Doug Tales 69: Imagination

Joseph Smith defined faith as a principle of power, something that takes work and uses work. Faith is not just belief, but focused action or work based on that belief in our Savior. Doug Mendenhall practiced to develop his faith in things of God, and called it imagination, spiritual creation, and visualization. He shares a few examples in I See…Awake! (2015), pp. 32-34:

Anciently man painted pictures on walls of caves. They were pictures of themselves killing or hunting animals. Anthropologists today realize that the aboriginals, the Pygmies of the Congo, and other “primitive” people still do this same thing. But they don’t do it after the hunt; they are drawing on the walls or drawing in the sand or carving animals that they are going to go out and hunt. This was their way of prophesying, of saying what they were going to do. They were not depicting what they had done, but what they were going to do. People have the ability to look around and not only see things the way they are, but also how it might be. This is called our imagination or a “spiritual creation.”

While on my LDS mission in Spain I had been out for about 20 months and had not baptized anyone. I had a new companion, and we prayed and told the Lord what we were willing to do and asked that in return we would be able to “wear white” before Christmas. This was on December 1st. We had zero prospects, and back then it was normal to baptize just two people while on an entire two-year mission to Spain. I drew a picture of Snoopy dancing a jig and exclaiming, “We are going to have a White Christmas!” I had no idea I was doing what had been done for centuries, prophesying or “spiritually” creating an event in the future by declaring it with emotion in the present. And yes, we did baptize an incredible man on Dec. 23 which then opened the flood gates to many more during the next three months and more after I went home that my companion graciously took care of.

Years ago I joined a sales company and desired to make a lot of money. I used the same principles that I had learned from a goal setting program to accomplish my desire. The course taught me to “visualize” what I wanted the outcome to be, to then see it, feel it, taste it, hear it in my mind’s eye. I was not to worry about the how; it would take care of itself. It did. Ideas came that I implemented; some of them seemed off the wall, but I did them anyway. Within a year I had accomplished my goal of having the largest sales force in the company and making the most money, driving a Lincoln, and making others successful in the process. I would make more in a month than I could, previously, make in a year. The principles work. It is about the why, not about the how.

So when this is applied to the gospel, what can be accomplished? It is all about the why. The Lord will give you the how. He’s done much of that in the scriptures already. Is our “why” large enough to make us want to put in the work necessary to accomplish it? That is up to us individually and must include what we are willing to give up.