Blessed are the gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost.

3 Nephi 16:6

There are two definitions of faith that make sense to me. The first is faith in—trust in—the Christ and keeping faith with—keeping covenants with—the Christ. The scriptures run over with this definition of faith.

The second definition comes from a type of experience. It is the experience of knowing a thing at one time and then later losing the inner conviction though the facts haven’t changed. You still think the same, but your feelings have drifted. The classic form of this experience comes from the felt presence of absence of the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Ghost is sensed by the inner senses, knowledge is imparted, and certainty is felt. But the more distant you get from the contact, the more the feeling erodes. Faith is holding on the knowledge even though the feeling is gone. You have faith in and keep faith with your earlier self. C.S. Lewis wrote that heaven comes to us in peaks and valleys. Faith is working on your mountaineering when you wake up in a valley.

I like this second definition of faith for a mundane reason. My mind works like this: once I hit on a sure conclusion, my mind efficiently discards the facts and the reasoning that got me there. I doodle Euclidean proofs on the margins of my notebook because the proof is always rresh to me, though I’ve derived it in the margins many times before. I know what I know, but I don’t know why I know it. So faith in my prior self appeals to me. It is a necessity.

The scriptures have nothing to say about the second kind of faith. Or maybe just one thing. In 3 Nephi 16:6, Christ says that we believe in Him in two ways. We believe Him in the Holy Ghost and of the Holy Ghost. The first sounds to me like the kind of belief we have when we are enveloped in the Spirit and the second the kind of belief we have that is derived from an earlier experience with the Spirit.

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