Perception vs. Truth

When I was teaching my youngest son how to write his letters and numbers, he really struggled writing the number 8.  I tried everything to help him learn how to write an 8.  One day he stopped and looked at me and said, “but mom, this is how I write my number 8!”  Fortunately, it relieved the frustration in the moment that I was feeling and I could laugh.  However, I had to teach him that just because that’s how he wrote it didn’t make it correct, and that just because he knew it was an 8 didn’t mean that anyone else would know it was and 8. 

I saw this a lot volunteering and subbing in the school system, as well as homeschooling.  Teaching a variety of subjects, especially math, there is a prescribed way to do things to get the correct answer. I remember helping my own kids, as well as other kids in school learning math, and they would tell me that just because my answer book said the answer was wrong, didn’t mean it was wrong.  Maybe they had found a new way to do it to get a different answer, a more correct answer.  But inevitable as we worked through the problem together, they each had to admit that they had gotten the wrong answer as they could see where they messed up and how to do it correctly.  But that didn’t make them any less confrontational the next time they got it wrong!

There are subjective things in this world, we all have our own opinions about different subjects, or how to reach a goal.  Even the same end goal can have many different approaches to achieve the same outcome.  My kids have really taught me that over the years, especially in the house cleaning department!  However, there are certain things that are not subjective, things that simply are, truth.  More and more we hear people say, “Well, that’s my reality.”   Depending on the subject, that can be true.  My reality is that it’s still snowy here in Alaska while in the lower 48 states spring is in full swing.  But it is also an absolute truth.  It is non-negotiable because we can see the snow everywhere here.  No one can argue that fact because we can look outside and see the snow here.  There are also some people I have talked to who think Alaska is snowy all year.  That’s not the truth, but do you think you can convince them of that!  There are those who live in an alternate “reality” so to speak because they aren’t willing to look at and really see truth.    

So how do we find truth?  One would think with the internet and all the information there that it would be really easy to find truth.  Not so.  If you think the world is flat, there are “evidences” put forth on the internet that claim just that, there is even a society that promotes that.  We know that to be false information, but some people really believe that.  This pandemic has brought the reality of false information prominently to the front.  Take masks for example.  It doesn’t matter what your stance is on wearing masks, you can find evidence to support your reasoning, and evidence to condemn anyone who disagrees with you.  We must find trusted sources, sources that have real information.  There are sources like that on the internet, but you have to be able to weed through that information to find truth.  How do we do that?  There are only a few sources I have ever found to help me see truth.  The Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and history. 

Often, we think that what we are experiencing in life is the first time anything like this has ever happened, or that we are the only ones who have ever gone through something.  There are very few things in this world that someone else hasn’t experienced at some point in time in history, or at least something similar enough that we can learn from their experiences and make better choices.  The problem, though, is that we don’t know enough history, and we don’t rely on the scriptures or the Holy Ghost enough to decipher truth from error in the modern information that we read. 

In the scriptures we read of many civilizations that rose to prominence through obedience to God, and then were destroyed because of disobedience.  Throughout history we read of many civilizations that rose from the dust, became empires, and then through what I would call wickedness, fell and were destroyed by other civilizations that were rising up.  I remember watching a video clip of a girl in a college class telling the speaker that her generation was different, that the things they felt strongly about no one else ever felt like them before.  The speaker laughed and said he had lived through the 70’s and that those things were prominent in his day.  She said she’d never heard that before and didn’t believe it.  She had not studied or educated herself in any of her own countries’ history.  Consequently, she was repeating history by being uniformed.  That doesn’t help society, especially when others have done their research and can see it all happening, but more people are blinded as to what’s going on, than there are people who are well informed.

There is a quote circulating around the internet.  It says “The truth is still the truth, even if no one believes it.  A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.”  There is only one source of real truth.  That is Heavenly Father.  This life we live here is very temporary, but we are not temporary beings, but eternal.  If we accept lies here, we will be very disappointed when we discover the truth there.  But we can learn and know truth here and now through the deciphering power given to us by our loving Heavenly Father.  He blessed us all with a conscience, the ability to know right from wrong, to feel it.  But if we ignore it, that conscience gets quieter and quieter until it no long exists within us.  But, if we listen, if we do, and if we ask for help seeing truth, we will be blessed through the Holy Ghost to see what is actually real, to be able to weed through all the information out there and pull out the truth.  We are at a point now, especially in our country, but all over the world now, that we need truth seekers.  People willing to set aside their preconceived ideas to look at fact, to feel truth, and then to change where needed to follow that truth, rather than being tossed by the waves of whatever society thinks is important today.  Truth is constant, truth is peace, even when everything else is in chaos.  We need to be seekers of truth.

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