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Navigating Nuance: The Value of Inquiry

Deep and serious reflection about religious concerns can feel both daunting and unavoidable;  however, embracing this complexity may be the key to finding peace with your spiritual identity.

Navigating young adulthood is a continual process of inquiry and change as individuals encounter major transitions such as graduating, entering the workforce, and choosing a partner. For me, this process has also extended to my relationship with the Church.  In recent years, I have struggled to reconcile the doctrine I feel in my heart to be true, that God loves each of his children equally, while watching the lack of representation for women at every level of church organization. This juxtaposition poses serious and pervasive questions that at times weigh heavily on my mind. Whatever our questions may be, by embracing a sense of inquiry, we will discover more about our spiritual identities and focus on implementing the Savior’s teachings in our lives.

Man prayingElsie Talmage Bradley addresses having questions about principles and practices in her speech “The Religious Crisis of Today.” Though having questions or doubts about religion can be a source of strain, Bradley states, “The basis of doubt and inquiry has been the genius of the church.” In doing so, she reminds us of the young prophet Joseph Smith who acted upon the following counsel: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Remembering that God created us to learn through inquiry can help us reconcile the pain our doubt and questions may cause so that we can find peace in nuance. 

I am not sure that my questions have perfect answers or that my doubts will simply go away; however, I do know that my Heavenly Parents love me and want me to grow and progress. Part of that progression means seeking balance as I welcome questions and embrace the basic, yet foundational, truths of the gospel. 

As Bradley puts it, “Instead of making religious truths a bone of contention and source of differences, should we not, as leaders and individuals, try to make them a means of bringing order and harmony out of apparent confusion?” Though confusion is part of the mortal experience, remember that revelation and learning only come through questions—amidst and despite our doubt. 

—Cala Taylor, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Read more about how our relationship with Christ can help us with our spirituality in the Latter-day Saint Insights article “Choose to Believe” by Rachel Webb.

Take a look at the Latter-day Saint Insights article “Strength in Spiritual Sensitivity: What To Do When You Feel Numb” by Sara McOmber to learn more about how to build your connection with the Savior.


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