Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The gospel of risk

I like to preach the gospel of risk. Not foolish risk, mind you, but simply the recognition of the adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” I believe the teachings of the scriptures and the Church advocate thoughtful risk-taking, and condemn an attitude of fear that drives the “better safe than sorry” approach. For example:

  • We hear that, in the pre-mortal world, we were offered a sort of “risk-free” plan by Lucifer, in contrast to the plan put forth by Father, which involved real risk. But we recognized that, without taking the risk, we could not develop to become like our Parents.
  • We honor Eve for her wisdom in choosing to partake of the forbidden fruit. She understood that it was better to pass through sorrow, to risk pain from wrong choices, than to stagnate in eternal Paradise.
  • We commend those who convert to the Church despite the resistance of family and friends, who are disowned or whose lives are even threatened. We admire their willingness to risk for the gospel.
  • We have Jesus' parable of the talents, in which the servant who feared hid his talent, unwilling to risk. He was condemned for this unwillingness, and his talent given to the one who had risked, and gained, the most.

I could go on listing numerous examples from the scriptures and from Church teachings to support this point. But these examples include foundational teachings that underlie so much of Mormonism that I don't think it's necessary. It seems abundantly clear to me that we are supposed to have the faith to take risks. Indeed, it seems that risk is an inherent aspect of faith. And God has provided us with a means to overcome the evils and pains that may result from this risk: atonement. His desire for us to grow, even when it means that we risk being wrong and foolish and wicked, is so great that he was willing to suffer more than we can describe. By being unwilling to take thoughtful risks, we spurn his gift.


  1. So, what risks are you taking?

  2. Voting in this upcoming presidential election. ;-)

    More seriously, here are some risks: Exploring a variety of ideas and practices that "garden-variety Mormonism" doesn't deal with, considering unusual employment directions, having a large family.

  3. Risk is an inherent part of faith.Nice line. I really like that. It's the kind of thought I can mull over for awhile.

    Grasshopper, it's good to see that you're healthy and posting like a wild man again. I hope you keep it going. You have a great blog.


  4. So maybe "no guts, no glory" has an eternal spin to it?