It seems there is always something threatening to extinguish your faith. It could be a decision you’re facing, political disagreements, family issues, or not feeling God’s love the way you used to. Sometimes a difficult circumstance beyond your control can trigger a crisis of faith. You’re left asking yourself what you really believe and why.
When you find yourself there, keep this in mind: it’s good to have questions, and it’s okay not to know the answers right away. Seeking answers to questions is vital to building faith. The Church itself was restored to earth because a young Joseph Smith had a question and he asked God.
Little by Little
God doesn’t expect us to find all the answers all at once. He is willing to teach us a little at a time, day by day.
In teaching how to receive answers to questions, President Boyd K. Packer said: “Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives. Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them. The answer may not come as a lightning bolt. It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’ (D&C 98:12). Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, some from hearing speakers. And, occasionally, when it is important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration.”
Once you’re comfortable with not knowing everything, don’t forget to focus on what you do know. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained it this way: “I am not asking you to pretend to have faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!”
When you pray, the Spirit will guide you to the best sources of information and the best people to discuss it with. You will sense whether or not you’re on the right track. The Spirit will never give you a feeling of confusion or stress. Faith brings light and joy.
Remember that faith is not something that happens to you. It is a choice and an action. Building it up requires daily obedience. President Harold B. Lee taught that we can have “courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions.”
If you’re struggling to believe, you’re not alone. Don’t let moments of doubt or even major questions make you feel like an outsider. Hugh B. Brown taught that these experiences can serve to strengthen faith. Let the faith you already have illuminate your soul as you seek more light.