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FAITH AND DOUBT Armand L.

Mauss A message delivered during the Sacrament Meeting of the Woodbridge First Ward, Irvine California Stake, on Sunday, September 8, !"# During the April, 20 !, general "#n$eren"e, %lder &e$$re' (. H#lland deli)ered a )er' imp#rtant message #n $aith and d#u*t. The message #pens +ith a re$eren"e t# the st#r' in Mar,, -hapter ./ 012., +here &esus heals an a$$li"ted *#' a$ter 2uesti#ning +hether the *#'3s $ather "#uld *elie)e that all things are p#ssi*le. The $ather3s anguished and am*i)alent resp#nse +as 4L#rd, I *elie)e 11 help th#u m' un*elie$54 6).278 %lder H#lland3s message +as addressed primaril' t# -hur"h mem*ers $eeling s#me #$ that same am*i)alen"e 11 that is, t# th#se am#ng us +h# ha)e *een struggling t# maintain their $aith and "#mmitment t# the g#spel and t# the -hur"h. %lder H#lland9s su*:e"t +as n#t "h#sen "asuall', *ut rather it ar#se $r#m the present hist#ri"al "#nte;t. F#r +e ha)e entered a peri#d +hen "reeping d#u*ts ha)e undermined the $aith < and the $aith$ulness < #$ in"reasing num*ers #$ th#se +h# +ere #n"e a"ti)e and de)#ted mem*ers and +#r,ers in this -hur"h. %lder Marlin =. &ensen #$ the >e)ent', +h# +as -hur"h Hist#rian until re"entl', has "#mpared the present time t# =irtland in the late ?!0s, +hen +idespread ap#stas' greatl' redu"ed the ran,s #$ the $aith$ul.2 @e might *e tempted t# shrug #$$ the l#ss #$ mem*ers +h#, +e assume, are lea)ing *e"ause the' +ere ne)er reall' "#n)erted in the $irst pla"e, #r *e"ause the' ha)e *een una*le #r un+illing t# li)e a""#rding t# g#spel standards and are $#ll#+ing a di$$erent path < perhaps a sin$ul path. -ertainl' there might *e s#me in th#se "ateg#ries. Aet the data +e ha)e #n departing mem*ers suggest a di$$erent pi"ture $#r m#st #thers/ The' "#me largel' $r#m the ran,s #$ the $#rmerl' $aith$ul < returned missi#naries, temple +#r,ers, $#rmer *ish#ps, (elie$ >#"iet' presidents, and #thers +h# ha)e *een leaders in the -hur"h < and still in the prime #$ li$e 6in their 20s, !0s, and 70s8. And +hen the' lea)e, #$ "#urse their "hildren lea)e +ith them. It is li,el' that s#me in this )er' +ard, #r s#me #$ their l#)ed #nes, might *e in"luded in this e;#dus #$ the $#rmerl' $aith$ul. But +h' is this #""urring, and +h' #n su"h a relati)el' large s"ale "#mpared t# earlier timesB -ertainl' there is m#re than #ne reas#n, and s#me reas#ns are uni2ue t# indi)idual "ir"umstan"es. H#+e)er, there are t+# general reas#ns that are eas' t# identi$'/ 6 8 The hist#r' and pra"ti"es #$ the -hur"h ha)e *e"#me m#re a""essi*le t# 2uesti#ning mem*ers than e)er *e$#re. The age #$ the internet gi)es us a""ess t# all ,inds #$ in$#rmati#n a*#ut tea"hings and pra"ti"es in the earl' hist#r' #$ the -hur"h that seem hard t# understand t#da', +hether $#r mem*ers #r n#n1mem*ers. Anti1M#rm#n and e;1 M#rm#n +e*sites are "#nstantl' dredging up and highlighting these an#malies. %)en contemporary pra"ti"es and p#li"ies are distur*ing t# s#me pe#ple 6su"h as the di$$eren"es *et+een men3s and +#men3s r#les in the -hur"h8. Mean+hile, the -hur"h itsel$, $#r its part, has *e"#me $ar m#re #pen and transparent a*#ut its tea"hings and pra"ti"es, past and present, than it has e)er *een *e$#re, +hether #n its #+n +e*sites #r *' means #$ its #pen ar"hi)es and regular pu*li"ati#n #$ imp#rtant d#"uments li,e the $oseph Smith %apers.

A se"#nd reas#n 628 $#r the attriti#n am#ng the $#rmerl' $aith$ul is that as a -hur"h and as $amilies, +e ha)e n#t ade2uatel' prepared the re"ent generati#ns #$ the >aints $#r this en#rm#us pr#li$erati#n #$ ne+l' a)aila*le in$#rmati#n a*#ut -hur"h hist#r' and pra"ti"es. @hen mem*ers learn that there is m#re than #ne )ersi#n #$ the pr#phet3s a""#unt #$ the First Cisi#nD #r details #n h#+ the B##, #$ M#rm#n +as translatedD #r a*#ut the s"#pe and persisten"e #$ plural marriage, e)en int# the 20th "entur'D #r a*#ut earlier tea"hings and p#li"ies in the -hur"h t#+ard the di$$erent ra"es, s#me $ind it di$$i"ult t# re"#n"ile th#se dis"#)eries +ith +hat the' ha)e learned in >eminar', Institute, #r >unda' >"h##l. As a result, the' *e"#me "#n"erned 11 e)en alarmed 11 a*#ut h#+ t# handle the dis"repan"ies *et+een the neat and "#herent narrati)e that #n"e undergirded their testim#nies and the a"tuall' rather mess' st#r' #$ h#+ the L#rd had t# +#r, +ith #rdinar' human *eings t# esta*lish the -hur"h and spread the g#spel. ># that3s the predi"ament. N#+ +hat "an +e d# a*#ut itB I spea, t# '#u n#+ n#t as a priesth##d leader #r sp#,esman $#r the -hur"h *ut #nl' as #ne #ld1timer +h# has li)ed pers#nall' thr#ugh alm#st hal$ #$ the entire hist#r' #$ the -hur"h. @ith m' e;tra#rdinar' +i$e and partner (uth, +e raised eight 2uesti#ning "hildren, and the' their #+n 2uesti#ning "hildren. Furtherm#re, as part #$ a l#ng a"ademi" "areer, I ha)e *een rummaging ar#und in -hur"h hist#r', p#li"ies, and pra"ti"es that run the gamut $r#m the su*lime t# the ridi"ul#us. I ha)e en"#untered all the d#u*ts, "#mplaints, and s"andals that ha)e s+irled ar#und the -hur"h during m' li$etime and right int# the present. Thr#ugh it all, I ha)e retained m' $aith in the g#spel and m' l#'alt' t# the -hur"h. Let me tell '#u s#me imp#rtant things that I ha)e learned in the pr#"ess. Ma'*e the' +ill *e help$ul t# '#u #r '#ur l#)ed #nes. I ha)e #nl' three *asi" p#ints t# ma,e. FI(>T/ In religi#n, as in man' #ther traditi#ns handed d#+n t# us, peri#di" d#u*ts are n#rmal $#r an' th#ught$ul and re$le"ti)e pers#n. Man' #$ the d#u*ts "an3t *e readil' res#l)ed, at least n#t in this li$e, s# +e all li)e +ith a "ertain am#unt #$ am*iguit'. A tolerance for ambiguity, indeed, is a sign of spiritual and intellectual maturity, not of gullibility or indecision& A*#)e all, there is n# reas#n t# $eel guilt' a*#ut #ur d#u*ts, and +e must *e "are$ul n#t t# ma,e #thers $eel guilt' a*#ut theirs 6espe"iall' #ur "hildren8. That :ust shuts #$$ "#mmuni"ati#n. Aet +e need n#t spend #ur li)es :ust "#ping +ith d#u*ts. As %lder H#lland ad)ises us, +e must li)e *' +hat +e do ,n#+ and n#t *e sidetra",ed #r dem#raliEed *' +hat +e d#n3t ,n#+. This is n#t a matter, he tells us, #$ pretending t# ha)e $aith that +e d# n#t ha)e. 4The siEe #$ '#ur $aith #r the degree #$ '#ur ,n#+ledge is n#t the issue,4 he tells usD rather, 4it is the integrit' '#u dem#nstrate t#+ard the $aith '#u do ha)e and the truth '#u alread' ,n#+.4 He ad)ises us that +e *e "andid a*#ut #ur d#u*ts, *ut n#t let them stand in the +a' #$ e;er"ising the $aith that "an help us res#l)e them. @e must als# *e patient +ith #thers3 d#u*ts, as +ell as +ith #ur #+n. @e are all taught t# see, the "#n$irmati#n #$ the H#l' >pirit a*#ut the rest#rati#n #$ the g#spel and the truth$ulness #$ the B##, #$ M#rm#nD and *lessed are th#se +h# ha)e re"ei)ed su"h "#n$irmati#n and retained it. Aet +e ha)e all en"#untered g##d pe#ple, in and #ut #$ the -hur"h, +h# seem genuinel' to have tried but not gained or kept su"h a "#n$irmati#n. Are su"h pers#ns, +hether mem*ers #r n#t, un+el"#me am#ng us i$ the'

! "an a""ept #nl' some #$ the -hur"h3s tea"hings *ut retain d#u*ts a*#ut #thersB >urel' n#t. >%-OND/ @e "laim that this is the L#rd3s -hur"h, and +e ha)e $aith that ultimatel' He is in "harge. H#+e)er, as %lder H#lland sa's, 4. . . imper$e"t pe#ple are all F#d has e)er had t# +#r, +ith. That must *e terri*l' $rustrating t# Him, *ut He deals +ith it. ># sh#uld +e.4 @e tend t# underestimate the human element in the #perati#n #$ the -hur"h, and +e are s#metimes perple;ed *' $ailings that +e see in its leaders #r tea"hers. We must be prepared to accept the reality that Church leaders in the past '' and sometimes more recently '' have taught some things and acted in some (ays that (e cannot understand and (ould not no( approve& Their times +ere n#t #ur times, and their hist#ri"al situati#ns +ere )er' di$$erent $r#m #urs. Aet, +e are n#t entitled t# e;pe"t m#re per$e"ti#n #r in$alli*ilit' $r#m #ur leaders and tea"hers in the -hur"h, past #r present, than +e +#uld "laim $#r #ursel)es. @e s#metimes tal, am#ng #ursel)es as th#ugh it is the g#spel that is per$e"t, +hile the -hur"h "an s#metimes get prett' mess' *e"ause #$ all the human *eings in it. H#+e)er, I ha)e al+a's *een impressed *' a great essa' +ritten a $e+ de"ades ag#, *' BAU pr#$ess#r %ugene %ngland, +ith the title 4@h' the -hur"h is as true as the F#spel.! He argues that alth#ugh +e l##, t# the g#spel $#r the truths and ideals t# li)e *', it is in the -hur"h 6as in #ur $amilies8 +here these ideals are tested, +here +e reall' $ind #ut i$ +e "an live the g#spel. I$ +e "ann#t su""ess$ull' appl' the g#spel #$ -hrist t# li$e in the -hur"h and in #ur $amilies, then h#+ "an +e e;pe"t the g#spel t# +#r, an'+here in the +#rldB In the L#rd3s Gre$a"e t# the )octrine * Covenants 6>e"ti#n 8, he re$ers t# the $#unding leaders and mem*ers #$ the -hur"h as 4+ea, and simpleD4 and sa's that he has gi)en his "#mmandments t# his 4ser)ants in their +ea,ness, a$ter the manner #$ their languageD4 and that the' might err and need "hastening 11 'et +ill re"ei)e strength and ,n#+ledge "#ntingent #n their humilit' 6 / 2!1 2?8. This d#esn3t s#und mu"h li,e in$alli*ilit', s# +e must a""ept the human element in #ur leaders, past and present, as in ourselves, e)en as +e see, the guidan"e #$ the H#l' >pirit in "#nsidering h#+ *est t# $#ll#+ them. THI(D/ %a"h #$ us is ultimatel' and personally resp#nsi*le $#r #ur #+n ,n#+ledge and understanding #$ the g#spel and #$ -hur"h hist#r' 11 and indeed $#r #ur #+n testim#nies and h#+ +e a"t #n them. >u"h is n#t the resp#nsi*ilit' #$ the *ish#p, the sta,e president, #r an' priesth##d leader 11 n#t e)en the pr#phet. >u"h is n#t the resp#nsi*ilit' #$ an' tea"her in >unda' >"h##l, >eminar', #r Institute. The' "an all *e help$ul, *ut s#metimes the' are n#t. Our tea"hers are e;pe"ted t# appl' the #$$i"ial -hur"h "urri"ulum in helping us *uild #ur testim#nies. It is n#t their :#* t# e;pl#re all the an#malies, pe"uliarities, and "#ntr#)ersies that might *e en"#untered in the stud' #$ -hur"h hist#r', pra"ti"es, #r p#li"ies. F#r man' #$ the >aints, the less#ns taught in the )ari#us au;iliaries meet their needs per$e"tl' +ell, and m' remar,s here might n#t seem )er' rele)ant t# them. Others, h#+e)er, $eel the need $#r m#re than the standard less#ns "an pr#)ide. N#ne #$ us is in a p#siti#n t# :udge +hat #thers need, e;"ept perhaps in the "ase #$ min#r "hildren 11 at least th#se in #ur #+n $amilies. %a"h #$ us, '#u and I, must de"ide +hat spiritual and intelle"tual n#urishment +e need, +hat ,n#+ledge +e la",, and then ta,e the resp#nsi*ilit' $#r diligently seeking learning, *' 4stud' and *' $aith,4 . . . 4#ut #$ the *est *##,s,4 as +e are taught in the )octrine * Covenants.7 It is n#t en#ugh t#

7 +ait passi)el' $#r s#me#ne else t# tea"h us, #r t# "#mplain that +e +ere deli*eratel' de"ei)ed *e"ause this #r that less#n $ailed t# "#)er all the gritt' human details in a parti"ular epis#de #r e)ent in -hur"h hist#r'. N#r is it en#ugh t# see, #nl' the facts #$ a situati#n. +ruth is more than the facts. It re2uires an understanding #$ the "#nte;t and the situati#n +ithin +hi"h the $a"ts #""urred. In #ur 2uest $#r su"h truth, +e ha)e man' res#ur"es a)aila*le, *eginning +ith the -hur"h3s #+n +e*sites and ar"hi)es, plus #ther sites that are independent *ut $aith$ul t#+ard the -hur"h.H The pu*li"ati#ns #$ the Ma;+ell Institute at BAU "an als# *e help$ul,I and there are se)eral independent s"h#larl' :#urnals and magaEines that are *alan"ed and relia*le.0 Furtherm#re, ne)er in the hist#r' #$ the -hur"h ha)e +e had as man' good books as +e ha)e n#+, +ritten *' as man' "#mpetent and $air1minded s"h#lars, LD> and #ther+ise.? There are pe#ple in this sta,e +h# are ,n#+ledgea*le a*#ut su"h res#ur"es and "an help '#u $ind them. @e are $#rtunate that #ne #$ these is #ur #+n sta,e president, *ut there are man' #ther ,n#+ledgea*le indi)iduals as +ell, presuma*l' in"luding #ur Institute instru"t#rs. The -hur"h itsel$ has pu*li"l' re"#gniEed and recommended su"h independent s"h#larship in a remar,a*le 200. press release $r#m LD> Gu*li" A$$airs, +hi"h reads, in part/ The ne+ -hur"h Hist#r' Li*rar' . . . Jsupp#rtsK the gr#+ing emphasis #n transparen"' in the -hur"h9s intera"ti#n +ith the pu*li". . . . The st#r' #$ the -hur"h +ill ine)ita*l' *e t#ld as hist#rians #$ g##d $aith J+ithin and +ith#ut the -hur"hK are gi)en a""ess t# the li*rar'9s re"#rds and ar"hi)es. . . . It is in the interests #$ the -hur"h t# pla' a "#nstru"ti)e r#le in ad)an"ing. . . h#nest and a""urate hist#r'. In d#ing s#, the -hur"h stri)es t# *e rele)ant t# "#ntemp#rar' audien"es that #perate under "hanging "ultural assumpti#ns and e;pe"tati#ns. A "are$ul, 'et *#ld presentati#n #$ -hur"h hist#r', +hi"h del)es int# the "#nte;tual su*tleties and nuan"es "hara"teristi" #$ seri#us hist#ri"al +riting, has *e"#me in"reasingl' imp#rtant. I$ a religi#n "ann#t e;plain its hist#r', it "ann#t e;plain itsel$.. IN -ON-LU>ION/ Thus +e are n#t al#ne #r +ith#ut res#ur"es in #ur e$$#rts t# res#l)e d#u*ts, #r in #ur 2uest $#r truth and $#r a m#re th#r#ugh understanding a*#ut the hist#r' and pra"ti"es #$ the -hur"h. %lder H#lland urges us that +e must n#t *e a$raid t# as, $#r help, +hi"h, he assures us, +ill *e $#und 4#n *#th sides #$ the )eil,4 i$ #nl' +e +ill appr#a"h #ur 2uest hum*l' and h#nestl', #r, as Nephi "#unsels us 62 Nephi ! / !8, 4+ith real intent,4 and 4+ith $ull purp#se #$ heart, Jand +ithK n# h'p#"ris' and n# de"epti#n *e$#re F#d.4 That +e ma' all see, t# d# s# is m' h#pe and pra'er.

6F##tn#tes $#ll#+ #n the ne;t page8

&e$$re' (. H#lland, 4L#rd, I *elie)e4 1 ,nsign, Ma' 20 ! >ee st#r' at 1 $#r e;ample 1 http/LL+++.sltri*."#mLsltri*Lne+sLH!70? !710?L"hur"h1lds1m#rm#n1$aith.html."sp D http/LL*l#gs.reuters."#mL$aith+#rldLtagLusa1m#rm#n1latter1da'1saints1"hur"h1r#mne'1ap#stas'1departure1dem#graphi"s1 m#dernit'1se"ularism1p#l'gam'L D and http/LLm#rm#n1"hr#ni"les.*l#gsp#t."#mL20 2L0 Lres"ue1plan1t#1address1di$$i"ulties1 #$.html. ! %ugene %ngland, M@h' the -hur"h Is As True As the F#spel,N Sunstone 22, n#s. !L7 6&une ...K8, I <I.8. Als# reprinted as the $irst essa' in the "#lle"ti#n #$ essa's *' %ngland entitled Why the Church is as +rue as the -ospel 6>alt La,e -it'/ B##,"ra$t, .?I8. 7 F#r e;ample, D O - ??/ ?D 0./0 H F# t# +++.lds.#rg and "li", #n 4-hur"h @e*sites4 in the upper right "#rner. F#r independent *ut $aith$ul +e*sites, see +++.$airlds.#rg 6in pr#"ess #$ *eing renamed FairMormon ' http/LLen$airm#rm#n.#rg 8, +hi"h is the m#st th#r#ugh in #$$ering arti"les #n spe"i$i" issues and is a)aila*le in $#ur languages. >ee als# the +imes and Seasons, .y Common Consent, and $uvenile Instructor *l#g sites $#r #ng#ing dis"ussi#ns #$ "urrent issues, and sear"h the ar"hi)es #$ th#se sites 6*' auth#r #r ,e' +#rds8 $#r $airl' s#phisti"ated and $aith$ul dis"ussi#ns #$ )ari#us t#pi"s during the past de"ade. I http/LLma;+ellinstitute.*'u.eduL 0 The #ldest and m#st readil' a""essi*le #$ these independent :#urnals are ./0 Studies 1uarterly 6https/LL*'ustudies.*'u.eduL8D )ialogue2 A $ournal of Mormon +hought 6http/LL+++.dial#gue:#urnal."#mL8D $ournal of Mormon 3istory 6http/LL+++.m#rm#nhist#r'ass#"iati#n.#rgLpu*li"ati#ns8D and Sunstone magaEine 6https/LL+++.sunst#nemagaEine."#mL8. Am#ng these, ./0 Studies 1uarterly is #*)i#usl' n#t $ull' independent, and it tends t# a)#id "#ntr#)ersial t#pi"s, *ut the arti"les it d#es pu*lish are th#r#ugh and relia*le. ? I3d re"#mmend that readers +h# are ne+ t# the +#rld #$ relia*le s"h#larship #utside LD> -hur"h auspi"es sh#uld start *' reading Matthe+ B#+man3s +he Mormon %eople2 +he Making of an American Faith 6(and#m H#use, 20 28, +hi"h is a)aila*le in =indle as +ell as in hard "#p'. This is a "andid and relia*le #)er)ie+ #$ the hist#r' #$ the -hur"h d#+n t# the present time. It ta,es #n se)eral di$$i"ult issues and 2uesti#ns, *ut it a)#ids sala"i#us treatments #$ them. Its s#ur"es, in turn, +ill p#int '#u t#+ard m#re g##d *##,s $#r '#ur $uture reading. . 4A (e"#rd =ept/ -#nstru"ting -#lle"ti)e Mem#r',4 4)S 5e(sroom "#mmentar', &une , 200./ http/LLne+sr##m.lds.#rgLarti"leLa1re"#rd1,ept1"#nstru"ting1"#lle"ti)e1mem#r'8.
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