Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Questions vs. Doubt

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 6:36)

Doubt not, but be believing (Book of Mormon, Mormon, Chapter 9:27)

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 32:27)

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS faith is not blind. LDS members are encouraged to question our faith, "experiment upon the word", and 'not subsist on borrowed light'. LDS faith is the spiritual courage to apply and live a principle of the Gospel of Christ in our life. The proof then comes only after first living these principles. 

And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. (Pearl of Great Price, Moses, Moses 5:6)

However, just because we don 't first understand the reason why we should obey does't mean that we are not expected to obey and keep God's commandments.  It is enough to know that the Lord has commanded it even if we do not yet understand why. 

Remember that LDS members should already have a witness and sure knowledge by the Holy Ghost and empiric knowledge through our happiness and peace that God has a living prophet upon the Earth. And when the living prophet speaks in the name of the Lord we can receive a witness that we are again hearing the will of God even if we do not yet understand the reason.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (New Testament, John, Chapter 7)

One of the major reasons that obedience is a part of faith is that understanding many times only comes after living a commandment. This is just like parents persuading a child to eat his vegetables. We tell our children, "try it first before telling me you don't like it".  Also, we understand that certain healthy foods (like commandments) require that we develop a taste for them.

The difference between doubt and questioning is one of attitude.  Doubt says 'I will not obey until God proves it to me'. On the other hand, questioning says, 'I will obey now with faith and patience knowing that understanding will come by living and putting the principle to the test in my own life".  

In reality, doubt is a self deception. Those who doubt claim intellectual honesty, but do not really want to know or accept the truth. Like Alma 32 teaches, we can only develop a perfect knowledge of a principle of the gospel by first planting the seed and then living the principle, waiting upon the good fruit of peace and happiness as proof of the goodness of the seed.  

This process of testimony doesn't usually happen overnight any more than planting an apple seed yields bushels of apples tomorrow. Observing a command once may not bring instant understanding, but over the process of time with patience and perseverance will always yield the desired good and precious fruit.

Yea, even that ye would have so much faith as even to plant the word in your hearts, that ye may try the experiment of its goodness. (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 34:4)

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