Yale University

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My Spiritual Journey

Roger Thompson

September 3, 2013

Category: Philosophy and Religion > Belief Systems

Faith in God begins with a desire to believe and, like a good seed, if nourished and cultivated, faith can grow into a tree with precious fruits. When I had the opportunity to be ordained a deacon in the Mormon faith at age twelve, my older sister questioned if I was really ready for that step. So, after prayer, deliberation, and in an act of faith, I decided to try my very best to follow the principles of the Mormon faith. In the sixty-one years since, my spiritual journey has nourished my faith into a "tree with much precious fruit."

I was fortunate to have been given a scholarship to Yale. It was at Yale where I learned that it was impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God. There is sufficient evidence in the world either to strengthen or weaken one's faith in God. One has to choose what to conclude from that evidence. At Yale, I chose to have a believing disposition, which was reinforced by personal prayer, scripture study, and Church attendance and service.

I left Yale after my sophomore year to serve a mission for the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Church in Germany. This was a time of great personal and spiritual growth. Though my interactions with literally hundreds of people of all walks of life, I observed that people of faith were generally happier and more charitable compared to the general population. I also observed the positive changes to the lives of those who embraced the gospel.

I returned to Yale in the fall of 1962 and became a member of the Class of 1964. I majored in History and went on to get my law degree. Shortly after graduation, I married Colleen Kelly, a wonderful Utah girl with Irish ancestry. Our life together has never been dull. We raised our large family and served in our community and in various Church assignments. Colleen and I recently have served two missions together for the Church — one in Africa and another in Spain. Although quite different, in each area we saw a Church that was growing, people who were loveable, and different cultures that were adapting well to the same gospel.

Over my lifetime, I have come to believe that all things point to a personal God who knows and cares about us. We lived with Him prior to this life. This life is an opportunity to learn from our experiences, to prepare to return to God. To facilitate that return, God gave us his son, Jesus Christ, who can free us from our sins, our mistakes, and our misfortunes.

I am striving to emulate Christ's attributes, but fall very short. I try to nourish and cultivate my faith regularly, much as I did as a Yale undergraduate. I strive to be honest and honorable in my business dealings and be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The precious fruits of my faith and spiritual journey have given me hope for eternal life with my eternal companion, satisfying answers to the purpose of our existence, opportunities for service, and invaluable support during trying times.