Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I think I have a testimony, but sometimes I have doubts. Does that mean I really don’t have a testimony? What should I do?

New Era

  • Think of doubts as a challenge to find answers to your questions and to strengthen your testimony.

  • Pray to know if the Church is true. Nothing will get rid of doubts like the power of the Holy Ghost.

  • If you have gained a testimony, rely on the fact that your prayers were answered.

  • Find answers to your questions through personal scripture study and by listening to lessons taught in church and seminary.

  • Overcome doubts by doing your best to live the gospel.

There is nothing wrong with having questions about your testimony. There is a problem, however, if you don’t look for the answers to your questions, or if you feed your doubts instead of your faith.

Doubts don’t mean you do not have a testimony. Think of them as a challenge to find answers to your questions and to strengthen your testimony.

President Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995) taught that people who have honest doubts can overcome them and gain a stronger faith. “I have sympathy for young men and young women when honest doubts enter their minds and they engage in the great conflict of resolving doubts. These doubts can be resolved, if they have an honest desire to know the truth, by exercising moral, spiritual, and mental effort. They will emerge from the conflict into a firmer, stronger, larger faith because of the struggle. They have gone from a simple, trusting faith, through doubt and conflict, into a solid substantial faith which ripens into testimony” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1960, 108).

Your testimony can be gained or strengthened by living the gospel principle you want to gain a testimony of. If you want a testimony of tithing, pay it. If you need a testimony of prayer, get on your knees. If you want a testimony of the Word of Wisdom, obey it, and see how your life is blessed.

“Oh, if I could teach you this one principle,” said President Boyd K. Packer. “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it! Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that ‘leap of faith,’ as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two” (Ensign, Jan. 1983, 54–55).

If you have never prayed and asked if the Church is true, you are missing a wonderful experience. Nothing will get rid of doubts like the power of the Holy Ghost.

Once you have gained a testimony you should always rely on the fact that your prayers were answered. But, just like your body, your testimony needs constant nourishment.

Elder Robert D. Hales

“Doubts about matters of religion that arise from a lack of knowledge can be constructively resolved. The solutions are instruction, study, and prayer, which result in increased testimony, which drives out further doubts” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 22). —Elder Robert D. Hales Of the Quorum of the Twelve

Readers

I used to have doubts, and I thought I didn’t have a testimony. I searched and pondered the scriptures and prayed to Heavenly Father to help me gain a testimony. It was then that I realized I did, and still do, have a testimony. The best way for you to know you have a testimony is to share it. It will not only remove your doubts, but it will also strengthen your testimony and the testimonies of others.

Sister Ulita Kocovanua, 22 Fiji Suva Mission

If you ever have doubts about your testimony, ask Heavenly Father to guide you. He will give you a comfort and a knowledge of the truth.

Josh Miller, 13 Garland, Utah

I used to feel the same way you do. I didn’t know if I had a testimony or not. But then I realized I wouldn’t go to church or believe that Christ lived and died for me if I didn’t have a testimony. Think of all the wonderful things you’ve been blessed with and look at the way you live your life, and you will know you have a testimony.

Heidi Olsen, 13 Bountiful, Utah

It’s natural to ask questions; that’s how you learn. Real doubt only comes when you start being critical. But as long as you want to believe, you will find a way. Hang in there.

Sylvia Belt, 16 Ridgecrest, California

In D&C 10:33 it says, “Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony.” If you’re having doubts, it could be because the roots of a strong testimony are growing deeper, and Satan wants to destroy that.

Joshua C. Irvine, 18 Riverton, Utah

In 1820 there was a 14-year-old boy who had doubts. But he searched diligently until he received an answer. It is all right to have doubts but not to remain in doubt. Search for answers while walking in faith. Sometimes you have to take a few steps into the darkness to see the light.

Elder Benjamin Traver, 20 New York Utica Mission

[photo] Photography by Robert Casey. Posed by models