People act like questioning one’s faith is a bad thing.
We should first understand the two meanings of the word faith. Faith in the Biblical and Book of Mormon sense is a verb. Faith, as the Lectures of Faith tells us, is us the first principle of action. The other definition of faith is a noun. This definition of faith is a set of beliefs that one must adhere to in order to be considered a member of a group.
The two meanings should never be confused. The two meanings work against each other. Faith as a verb is active, dynamic, ever-expanding, ever-evolving. We express belief by planting a seed. Belief becomes faith. Faith becomes knowledge. Then, we plant another seed, and the cycle continues. (Alma 30) Faith as a noun, i.e. a system of belief, is just what it says it is: a system designed and engineered to make sure you remain in a belief.
The answer to a faith (noun), is to exercise faith (verb).
Faith (as a noun) SHOULD always be questioned. PROVE (faith as a verb) everything and and hold fast to that which is good. And the corollary to this is, if it is not good, get rid of it.
The problem, as I see it, is people have NOT been questioning their faith, but simply taking everything on faith. There is a subtle difference. But, one day reality, as it is always prone to do, creeps up on them and forces them to make a decision. This is known as a crisis. In this case it is a crisis of faith. People suddenly realize that their faith (noun) is not serving them.
I had a “faith crisis” of a different kind. It wasn’t because of church history, polygamy, Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, etc. My faith crisis came early on when I became converted to the church from the scriptures and the early writings. I became converted to a gospel, not a church. I believed that the church was best suited to implement the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the potential to change men’s lives. Joseph Smith’s teachings about the fundamental god-like nature of man, free agency, and the principles of Zion that would transform society. All of this got me very excited about the possibilities of the church and its future mission.
This started to unravel when I moved to Utah and started college. I found a people who didn’t live, much less believe their religion. I found a church that was more interested in preserving the status quo and in damning its members to a life of mediocrity rather than lifting them up beyond the conventional norms of society. Instead of true prophecy and revelation, I find conservative talking points sugar-coated in Mormon-speak. I see no evidence of the keys their leaders claim to possess. They can’t even explain the Priesthood, or its ordinances. They cover their ignorance of the significance of the temple in a veil of secrecy.
I feel to say with Mormon: why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why have miracles ceased? It is because faith is not present, and all has become as if there had been no atonement made.
There is no faith in the church, and I have no faith in the church, and those who do so have misplaced their faith, and when the storms rage, and they are swept off their sandy foundation, they cry about a “faith crisis”.
I can’t understand anyone who was a Mormon having a “faith crisis”. From the very get-go, Mormonism is a religion based on KNOWLEDGE, not FAITH. Faith is a tool with which to gain knowledge, but the end product of faith is knowledge. I knew that God lived and loved me, before I was excommunicated, and I knew the same thing afterword. The church is just a temporary scaffolding upon which we can climb to learn about faith, knowledge, and to commune with God. When I was excommunicated, they took away the scaffolding, or the training wheels. Then, I realized that I didn’t need them.
If your faith is built on the church, then you have built your house on sand, not on a rock. You have trusted in the arm of flesh, which is guaranteed to disappoint you every time.
I’m grateful for what I learned from the church, and for the members, teachers, and leaders who helped me along the way. I’m even grateful that they showed me the door and pushed me out of it.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
I am checking out a new service. My previous website, though hardly visited, was overrun with malware. I had the choice: either spend X dollars a month on security, or get kicked off the website. Now, I am opting for a managed plan. More restrictions and limitations, but without the hassle of maintaining security.
Religion is believing in other peoples’ experience.
Spirituality is having experience for yourself.