Belief is the product of evidence, interest, and will.Some things I would add are the following:
There is a psychological truth wrapped up in the saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." We are often deceived as to the honesty of our beliefs. We find ourselves believing in the direction of our interests right against evidence, and by applying a little common thinking to our believing we find that interest is the predominating element in some of them.
Three Kinds of Believing
1. Believing with a reasonable doubt. This kind of believing is unfinished and may be called hope-believing, as hope temporarily fills the place of evidence not yet produced. This incomplete believing is unsafe as material upon which to base an important decision. It should always be put on the waiting list as an applicant for a leading role in the drama of our lives. Courts of justice bar it as unfit for any part of a final verdict.
2. Believing with the possibility of a doubt. Here the mind is in a state of unsatisfied certainty. The possibility of error somewhere causes a hesitancy, and shadows of doubt hover in the mind, and we are at the point where we can say, "In all probability this is true, but there is a possibility of its not being true." This form of belief is strong, but not safe for great issues. The possibility of a doubt is a bar to a capital punishment verdict.
3. Believing without the possibility of a doubt. At this point belief is crystalizing into knowledge. Doubt has all vanished; its place has been filled by conviction of its existence. Neither mist nor shadow remains, and one can say, "I cannot doubt in this case." On such a belief only can important issues be safely decided.
Special Fields for Uncommon Believing
1.Believing against immediate interests. It is uncommon for employers to believe that profiteering on the toil of men should be reckoned with, as a form of human enslavement, and it is very uncommon for employees to believe that loafing on the employer's time should be dealt with as down-right dishonesty.
2. Believing in doing what is right and letting the consequences follow. This high grade, uncommon believing is specific; it is not a blanket form of believing, it is a conviction that fits the events of each hour. The person who believes this believes it for himself now. Now, now all the time. Not simply sometime, and for somebody else; he believes it without the possibility of a doubt, i.e., he cannot doubt if he tries.
3. Believing in ourselves in the midst of failure. What this means is wonderfully set forth in Kipling's "If." The whole poem is worth a place in the memory of anyone who believes in doing common things in an uncommon way. When courage dies, we are dead within ourselves. Self encouragement is an indispensable tonic for the stricken soul.
4. Believing in humanity in spite of its weakness. To disbelieve in humanity is to disbelieve in oneself. To doubt that the world is getting better is to show an ignorance of history and a doubt in destiny. It would be difficult to find a group of more disobedient children than that of the first family. (See Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses 5:13-27.) A much larger percent of the inhabitants of the earth are worthy of a place in the ark than was saved in the days of Noah. Where would we find a city containing less than five good people?
5. Believing in God's promises when their fulfilment seems impossible or delayed. Holding the belief in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, made it possible for the Israelites to raise large families. Their belief in the promised gathering has held them intact as a race during the long years of their dispersion while deprived of national existence. Holding to a belief in our blessings is part of holding to the faith.
Counting one's blessings should go farther than remembering those we have, and have had; it should include a faith and a recollection of those officially promised to us. Firmly believing in promises, even if it should not prolong life, will make it fuller and stronger while it lasts.
6. Believing that "virtue is its own reward." We may miss being rewarded for doing good, but we cannot fail to be rewarded by the good we do.
7. Believing that vice is its own penalty. We may evade being punished for our sins, but we cannot escape being punished by them.
8. Believing that heaven-making is better than heaven-hunting. A life of "Here am I, Lord," has much more spiritual enjoyment in it than one of "Where art thou, Lord?"
9. Believing that the only way to ever have peace is to stop preparing for war. Paved roads, good schools, public parks and reclaimed deserts are pathways to heaven. Battleships, big guns, army outfits, are highways to the other place.
10. Believing that God is fully aware of everything we do. A person who believes they are under constant examination by a holy Supreme Being will be in constant alertness to be their best self, even when they are completely alone.
11. Believing that God is holy and cannot look on sin with any allowance or approval. A person who believes in God’s complete distaste for sin will seek to repent of all sins committed, will be highly resistant to temptation, will work to avoid situations where there is a high likelihood of difficult temptations being presented, and will seek for a change of heart so that temptations become abhorrent.
What Desiring is and Does
Desiring is the soul's reach for enjoyment, and that reach may be low or common, or it may be uncommon or high. Common desiring leaves us, at many points, on the border line of animality, where man is "sensual, carnal, and devilish." Uncommon desiring lifts us to the borderland of Divinity in fulfilment of the Beatitude (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God). Our desires reveal ourselves to ourselves. A man is as he thinks. A man is as he remembers. A man is as he imagines. A man is as he believes; but more still, a man is as he desires.
A Classification of Desires
Desires may be, as to their origin, placed in three groups:
1. Desires of physical origin.
2. Desires of intellectual origin.
3. Desires of habit origin.
Physical Desires. The desire of physical origin (or body-born) are the natural appetites or cravings for physical preservation, growth and perpetuity. They are good servants but cruel masters. They are capabilities, without which we should cease to live; under which we would live basely, and over which we shall live gloriously.
Intellectual Desires. Desires of intellectual origin include our ambitions for power, position, possession, and condition—the yearnings for the good, the true, and the beautiful, are among the highest desires. As the thinking, remembering, imagining and believing are constantly expanding, the desires of intellectual origin are constantly being modified and multiplied. Every new belief brings with it some modification of an old desire or a newly created one.
Increase of intelligence means extension and elevation of desire.
Habit Desires. All artificial appetites, the desire for company, relatives, associates, and friends, are of this type. The lone man on the island is fittingly made to say, "Society, friendship and love, I long for your charms, but in vain. O, had I the wings of a dove, how soon I would taste you again." The desire for locality comes in this class. So intense is this yearning in some cases that, if not gratified, it causes physical decline and even death. Homesickness is no imaginative ailment. The desire for a return of the good old times is one of habit origin. The desire for recurrence of pleasurable experiences might claim admission into all three of these classes, but habit has the strongest claim upon it. Uncontrolled, it hurts happiness to death, and pursues joy to its destruction.
Controlling our desires. Desiring beyond the law is all too common. Our first step then in control of desire is a mental refusal to desire beyond the law of righteousness. Desiring beyond this law is breaking the Tenth commandment, which contains the psychological essence of the four preceding ones. No one deliberately lies without coveting something. Stealing is always antedated by an unlawful desire. To desire sex relationship out of wedlock is mentally robbing someone of chastity.
Some Uncommon Desiring
1. Desiring to have righteous desires. Upon this desire is based the possibility of meriting the promises in the Beatitude, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
2. Desiring the power to control our desires. This desire is one of the ascending steps toward the rank of greatness. (See Proverbs 16:32.)
3. Desiring for faith. The faith that brings with it the comfort depicted in the 23rd Psalm; the faith that brings the assurance expressed in Job 19:25; the faith that enabled a veteran Latter-day Saint always to say in the face of seeming unfairness and dark misunderstandings, "God is just, and 'Mormonism' is true."
4. Desiring to serve. (a) To serve God by yielding to him the obedience of confidence, as did the first man after the Fall. (See Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses 5:6). (b) To serve humanity by helping persons and institutions with kind words and courageous work.
5. Desiring that other peoples' joys may be equal to those I enjoy. That they may have just as good possessions, just as much popularity, just as good opportunities, just as good everything, as I have.
6. Desiring to do common things in an uncommon way. Desire to make the self uncommon where it is common, by being at one's best and doing one's best.
Explanation and Definition
The word willing in this lesson is not a participle, it is a verb. It means something more than assent or acquiescence, or compliance. It means striking and holding to some purpose. It is more than purpose, it is purpose plus determination to execute or accomplish. It is the self, or I, commanding or directing the self as me. When one says "I will," it is equivalent to saying to himself, "you shall."
Willing is free agency in action.
Some Common Forms of Willing
1. Willing with an impulse. This is a method which characterizes an explosive will. Like the "hasty spark" that calls it forth, explosive willing is short lived. The explosive will never hesitates. It calls into lines the executive forces either to help, hinder, or hurt, on dangerously short notice. It waits not upon deliberation, but rushes off at the call of snap judgment. Willing from impulse is uneconomic as it wastes times and energy by making retraction and reparations unreasonably necessary.
2. Willing without a sense of responsibility. This is careless willing—a sort of half-hearted determination. The expression, "I guess I'll do it," has behind it this state of mind, it indicates mental flabbiness.
3. Willing with an interest. There is a kind of common willing that is wed to some special interest, in which case real will is only fifty percent of the procedure. The sentence, "I will do it just because I want to", expresses the state of mind in this kind of willing.
4. Willing with a habit. When a person can give no other explanation for a choice of action than that he is in the habit of it, it is plain that he willed with a habit, that the habit has him instead of his having the habit.
5. Willing with the crowd. Who has not had the I-will-if-you-will state of mind. This is a sort of social willing, lacking in courage. It is a kind of mental leaning on the other fellow. In it there is a lack of erectness and self-rootedness that marks a strong character.
6. Willing for convenience. This form of willing is little more than wishing. It may contain intention, but real determination is absent. Persons with wills of convenience will pay a debt if the bill is presented just when they have plenty of money, but at no other time, unless compelled. They will keep a promise if something does not make it inconvenient to do so. They are partly weak and partly wicked.
7. Willing against belief. This kind of selfish willing is not only common or low grade, it is contemptible. It is a form of self treason. One who does it needs reminding that " a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." Self confidence is impossible where willing belief is permitted, though there may be in evidence as a substitute an abundance of self conceit.
This is the kind of willing that says, “I don’t believe in it, but I’ll do it.”
Uncommon WillingAre you willing to be fair, even though you could get ahead by taking advantage of others?
1. Willing to claim no privileges at the expense of the rights of others.
2. Willing to subordinate one's will to a superior will. The very highest kind of free agency is the agency that can subordinate itself with light and love and liberty.This one was very helpful to me. There is always the Christian challenge of saying, “Not my will, but thine be done.” And by “superior will”, I don’t think Brimhall means the more forceful or more charismatic will, but the most righteous will.
3. Willing against material interests. A hotel keeper in California said, "I will vote for prohibition because I believe in it, though I know it will cut down my patronage one-half." This was a case of willing against material interests and revealed a character that lived above self-bribery.This is resistance to the soul-shrink that comes of entertaining doubts. Though we might have questions that could cast doubt, we refuse to feed those doubts and instead seek for more information and experiences that can confirm beliefs with certainty, or replace false beliefs with truth.
4. Willing to fight doubt and foster belief; my belief in myself, in my fellowmen and in God. A resolution full of determination in this direction clears the way for the high and safe standing of one among his fellows and puts one in line for election to the favor of God. (See Compendium Gems, page 269).
5. Willing in the direction of honoring, sustaining, and obeying the law. We honor the law when we speak well of it. We obey the law when we conform to its provisions, we sustain the law when we advocate and help its enforcement.Isn't this great stuff? What an insight on the formation of character! I found the part about "will" especially helpful. It showed me that in many ways my will was weaker and more common than I thought and that I needed to develop it more.
6. Willing to overcome evil with good. (a) In the inner world by talking good thoughts when evil ones intrude, by recollecting the pleasant when unpleasant memories come, by turning to ideals in the presence of evil imaginations, by getting rid of doubt through business with belief, by escaping low desires then fleeing to high ones.
(b) In the outer world, by turning away wrath with a soft answer, by smiling when things go wrong, by acting bravely when seized by fear, by giving more than half way to make peace with an enemy.
7. Willing to do less common willing and more uncommon willing. Of all mental operations, willing is the greatest. It is the apex action of the mind. The person of strong willing has the consciousness of being in the care and under the supervision of something safe.
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