In his Monday Education Week lecture “Help for Those Dealing With Doubts and Questions About the Church – Studying the Word of God, Learning Truth a Little at a Time, Recalling Previous Inspiration,” David B. Marsh offered advice on helping loved ones navigate through doubt and keeping ourselves from falling into the same trap.
Marsh delivered three lectures Monday on dealing with misgivings about the church. The complete series covered ten points, each dealing with a different aspect of overcoming doubt. His second lecture covered two of his points, including increasing one’s knowledge of the truth and remembering that truth is learned a little at a time.
Marsh said many people experience circumstances that sow the seeds of doubt. People’s experiences can range anywhere from a lack of confidence in the ability to articulate the gospel, to depending on others to know what is true. Gaining knowledge and understanding through the study of church history and doctrine can help those struggling in these situations.
“One of the first things to go after prayer is scripture study,” Marsh warned. “Don’t be satisfied with having a superficial knowledge of the gospel.”
Marsh offered a “doctrinal safety test” to use as a guide while searching out information. The test consists of four questions: 1. Is it a pattern in the scriptures? 2. Do the living prophets and apostles teach it? 3. Is it in harmony of current practices and approved policies of the church? 4. Does the spirit testify to me of its truthfulness?
As a doubter searches for information and truth, he or she may be dissatisfied when they can’t internalize all of it immediately. Marsh emphasized that truth is learned a little at a time, saying it takes students years to gain the knowledge to complete a degree program, and even then they have to continue their education throughout their career. Learning the gospel is very much the same, and spans throughout a lifetime.
Marsh went on to explain that members don’t have a full truth on any subject. He referenced the inability of man to find out all the mysteries of the Lord in Jacob 4:8.
“This can be unsettling and unfulfilling to a person,” Marsh said. “Help your loved one to have patience.”
As a last piece of advice, Marsh said all members need to put in themselves in the doubter’s shoes and make a real effort to understand where they’re coming from. That way, everyone will be more equipped to find the best way to help those in need.