Experiment Upon the Word, Part 1

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“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27; emphasis added).

The prophet Alma taught the poor on the hill Onidah about faith. He told those who were struggling with their faith to experiment upon the word. The word experiment is only found in the scriptures 5 times. One of those is in the New Testament but its use is not how Alma used it in his teachings (see 2 Cor. 9:13). The other 4 uses of the word experiment are all found in Alma’s teachings to the Zoramites (actually, Amulek used the word once when he referred to what his missionary companion – Alma – taught about experimenting upon the word). Alma launched into an analogy of faith as a seed as he taught the Zoramites. Alma talked about planting the seed of faith in your heart, nurturing it, and watching it grow.

This may sound like a science experiment but this faith experiment differs from science experiments in a number of key ways.

One of the tenets of modern science is to seek to discover facts that lead to truth. Scientists study facts, which may or may not be true, while at the same time assuming that facts are Truth. Scientists only study that which can observed or at least indirectly measured. If something is esoteric like love, for example, then scientists have to create a working definition of love – things that are observable and quantifiable – in order to measure and manipulate it. The problem is that a particular working definition (e.g., kisses, hugs, time spent conversing, time spent holding hands, etc.) might not be a good representation of love. Further, if something cannot easily be quantified, it’s at best left alone and at worst, attacked as non-existent and not important.

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