Doubting Your Doubts is Courageous, but Comes with Heavy Price to Stay Mormon

13 December

Dictionary.com defines character as someone’s ‘moral, or ethical quality’. One who possesses a good moral character is said to have the following characteristics – ‘qualities of honesty, courage, good reputation’, and ‘integrity’.

character_sign-28675334_std-scaled10001A few weeks ago, BYU students sat in a series of lectures. The topic was broad, but carried the same tune they’ve been singing in the past several months. Doubting Mormonism and moral character.

Having a good moral character was only part of the discussions in a series of speeches given at a BYU Conference late last month (November 2016). The main focus at this conference seemed to be on reminding students ‘what faith really is in the context of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ’, and to reiterate that most of  their ‘cultural understandings are wrong or at least distorted’, when it comes to Mormonism.

Translation:

1.The Mormon gospel is far different than the gospel Jesus preached in the Bible.

2.The students’ cognitive reasoning skills are wrong; aka 1+1 does not = 2. 1+1 = 3, but only within specific parameters and set guidelines the Church has yet to reveal, but will do so at some point in the future, ‘line upon line’.

The Who’s Who of Mormon psychology each took turn providing an analysis on what one must do when, and/or if, they’ve come to the dreaded pitfall of a faith crisis.

If you’d like to read the report in full, a link is provided below. For the sake of brevity, we’ve pulled a few of their comments, and asked the obligatory questions anyone would want answers to!

First and foremost, as always, please pray for the young folks who were in attendance at this Provo conference. Now that finals are just wrapping up, they’ll have a week or two at home to digest what they heard. Pray that God will intervene by placing Christians in their pathway!

Here we go, let’s take a look at what the Church had to say this time around! I retrieved the article from the Deseret News on December 12, 2016.

Mormons with doubts shouldn’t give up faith without ‘intellectual and spiritual kicking and screaming’

Tad Walch

Published: Nov. 30, 2016 9:50 p.m. Updated: Dec. 1, 2016 3:23 p.m.

LDS culture must welcome questions and questioners, but Mormons who experience doubts should fight for their faith rather than surrender it lightly or lazily, Elder Hafen and other speakers said Wednesday at a BYU conference on the interface of faith and intellect.

“It would be unusual in our day, a time of information explosion, to not have questions about an array of things,” BYU religion professor Robert Millet said. “Questions are a natural byproduct of being human. They are not, in a word, strange, inappropriate or a sign of weakness.”

Again, here we are discussing this issue! Can you imagine the Apostle Peter meeting up regularly with people to discuss how they should deal with all the wrong information the church had been given??? Thoughts of his first epistle keep running through my mind when he emphatically kept pounding the message home on the importance of knowing Jesus and retaining a personal relationship with Him. There’s simply no other way to candy-coat the contradictory messages this church continues to pump out.

One day they’re told to doubt their doubts, and the next we see their leaders running in circles telling everyone it’s okay to question, but only within the set guidelines…good grief!

However, “questions and doubt are not the same thing,” he said, quoting a church leader. Each person of faith makes a decision to seek answers to questions either with doubt or with faith.

And here we are with the leadership telling people how to think. This is very sad. Why isn’t a person allowed to be analytical, come what may?

… “Most people who decide to leave the church really end up leaving a cartoon of the church,”  said Williams, a psychologist and director of BYU’s Wheatley Institution, which hosted “Reason for Hope: Responding to a Secular World” at the Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center.

Williams spoke from experience.

“I didn’t deliberately make this cartoon and assume it was the church,”  he said. “Nobody purposefully offered me only a cartoon of the church. The cartoon was what my subculture made available and what I had ears to hear.”

‘Most people’ refer to this as discernment…

… Elder Hafen said, “in this day and age of both the internet and the international church, we need to do a better job of introducing our children, young people, new converts and others to the process of learning and applying the levels of dealing with uncertainty.”

There’s only one level in the truth department. It’s not multifaceted, nor is it subjective.

He provided four suggestions. One, have a kind word for those with faithful questions. Two, be cautious about the internet’s weaknesses. Three, “focus on the enormously positive doctrinal content of the restoration.” Four, cultivate an attitude of meekness.

Translation: ‘Those with faithful questions’ = no meat. Don’t dig too deep. Don’t get technical. Play the game. Don’t rock the boat.

Focusing on the enormously positivite doctrinal content means don’t dig too deep. Don’t get technical. Play the game. Don’t rock the boat.

“Do not have someone else’s faith crisis,” [Richard] Williamsadded. “Don’t have a non-LDS faith crisis. If you think you are having a faith crisis, make sure to find out what faith really is in the context of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. … Assume that most of your cultural understandings are wrong or at least distorted. Then give the restored gospel a chance at your mind and especially at your soul.”

Translation: Don’t think of what questions other people have. Don’t dig too deep. Don’t get technical. Play the game. Don’t rock the boat. Accept the lies they tell as if they’re the only truth in the world.

“For me,” Millet said, “to doubt our doubts is to be courageous rather than cavalier when it comes to eternal things. We cannot be casual in doubting our doubts and thus succumb to spiritual and intellectual laziness. In other words, no one of us should ever allow a doubt to reign, when in fact it has not won that lofty perch through proving itself beyond all doubt.

“Just as for me it takes too much faith to be an atheist, so we should not be so kindly, such a pushover, as to allow our faith system to go by the way without intellectual and spiritual kicking and screaming on our part.”

Well, being courageous here takes a lot less effort than it does in the face of eternity. Playing the game with those who you can see, hear, and touch right now is a lot easier to deal with. You can place God in a far away place out of sight, smell, hearing, touching because you can’t see Him. In the end though Jesus told us not to fear him who can kill the body, but Him who can both kill the body and soul!

Character development

That effort should include development of personal character, said BYU religion professor Barbara Morgan Gardner, who previously served as the church’s institute director at Harvard and MIT and has interviewed dozens of young Mormon adults who have experienced trials and stayed in or left the church.

There is a heavy price that must be paid by every person who wants to stay active in the church,” she said.

“What I have been able to understand is why people stay,” she said. She boiled it down to character. Those who stayed active in the church exhibited patience, faith and trust in Jesus Christ, hope, knowledge and wisdom, obedience, diligence and persistence, humility, repentance and forgiveness, charity and virtue.”

And that says it all doesn’t it? Oh, how gut wrenching this is! Of course the price is a heavy one! Who cares what you have to lose here and now? God’s shining face upon you dear one, is a much better blessing than the measly payoff here on earth!

This woman was spot on. Unfortunately.

There is indeed a heavy price to be paid for those who stay active in the Church.

I pray they’ll be as Paul when he said –

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12

With Love in Christ;

Michelle

1 Cor. 1:18

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