We are living in an age of information. This veritable explosion has fundamentally changed how many people approach questions of faith. For some, this has been exhilarating, since it has provided enhanced access to an avalanche of information about LDS history and scripture.
For many, though, it has proven to be destabilizing, disorienting, or even corrosive to faith. I suspect most everyone knows someone who has been troubled over what they’ve learned about our history or doctrine.
Thankfully, we’ve not been left alone to fend for ourselves.
I’m convinced that our modern predicaments of faith have their resolution the Restoration’s revelations. I’m struck in particular with Doctrine & Covenants 88:118, which rather straightforwardly addresses these very difficulties:
“And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
It is worth noting that this revelation’s answer to doubt relates to community—to our membership in the body of Christ. Those words—“teach one another”—offer a vision that stands in stark contrast to the loneliness and alienation that too many feel when sorting through these questions. How tragic that some struggling Saints find what shreds of community they can anonymously, online, rather than in their flesh-and-blood ward or families. We can listen better, we can walk more compassionately with those who are earnestly seeking, and we can make our Church and family spaces safer for those who “have not faith.”
We can be simultaneously more confident, candid, and studious in our approach to gospel study and more faithful, hopeful, and charitable, too. When we combine more rigorous and dedicated study with those classic Christian virtues, questions can spur us on to profound spiritual insight and experience. And we can do this, together.
This post is an excerpt from a fireside delivered by Institute executive director J. Spencer Fluhman in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on February 24, 2018. It was also included in the Institute’s March e-newsletter. Subscribe here.