I’ve always loved cars. When I was young I had an impressive Matchbox & Hot Wheels car collection. I liked the Mustangs, Camaros, Cougars, Impalas, Chevelles, Chargers, Challengers, and Bel Airs. I really took good care of them. My family would laugh because at a pretty young age I could tell what the make and model were of other cars that we’d see. When I was 16 I bought my first car, a 1976 Chevy Nova for $500. My car was not super flashy, but I slowly started fixing it up. I took auto mechanics all three years of high school and even got a job at a Texaco service station pumping gas and working on cars.
I learned that the automobile is an amazing machine, but you have to take care of it. Particularly important is taking care of what is under the hood. As the internal combustion engine runs, it pulls in outside air which is needed to burn the fuel and keep the pistons firing. We would have cars come into the express lube on a regular basis. I was always surprised at how dirty some of the air filters were when they’d come in. I would hold it up to the sun and if I could see light coming through, I knew that there was air flowing. If you couldn’t see light, the car was not getting enough air through the filter and it wouldn’t run properly. Next we’d change the oil. This too would sometimes be very dark from contaminants & pollutants. If the oil and oil filter were not changed, the protection to the engine parts would be diminished and it would eventually damage the engine and would ultimately stop running altogether. Maintenance is a big deal for cars. Do proper and frequent maintenance, and your car will last a very long time. We would check the fuel filter when it was visible. Sometimes it would be discolored or plugged up from putting bad gas in. It’s important to put good fuel into your car. Lastly we’d make sure all the other important fluids were full such as washer, transmission, brake, power steering, and antifreeze. We would then put a sticker in the window to remind them to come back in 3 months or 3,000 miles. I noticed that most often, those who ended up stranded on the side of the road had become casual at checking under the hood and had neglected regular maintenance.
I’ve thought a lot about the comparison of maintaining your car and maintaining faith. We live in a world with a lot of spiritual pollution. There are things that we see and hear every day in person or on social media that can start to cloud our spiritual vision and drain or contaminate our spiritual fluids. Satan is working hard to plug up the air filter and keep us from feeling the influence of the Spirit. Satan is trying to tear down families and confuse us with other values, opinions, and outright criticism of our faith. As we pick up pollutants it can cause the protection of the Holy Ghost to leave us. Lastly what we put into our gas tanks needs to be clean and of a high quality. We need to be careful what we put into our minds whether this be movies, TV, books, computer games, podcasts, magazines, blogs, or anythings we see or read on the internet or social media. Satan delights when he can put things into our mind that will cause the Spirit to leave us and which will cause our faith to fade.
Faith can only be developed and nurtured by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be obedient. We must follow Christ. Faith requires us to follow the Lord’s chosen prophet, Thomas S. Monson. It is necessary to sustain our local leaders. We can check under the hood to do our “faith maintenance” with daily prayer, repentance, reading the Book of Mormon, We fill our cup and spiritual fluids with weekly sacrament meeting, frequent temple attendance, reading the Ensign & conference talks, listening to others bear their testimony, and bearing our own testimony. I hope you have accepted President Kent’s invitation to read the Book of Mormon in 100 days. I know it will bless your life. It will bless you two-fold; One because reading the Book of Mormon will increase your faith and will bring the Spirit into your life, and two because you are being obedient and that will bring blessings upon you and your family. We have the opportunity to watch General Conference soon. Do not neglect this extremely important scheduled maintenance of your faith.
I bear you my testimony that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can purify us of any pollutants no matter how long we’ve neglected maintenance. We need it more often than every 3,000 miles or 3 months. We need to maintain our faith daily. We live in the last days. We cannot let go of the iron rod and be casual in the maintenance of our faith.
Love, Brother Bringhurst
This was originally published April, 2017 as the Highland 14th ward Bishopric message which I wrote.