Good morning Brothers and Sisters, my name is Tyler Vasquez. For those of you who don’t know me, I actually grew up in this ward. I then went on to BYU, met my wife, Ansley, and have been working in New York City the last couple of years. We’re happy to be back though. We always note that this is a special ward, and you all make us feel so welcomed whenever we visit; so we thank you for that, and we’re looking forward to
hopefully settling down somewhere in Orange County.
I’ve been asked to speak on a talk by Elder Quintin L Cook entitled “Faith, Not Fear”. This was actually the first talk of Elder Cook after he was called to be an apostle. I
always find it interesting to see what apostles speak on for their first talks as
apostles. Oftentimes what they choose to speak on for their first talk is typically a
subject they find to be of vital importance, and one in which they have been anxious to
share with all members of the church. In fact, Elder Cook says, “the overwhelming feeling that I have in receiving this call is that we must live by faith and not by fear”.
I also find it fitting that this was the last General Conference before the great recession.
During a period in which people from around the world were suddenly thrown into a
state of fear - worried about their jobs, their families, livelihoods and so forth...no doubt
many would have benefited had they heard this message.
With that said, the message of “Faith, Not Fear” is just as relevant now in 2022 as it was
back in ’07. There’s a lot for us to be afraid of in this world. We know of new diseases,
social unrest, natural disasters, geopolitical tensions and so forth. Then on an individual
level, the list is even longer. Everyone has their own unique fears’ what’s common is
that we each have a fear.
Now how do we respond to these fears? Oftentimes how we respond to fear is what
determines how much power it will have over us. This is where our faith in God acts as
our freedom from or antidote for fear.
Raising Children in Righteousness
There are two examples that Elder Cook specifically states in his talk. The first fear he
highlights is raising children in this world in righteousness. This is a fear that I can speak
to personally. Ansley and I talk about all the time. We ask if we are ready to have kids,
where should we raise them, what will the world look like in 20, 40 or even 60 years.
The more we think about the countless potential scenarios, the more concerns start to
However, Elder Cook gives us the following guidance. He notes that we can raise
children in righteousness from anywhere in the world as long as we:
• Follow the prophet.
• Create the true spirit of the gospel in our hearts and in our homes
• Be a light to those among whom we live
• Focus on the ordinances and principles taught in the temple
A common theme appears that as we teach these gospel principles in our homes, that
our faith will increase, and our fears will decrease.
Sharing the gospel takes courage
The second example that Elder Cook highlights is that sharing the gospel takes courage
– as many of you already know from being both missionaries and member missionaries.
As I worked in New York, I would spend countless hours with my coworkers, and
naturally, a large variety of topics would come up. One of my colleagues’ favorite topics
was to ask me, the BYU grad, about all things related to faith and the church.
These were mostly Ivy-league grads with analytical minds, so oftentimes being
peppered with their questions seemed daunting. However, as we discussed, it seemed
they really began to appreciate the church and its fruits; even half-joking that they also
wanted to “be baptized Mormon”.
Their appreciation made me wonder why I was ever worried to share the gospel in the
first place. It’s a wonderful gift, and anyone who learns more of the basic principles of
the gospel can easily appreciate its beauty as well
Hopping into the scriptures, God says the exact phrases of “Fear not” and “Be not
afraid” over 100 times. It’s a repeated phrase, so I believe he is trying to tell us
something with it. To be more precise, the scriptures typically say “Fear not” followed by
the reason why we should not be afraid. A few of my favorite examples are as follows:
• Fear not little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world (D&C)
• Fear not, for thy words were heard (Daniel)
• Fear not; for I have redeemed thee (Isaiah)
• Fear not for the Lord thy God doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake
• Fear not, for thy prayer is heard (Luke)
• Fear not for I am with thee; be not dismayed for I am thy God (Isaiah)
Notably, God does not say “fear not for life will be easy”, or that we will never have any
difficulties or trials in this life. But rather that we have no need to fear if we put our trust
in God, believing that he loves you, believing that he sent Christ to redeem the world,
that he has promised to never leave or forsake us, and most importantly that we should
fear not, for He is our God.
Elder Cook notes that “it is our faith in Jesus Christ that sustains us at the crossroads of
life’s journey. It is the first principle of the gospel. Without it we will spin our wheels at
the intersection, spending our precious time but getting nowhere”
He continues, “we live in a precarious time. The world is in desperate need of the fresh
springwater, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should listen intently to the prophet
as we make choices. President Hinckley has continually emphasized faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ. That has been followed by his emphasis on strengthening families and
having family religious observance in the home. Over and over again he has told us that
if we would live a principle, we would gain a testimony of the truthfulness of that
principle, which would in turn increase our faith.”
Faith over fear in action
To end with a story, the moment I was asked to give this talk, I immediately thought
back to a time during Ansley and I’s first trip together. We had rented a Jeep and were
in Hawaii for our honeymoon. As we were driving around this mountain, we kept seeing
these dirt trails go off the main road. We figured that since we have a Jeep, we might as
well check these dirt roads out. These trails were beautiful as there were just lush
forests on both sides of us, and some incredibly scenic views as well.
It started to sprinkle, but we thought nothing of it and continued on. Soon it began to
rain harder, and we figured it was time to turn back to the main road. The rain quickly
turned to a downpour, and they began to issue emergency flash-flood warnings over the
radio. As we made our way back up to the road, we came across this large hill that we
couldn’t drive up. We would floor it, almost make it to the top, but would then have to
handle the car as it slid backwards down the hill.
Uneasiness began to set in, as we had no idea how we would get out of there and back
home. We decided to say a prayer, and both felt the impression that we should continue
down the trail and look for another route to the main road. Within a couple minutes, both of us feeling confident in our spiritual impressions, our jeep got completely stuck. I got out, tried to push the jeep out of this rut, Ansley floors the gas, and mud just spews all over me...it was a complete mess.
However, while the jeep was stuck with one wheel in the air, we realized that only two
wheels were turning, and four-wheel drive had not actually been engaged. We
immediately began searching the Jeep for some 4x4 lever or something, and eventually
found it. This turned out to be a lifesaver for us, as we crawled out of the rut, faced the
slippery hill again and were able to make it back to the main road shortly thereafter.
To this day, we find it ironic that God needed us to be completely stuck in the mud in
order for us to find the solution we needed. Nevertheless, this experience has left a
strong impression on us ever since that we needed to have faith in God, and trust in
Him to help us overcome our fears.
I hope this message can serve as a reminder for us to act with faith, and not fear. I
know God loves me, and that he cares about my concerns because I care about them.
Yet at the same time, I know that if I could see my worries from His eternal perspective,
I would realize how little I have to fear. As long as I’m moving toward Him, everything
else will be alright.
As Christ says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world
giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”.
I’m grateful for this church and being able to learn more of His gospel and feel His
peaceful spirit as we make our way through life. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.