The topic of “questions” has consumed my thoughts lately. How can I maintain my faith when I am asked valid, but doctrinally challenging, questions? Why can answers feel unsatisfying? Can unsatisfying answers become satisfying?
I think questions are invaluable. We’re all familiar with the quote, “The only bad question is the one unasked.” However, when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ some questions are simply more important than others.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, in his talk “Stand on the Rock of Revelation,” teaches that there are a “few primary questions.” He goes on to mention four specific questions.
“Is there a God who is our Father?”
“Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior of the world?”
“Was Joseph Smith a prophet?”
“Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the kingdom of God on earth?”
He goes on to say, “Answer the primary questions, and you can deal with things you understand and things you don’t and things you agree with and things you don’t without jumping ship.”
I implore each of you reading this to find out these truths for yourself. Without a personal Assurance of these four fundamental truths, you leave yourself to the mercy of the adversary and the endless litany of questions he can conjure up. With such a conviction, you arm yourself with confidence, hope, faith, and purpose.
Here is an example of a question I was asked recently. “If we are obedient, we are promised all of the blessings of heaven. How is God going to fulfill that promise for those who struggle with same-sex attraction? Is he just going to “twinkle” them when they die and they suddenly are straight? Or are they going to spend eternity as second-class citizens? Are they going to be married to partners that they are not attracted to?”
This is a pretty tough question! Let me present to you an additional question that is more relevant to my personal struggles. How is my body going to be restored in the resurrection? I am promised a perfected body in the resurrection but I’m a “below-the-knee” amputee. How is He going to make my leg come back? Is it just going to appear there or will it re-grow?
These questions are similar in at least two ways. They are both valid concerns. And I don’t know the answer to either one. That is ok. Because I know that the atonement is real, I can be sure that its promises are true. Because I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, I can believe that He has the power to make all things right. My knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ and his perfect, infinite atonement does not invalidate these questions or make them not worth asking. However, It does provide me with the foundation I need to accept that I don’t have all the answers yet. And that is alright.
Elder Boyd K. Packer taught, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”
I completely agree. Often as we ask and ponder questions, we tend to focus “beyond the mark.” We forget or ignore the fundamental doctrines of Christ’s gospel.
Remember the teachings of King Benjamin, “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” (Mosiah 4:27) While questions are a key part of receiving personal revelation, asking secondary gospel questions before we have answered the primary questions is very literally “running faster” than we have strength. We have all seen a child running faster than he has strength. It almost always ends in a fall. Let us not fall because we “looked beyond the mark.”
I know that God is my Heavenly Father and I know he loves me. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. I know that his atonement is infinite and intimate. I know that even though I don’t know the “how” of the atonement, I know that it will right all wrongs and restore all that was lost. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he was a good man. Lastly, I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s kingdom on the earth today. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.