One of the challenges we face if we seek to supplant faith with knowledge is what happens to the tapestry of our testimony when threads of doubt appear. As I stated earlier, too many of those I care for allowed a few strands of doubt to unravel a previously rich testimony. When this happens, that testimony, which was once a source of so much joy, transforms into a heavy burden.
In my opinion, doubt is the enemy of knowledge. However, doubt is NOT the enemy of faith. Rather, doubt and faith are frequent companions that accompany us on our journey through the fog of mortality to our ultimate goal — the tree of life.
- Doubt can inspire questions.
- Questions can lead to yearnings.
- Yearnings can lead to study.
- Study can bring understanding.
- Understanding can lead us to greater faith.
Remember, young Joseph Smith was lead to a grove of trees because he had a question – or, shall we say, a doubt.
Yes, there is a negative side to doubt. Serious doubts can lead us way from familiar paths and take us on a more difficult journey. Doubts can be spiritually debilitating. But doubt need not be the source of overwhelming stress.
In his October 2013 conference address, President Uchtdorf said the following:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—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.
What a marvelously bold statement to counsel each of us to doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith. It is so easy for us to be prone to deconstruct our faith in the face of the occasional insensitive priesthood leader, the whims of our personal political preferences, or uncomfortable historical incongruities. Such obstacles are all part of our journey but the need not be permanent obstacles.
When we look at faith as a tapestry, we will have the confidence that while individual threads may seem misplaced and out of step with our desires, when take a step back, we will learn that threads of doubts, fears, questions, and concerns only added to the richness our our final product — eternal life.