I want to share two journal entries dealing with something I learned this week:
"I then decided to go and read Alma 32 starting in verse 27, since 2 Nephi 31 didn't actually talk much about faith or repentance. I realized how scientific the gospel is. It is this experiment of faith that we must test every day. When he hear about it or read about it or think about it or see it in someone's life, we are only observing it. That's a fact, nothing more. We need to form a hypothesis, create our own experiment and test it. I will try to test "If I pray sincerely and with real intent, then I should get an opportunity to serve someone every day if I ask for it." After we test it once and it works, then we should test it again. If we test it and it doesn't work, then we should try again a different way, either changing our approach, attitude, or intention. After various successes in something we can come up with a theory for that seed that we have planted.
Alma just said the word, and did not give us a specific experiment. But that's okay. The scriptures aren't actually complete without our own personal interpretation guided by the Holy Ghost. The Lord will help us specify that experiment. Our theory of an aspect of living the gospel will thrive as we strive to nurture it as counseled in verse 37-43, with diligence, patience, and faith."
"After my study on Wednesday, I was in my religion class on Thursday, and the professor was talking about the difference between scientific and religious inquiry. He mentioned that science seeks to explain the how and what while religion seeks after the who and why. Science is something that can be tested, and if there's a certain theory or law, such as gravity, then it an experiment can be repeated and the exact same results can be expected. He pointed out, "Can you do that with God, with spiritual things? Not so. You can't just pray and expect the same results to come every time. no matter how sincere, no matter how humble, no matter how earnest. You can't control the will of God; God controls the will of God." I thought about what I had studied on Wednesday, and how I wasn't completely right on the whole 'Gospel is like science' thing. But I don't think I was totally wrong. We need to experiment upon the word to know it is true. However, we also need to understand that prayers are answered when God sees it expedient, not when we do. So along with testing our 'hypothesis' we must also test our patience and faith. Alma mentions before:
"Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe." (Alma 32:16)"