Middle-aged Mormon Man: I am a Mormon, and I have questions
Editor's note: This originally appeared on the blog Middle-aged Mormon Man. It has been shared here with the author's permission.
It is not the normal practice of the Deseret News to publish pieces with anonymous bylines. However, given this blog's compelling, timely content, we have honored the author's request for anonymity.
Brace yourselves. I need to make an announcement:
I'm not very smart. (No snide remarks, please.) There are areas of expertise where I am completely and utterly ignorant. For example: If my life depended on rebuilding a carburetor, I would not survive. If I were forced to play Jeopardy at gunpoint, I would lose. (Probably in Final Jeopardy, but I would lose because I'm not a good gambler.)
The point being that there are areas in my life where I am not experienced, and/or educated. Thankfully, this ignorance has not cost me anything vital. Yet.
However, to help balance things out, there are some areas that I have a good handle on. One of the realities of life is that the areas where I do have expertise have very little impact on the areas where I don't have expertise — and vice versa. President Kimball said it plainly:
"Experience in one field does not automatically create expertise in another field. Expertise in religion comes from personal righteousness and revelation. ... Why, oh, why do people think they can fathom the most complex spiritual depths without the necessary laboratory work accompanied by the laws that govern it?" (Link)
Expertise in religion is a lifelong endeavor that takes work and experience to gain. We are all at different stages in our spiritual expertise. I feel that I am knowledgeable in some of those areas. Particularly, I feel pretty solid in my testimony of the core elements of the church and gospel. I don't consider myself ignorant in this arena. More specifically, I am convinced that ...
God exists and is my spiritual Father.
His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of mankind. He came to earth, died, was resurrected and saved me. (link to a more detailed testimony)
Christ's church has been restored to the earth in modern times through the Prophet Joseph Smith, complete with priesthood authority, revelation and ordinances..
The Lord has revealed his gospel, particularly through the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible, and also modern scripture.
Prophets lead Christ's church today through revelation from the Lord himself. The authority that they hold is also shared through priesthood keys to other leaders — even down to the neighborhood level.
This core testimony guides my life. It give my life meaning, purpose and perspective. It brings me joy. I have this part down.
But...please know this:
There are elements of the gospel and the church that I do not understand, or comprehend or sometimes even like.
There are things that have happened to me and my family that I don't like, and don't understand.
Yes, I am human.
Don't stop reading ... I will explain. First, let me give you a complete list of all the things I don't like or understand. Ready?
Like I am going to type out a list of my personal questions! I would never do that. Why? Because my questions might become your stumbling blocks — just as your questions could become my stumbling blocks.
That is why we discuss things that build faith — not create doubt. What kind of brother would try and destroy my faith by planting seeds of doubt? Exactly! THAT kind of brother.
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