Belief Part 2

Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.

– Confucius

I concluded my thoughts yesterday with the first type of belief identified by Anthony Robbins in Awaken the Giant Within. As part of that discussion I began to try to put words to what can only be called an epiphany that I had while writing. It was quite difficult last night, and I expect I will have similar a struggle tonight. I only hope that I can convey what is so clear to me in a way that will be of benefit to someone. I worry that because I can see what I want to write in such sharp focus that I will neglect to build the proper foundation for others to see it as well. But enough of bemoaning my fate as a “troubled writer” – although I don’t consider either of those titles appropriate for what and who I am – all that is left is to begin.

As I mentioned yesterday, the second kind of belief Robbins defines is termed “belief”. For Robbins these were originally opinions that have been repeatedly reinforced. Often the specific instances that strengthened the opinion have some kind of emotion associated with them. The stronger the emotions, the more a person will feel that the belief is in fact correct. This is important because individuals have enough faith in beliefs that they will begin to use them to make decisions about their lives should be lived. This definition of “belief” dovetails quite nicely with Neal A. Maxwell’s second type of truth.

These truths are “proximate and important truths” – they tell us about the universe in which we live. Much of the truth in this category has been discovered by using the scientific method. This category is filled with ideas and theories that enrich our lives and change the way we live. However, this group of truth is not perfect. A few short decades ago it was widely believed that smoking was good for one’s health. We now know that is not the case, but at that time the benefits of smoking could well have been put into this second category of truth. While there are times that we make mistakes, these truths have shown a consistent trend in a positive direction. Living by these truths can generally increase the quality of our lives.

David A. Bednar calls his second category “principles.” These are ideas that answer the question of “how”. For instance: how can I do well on my upcoming test, or how can I best provide for my family. Once again these are more substantial or important than the ideas I discussed in yesterday’s post. In conclusion let’s quickly examine the composite image I have tried to create for the second category of truth/belief. These are things that we have seen to be true, they are more permanent ideas than inconsequential facts, and they answer the questions of how.

Tomorrow I will finally finish this long-winded analysis by covering Robbins’ “convictions”, Maxwell’s “ultimate truths”, and Bednar’s “doctrines”.

Are these ideas making any sense? Let me know.


What have I learned today?

I learned it is important to not divide my life. My personal life should be the same as my public life.

What did I contribute or improve?

I spent some time (although not much) reviewing my Mandarin flashcards.

What did I enjoy?

I greatly enjoyed watching the first day of my church’s biannual general conference. Tomorrow is the last day, if you would like to know some of what I believe (and hear David A. Bednar speak) you can watch it here starting at 10:00 am MST.


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