3 Ways to Explain the Unexplainable

We can still have faith in Christ, even when we struggle to understand the gospel.

"Never fail to give equal time to the Lord through honest attempts to understand what the Lord has revealed." -M. Russell Ballard

photo by joshua earle

With modern technology, we have so much knowledge at our fingertips—yet, having resources that are only a few taps away doesn’t mean we can answer all of life’s questions.

Our current scientific theories can’t explain how gravity works—we just know that it does. Whether or not we understand the reasons behind gravity, we can still live a normal, happy life.

The same is true of the gospel. We can’t explain every aspect of the gospel, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Even though we don’t understand all of God’s reasoning, we can live happy, meaningful lives as we continue to live the gospel.

If you’re struggling to understand an aspect of the gospel, Elder M. Russell Ballard offers the following three insights to help you remain firm in your faith and find resolution:

  1. Reflect on gospel truths you know to be true. The Church has so much to offer, such as the plan of salvation, which gives us knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and a purpose to mortality. Review moments in your life when you received a testimony of these truths.
  2. Know that it’s okay if you don’t understand everything. As imperfect beings, we aren’t expected to comprehend all of God’s doings. The unexplainable isn’t unexplainable to God.
  3. Continue on the gospel path. As we sincerely search for answers and “continue on the gospel path,” we will find the answers to our questions. As Elder Ballard counsels, “Never fail to give equal time to the Lord through honest attempts to understand what the Lord has revealed.”

We can’t expect to understand every aspect of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not everything is explainable. But we can put our faith in God and live the gospel. As we do this, we will come to a knowledge of its truth for ourselves.

Read or watch Elder M. Russell Ballard’s full address “To Whom Shall We Go?” to learn more about having faith while seeking answers to gospel-related questions.

Source: lds.org

—Stephanie Fudge, Mormon Insights

feature image by juskteez vu

Find more insights

Read or watch “Come, Join Us,” a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf about finding belonging in the Church.

Take a look at Elder Neil L. Andersen’s talk “Never Leave Him” to discover how to overcome feelings of offense or shame and come unto Christ.

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11 Comments

  1. Thanks for the wonderful article! I think number 1 is a great one for personal scripture study.

  2. Many people think that they will find the answers they are looking for somewhere else. Thank you for this great reminder that the best place to find answers is by drawing closer to God.

  3. These are all great talks. I think it is also important to remember that the principles of the gospel are also woven together very tightly, even if we don’t understand them all yet. A testimony of the Book of Mormon will help us understand Joseph Smith’s role, and a testimony of the Plan of Salvation will help us understand the Priesthood. Sometimes it seems counter intuitive to study the things that we know instead of the things that we don’t know yet, but as we come to a deeper understanding of the basics, the other pieces follow. It certainly doesn’t come all at once, but it does come.

  4. I think that the connection you’ve drawn between today’s channels of information and the way we sometimes (erroneously) expect to receive spiritual truths is incredibly valuable. While the Internet may allow us to find many answers immediately, it does so impersonally, whereas the gospel’s truths often require time and effort of us, but are confirmed directly and powerfully to our souls.
    And during the struggles of waiting that are often asked of us in the pursuit of understanding? How comforting it is to me to know that “the unexplainable isn’t unexplainable to God,” and it won’t remain unexplained to us forever—or indeed, even for long. God has taught us, he does today, and he will again and again so often as we let him. The lesson, for a time, may be one of patience, but there is a day for every answer we seek.

  5. I have found that when I try to explain to other people what I know to be true, it never comes across the right way unless the other person already knows what I know. These truths are so simple once you know them, but they are so profound that you can’t even know them from others’ explanations. You have to experience these truths yourself AND they have to be communicated from the Holy Spirit to your spirit. Human language is so limited!

  6. This is a great article. Principle number 2 is important to follow so that we can still have peace even when we don’t understand why somethings happen.

  7. I love the example you gave about gravity at the beginning, and the second principle that promises that it’s okay NOT to understand. Doubters will always point to the parts of doctrine that, as of yet, we have no explanation for. But just like gravity, although we may not know why it works, we know that it DOES.

  8. I think this is great to remember when discussing difficult topics in Church history or doctrine. I heard Julie M. Smith say once that when discussing these kinds of topics, we need to frequently mention that we don’t know why something happened; instead, we need to be comfortable with not having definite answers.

  9. These are great insights. The suggestions provided even apply, I think, to a situation in which we might be struggling to find peace and solace during times when we might not understand the thoughts or impressions we’ve received. What matters more than anything else in times like this is to stick close to the gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  10. I have always thought that not knowing everything just proves how much you DO know. I believe that these three tips are good, but I think that there should never be a halt in searching for answers. If we can approach a subject objectively, without beating yourself up about having those questions in the first place, then you can always know you are growing.

  11. This concept is so relevant right now in particular. I think it’s a sign of wisdom, intelligence, and humility when we can admit that we don’t know everything at the moment, but it seems like lots of people take a statement of “I don’t know why” or “I don’t know how” as proof that the Gospel is untrue. Our inability to understand the how and why of gravity is a great analogy. We know gravity works, and I know Heavenly Father has a plan for our happiness, so I’m not too worried about the nitty-gritty details of either.

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