“What is the probability of you staying active in the Church for the next five years?”

My heart dropped because this was the first time in my whole life I did not see my future in the Church. I did not know how to answer my friend but somehow I think my silence answered the question.

I never pictured myself losing my testimony. This is the story of how I lost and regained my testimony.

A monjesus-walking-on-water-129516-galleryth before his death President Heber J. Grant prayed, “O God, bless me that I shall not lose my testimony and keep faithful to the end!” The Prophet of the Church knew the treasure of a testimony and also how fragile a testimony is. I wish I would have realized that.

My faith crisis began with a class project. We decided to write about the topic of millennials and religion, especially the aspect of how many millennials are leaving organized religion. For the project I interviewed a lot of people who left the Church. In order to prepare for the interviews I researched stories of people who left the Church and why they left. My interviews with these people were some of the longest interviews I have ever had for articles. Leaving a religion you have devoted your whole life to is not an easy decision. I felt that as I interviewed these people. These decisions were not impromptu. Their decisions to leave the Church took a lot of time and a lot of effort. It’s something they are passionate about.

As my interviewees would explain to me their reasons why they left the Church, doubts started to emerge in my head. They made some excellent points and raised really valid questions. No matter how hard I tried to crush their reasons for leaving the Church some of them made a lot of sense.  

Prior to this experience I was guilty of judging those who left the Church. I’ve heard it said so many times that people leave the Church because of sin. They want to break the commandments, whether it be drinking or having premarital sex. I believed the reason people left the Church is because they sin or because they aren’t doing the important things like reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and going to Church.

If I learned one thing from my interviews and research there are some people who leave the Church out of desire to sin or laziness when it comes to keeping the basic commandments.  But I also found stories of people who left the Church even though they kept all of the commandments and had no desire to stop keeping the commandments. It shocked me.

When I hung up the phone with my last interview I had the weirdest feeling. I was not sure if I believed in the Church anymore. I thought I had a rock solid testimony, but it had vanished. It was gone and I was devastated.

Over the next few weeks I feel like I learned the meaning of the word “anguish.” I was confused. I would wake up in the night with my mind racing over the various questions and doubts I had as I tried to find ways to resolve them. I was scared. I felt like everything I had once held to be certain was suddenly gone.  You know those lists you make as a kid? You’re instructed to write down five things about yourself. Mine had always included that I was a Mormon. Losing my faith would mean losing my identity.

The process to regain my testimony was not easy. In fact, I would not say my testimony is back to the point it used to be, but these are the ways I survived my faith crisis.

  • Don’t stop reading the Book of Mormon. This one was surprisingly hard for me. I would open the Book of Mormon hoping to feel peace and I would find more questions and more doubts. Despite this I faithfully studied it every day and I am glad I did. There’s a power in the Book of Mormon. One of the talks that got me through my faith crisis was Elder Holland’s Safety for the Soul.
  • Find someone ask your questions to. Personally, I recommend someone older than you or someone with a lot of experience in the Church. Chances are those who have studied the gospel for a long time have come across the same questions as you have.
  • Realize others have resolved the questions you have had. I personally have never met any general authorities but I imagine that most of the apostles have encountered some of the same questions many people come across today. They devote their lives to gospel study. They encounter doubts and still find ways to know this is the truth.
  • Seek priesthood authority. There were two things I did not want to do when I had all of my questions: I did not want to see my Bishop and I did not want to get a priesthood blessing. Eventually I did both and it really helped.
  • Attend the temple. The temple is the only place where Satan cannot be. It’s good to go and clear your head. I can’t promise you all of your answers are there because mine weren’t, but being there felt right.
  • Surround yourself with good influences. Trust me; your internet searches will give you enough bad influence in your life. For me, each night I would go and study with my friends. Some of them had no idea what was going through my head but being around good influences had a strong power.
  • Don’t feel guilty. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions or investigating our history, doctrine, and practices. The Restoration began when Joseph Smith sought answers to his sincere questions.” –Elder M. Russell Ballard in a Regional Conference address
  • Give equal weight to both sides. One thing that really helped me was balancing how much time I spent reading both sides of the argument. Naturally I found the anti-Mormon argument interesting at times because there was information I had never read before. I always tried to balance it with the positive though and that helped a lot.
  • It’s okay to not know. I am always amazed at the little children who bear their testimonies and profess they know the Church is true. A testimony does not have to be made up of “I know’s.” It can be made up of “I believe’s.” Christ commands us to be believing, not to be knowing.

I am actually really glad I have been able to go through this experience.  I believe the Church is true and I believe it’s teachings. Sometimes it takes faith to believe. The first principle of the gospel is faith.  Trials of faith make your faith grow and eventually  my testimony will be stronger than it ever was.

 

 

Normally this is the part where I invite you to email me with any thoughts you may have. However, if you have questions or doubts I would encourage you to seek out priesthood leadership or someone who has stewardship over you. They can help you and receive revelation for the things you need to hear. As always, you can email me if you like, send them to [email protected]

 

About The Author

lindseybrooke513@gmail.com'

Lindsey served in the California Riverside Mission, Spanish-speaking. She now studies journalism at BYU. You can find her on Instagram, @lindseybwilliams, or on Twitter, @lindsey5brooke.

2 Responses

  1. azskydiver@hotmail.com'
    Paul A Weaver

    Thank you for your honesty, Lindsey. Trust me when I tell you we will not have all the answers for 10’s of thousands of years. In fact, it will probably be at least half that many before we figure out what all the questions are. I like all of your suggestions and would like to add 1 of my own, talk it over with the spirit (prayer). I have found that when I do this a scripture will jump out at me, or an article will have a paragraph totally unrelated that leads me to an answer, or some of the best have been on a morning walk listening to the scriptures only to have the spirit hijack my thoughts with profound answers. I know that God loves you, may the spirit bless you with enlightenment as you continue your journey home.

    Reply
  2. rebecavascurado@gmail.com'
    Rebeca

    Thank you so much for the post! I had the same experience and feelings as you. It wasn’t easy, especially if you was born in the church. But it helped me to understand really better the importance of the gospel in my life and also how is important to have apostles and a living prophet today!

    Reply

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