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When You Have Unanswered Questions About Church Policy, History: 6 Powerful Insights


Sign-Seeking

Jesus taught, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 16:4). Sign-seekers want all the desired outcomes without having to do the prerequisite work. They try to take what they are seeking from another person rather than earning it for themselves. . . . Sign-seeking bypasses the process of scripture study, prayer, fasting, and experimenting upon the words of Christ in order to learn truth and believe. . . .

Heaven feels increasingly distant when we refuse to pay the price for gaining knowledge and peace. The Prophet Joseph taught, “The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.”5 In contrast, Satan offers instant gratification, usually requiring little to no effort on our part. His quick answers and temptations never build anything lasting or meaningful. God always helps us progress past ambiguity or temptation as we earnestly seek His truth and righteousness through His appointed sources.

Forward with Faith

When ambiguity arises, we often ask, “Why doesn’t the Lord just make things clearer and give more direct answers to our questions?” He seems content to follow His pattern of allowing uncertainty to linger as a defining part of our earthly test. This keeps us relying on Him as we seek for better ways to understand and faithfully move forward in the face of uncertainty.

Elder Richard G. Scott taught that Heavenly Father often gives “gentle promptings that require us to think, exercise faith, work, at times struggle, then act.”6 This is intended to be a process, not an event. Elder Scott continued, “His answers will seldom come while you are on your knees.” He finished this thought by reminding us to be “thankful that sometimes God lets [us] struggle for a long time before that answer comes” because that allows us to move forward with faith and do the best we can with what we have already received.

Notes:

1.Howard W. Hunter, “The Opening and Closing of Doors,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 54–60. President Hunter was using a line from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes as the foundation for this statement.

2.Neil L. Andersen, “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice,” Ensign, Nov. 2015, 65–68.

3.M. Russell Ballard, “To Whom Shall We Go?” Ensign, Nov. 2016, 90–92.

4.Gerald N. Lund, “Countering Korihor’s Philosophy,” Ensign, July 1992, 16–21.

5.Joseph Smith, “Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 March 1839,” 12, in The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed March 29, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-to-the-church-and-edward-partridge-20-march-1839/12.

6.Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2007, 8–11.

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When our lives seem off course and constantly heading downhill despite our best efforts to keep the commandments and follow the Savior, our knee-jerk response is often to question God's motives, concern, and love for us. Like the Apostles on the stormy sea of Galilee, we may wonder, "Why does the Master sleep?" Why does God seem to keep His distance when we need His guidance most? 

Tyler Griffin, an associate professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU, strives to offer hope and perspective to those who feel isolated and distant from heaven, especially when those distant feelings are compounded by confusion, frustration, and deep hurts that spread over time. This book seeks to reaffirm and fortify faith in Christ amid the storms of life, and to help readers find a true sense of connection with the almighty God of the universe, who holds worlds without number in His hands, but holds you and your loved ones in His heart.

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