Doubts About Religion? Mormons Know Why Better Than Most

Doubts About Religion? Mormons Know Why Better Than Most

Religious Doubts

Doubts about religion. They’re as common as the common cold. Most people have them at some point in their lives (or constantly for some), and they result in the disassociation from religion for many.

Why do we have them? Why is it so easy to have them? And why can’t religions just answer them once and for all? In this age of Internet communication even inexperienced Web surfers can find the background and history of any religion and it is the source of increased doubts for a huge number of religious adherents that begin the research. The Internet age has made it much easier to find such doubt-causing information that it has become something churches are trying much harder to address.

The question is, does God WANT doubt-causing information to be available?

If God created the world, and put Adam and Eve on the Earth around 6,000 years ago (if you take bible time literally), why would he put us in an environment where there is so much evidence for the Darwinian theory of Evolution, and for the theory that the earth and life on it have been around for millions of years? You can’t prove it. But it’s very easy for the masses to believe that it’s true because it’s a very scientifically plausible explanation of how we came to be.

Why wouldn’t the preponderance of evidence point to God creating the Earth and the people on it in the way the bible indicates, instead of some other theory? After all, if God created the world and brought about everything we see today, the only way the theory of Organic Evolution can stand is that God put the puzzle pieces in place for scientists to find and present it as believable (or that it’s actually how we came about, which some Christians believe). So…obviously God WANTED the theory of Evolution to be available as an option. Otherwise he would’ve have made it so conveniently easy for it to be discovered and researched (and so hard to disprove).

Why Does God Want an Environment with Doubts?

Well, the Mormons have the answer explained in more detail than any other religion. And it’s a good thing, because there are plenty of Mormons experiencing doubts about their own religion now that historical documents and other things are made available through the Internet (whether they are accurate or not).

Mormons teach that we existed and lived with God BEFORE we were born on the Earth. God told Jeremiah in Jer.1:5 that “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee… and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” And in Job:38:7 God talks about “sons of God” being with Him before the foundation of the world. Who are the sons of God? Well, according to the bible we are (see Romans 8:16, John 20:17 and many others).

Mormons teach that we were spirit children of our “Heavenly Father” and His purpose for us was to become more like Him. We had progressed to a point where we were ready for the next step in our eternal journey. “Heavenly Father’s Plan” included a requirement for His children to live in a state where they didn’t remember Him, and where they could be tempted, tried and have to find their own way back to him by following faith, not proof. Not only were we there in the “pre-mortal life” with God, but we even looked forward to going to this “second estate” where we would be tested and tried, but also prove ourselves by finding Him and following His plan.

The “environment” that had to exist for His children is this Earth on which we live today. The ingredients? A place where we can experience pain, joy, doubts, faith, love, hate, fear, righteousness, sin, and most of all, where we’re left on our own to find Him (WITHOUT proof that He even exists). These ingredients MUST include the requirement for a plausible explanation of something OTHER than God as the source for the creation and destiny of the world.

Satan, who was cast out of heaven for rebellion in Mormon doctrine (and New Testament doctrine), is the source of the pain, suffering and temptation for God’s children while they live on the earth. He’s the major ingredient to make the environment for the ultimate “proving ground” for God’s children to find their eternal destiny. Satan’s goal? To take as many as possible with him to eternal misery. He knows he is lost and wants to make God suffer by deceiving as many of His children as possible.

“Mists of Darkness”

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi, a prophet, describes a dream his father had that summarizes this life experience we are going through in a way most people can connect with. Nephi says in the dream his father, Lehi was with his family and saw a “Tree of Life” off in the distance which represented the love of God, and was the “most desirable above all things”, and “the most joyous to the soul”.

He also explains that between him and the tree was a path that would take him all the way to the tree. Unfortunately, it was fraught with “fountain of filthy water”, “mists of darkness”, “a great and spacious building full of deceivers” and more things to distract and prevent people from their mission of making it to the tree. Nephi explained that many were distracted, deceived and lost, wandering off the trail into forbidden paths. The tree represents our destination of making it through this life successfully and returning home to our Heavenly Father. While the mists of darkness represent anything (including doubts) that could convince us to leave the path and be lost in the world.

Why is Lehi’s dream appliccable when talking about religious doubts? Well, religious doubts are “mists of darkness” that Nephi explains appear along the path that have the affect of making people lose their way and go off the path and get lost.

What Mormons try to help people understand is that things that cause doubts are a way of life here in this “Telestial” state. That’s what we’re here for. By looking at doubts with that perspective, it makes it easier to have patience while the thing that causes the doubt gets worked out. Sometime the answer comes in time (sometimes a long time).

I’ll never forget years ago when the Mark Hofmann scandal hit Salt Lake City and the LDS Church. Hofmann was an expert at forging what appeared to be ancient documents, even to fool the scholars. He created some that made LDS Church history look very bad, because they were at odds with the accepted history of the early LDS Church. This caused a scandal that echoed throughout Utah and the worldwide Church. He also murdered people to keep his secret and is serving a life sentence in prison.

The interesting thing that happened is that I watch people lose their faith in the LDS Church and drop out because of what was contained in the forged documents. Few as they were, it was evidence of exactly what happened in Lehi’s dream. The mists of darkness made some lose their way. Most Mormons waited patiently as things worked themselves out and Hofmann was exposed as a fraud. Even more interesting was that many of those that lost their faith through the scandal did not return once it was revealed the documents were fake.

Summary – Expect Things That Cause Doubts

So all of this is why Mormons have such a deep understanding of why we have religious doubts. They are part of the “plan”, and will continue to be here as long as we are in this testing period of mortal life. Some doubt-causing things will be answered and resolved. Some will remain a mystery for many years before there is a satisfactory answer.

Mormons say that you can get through them via your relationship with God. Even if you’re struggling with something you can’t understand or explain, a powerful spiritual experience with God will make it much easier to accept that thing until the answer is revealed. The spiritual experience overpowers the thing that causes doubt, and they move forward sometimes with the doubt unresolved.

It’s perfectly exemplified in the theory of macroevolution. It’s a plausible explanation that much of the world can accept, and will remain so as long as we need to be “tested” in this life to act on faith and figure it out for ourselves. We’ll never be able to prove it, nor disprove it most likely (in this life). And there are many other doubt-causing issues in not only LDS religion, but all of world religions that people have to deal with.

Maybe this Mormon belief will help others of other religions get through their “mists of darkness” and hold on to their faith. Besides, The LDS Church founders and leaders have been saying these mists of darkness would arise from the very beginning of the Church’s founding (actually since ancient scripture). And that some would lose the faith in the process. It’s all part of the plan and should be considered through that perspective.

So if you’re having doubts about your religion, realize that you’re going through Lehi’s mists of darkness that are meant to get you off the path and become lost. Mormons say “hold onto the iron rod (the railing that ensure you can stay on the path even though you can’t see through the mists of darkness), and eventually you will get through it and be able to see ahead. With that realization you may have more capacity for patience and faith to work around the doubts.

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