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How LDS Church members can help themselves and loved ones deal with doubt

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27 2013 12:00 p.m. MDT

Because truth is discovered one piece at a time, Marsh encouraged audience members to examine, study and research issues, always being open to the possibility that new information may come along at a later time. While searching for reliable sources, individuals should keep in mind historical context, the motivations of the author and any half-truths.

Doubt can lead to testimony growth

Marsh encouraged those struggling with doubts to be patient and remember that questioning can be the beginning of a journey that will strengthen their testimonies.

Marsh referenced a 2009 CES address given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the First Presidency. In the talk, President Uchtdorf encouraged people to ask questions and seek answers to discover truth.

“Inquiry is the birthplace of testimony. Some might feel embarrassed or unworthy because they have searching questions regarding the gospel,” President Uchtdorf said. “But they needn’t feel that way. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a precursor of growth.”

Marsh said the key to facing doubts is not allowing them to consume faith.

“Hold on to what you know to be true. When people are dealing with a doubt, sometimes they feel like they have to throw everything out. You don’t need to do that,” Marsh said. “Doubts are evidences of belief. You can’t doubt something if you don’t believe something.”

Marsh returned to Elder Holland’s comments from general conference that encouraged members to lead with their faith and not their doubts. Elder Holland reminded members that even if they have doubts and questions, they don’t need to abandon the faith they have, even if it is small.

“I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have,” Elder Holland said. “I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have.”

Tips for dealing with doubt

Throughout his three classes, Marsh shared 10 principles that can help those dealing with doubt find faith:

  1. It's OK to experience doubts, but don’t let them linger.
  2. Fortify your faith in Jesus Christ.
  3. Seek to resolve doubts through sincere prayer.
  4. Increase your knowledge of truth.
  5. Remember that truth is learned a little at a time.
  6. Doubt your doubts before you doubt your beliefs.
  7. Consult reliable and authoritative sources.
  8. Consider the motives of the source.
  9. Detect half-truths and lack of context.
  10. Neither science nor religion can answer all questions.

Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: kharmer@deseretnews.com Twitter: harmerk

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