Part One

In the October 2013 General Conference, Elder Uchtdorf addressed the topic of doubt:

Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”

It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.7

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it interesting that the reference associated with the text ‘doubt your faith.’ is to a book entitled “Christ the Healer” written by F. F. Bosworth.

Christ the Healer cover full

The book, originally published in 1924, was  a compilation of a number of sermons. As the title connotes, the book has continued to be used to promote the idea that Christ is able to redeem us from both our spiritual and physical weakness.

Many, instead of saying, “Pray for me,” should first say, “Teach me God’s Word, so that I can intelligently cooperate for my recovery.” We must know what the benefits of Calvary are before we can appropriate them by faith. David specifies: “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.”

After being sufficiently enlightened, our attitude toward sickness should be the same as our attitude toward sin. Our purpose to have our body healed should be as definite as our purpose to have our soul healed. We should not ignore any part of the Gospel. Our Substitute bore both our sins and our sicknesses that we might be delivered from them. Christ’s bearing of our sins and sicknesses is surely a valid reason for trusting Him now for deliverance from both. When, in prayer, we definitely commit to God the forgiveness of our sins, we are to believe, on the authority of His Word, that our prayer is heard. We are to do the same when praying for healing. (Christ the Healer, F.F. Bosworth, 2000 edition, pp 17-18)

The forward of the 2000 edition of the book speaks of a ‘flood of testimonies’ of those who were benefitted spiritually and physically by the book. The premise being that we should have just as much faith in Christ that He can take away our sins as in His ability to take away our sickness. Reverend Bosworth’s message was that we should not doubt that Christ has this ability; to cleanse us of sin as well as sickness. He encouraged the reader to show faith in the ability of the Savior to take upon Him our physical and spiritual impairments.

Here is the statement regarding doubt  by Rev. Bosworth from the 2000 edition of the book:

Any man or woman can get rid of his or her doubts by looking steadfastly and only at the evidence that God has given for our faith. Seeing only what God says will produce and increase faith. This will make it easier to believe than to doubt. The evidences for faith are so much stronger than those for doubting. Don’t doubt your faith; doubt your doubts, for they are unreliable. (ibid, pp 21-22)

As I read this, the author is entreating us not to doubt that Christ can heal our sicknesses. He encourages us plant the seed which can develop the faith to heal our physical ailments. We have been taught that it is by faith that we can be healed. Do we, today, exhibit that kind of faith? Or, do we believe that we can simply request a blessing and we have done sufficient work to overcome a physical malady? Some of these things are more difficult than others, in many ways, because of our lack of faith, prayer, and fasting. As I see it, the scriptures speak of the healings of the twelve, in the New Testament and in the Book of Mormon, as signs of the truth. These are to be expected but do not represent the sum of our ability to gain the upper hand over physical maladies. Reverend Bosworth puts forth the case that we can receive a remittance of our physical troubles. Do we have that level of faith among us?

Part Two

This begs the question: can the doubt, as characterized by F. F. Bosworth, that Christ can heal us physically as well as spiritually be on equal plane with the doubts, alluded to by Elder Uchtdorf, largely driven by the historical inconsistencies in doctrine and policy of the LDS church?

I, personally, do not believe this is the case. Our faith in Christ is separate and not reliant on from our faith in the works of men; in our case, the corporation commonly known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I do believe that we should ‘doubt our doubts’ regarding the gospel and message of Jesus Christ. I do not believe the same attitude should be taken regarding the inconsistencies of the policies of men running any religious organization, even those claiming to be the only true church.

We should first make the effort to understand and integrate the gospel of Jesus Christ into our minds and heart. It is the gospel that provides the assurance  to seek and receive answers on all else.  We are promised that if we will seek Him, He will provide direction, even to the truth of all things.

Pierre Abelard, a noted philosopher of the eleventh century saw it this way: “By doubting we are led to question; by questioning we arrive at the truth.” I see this message consistent with Paul as he spoke to the Thessalonians:

Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thess. 5:9)

It is our right and responsibility to ask questions and seek the Lord for direction and confirmation. There is a power in this world that demands that we blindly obey, that gives us assurances that they can lead us through to the glories that await us, that seeks to act as arbiter of our destiny and salvation. That voice is not the one we should follow.

There is also a power to has promised us that He will open the door if we knock. Doubts lead to questions which, through the Holy Ghost, can be answered.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:4-5)

It is our challenge to first develop the requisite faith in Christ.  By so doing, we will have access, through the Holy Ghost, to the truth of all things.

What think ye?

7 Responses to “Doubts, Questions, and Truth”

  • sfort:

    Spek,

    How do you doubt a doubt anyway? Can we then doubt a doubt of our doubt? Do you see where this leads? I think your key is to focus on the Christ, His atonement and redeeming qualities, while then beginning to incorporate them into our very thoughts. This way we don’t rely on man, nor organization to think for us. Nice piece. clear and to the point. Thanks for the addition to the sphere.

  • Log:

    According to the Lectures on Faith, faith and doubt cannot coexist in the same mind at the same time.

    The question therefore is, as I have pretty consistently maintained, why not simply teach men how to acquire faith in Christ? What else needs to be said or taught than repentance and faith in God? And if one has not the knowledge nor capacity to teach either of these things, then for what purpose does he open his mouth?

    • Spektator:

      We have both oft referenced this scripture:

      “And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.” (D&C 18:31)

      As I see it, the Lord has promised that if we will do this, he will “reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.” D&C 76:7

      So, just a Alma indicated in Alma, chapter 40, there may be times when we are called upon to preach the mysteries to others; but only after the foundation has been laid by faith in Christ.

  • The Church is much more than a mere corporation. It is an organization founded upon living revelation with Christ at its head. To doubt the divine authority of the Church is ultimately to doubt the power of Christ at least in so far as it expressed itself in our day. When we doubt our doubt in relationship to the Church or church history, we are recognizing, that while imperfect people lead it and may make mistakes, ultimately Christ is at the helm. If we have that testimony and faith in him, we will stay strong and not be tossed too and for by sleights of hand or the winds of every doctrine. We will be firmly rooted in the Gospel and by extension the Church of Christ. In other words, it is faith in the power of Christ which should strengthen and reinforce our faith in the power of Christ’s church.

    • Log:

      Can not the Jews, and the Catholics, claim exactly the same, using the exact same words (substituting, perhaps, Ha-shem or Adonai for “Christ” in the case of the Jews), and historically equivalent documentation?

      I am unsure if the Jews claim to control our access to salvation. The Catholics, however, certainly do, and have declared LDS baptisms invalid, just as the LDS Church holds itself out to be the sole authorized administrator of salvifically necessary ordinances. That is the only “power” of consequence in any discussion on this topic – the power to admit or bar people from heaven.

      For this reason, the logic presented in your comment seems to have an essential gap, to my eye. It needs to be established that the LDS Church has this power, otherwise the argument is vacuous.

      And it seems to me that the scriptures cannot be used to establish the LDS Church has this power with any degree of finality or coherence.

      2 Nephi 9:41
      41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

    • Spektator:

      Daniel,
      Your comments certainly spawn additional questions. Do you disagree with the statement that the church has been under condemnation since 1832 as described in D&C 84: 54-58? Do you disagree with D&C 112:24-29 where it states that God’s wrath will be poured out, first upon the church? If Christ is at the helm, where was that last time he said through his prophets, “Thus saith the Lord?” Should you be concerned when the commandment to gather is manipulated out of our plans? Should you be concerned when the first two temples were built based on a commandment found in the Doctrine and Covenants but none of the currently 100+ ‘temples’ operating today have such a basis? How many inconsistencies are needed to humble this people? How many times have we been warned regarding pride? How much closer are we today to receiving the sealed portion?
      Perhaps you could define this gospel into which the church is rooted. What are the criteria that the Lord has established for His church? I would suggest that you carefully read 3 Nephi, chapter 27.
      I agree with Log, it seems to be a fool’s errand to point at other attempts by the Lord to establish His kingdom as failures due to apostasy while claiming your own as impervious to the same.
      I have no qualms stating that the effort to restore the gospel begun in 1830 was directed by the Lord. I have received that confirmation. But the Lord has clearly stated that one must endure to the end to be saved. I believe that applies both individually and collectively.

      Spek

  • Earl:

    Spek-

    The other “general conference” which is going on at Daymon Smith’s website has got very interesting reading. I just posted this on Rock’s website and a couple of others. Read the latest. Stunning writing on the B of Mormon!

    http://daymonsmith.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/gencon14-the-power-of-the-text-itself/

    Earl

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