Saturday, March 23, 2013


As I grew up, my love and hunger for learning how the world works increased. I started taking more and more math and science classes. That is one thing I love. I love numbers and using them to describe the world around me! This strong love and appreciation for math always put me in the higher math classes and eventually put me in the higher science classes as well. I distinctly remember sitting in a number of chemistry and physics and calculus classes eating up everything that I was taught.

Being on a mission has been hard for me because, among other things, it has taken me away from the classroom, away from that comfortable and familiar atmosphere, and away from learning how the world works. That was a challenge for me to come to grips with at the start of my mission because I just wanted to learn! I craved it! I soon learned that, although I was no longer in a college setting, I was still learning and in a classroom of sorts: the Lord's classroom!

Rather than learning new things about how the world itself works and how to determine how things work, I was and have been learning why it works. I thought I would lose out on a lot of the things that I learned at college and that they would get pushed out of my mind to be replace by the spiritual things that I have been learning. The amazing thing is that it has been quite the opposite! Those secular things that I learned while I was at college have been kept strong as ever and have only served to strengthen my faith and understanding of God and Jesus Christ and His gospel and how it applies to me in my personal and individual life as well as the lives of the many people I interact with on a daily basis.

Through this experience, I can stand by Alma and say that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

One such experience happened the other day. For a moment, my mind traveled back to my childhood. When I was younger, my dad and I would be wrestling or playing around and he would often take those opportunities to teach me little lessons along the way. I remember on a number of occasions he would grab my arm and start rubbing his hand on my skin and sing a little song. For whatever reason I still remember those times and can very vividly remember him singing, "Friction; what is friction? It's the rub-a-dub, the rub-a-dub of objects that are moving. It's the rub-a-dub, the rub-a-dub of friction at work."

Even from a young age, I remember learning early on that this "friction", caused by my dad quickly rubbing his hand on my arm, caused my skin to get warm. At that young age I didn't know or understand hardly anything else about friction or what it was or why it existed. All I knew was that it created heat which I often used to my advantage while growing up in Michigan. ;)

But as I began taking physics classes, I soon learned about friction. I learned what it is, why it exists, why it creates heat, etc. I remember learning pretty early in the semester about two different types of friction that are seen and used in everyday life: static and kinetic friction.

These two frictions, as they function separately, are used, to some extent, as we move any object. Static friction is the rubbing on an object as a force is applied to transition it from stationary to mobile. Kinetic friction on the other hand, is the dragging of an object as a force is being applied to keep a moving object in motion. Simply put, static friction exists as you try to get an object to begin moving. When the object is in motion, the resistance that is felt is kinetic friction.

I'm sure you are asking how this relates to the gospel of  Jesus Christ, so let me tell you! As I was thinking about these two types of friction the other day, the connection came as I remembered that static friction is, as far as I am aware, always greater than kinetic friction. To make that a little easier to understand, it takes greater force to get an object moving than it does to keep it moving.

Or, to rephrase that, there is greater opposition on an object when you are trying to get it moving than when you are trying to keep it moving. Don't believe me? Try it! Push an object and notice how it is a little harder to get it from stationary to moving than to keep it  moving.

I thought about that, I realized that this secular and scientific truth also contains and teaches an important eternal truth. To bring this a little closer to home, there is almost always greater opposition from the adversary as we are beginning to move than when we are on the move.

A few months ago I wrote a blog entitled "Always on the Move". As I have thought about this principle of friction in relation to what I discussed in that post, I realized that as important as it is to continue to move and to be like that hockey player, it is hard to get to that point, especially when we aren't moving at all! It is a lot harder to get to drive or even to neutral when you are in park than it is to maintain momentum once you are already in traffic. It is harder to light a fire than to maintain it.

This great, eternal truth is evident and shown in numerous instances in recorded scripture. The first, and possibly most powerful, that comes to mind is that of Joseph Smith. Many of you already know the story of his humble and sincere prayer that immediately resulted in a visit by God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. But what is less well known is what happened before he had that marvelous, Heavenly manifestation. In his own words he explains:
"After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. 
"But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. 
"It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"" (Joseph Smith--History 1:15-17)
The answer to Joseph's prayer was the great push that opened this great and final dispensation. It is also what turned the young, inquisitive, stagnant Joseph into the authorized spokesman for God on the earth today and the one to whom the priesthood of God was restored with its accompanying rights to revelation and authority to perform ordinances and oversee sacred covenants. And with this, one of the greatest of all movements in history, the opposition and spiritual friction was among the greatest that has ever been known.

Of course there continued to be opposition for Joseph and the Saints after this marvelous revelation and continues to be some, but individually that opposition does not amount to anywhere near the resistance experienced by Joseph as he humbly sought to get his life moving and as a direct result, once again got the Church of Jesus Christ moving.

There are many other scriptural examples that can be shown and discussed but to me the most powerful examples of anything are the ones I experience in my own, individual life or which I witness first hard in the lives of those close to me. For this reason I will refrain from sharing other scriptural examples but invite you to seek them on your own as well as to seek for examples of this in your own life.

I have seen this gospel principle in action in the lives of many of the people I have taught who have chosen not to accept our message. Many of these people received witnesses from God of the truth of what we taught and what they had read in the Book of Mormon. Many of them were on the path to changing their lives and beginning anew with God. Many of them were creating their own forces which were supplemented by the forces of God designed to help them move.

But each of them experienced opposition. They experienced friction which was too great, they felt, for the forces they could muster, ignoring the strength of God. And because of this, they gave in. They saw that their own powers were inadequate and didn't trust in the Lord enough to use His strength. They were overpowered by the frictional forces utilized by the devil, the father of all lies who seeks to make each and every one of us "miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27)

When such situations arise--and they will--we must do as Joseph Smith did and exert all of our powers to call upon God. As we do so, we will see a liberating  light and we will be able to break free from the friction which holds us in place.

As we learn in physics, the force of friction on an object grows as the force pushing that object also increases. Through our own efforts and the forces that we individually exert, we will not be able to overcome and overpower the forces of friction that prevent us from moving. This can only be done as we rely on God and couple His Forces with our own. I testify that as we do so, we will be able to minimize every frictional force we will ever face and we will have the strength necessary to continue moving towards God.


  1. would theoretically be capable of storing and keeping every single thought that has ever crossed your mind, yet we do forget things. But as we only use about 10% of our brain consciously, that would mean that those things that you think you have forgotten are still in your mind somewhere, explaining 'Oh yeah I remember that!' moments. So basically what I'm trying to say is: going on a mission would technically not stop you from learning or remembering, it only gives you opportunity to learn even more! :) (sorry for my English, I'm Dutch..)

  2. I really like the connection you made with friction and opposition and how they operate physically and spiritually. I know and have know about both for some time... but I have never really linked the two together. It makes sense to me and I feel like I have a new found way to understand how they work. I would like to think that I can manage friction/opposition in my life better. Thanks for the insight.

  3. Tucker! As always, this is exactly what I needed. I know you've heard that a lot (in one form or another) on your mission :) You would be a really great professor of science or math at BYU - just sayin' (at least, I would take your classes haha). Anyways, thanks for consistently sharing your insightful wisdom. And, of course, I had to play the fish game - I didn't last very long :/

  4. Thank you for that! I have studied a bit of science - chemistry, energy...and this is helpful. It was good to see you and Elder Zhourek today!