"Truth is not subject to our thoughts, biases, or desires - it is what it is regardless of how well we may, or may not, understand it," said Brother Forest Gahn, this week's BYU-Idaho devotional speaker. "It is what it is whether we accept, reject, or ignore it."
Gahn is a faculty member in the Department of Geology at BYU-Idaho. He's a paleontologist and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He taught there are two ways to go about finding truth, through science and through revelation. "In other words, we may discover Truth in the Works of God - flowers, fossils, and far-away galaxies, and in his Words - scriptures, the words of living prophets, and manifestations of the spirit," said Gahn.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Gahn said we should use both ways to find truth in our lives.
"You know, the world today I think tries to pit science against religion, which I think is very unfortunate because that leads people to believe they can only seek truth through science or religion, that they're really not complimentary, when in fact science and religion - as Richard G. Scott suggested in his General Conference address - are complementary ways to seek truth," he said.
In his devotional address, Gahn shared that it is the duty of members of the Church to "seek and prove the truths of salvation for ourselves." He quoted Brigham Young, the second president of the Church, who said "Mormonism" includes all truth. He said sometimes we feel that there is a conflict between the truth science reveals and the truth religion reveals. He taught it doesn't have to be a conflict, "Rather than allowing such challenges to fester and nibble at the margins of our confidence, we should take them head-on," he said. "The trials of our faith are 'more precious than gold that perisheth.' The 'trials of our faith' are Treasures in Heaven."
He explained that sometimes Latter-day Saints consider things to be doctrine when they actually are opinions. He also said there are scientific theories that are not concrete truths, but opinions.
"Remember: We believe the scriptures to be true as long as they are translated and interpreted correctly," he said. "Also recall what Brother Baron taught a few weeks ago: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Satins is not based on the Bible - or any of the scriptures for that matter - our religion is based on what the scriptures are based on - and that is revealed Truth."
Gahn also shared his story about his conversion process. He detailed that his family joined the Church when he was eight years old. He was baptized too, but years later his family was inactive. It was in high school when he decided to start reading the scriptures on his own and returned to church after an answer to a pleading prayer.
"To my amazement, my prayer was answered early that morning, but not only did God answer the prayer precisely as requested, but He also answered the prayer in His own way - a way that would make it very difficult for me to ever questions the existence of God again," he said. "It was a tender mercy."
He eventually went to Ricks College and decided to go on a mission. The day he was leaving on his mission, his father was killed in a car crash. Inside his father's wallet was a folded $100 bill he kept for emergencies. Gahn's mother gave that bill to him and he continues to carry it around with him.
"To me, it is a symbol of things that are available to each one of us regardless of our financial circumstances - things that are worth much more than material riches," he said. "This folded 100 dollar bill is a symbol of the Treasures of Heaven."
You can listen to his full devotional address below.