When we come across something in Church history or when we struggle with a point of the Church's doctrine, it can feel uncomfortable to ask questions about it.
There are many reasons for this reluctance to ask questions: sometimes we are worried people will think our faith is weak or sometimes we are worried whoever we ask will brush the question off.
But Elder M. Russell Ballard recently gave excellent advice and comfort to those with questions about the Church, mentioning that our very Church began with a question asked by a 14-year-old boy.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions or investigating our history, doctrine, and practices. The Restoration began when Joseph Smith sought an answer to a sincere question.
When I have a question that I cannot answer, I often turn to those who can help me—such as trained scholars and historians. Blessed by the information they provide, I am better equipped to seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
To those of you with questions, I invite you to turn to your parents; auxiliary leaders; Church teachers, including seminary and institute; bishops; and stake presidents.
And to those of you offering answers I say, please do not simply brush the question off. Do not tell him or her to not worry about the question. Please do not doubt the person’s dedication to the Lord or His work. Instead, help the person find answers to their questions. We need to do better in responding to honest questions. Although we may not be able to answer every question about the cosmos or about our history, practices, or doctrine, we can provide many answers to those who are sincere. When we don’t know the answer, we can search to find answers together—a shared search that may bring us closer to each other and closer to God.
Of course, we may not always find satisfying answers to our questions. At such times, it’s good to remember that there is still a place in religion for faith. Sometimes we can learn and study and know; sometimes we have to believe and trust and hope.
Lead image from youtube.com
For more about how questions can strengthen our faith, check out The Crucible of Doubt.
Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.”