Sign-seekers want evidence, to skip paying price of faith

"But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe." (D&C 63:8.)

From earliest times, there have been those who seek signs as evidence of truth and precursors to faith. In the Book of Mormon, for example, is the account of Sherem who went among the people preaching that there should be no Christ. Sherem "had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil." (Jacob 7:4.)Feigning sincerity and assuming a false cloak of righteousness, Sherem accused Jacob of leading away the people and perverting the way of God by testifying of Christ. (Jacob 7:6-7.) "Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much," he demanded of Jacob. (Jacob 7:13.)

Sign seekers fail to understand the important relationship between faith and the miraculous powers, or signs, that accompany faith. The Church Educational System's Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual states:

"The process by which faith, or power, is developed is one of testing. The Lord gives certain principles, and by obedience to them, blessings and power follow. But one has no proof of that promise until one acts on the basis of trust or belief. Then comes the confirmation of the reality of the principle, but only after one acts in faith and trust. That is why James taught that `faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.' (James 2:17.)

"The Lord will give confirming evidence of all gospel principles if one is willing to act on the basis of faith. Imagine a person who says, Before I pay my tithing, I must know for sure that it is a true principle.' The Lord's way is just the opposite. He says,First act in faith and pay your tithing, then I will give you evidence it is a true principle.' The Savior taught this relationship emphatically during His mortal ministry: `If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.' (John 7:17.)

"When a person understands this process, he can see why sign seeking is condemned. Someone who demands outward evidence of the power of God as a condition of his believing is seeking to circumvent the process by which faith is developed. He wants proof without price. As with the adulterer, he seeks the results without accepting the responsibility. Thus it is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks signs."

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