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Facing Ambiguity with Faith

The problems we face aren’t always black and white. How we respond to the gray areas and the moments when reality doesn’t measure up to our ideals can greatly influence our faith.

"Our encounters with reality and disappointment are, in fact, vital changes in the development of our maturity and understanding." -Bruce C. Hafen

Photo by K Zoltan

To kids, the world can seem pretty simple. They work and play; learn the difference between right and wrong; and rely heavily on the influence of parents, friends, and role models. Becoming a young adult often means discovering that people and issues are more complex than we might have realized as children. Asking questions and being uncertain about some things is not just inherent in growing up but in maintaining faith.

In Bruce C. Hafen’s article “On Dealing with Uncertainty,” he explains how young people can deal with ambiguity by trusting in God and the Savior. Hafen addresses the “gap between the real and ideal, between what is and what ought to be.” Young Church members everywhere will face moments of disappointment; although we don’t have all the answers, Heavenly Father does, and he loves his children. With his support we can push forward with faith and have peace.

The gray areas are tough because we have to exercise our agency and work things out for ourselves. We can seek personal revelation by praying and searching in the scriptures, but we may not always arrive at an answer that’s black and white. In those situations, Brother Hafen asks that we “be honest enough and courageous enough to face whatever uncertainties we may encounter, try to understand them, and then do something about them.” With this perspective and determination, no matter whether we’re struggling to understand something in the Church’s history or grappling with a current social issue, we can handle uncertainty and ambiguity with faith.

Read Bruce C. Hafen’s full address, “On Dealing with Uncertainty,” to learn more about how to face uncertainty with more faith and confidence.


—Abby Crimm, Mormon Insights


Find more insights

Learn more about this topic from Brother Hafen and his wife in Boyd Matheson’s article “How Do You Maintain Faith Amidst Uncertainty? A Conversation with Bruce and Marie Hafen.”

Read Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s message “Live in Faith Despite Uncertainty and Challenges,” in which he talks about how to have faith in today’s world of many uncertainties.

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  1. Pingback: How to Turn Disappointments into Successes - Latter-day Saint Insights

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