How to deal with a crisis of faith
Just like you, I’ve had a crisis or two of faith. And I’m sure neither you or I is done with having these crises.
My first crisis was about Joseph Smith. My second was about revelation. My third was about the temple. My fourth was about non-prophet church leaders. My fifth was about Mormon culture and doctrine.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Jesse, those are pretty big-topic issues you dealt with.” If you aren’t, that’s what I would’ve thought if I had read that list. Or maybe you’re thinking, “Yep, been there,” or “Yep, I am there.”
I struggled, but I wanted to stay with my God. So how did I deal with those questions and confused thoughts? The answers are simple, but the execution of them isn’t so easy.
1. Read the scriptures every day
I recently listened to the talk, “No Greater Joy Than to Know That They Know,” by Elder K. Brett Nattress. He tells the story of how his mom would read the Book of Mormon to their family every morning. One day Elder Nattress told his mom he wasn’t even listening. And his mom responded.
“She said, ‘Son, I was at a meeting where President Marion G. Romney taught about the blessings of scripture reading. During this meeting, I received a promise that if I would read the Book of Mormon to my children every day, I would not lose them.’ She then looked me straight in the eyes and, with absolute determination, said, ‘And I will not lose you!'”
I like to think we can say the same thing for ourselves and God. Since my first crisis of faith, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve missed reading my scriptures. And I strongly believe reading the scriptures has kept me close to God.
So even though there are days where it’s just one verse, it’s still important to keep the habit so you don’t forget about your Padre Celestial.
2. Remember the testimonies you’ve recieved
The talk, “Lest Thou Forget,” by Elder Ronald A. Rasband talks about just this. That’s a shout-out because it inspired me to write this post.
Whenever I have been through a crisis of faith, I’ve thought back to the testimony I recieved from that first trial of faith. How many times have I wanted to throw in the towel and give up? I wouldn’t even know how to count. But how many times has my testimony (that God is real, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the truth) gotten me through my crises? Thankfully, every time.
3. Remember these words: “If you are tempted to give up: Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.”
Those words come from Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf’s talk, “Come, Join With Us.”
I’ve been tempted to give up, but I know that persisting and “eduring to the end” is part of the dealio. We aren’t asked just to endure, but to joyously go forth because there’s a purpose for us here on earth. And part of that is getting through our crises of faith and coming out stronger as a result.
So in the words of Jeffrey R. Holland, “Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead … Trust God and believe in good things to come.”
I promise that good things come as you stick to your God and push through those crises of faith. It’s happened for me time and time again, and it can happen for you too.