Thursday, July 3, 2014

I'm Not Proud of My Doubts

I have doubts. I am not proud of them. But I don't despise them. In a way, they are schoolmasters that bring me to Christ (see Galatians 3:25). They've sent me to my knees, a place where I need to spend more time.

I don't have the answers to all my questions. This leaves a gap. The awesome thing is that I decide what goes in that gap. I didn't always know that or believe that. I just thought that gap got filled with whatever rubble rolled into it. But that's not true. I know that now.

Here is one of my favorite verses. I memorized it years ago. (You should it too. It's short.)
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. (D&C 6:36.)
So there it is. A commandment from Jesus Christ to not doubt. It's one I haven't been able to keep but I don't feel cast down. I am hopeful. I'll tell you why.

Doubt is the servant of sin, and the less I serve sin, the less I doubt. Now hold on there. I am not saying that because you have doubts you are sinner. No. What I am saying is that if you are sinning gleefully, doubt can rearrange your thinking and give you permission to sin more.

Every time I've had a serious doubt, I've gotten a clear answer for that doubt. That's because I prayed and prayed. And studied. Sought counsel. And was patient. When doubt sends you off into Deception Ditch, often that's because you stopped watching the road and you took your hands off the wheel. Hold on. Keep steering. Look down the road. Think about the curves that are coming up. Think and be patient.

But I do have some lingering doubts. Not about the existence of God or the divinity of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith's call as a prophet or tithing or the priesthood. My doubts are very personal and they have to do with my disappointments in myself. Enough said.

But I know I will overcome those doubts too, just as I have overcome other doubts. I'm patient and calm. I'm hanging on. I'm watching the road. I'm going to make it.

Honestly, I am grateful for my doubts. They've taught me to look up. And when I look up, my doubts run away. Then, when I look back down, they've gone. Yes, I'm grateful for my doubts but happy to say goodbye when it's time to say goodbye.

3 comments:

Glenn Thigpen said...

I really like the way you stated that you overcome your doubts.
"Every time I've had a serious doubt, I've gotten a clear answer for that doubt. That's because I prayed and prayed. And studied. Sought counsel. And was patient."

That is something we all need to do. Our answers must ultimately come from God.

Thanks,
Glenn

Michael James Fitzgerald said...

Thanks, Glen. I completely agree. Any other source is inadequate.

Anonymous said...

A common doubt there days is the divinity of the BOM. For me it comes down to a question of denying the Holy Ghost. I received my witness from the HG, not JS or his merry band of witnesses. Even if the BOM were a 19th century fabrication, it is true in principle and divine.

The problem religion faces in the 21st century is the rise of objective reality at the expense of subjective reality. The former limits one's perception of reality but is a square hole that we try to pound the round peg of religion into.

I've seen miracles arise from LDS faith. Real miracles that science can't begin to explain. Belief is everything if the outcome is love. Love overcomes all, sometimes the laws of Physics.