I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I cannot say with absolute certainly that I know the church is true. I doubt I ever will. My faith is based on intangible proof. All faith is, that is why it is faith. I do have had experiences, feelings, and life that has led me to believe it is true and the right church for me.
My faith is not infallible. A while ago, I stumbled across some information that really made me question my faith. In just moments a lifetime of belief can be brought into question and even discarded. It was a little scary for me. And it led me to a lot of soul searching.
I remembered watching Life of Pi. At the end, what I took out of it, is that we are free to choose our beliefs. And life is better with God. Do we want stories of animals, tigers, and surprising adventure or stories of death and hardship?
I can choose what I believe. There is always evidence for both sides in matters of faith. I looked at the evidence before me, and realized I didn’t care about it. I wanted to believe in the faith I grew up with. I felt like all my faith had been taken away, and all I had left was a little kernel, just a simple desire that I wanted it to be true.
I wondered if that was enough. Do I need a strong, firm testimony, or is it enough to simply want to believe? The answer came in the following weeks as the faith I had developed in my life was restored, I had questions answered, and other questions that no longer mattered as much. My little seed of faith grew. It did not stay small for long. It was enough to simply want to believe, but God does not let faith stay that small for long.
There is still so much out that that could make me question again. I don’t care about it much anymore. I choose to believe, to have faith regardless of what is out there. Faith is not a matter of finding out what is 100% correct, but choosing that path that has God in it. When my life has God, it can be hard, but it is always beautiful.
- LIfe of Pi (I liked the movie better than the book).
- Matthew 17:20
- Matthew 24:24
- Alma 32
5 thoughts on “Wanting to Believe”
Great comments. We all need the faith testing experiences to be able to grow. There are various methods of asking questions and searching for answers. Not all are equal or have the same consequences. I believe that you have refered to one of the best methods that I have also employed.
It’s horrible, but I’m sort of wondering what made you doubt (more a general picture, not details). Maybe it’s a bad habit, but I like to know why people have doubts and questions and what information leads them to that. I don’t pursue it, really, but it makes me curious. Questions aren’t bad. Doubts aren’t even bad. It depends on where we go with it.
It’s funny, though–all the information I’ve read about (church history and policy and scientific evidence and all of that) don’t at all make me question what I believe. At all. It never has, even remotely.
What has made me question is my own life experiences, my own feelings–when I feel like God isn’t there and I can’t make sense of my life and where it is going. When I have what I feel like inspiration and doesn’t lead anywhere. Feelings have made me doubt a whole lot more than thoughts.
I think we can KNOW the church is true as much as we know anything else. But the thing people don’t realize is that ALL knowledge is based on faith. It’s really hard to say why you KNOW something–you are always trusting in something. Trusting in teachers, or scientific methods, or your eyes, or random news sources, or google, or something. And those things can all be fallible at one point or another, and knowledge always needs revision and strengthening. We rarely have a perfect knowledge of anything.
In any realm of knowledge, there are doubts. In science, for example, you never understand everything. Things pop up that don’t meet your expectations, that challenge what you believe. It’s not unique to religion.
So I think that I, personally, know God exists as much as I know basic algebra (and maybe more so, because I use algebra on occasion and use my knowledge of God daily). I think we have more faith and knowledge than we think we do.
Even with doubts, we have enough. I’ve read about people who have stopped believing in God and they still go to church for their families–and I think that that right there is faith, in a way, even though they don’t think of it that way. Because life is not based in rationality (it never was, it never will be), but in actions and feelings and relationships.
(My comment is as long as your post.)
This scripture has always helped me when I become unsure of one thing or another. D&C 46:13-14.
13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
I have been in this “believing” stage a number of times, but you are right. The spirit speaks a language that is different that the rest of the world. It is in the confusing times, that I tune in to what the spirit is telling me. I may not always understand why, but through the spirit, I FEEL what is good.
Love you Liz! Keep on posting!
I think this is exactly how our faith grows. I’ve been studying faith a lot lately and one of the things made very clear to me is that we don’t know and believe by receiving a witness of the spirit until our faith is tried. Faith, even the particle of faith, causes us to go to the right place for answers when we have questions, feelings, and doubts. There’s a line in a Twenty One Pilots song that says “even when I doubt you, I’m no good without you”. This faith to trust in the Lord even in times when our faith is tried. Then after the trial of faith we receive a greater witness and our faith grows. I’ve experienced this trial of faith recently and now have a stronger belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet and we still have a living prophet today.
What a great, honest, and thoughtful post. I feel I’ve had similar experiences and had to rely on my desire to believe until God gave an increase. Thanks for sharing, Liz! 🙂