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The famed phrase indigenous Shakespeare"s "As You favor It" is theologically sound, but couple of are qualified to use it. And, in the end, it only makes far-reaching sense if this life isn"t the end. Adobe stock picture
“Sweet room the supplies of adversity, which, favor the toad, ugly and also venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head; and this ours life, freed from publicly haunt, find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and an excellent in every thing.”

This passage from william Shakespeare’s “As You favor It” (II.1.12-17) paint, etc on folklore about an ugly toad whose head bear a precious, healing stone. Duke Senior, who “adversity” arises from having actually been deposed and driven right into wilderness exile by Frederick, his ambitious and also cunning younger brother, is relenten the attitude he’s adopted as a result of the coup. (“Uses,” in Shakespeare’s language here, means “profits.”)

The “jewel” that an elderly discovers in the forest of Arden is withdrawal from “public haunt,” native the court, which has given him the quiet chance to reflect. Anyway, he says, rough-hewn nature speaks more eloquently and an ext honestly than execute disingenuous human tongues, clever books and also smooth sermonizing. Also rocks are much better company than courtiers, and also far less treacherous.

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Shakespeare’s suggest here is entirely continual with the revived gospel’s teaching that this life is about what (borrowing native the late john Hick) i’ve termed “soul-making” (see this previous column “A place designed to make saints,” Nov. 6, 2014).

Today, however, the expression “sweet space the offers of adversity” might most often be supplied sarcastically. Certainly, it seems too smug, also easy and also comfortable, come be supplied in earnest by anybody that isn’t considerably suffering or that hasn’t suffered substantially in the past. We would, because that instance, to the it as appallingly inappropriate if a healthy and balanced person were to congratulate those struggling through grave diseases on the glorious possibility they’ve been offered to construct their personality thereby. A rich guy with plenty to eat and a comfortable residence probably shouldn’t describe to a poor, hungry male who poor is a gift bestowed top top him for his eternal benefit.

But here we concerned one the the unique elements of Christianity, i beg your pardon teaches the “the Word to be made flesh, and also dwelt amongst us” (John 1:14), and that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The Savior in reality is in a place to tell united state that “all these things shall offer thee experience, and shall be because that thy good.” Why? since “The kid of male hath descended listed below them all. Arts thou better than he?” (Doctrine and also Covenants 122:7-8). “For,” states the writer of the epistle come the Hebrews, “we have actually not one high monk which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; however was in all points tempted like as we are, however without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

As the prophet Alma defined to the civilization of Gideon beforehand in the first century before Christ’s birth, “he will certainly take ~ above him their infirmities, the his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may understand according come the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:12).

A revelation offered through the Prophet Joseph blacksmith at Kirtland, Ohio, throughout the winter of 1832-1833 defines Christ as “He the ascended increase on high, as additionally he descended below all things, in that he comprehended every things, the he might be in all and through every things, the irradiate of truth” (Doctrine and also Covenants 88:6).

“He is despised and rejected of men,” says the prophet Isaiah in his well known “suffering servant” poem, traditionally understood by Christians together a summary of Jesus, “a male of sorrows, and acquainted v grief” (Isaiah 53:3).

But “soul-making” eventually justifies deep suffering and gives meaning to difficulties only if those adversities no the end of the story. In the play, senior — may be a far better and wiser man for his time exiled in the wilderness — is revived to his dukedom. In sports, overcoming defeat and discouragement builds character, but does so primarily for life past the game and also even outside the stadium. In ~ the video game itself, a loss is simply a defeat.

“My son,” stated the lord to the Prophet Joseph, imprisoned in Missouri, “peace be depend thy soul; thine adversity and also thine afflictions candlestick be yet a little moment; and then, if you endure it well, God shall exalt thee top top high; thou shalt triumph over every thy foes” (Doctrine and also Covenants 121:7-8).

Five year later, imprisoned again, faithful Joseph was murdered by a lot (see Doctrine and Covenants 135) — and also those that murdered him are remembered only as note to his story.

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Daniel Peterson teaches Arabic studies, started BYU’s middle Eastern texts Initiative, directs MormonScholarsTestify.org, chairs mormoninterpreter.com, blogs everyday at patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson, and speaks only for himself.