Facing Uncertainty with Faith

Man facing a wall of waterLast year, I wrote a blog post called “Diving through the Waves of Uncertainty.” It’s a personal story of from when I was 17. I was faced with a barrage of persecution, contradiction, and what I now call “scornography.” Fortunately, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to find my way. I’m sharing this story here because I feel prompted to share it. It might help someone who’s passing through the same fire.

Scornography

I see scornography—media that blames, mocks, belittles, slams, and tears down—the same way I see pornography. If you spend any time with it, it’s venom will spread like a black spider web across your mind. It will bind you and block your ability to see and understand God’s hand in your life. In my mind, there’s not much difference between the two when you consider the damage they can cause.

A Mountain to Climb

We all have the same mountain to climb. We’ll climb different faces, hike trails of our choosing, meander from camp to camp at the base. That doesn’t matter very much. What matters is that God our Father stands at the peak, offering His help with an outstretched hand. If we can manage to lift our eyes from the trail we’re on at the moment, we might just see Him there. He is always willing to help when we ask for it with all our hearts. I know that for certain.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11–13.)

In spite of my grinding weaknesses, I keep looking for the top of that mountain. With tattered togs, bloodied knees, and a broken spirit, I intend to keep climbing. I don’t know if I’ll reach it in one piece or not, but for now, I’m taking one step, one confession, one apology, and one prayer at a time.

The Six Destructive Ds

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/faith-in-the-lord-jesus-christ?lang=eng

Over the last few days, I’ve listened to Elder Kevin Pearson’s conference talk on faith in the Lord Christ (given in April 2009) several times. I was particularly fascinated by his “Six Destructive Ds.” I share them here (emphasis mine).

First is doubt. Doubt is not a principle of the gospel.It does not come from the Light of Christ or the influence of the Holy Ghost. Doubt is a negative emotion related to fear. It comes from a lack of confidence in one’s self or abilities. It is inconsistent with our divine identity as children of God.

Doubt leads to discouragement. Discouragement comes from missed expectations. Chronic discouragement leads to lower expectations, decreased effort, weakened desire, and greater difficulty feeling and following the Spirit (see Preach My Gospel [2004], 10). Discouragement and despair are the very antithesis of faith.

Discouragement leads to distraction, a lack of focus. Distraction eliminates the very focus the eye of faith requires. Discouragement and distraction are two of Satan’s most effective tools, but they are also bad habits.

Distraction leads to a lack of diligence,a reduced commitment to remain true and faithful and to carry on through despite hardship and disappointment. Disappointment is an inevitable part of life, but it need not lead to doubt, discouragement, distraction, or lack of diligence.

If not reversed, this path ultimately leads to disobedience, which undermines the very basis of faith. So often the result is disbelief, the conscious or unconscious refusal to believe.

The scriptures describe disbelief as the state of having chosen to harden one’s heart. It is to be past feeling.

These Six Destructive Ds—doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief—all erode and destroy our faith. We can choose to avoid and overcome them.

I loved his statement, “Doubt is not a principle of the gospel.” If it is not a principle of the gospel, where does it come from? Four times in scripture we are commanded specifically to “doubt not” (Matthew 21:21; Mormon 9:27; Doctrine and Covenants 6:36; 8:8.) Because of these verses, I believe that not doubting is actually a principle of the gospel.