President Uchtdorf’s priesthood session address mixed the modern with the ancient, using the book of Daniel as teaching platform for the power of faith in God in the face of ridicule.
The story of Daniel is one of the most popular from the Old Testament, and while biblical scholarship dates it well after the Exile, its value as teacher is unchallenged. President Uchtdorf uses the ideal character as paradigm, asking if our faith is up to the challenges of the present day. Specifically:
Are we like Daniel? “Do we stand loyal to God? Do we practice what we preach, or are we Sunday Christians only? Do our daily actions reflect clearly what we claim to believe? Do we help the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted? Do we just talk the talk or do we enthusiastically walk the walk?”
He continued, “With [great] blessings and privileges come great responsibilities . . . Let us rise up to them.” (I don’t think he was ignorant of the Spiderman echo–who can be?)
The ease of following the crowd (Babylon) is at stake. It’s tempting to make that choice to fit in, court popularity. That path seems less complicated. Had Daniel made that choice all might have seemed well, until the day when Nebuchadnezzar called for the interpretation of his dream, with a death penalty attached.
“I wish I could help everyone to understand this one simple fact: we believe in God because of things we know with our heart and mind, not because of things we do not know. Our spiritual experiences are sometimes too sacred to explain in worldly terms, but that doesn’t mean they are not real.”
We should not attempt to rely on our own understanding to make our way in this life. Use the great blessing of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Doing otherwise is like purposely unplugging a spotlight to use a candle instead. Secular society may revel in cynicism, but we must choose to believe. Then we will find peace, truth, and light. Be not afraid, only believe. “Stand with Daniel.”