The following counsel was given by President James E. Faust in May 2000 from a talk titled, The Shield of Faith.
“I believe the future will be great and marvelous in many respects. Opportunities for education and learning have increased and will continue to increase dramatically. One person defined it this way: 'Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.' Now and in the future, vast amounts of information are becoming more accessible worldwide through electronic devices in the home, the workplace, or the local library. However, great will be the challenges and endless the problems, because with this wave of knowledge, life actually becomes more complicated. Brigham Young said, ‘It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise.’
Never before in the history of the world has the need for faith in God been greater. Although science and technology open up boundless opportunities, they also present great perils because Satan employs these marvelous discoveries to his great advantage. The communication highway that spans the globe is overloaded with information for which no one bears responsibility for its truth or its source.
Without moral progress, stimulated by faith in God, immorality in all its forms will proliferate and strangle goodness and human decency. Mankind will not be able to fully express the potential nobility of the human soul unless faith in God is strengthened.
President Harold B. Lee once said: ‘No matter what his progress in science, man must always be subject to the will and direction of Divine Providence. Man has never discovered anything that God has not already known.’
I do not believe that this great outpouring of knowledge happened by chance. All of this secular knowledge did not come solely from the creative minds of men and women. Mankind has been on the earth a long time. Over the centuries, knowledge came at a snail’s pace.
I believe that the appearance of God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in 1820 to Joseph Smith unlocked the heavens not only to the great spiritual knowledge revealed in this dispensation but also to secular knowledge.
Now comes the challenge to prevent the scientific, technical, and intellectual from stifling the spiritual enlightenment in our lives. As someone once said, ‘The greatest of undeveloped resources [in our country] is faith; the greatest of unused power is prayer.’ Technology may help us communicate with each other and the world, but not with God.”
“I wish to sound a voice of warning to this people. I solemnly declare that this spiritual kingdom of faith will move forward with or without each of us individually. No unhallowed hand can stay the growth of the Church nor prevent fulfillment of its mission. Any of us can be left behind, drawn away by the seductive voices of secularism and materialism.
To sustain faith, each of us must be humble and compassionate, kind and generous to the poor and the needy. Faith is further sustained by daily doses of spirituality that come to us as we kneel in prayer. It begins with us as individuals and extends to our families, who need to be solidified in righteousness. Honesty, decency, integrity, and morality are all necessary ingredients of our faith and will provide sanctuary for our souls.
Simple faith in God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost is like a supercharger operating in our lives. As Elder Charles W. Penrose said: ‘Some people will not believe anything they cannot grasp with their human reason or cannot see with their natural eyes. But blessed is the man of faith, blessed is the woman of faith! For by faith they can see into things that cannot be discerned by the natural eyes. They can reach out to the regions of immortality, grasp eternal realities and lay hold upon the things of God!’ This is so because through faith, our natural gifts and powers of achievement are increasingly enhanced.
Faith intensifies and magnifies our gifts and abilities. There is no greater source of knowledge than the inspiration that comes from the Godhead, who have all understanding and knowledge of that which has been, is now, and will be in the future.”
As the war that began in the pre-mortal realm continues, the possession of a solid and impenetrable shield as a piece of our spiritual armor is of vital importance for our protection. Only by strengthening our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can we make our shield unpierceable to the darts of the adversary. There is no wonder then why we are taught that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the Gospel, and a major doctrine to be studied and nurtured. Faith is the power by which all things were created, and will be the power by which all things are redeemed.
I believe that the outcome of this mighty conflict will be decided by faith as well. Perhaps it is time for us all to add strength to our shield of faith.