Do Mormons ever have questions about what they believe?

August 24, 2009

In the course of my journey as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there have been numerous times where I have questions come up that challenge my faith.   I can’t speak for all Mormons, but I would assume that we all go through these cycles from time to time.  I picked this topic to write about, because I want others who are not of our faith to know that I do have questions and from time to time finding answers to these questions causes spiritual turmoil.  However, it is during these times that I grow the most spiritually.

The foundation of my belief is rooted in Joseph Smith’s testimony that he was in fact visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ.  This visit came in response to Joseph’s prayer to know which church he should join.  They gave him specific instructions — he was to join none of the churches, because none of them were right (Joseph Smith History 1:1-20).  What followed next in Joseph’s life is phenomenal:  through him Jesus Christ re-established his Church, the Book of Mormon was translated, the authority to act and perform ordinances in God’s name was given to man again, and the list could go on.  I will always remember the day that the truthfulness of this man’s testimony was written upon my heart by the Holy Ghost.  I feel much the same as Joseph did:  I know it and I know that God knows it and I cannot deny it (JS-H 1:25).

However, even though I know Joseph Smith’s story to be true, from time to time, something will come up that causes me to wonder.  For example, polygamy, or how the priesthood was distributed prior to 1978.  These challenges of faith, no matter how big or small, cause me to reflect and evaluate.  Sometimes, they cause me to think, “how could God’s prophet do this, or say that?”  I learned a long time ago that there is a reason; however, in these times I have yet to discover the puzzle piece that makes the picture complete.  Often I have to go back to the basics that I know to be undeniably true–that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he did in fact translate the Book of Mormon.  In other instances, I have to sit down and think about other confirmations that I have received from the Holy Ghost about a particular piece of doctrine, whether it is prayer, fasting, scripture study, marriage, or the priesthood for a few examples.  As I do this and ponder my question throughout the day or weeks, eventually someone will say something, or I will have a thought that comes to me, always accompanied by another confirmation through the Holy Ghost.  Then I can clearly see what I was missing.

These experiences strengthen my faith and further buttress my basic testimony of God.  In this way I have been able to move from truth to truth and from grace to grace, learning about God and the grand plan that He has designed for our eternal happiness.  I am grateful that there is a God and that He loves me perfectly (as He does all of us), even if that means that from time to time I have to struggle in my faith, because it helps me to grow stronger.

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One Response to “Do Mormons ever have questions about what they believe?”

  1. PK

    I am a 59 year old practicing Mormon. I joined the church when I was 24.

    I have come to realize over the years that allot of the problems people face with religion has to do with their understanding of who God is and how he opperates.

    For example, if a person has been taught that God is a mythical being who fills the universe and works by some kind of instantaneous magic, then the evidence concerning the creation of the earth can be confusing. If you believe that God uses natural principles, and does not cut corners, then you can see the hand of God working everywhere.

    The bible says that the earth was created in 7 days. The evidence clearly does not support this. So in an effort to at least partly reconcile this, some people decided that a day equals one thousand years. The fact of the matter is that we do not know exactly how the earth was created. But for some reason, God has divided the creation into 7 time periods. Instead of days, the temple uses the words “creative periods”.

    Instead of trying to reconcile God to what we believe, would it not be better to look at what God has produced to determine who he is?

    Also, we all opperate from a list of core beliefs that we have learned. For example, the concept of a trinity has been passed down for generations. Many people will choose not to question this doctrine but will support it using the bible. To those who do not accept the trinity, it is a ridiculous doctrine and they cannot understand how people hang onto this doctrine using one or 2 vague scriptures when the vast amount of evidence is against it.

    Anyway, whenever I have seen things that did not seem to fit, I always chose to be patient and in time the answers would come.

    Also, God does not care what people think about his works. He produces scripture that is written so simply that a child can understand it. Some of the more sophisticated and intellectual people cannot accept the simplicity of it.

    If the revelation to give all worthy males the priesthood came at a time that seemed convenient to the church, then so what? God is not going to change his timing in order to look politically correct.