on faith. I’ve expanded the ideas I taught and tried to make it more understandable for those unfamiliar with Mindset Mastery “laws.” Faith is at the very top of the list of qualities we want to have well developed within us. Just like we fall short of our revelatory privileges, it is clear to me that we fall far, far short of the blessings we could receive if we simply understood how to have greater faith. The kind that makes things happen. I started this faith journey many many years ago, but stumbled around without having a lot of direction on how to increase my faith without sheer straining and will power, which I found was not very effective. As I’ve gained experience with these principles, I have become more confident in my ability to ask, envision, act, rejoice in the coming blessing, and receive, knowing that God is willing to answer and give according to my desire.
Years ago, then, Elder Boyd K Packer said, “I recognize two kinds of faith. The first is the kind that is apparent in the world. It is the common denominator of most everything that goes on. It is the thing that lets us exist. It is the thing that gives us some hope of getting anything done. Everyone has it, some in a larger measure than others. The second kind of faith, remarkably rare, unusual to find, is the kind of faith that causes things to happen. Faith is a power as real as electricity except a thousand times more powerful. Now did you ever exercise faith—exercise it, practice it, you see, not just take it for granted? When you look at yourself, ask yourself how faithful you are. Faith is a first principle of the gospel according to the Lord. Is it a first principle in the gospel according to you?” (https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/boyd-k-packer/articles-faith/)
My contention is, understanding that we are human, that if we really had faith, we would have NO fear. If we really had faith, we could do so much more of what President Packer said, “causes things to happen.” We could do the “greater things” Christ said we could do. So, I’ve been studying and practicing “laws” that help me understand it better and accomplish it better. As I have experienced tremendous success (for myself based on my history), I have marveled at what it really gives me access to.
Here are the laws I have used the most to increase my faith. There are many others. I’ve made up the names for some of them. 1) The Law of the Harvest is the easiest one to grasp. It simply says, we reap what we sow. Or, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Planting a garden is a perfect way to see this principle carried out. If you want tomatoes and you plant a tomato seed, you’re not going to get peaches or apricots. When you plant that seed, you have an expectation in the end that you’re going to have tomatoes. And you know that when you plant that seed, as long as you water it and nourish it and do all the things that are mentioned in Alma 32, in the end, you’re going to have tomatoes. One thing that you don’t do is exclaim, “Oh no, what if I don’t get tomatoes? What if I get thorns and briers instead? What if the Lord doesn’t want me to have tomatoes?”
Conversely, when we plant all manner of weed seeds, we see similar results, only negatively. James Allen, the author of As a Man Thinketh, has been quoted in general conference twice and in President Kimball’s, The Miracle of Forgiveness. One of my favorite quotes in his book is:
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
What are we cultivating? What seeds are we planting? Interestingly, when we are in full blown doubt, we don’t ask the tomato seed questions. Instead, we affirm our situation. “I’m just a loser. I’ll never amount to anything. My teacher was right.”
I call the second law, the Law of Opposition. It’s clearly not original. It simply says there is opposition in all things. But we tend to fight valiantly against opposition. I have found that I succeed much easier when I don’t resist the opposition. Accepting that there is opposition and being in a state of gratitude allows me to overcome the opposition much more easily. Similarly, the worse the opposition is, the greater opportunity there is. I can rejoice when things seem “terrible” because I know the blessing will be that much greater. Reread the story of Job.
The Law of Gratitude is the third one. I’ve been in a gratitude experiment for over 15 years now. I’ve written a lot about it. A few years ago, I decided to ratchet up my practice a little more; to try to truly be grateful in all things. I’m still working on it. But in my attempts to be grateful in all things, I’ve experienced more joy, more blessings, and even in one case, a physical healing. The Spirit whispered to me that my years of suffering with eczema was healed because of a specific, intense experience with gratitude. Study thanksgiving in the scriptures.
The 4th law I have used that I think has been my own discovery, in that I’ve never seen it taught in relation to faith, is the Law of Compensation. Living in gratitude has helped me realize that when I have disappointments, the Lord ALWAYS makes it up to me. He is perfectly fair, even though our human condition wants us to ignore that fact. Fairness doesn’t always come in this life, but the more I recognize His hand in compensating me for disappointments, the more quickly I see His blessings. In the ultimate promise, Joseph Smith said:
“All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.”
I’m calling the 5th law, the Law of Vision, which is based on three scriptures in the Book of Mormon about the ‘eye of faith’. I link the ‘eye of faith’ with the scripture in Hebrews 11 where we get the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I went into the Webster’s 1828 dictionary and I looked up all of the words to find out what the definitions were. When I did that, I decided to rewrite that scripture in my own words. So this is according to Dawn, but here is my version. Faith is something real that we desire and obtain with a confident, joyful expectation by looking for proof or evidence of things we cannot see.
One of the things that I loved when the new Child and Youth Program was introduced in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was the videos that showed the little children holding up their vision boards or goal posters. I thought that was so neat because like the Relief Society Declaration and the Young Woman’s Theme, all were written in affirmations. Vision boards can be very helpful in obtaining our goals, when we write them down. Then we see them before us constantly to completion, and we feel excited about what is coming. That is actually an act of faith and that’s making it real. In Proverbs 29, we read, “where there is no vision, the people perish.”
When we have doubt and fear and worry and anxiety about whether things are happening or not, or whether it’s in the Lord’s will, it’s just like digging up our little tomato seed and saying, “Hey, little tomato seed, are you growing? Are you ever going to have a tomato?” We wouldn’t do that and so we shouldn’t do that with our faith either.
Oh yes, the three scriptures. Here’s what I found about having an “eye of faith.” The first scripture is Alma 5:15, the second scripture is in Alma 32 verses 40 and 41 and finally Ether 12:19. In Alma 5, it talks about looking forward with an eye of faith to the mortal body raised in immortality to be judged by God. In the second one, Alma 32 verses 40 and 41, it talks about nourishing the tree. In this great faith discussion, we plant a seed of faith. We nourish it, and it grows. It speaks of looking forward to the fruit, thereof, and it shall take root. When we look forward to the fruit of the tree, instead of just being where we are and planting the seed, we can know and trust that it’s going to take root.
In Ether 12:19, “And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes, the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith. And they were glad.”
These good people had so much faith in the moment looking forward. They saw themselves in the presence of Jesus Christ and they could not be kept from within his presence. This is the ultimate grand expression of faith; to be in the Savior’s presence. They saw it here looking forward to it there, and then it happened.
In these three scriptures, I noticed the words, looking forward, looking forward and saw. It cemented for me that when I set my goals and when I’m trusting in the Lord for my salvation and doing what I can do, that I can look forward to the goal and see it as already accomplished.
There are actually many, many laws, but I’m calling the last one for this writing the Law of Joyful Expression. “Man is that he might have joy.” We’re meant to live in that state. If we aren’t, then we ought to ponder why we are not and then do the work required to change it, which amounts to practice, patience, and persistence.
In 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 we read: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
This goes along with the Law of Gratitude, but when we are living joyfully, prayerfully, and thankfully we have a happiness that goes out from us to others. It has a way of changing us and others. And it seems to have a way of changing our circumstances. When we envision our goals, prayers, and dreams while being in this joyful state, it seems to have that effect that President Packer talked about. It causes things to happen.
Combining all of the laws, my final action is to reject any doubt. We are told many times in the scriptures to doubt not, and fear not. We CANNOT have long term faith, when we stew in doubtful questions and fear. They kill faith. When I feel those things, I reject the thought and think of how joyful I will feel when the Lord helps and answers my prayer. I assume that what I want is Heavenly Father’s will for me because the Lord Himself said,
“If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.”
If I don’t receive, either I had doubts, making my faith too small, or it wasn’t His will for me and I let it go. But since I have discovered these things and planted my little mustard seeds, I have seen tremendous growth. I’ll give one personal example because I this is much longer than you might enjoy reading and then I’ll offer some wonderful resources.
When we moved to the Gila Valley in Arizona, about seven years ago, I really, really wanted to buy a house eventually with the mountain in view. We have this beautiful mountain called Mount Graham. And, so I took a picture of the mountain and I put it as the background of my phone. And I looked at that every single day for probably a year. Every time I opened my phone, I saw that mountain. Eventually I changed it, but I still had that mountain in my mind very vividly. And it took us two years before we actually found the property that we wanted. And it “just so happened” that our house went under contract the same weekend I found our property and then I stood back and looked at all of the evidence.
We had written down everything that we wanted in that home. And as I drove up to the house and I looked around, I was just overwhelmed because there was that beautiful mountain in view. And here was everything that we wanted except for the house. And there were a few things that we wanted that weren’t on the list, but we decided we could build later. All these years later, we are doing that now. It took two years of having a vision and looking forward to what we wanted. It’s not something that happened overnight, but we held the continual faith and vision of that mountain and the things that we wanted, and eventually that came to pass. Five years later, we completed that vision.
I have used these principles mostly to succeed in business, but most recently I have realized the tremendous good it could do in my personal relationships. It is right now helping me make great strides with my father, giving me more patience and love to deal with him. However, I believe the greatest potential in what I have learned is for the coming day we are all waiting for. Because I have learned that I can ask, and He wants to answer, I can expect that He will. Because I have seen impossible things with money happen, I know that when my life or my family depend on it, I can trust in Him. The temporal manifestation of these principles has given me a concrete way to see it in action; to be a cause and a creator in my life with my Heavenly Father. I’m so grateful! In the end, I have learned I CAN TRUST HIM ALWAYS and I need not fear. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’m getting better every day. I hope that this has been helpful. I hope it inspires you to study the topic more. In a nutshell…
When I am grateful no matter what, and I have a vision, looking forward to “the fruit” and I reject or cast out doubtful/fearful ideas, and I express myself joyfully around my vision, planting little seeds and expecting a harvest, that is exactly what I get, more often than not. I trust Him when I don’t and let the negative emotions that tempt me, roll off. When things aren’t going my way, I know that He will make it up to me and things will be better soon.
Here are some additional thoughts and resources:
“We need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world.” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2015/10/a-plea-to-my-sisters?lang=eng
Anything by Elder Cook, but this talk https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/gene-r-cook/faith-in-the-lord-jesus-christ/ and this incredible audio. https://deseretbook.com/p/faith-lord-jesus-christ-gene-r-cook-459?variant_id=113089-audiobook-mp3-
Alma 32, Be believing. Commit yourself. Do your part, pray, expect trials of your faith and then expect the Lord to answer. There’s 20 verses in chapter 32 that go over that process of increasing your faith.
Elder Pearson’s awesome conference talk about faith. He said lack of faith is six Ds; doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience and disbelief. Awesome talk.
Elder Packer said, “in a world filled with skepticism and doubt, the expressions, ‘seeing is believing’ promotes the attitude, you show me and I’ll believe. We want all of the proof and all of the evidence first. It seems hard to take things on faith. When will we learn that in spiritual things, and I think temporal things too, it works the other way around that believing is seeing. Spiritual belief proceeds spiritual knowledge. When we believe in things that are not seen but are nevertheless true, then we have faith.”
Amazing article on faith. https://latterdaysaintmag.com/article-1-9156/
And, www.rarefaith.org, my friend Leslie’s wonderful site.
For more on this topic, read Leslie’s book Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters FREE