Last Sunday (1 November 2009), President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke at a CES fireside for young adults, at BYU. It hasn’t yet received much attention in the Bloggernacle, perhaps because it is so far available only in its broadcast form, not as a transcript.
Among the issues addressed by Pres. Uchtdorf is that of having questions about the Church and its doctrine (and I think it doesn’t do violence to his intentions to add “and its history”).
Now, the next issue. What about doubts and questions in principle? How do you find out that the gospel is true? Is it all right to have questions about the Church or its doctrine?
My dear young friends, we are a question-asking people. We have always been, because we know that inquiry leads to truth. That is how the Church got its start, from a young man who had questions. In fact, I’m not sure how one can discover truth without asking questions. In the scriptures you will rarely discover a revelation that didn’t come in response to a question.
Whenever a question arose and Joseph Smith wasn’t sure of the answer he approached the Lord. And the results are the wonderful revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. Often the knowledge Joseph received extended far beyond the original question. That is because not only can the Lord answer the questions we ask, but even more importantly, He can give us answers to questions we should have asked.
Let us listen to those answers. The missionary effort of the Church is founded upon honest investigators asking heartfelt questions. Inquiry is the birth place of testimony.
Some might feel embarrassed or unworthy because they have searching questions regarding the gospel, but they needn’t feel that way. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a precursor of growth.
God commands us to seek answers to our questions and asks only that we seek with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ. When we do so, the truth of all things can be manifest to us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Fear not. Ask questions. Be curious.
But doubt not – doubt not. Always hold fast to faith and to the light you have already received. Because we see imperfectly in mortality, not everything is going to make sense right now. In fact, I should think that if everything did make sense to us, it would be evidence that it had all been made up by a mortal mind. Remember that God has said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Nevertheless, you know that one of the purposes of mortality is to become more like your Heavenly Father in your thoughts and in your ways. Viewed from this perspective, searching for answers to your questions can bring you closer to God, strengthening your testimony instead of shaking it. It’s true that faith is not a perfect knowledge, but as you exercise your faith, applying gospel principles every day under any circumstances, apply those principles wherever you are. And whenever it is, you will taste the sweet fruits of the gospel, and by this fruit you will know of its truth.