Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men General Presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke about increasing faith and unity at the first live BYU-Idaho devotional since the pandemic began. In his talk called “Graduating Your Faith to the Next Level,” Brother Corbitt shared a vital principle or perspective to use in everyday life.
He made reference to several scripture verses in the book of Alma, specifically chapter 32 where the parable of the seed is outlined. He explained that the experimentation upon the word of God that Alma describes will give way to “beginning faith” but will not sustain our faith forever. Sustained faith or “permanent faith” requires an eternal perspective. In an extended analogy, Brother Corbitt made the following comparison:
“Looking forward with an eye of faith is like an essential course needed to graduate our faith from beginning to permanent,” Corbitt said. “If we do not take this course, our faith does not graduate. Alma said it this way, ‘[I]f ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof ye can never partake of the fruit of the tree of life.’ We leave our faith at the beginning stage, never taking that required upper-level course, and in some cases eventually losing the credits we’ve already earned” (Alma 32:40).
The idea of taking several hard, labor-intensive college courses just to show no academic progress likely resonated with his student audience. Brother Corbitt reasoned that those who have received a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have since stopped believing or left the Church did not advance past this stage of beginning faith, reinforcing the importance of looking forward to the blessings in store.
“Seeing and imagining God’s promised blessings will increase your faith,” Corbitt said. “They are like pondering with visuals and images. They will also increase revelation in your life and your ability to ‘hear Him.’”
Brother Corbitt continued by asking how we can apply developed faith to the gathering of Israel, racial harmony in the United States and marital success. He listed these three things as important topics where faith can benefit our approach and effectiveness. On the topic of racial and demographic unity, Brother made the following statement:
“Our unity as a people will be evidence for the country and the world that Jesus Christ is really the Son of God, and that He has the power to unify God’s willing children of all backgrounds,” Corbitt said. “If we let Him, He will use us as an example for the United States and an ensign to the nations in all the world…Imagine how we could thus guide the United States to increasingly ‘form a more perfect union’ as ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio about his devotional remarks, Brother Corbitt explained that he chose the topic of unity and faith because so many people he knows have a friend or relative who has left the faith. He felt like it was the right topic of focus for this audience at BYU-Idaho.
He also elaborated on the complex relationship between opposition and growth as seen in the parable of the seed where the sun is scorching yet is still necessary for the seed to sprout.
“The opposition is good. The heat is good. There must needs be an opposition in all things because if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t be able to choose good. And our Father more than anything, seems to me in my personal opinion, wants His children to choose Him, not be obligated to, not be compelled or coerced, but to choose Him because they love Him.”
Brother Corbitt ended the interview with his thoughts about why an eternal perspective serves as a vital part in the three areas of gathering Israel, achieving racial harmony in the United States, and seeking marital success.
“An eternal perspective helps us to see as God does…If I can see everyone as God sees them, we will have harmony, and we will have unity especially if we strive to see each other in those ways and not in the ways that the world does, in categories, in labels, in boxes.”