Doubting My Doubts

As I struggled to gain a testimony of the gospel, a general conference talk helped me put my doubts into perspective.

"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." —Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Photo by JJ Ying

“I’m just not sure if I believe in the Church anymore,” I said as I kept my eyes fixed on the distant waters of Utah Lake.

I saw Niel nodding. We were sitting at the top of the trail to the Y overlooking Provo. Over the past week I had slowly worked up the courage to talk with my close friend about my doubts. We were both stereotypical Mormon boys: born and raised in the Church, living in Provo, and attending or applying to BYU. But now I was drifting away from what had been the foundation of my life. The chapel that sat right at the base of Y Mountain was where we used to attend church. Looking at it, I remembered us blessing the sacrament together and reading scriptures in our priests quorum. Had all of that been in vain? Had we all been fooled?

Niel thought for a moment before asking, “Why do you think that the Church might not be true?”

“It just seems like there’s so much that I have issues with. I’ve tried praying about it, but I haven’t really received any answers. I don’t agree with the Church at all on gay marriage, and the whole priesthood ban and polygamy issues really bother me too.”

We talked for a while on the mountain, discussing some of my questions, but we never landed on any solid answers.

Eventually, Niel said, “I’m not really sure if I can answer any of your questions, but I know you’ll figure it out. I think you should give it one last try. Keep reading the scriptures and praying. Really think hard about your testimony. I’d say that you should at least give it until after the next general conference.”

Over the summer, I kept praying and studying, trying to find answers to my doubts and concerns. As general conference approached, I was still doubting. I prayed before conference, hoping for an answer, and then I heard President Dieter F. Uchtdorf‘s talk “Come, Join with Us.” He spoke about reasons for belonging to the Church: its connection with Jesus Christ, its ability to help us do good in the world, and its blessings for those who “[walk] the path of discipleship.”

The answer I needed came when President Uchtdorf said, “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 began thinking about the issues that troubled me. Did they really matter? Did polygamy from over one hundred years ago or questions about the translation process of the Book of Mormon change the fact that the Church had provided peace, comfort, and a sense of community throughout my life? My doubts were irrelevant compared to the wondrous blessings and joy that the gospel brought me. I still struggle with my testimony, but I know that the goodness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is enough to calm my doubts.

Help make sense of your own doubts by reading President Uchtdorf’s talk “Come, Join with Us.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Jon Blackman, Mormon Insights contributor

feature image by ben white

Find more insights

Feel the power of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s testimony of the Book of Mormon in his talk “Safety for the Soul.”

Read Dean L. Larsen’s talk about the good fruits of the Church: “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them.”

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