“Some of the hardest questions come when what we believe is challenged by changing cultural fashions or by new information, sometimes misinformation, that critics of the Church confront us with. At such times, it may seem that our doctrinal or historical foundations are not as solid as we thought. We may be tempted to question the truths we’ve taken for granted and the spiritual experiences that have formed our faith.
What do we do when doubt seeps into our hearts? Are there really answers to those hard questions?
Yes, there are. In fact, all the answers—all the right answers—depend on the answer to just one question: do I trust God above everyone else?” (The Answer to All the Hard Questions, Ensign 2014)
There is a lot to say about this article, I will just say this:
While they boil “the answer” down to a single question: “Do I trust God above everyone else?”….what I think they mean to say is, “Do I trust LDS priesthood authority above everyone else?” Because in their mind, obeying God = obeying LDS priesthood authority. The problem is that (when we have been given all the information) — so many of us have been disappointed time, and time again by LDS priesthood authority. For about 184 years now (and counting). But they act as if their record is spotless.
For me, the essential question that I believe we all should be asking ourselves in 2014 (as LDS church members) is:
* (For those who still believe in God) — “Do I trust my own ability to discern God’s will for me and my family?”
* (For those who don’t believe in God) — “Do I trust my own reason/instincts/intuition/inspiration/emotion, along with those whom I love and trust, to discern what is right/best for me and my family?”
To me, this is perhaps the most insidious and damaging thing about 21st century LDS authority. After almost two centuries of often egregiously disappointing behaviors, LDS church leaders still expect church members to equate the church’s will with God’s will. So damaging. And so disappointing. We deserve better. You deserve better.
Advice is fine. Suggestions…ok. But please stop insulting (and damaging) us by perpetuating the idea that you speak for God. You don’t. You do your best…and sometimes your best is helpful, and sometimes it is very, very damaging. And so it is more important than ever that we learn to discern for ourselves what is good…and what is not good…given our particular contexts and situations.
Instead of more articles like this….what we need is an article…and a conference talk….that says, “You know what? We’re really, really sorry for all of the pain and suffering we have caused people who trusted us. And we promise that we’ll try to do better. And to be honest, we can learn from you as much as you can learn from us.”
And what we need less of, is articles like this.