Is this life a ‘test’, a ‘trial’, a ‘proving’?
Early in 2023, I attended an Elders’ Quorum meeting in our home ward. The topic of the lesson was a General Conference talk given by President Henry B. Eyring in the October 2022 General Conference. in that talk, President Eyring quoted his mother as saying, “Oh, Hal, of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be. Life is a test.” He later stated, “Mormon passed that legacy of encouragement to all who have a determination to qualify, through all their mortal tests, for eternal life.” At this point, a member of our Quorum made the following statement, which I am paraphrasing to the best of my memory: “I don’t agree with the statement that life is a test. I have never liked that analogy or comparison. Are we trying to get an “A” on a report card? I don’t see God as a taskmaster, keeping some kind of score.” His statement caused me to do some research, and I found the following information:
- Exodus 16:4 — “…that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”
- Exodus 20:20 — “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”
- Job 23:10 — “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
- Zechariah 13:9 — “…I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried…”
- James 1:12 — “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life…”
- Ether 12:6 — “…ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith…”
- Doctrine and Covenants 98:14 — “…I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.”
- Doctrine and Covenants 105:19 — “…it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far for a trial of their faith.”
- Doctrine and Covenants 124:55 — “…that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you…”
- Doctrine and Covenants 132:51 — “…for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.”
- Abraham 3:24-25 –“…We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;”
- President Henry B. Eyring — In his October 2022 General Conference talk entitled ‘Legacy of Encouragement, he refers to life as a test two times.
- President Henry B. Eyring — the title of President Eyring’s General Conference in October 2020 General Conference was “Tested, Proved, Polished”.
- Gospel Doctrine manual — “Mortality is our time of testing…” (Chapter 10)
- Sister Sheri Dew — “Indeed, this life is a test. It is a test of many things, including conviction, priorities, faith, faithfulness, resilience…” (from a talk given in May 1988)
- Brother K. Fred Skousen — “Specifically, I like to consider life as ‘THE GRAND TEST’ ” . (From a BYU devotional talk in 1977)
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