7 Strategies for Tackling Tough Spiritual Questions

We shouldn’t be afraid to ask tough questions, but we should expect to work hard for a good answer.

"Knowledge and understanding come at the price of patience." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Photo by Lisa Zoe

All Latter-day Saints can expect to face difficult questions regarding the Church and its history. Many people struggle with topics such as gay marriage and polygamy. Most people also have personal questions, such as, “Why must I endure this trial?”

Questions are a good thing. In fact, asking earnest questions is essential to our spiritual growth. In the article “Finding Answers for Myself,” Heather Johnson offers advice on how we can use tough questions to strengthen our testimonies instead of letting such questions shake our understanding of the gospel.

  1.  Ask Heavenly Father directly. He loves us and cares about things that are important to us. When confronting a difficult problem—gospel related or not—we should never be afraid to ask for Heavenly Father’s guidance. He will always listen and understand.
  2. Approach questions with humility. If we have a demanding attitude of “I need answers now,” we’ll quickly be frustrated. We need to humbly remember that the Lord knows where our testimonies are at and will provide us with answers in his own time, when we are ready.
  3. Search the scriptures and talks from modern-day prophets. We can’t expect answers if we aren’t willing to search for them. Studying the scriptures and recent general conference talks invites the presence of the Spirit and encourages personal revelation.
  4. Focus on what we do know. If we want our testimonies to grow, we must hold on to what we already know. The simplest truths, including that Heavenly Father loves each of his children, are often the most important.
  5. Don’t get caught up in nuances. Johnson advises, “Our gospel study time will be most meaningful when we spend it finding answers to questions that will help us better understand the plan of salvation and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” We should ask ourselves whether the answer to a specific question will affect how we live and then focus on questions that matter the most.
  6. Record answers when we find them. It’s easier to forget meaningful insights than we might realize. So we should record scriptures, quotes, and experiences we receive that provide answers to our questions. When similar questions arise again, we can look back and remember the experiences that previously comforted us and gave us understanding.
  7.  Be patient. We can invite personal revelation by living worthy of the Spirit, reading the scriptures, visiting the temple, and treating others with charity. But we can’t always expect immediate answers. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf promises in his talk “Continue in Patience,” we must remember that “knowledge and understanding come at the price of patience.”

Questions are an opportunity for us to learn more about Heavenly Father’s plan for us, as well as for us to strengthen our relationship with him. When we ask questions, Heavenly Father blesses us with understanding “line upon line, precept upon precept” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:12). If we want to grow spiritually, we need to be willing to put time and effort into answering tough questions.

To see how these strategies have helped Heather Johnson, read her complete article: Finding Answers for Myself.

Source: Ensign

—Makayla Okamura, Mormon Insights

feature image by amanda perez

Read Jon Blackman’s Mormon Insights article “Doubting my Doubts” to learn about his experience dealing with difficult gospel topics.

Watch or read Sheri Dew’s devotional address “Will You Engage in the Wrestle?” to learn more about the benefits of working hard to gain a testimony.

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