Elder Pearson’s General Conference Talk

I’ve really enjoyed listening to the General Conference podcast. While I enjoy all conferences, I think this one was particularly good. I’ve been touched and impressed by all the talks given. Oftentimes I do not focus as much (and not really enjoy quite as much) on the talks given by the Seventy or general officers but this time they’ve all been wonderful. One that sticks out to me is Elder Kevin W. Pearson’s talk on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Update: Visit this post for a video of Elder Pearson’s “6 Destructive Ds”). It is not only powerful but beautifully crafted. I love his “6 Destructive Ds” (patterned, I’m sure, after Pres. Hinckley’s “6 Bes”, which were all constructive and uplifting). He links them together in a tidy chain, each one leading to the next. It’s linguistically and logically a beautiful construction showing a pathway that leads to destruction.

“We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently. Because there is an opposition in all things, there are forces that erode our faith. Some are the result of Satan’s direct influence. But for others, we have no one but ourselves to blame. These stem from personal tendencies, attitudes, and habits we can learn to change. I will refer to these influences as the ‘Six Destructive Ds.’ As I do, consider their influence on you or your children.

First is doubt. Doubt is not a principle of the gospel. It does not come from the Light of Christ or the influence of the Holy Ghost. Doubt is a negative emotion related to fear. It comes from a lack of confidence in one’s self or abilities. It is inconsistent with our divine identity as children of God.

Doubt leads to discouragement. Discouragement comes from missed expectations. Chronic discouragement leads to lower expectations, decreased effort, weakened desire, and greater difficulty feeling and following the Spirit (see Preach My Gospel [2004], 10). Discouragement and despair are the very antithesis of faith.

Discouragement leads to distraction, a lack of focus. Distraction eliminates the very focus the eye of faith requires. Discouragement and distraction are two of Satan’s most effective tools, but they are also bad habits.

Distraction leads to a lack of diligence, a reduced commitment to remain true and faithful and to carry on through despite hardship and disappointment. Disappointment is an inevitable part of life, but it need not lead to doubt, discouragement, distraction, or lack of diligence.

If not reversed, this path ultimately leads to disobedience, which undermines the very basis of faith. So often the result is disbelief, the conscious or unconscious refusal to believe.

The scriptures describe disbelief as the state of having chosen to harden one’s heart. It is to be past feeling.

These Six Destructive Ds—doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief—all erode and destroy our faith. We can choose to avoid and overcome them.” (Source).

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