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How can I overcome doubt with faith?

Sometimes members of the Church have questions about the gospel. It is normal to ask questions, and when we faithfully search for truth, we strengthen our testimonies. However, when we begin to question with disbelieving hearts, it is more difficult for the Spirit of the Lord to guide us. As we search for answers, we should choose to have faith in what we already know about the gospel, commit to living the commandments, and continue daily scripture study and prayer. As we do these things, Heavenly Father will help us strengthen our testimonies.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study the resources below. What resources could you use to help teach the youth about strengthening their faith and dealing with difficult questions? What are you impressed to share?

Mark 5:35–36; 9:14–24; John 20:26–29; D&C 6:36 (Be not afraid)

Helaman 5:12 (Build your foundation on Jesus Christ)

1 Nephi 15:24 (Rely on the scriptures)

John 7:17; James 2:17–18, 22; 3 Nephi 14:7–8; Ether 12:6, 12 (Act in faith)

2 Nephi 2:11 (Opposition in all things)

D&C 46:10–14 (To some it is given to know, to others to believe on their words)

Quentin L. Cook, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 40–44

M. Russell Ballard, “To Whom Shall We Go?Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 90–92

Vern P. Stanfill, “Choose the Light,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 55–57

L. Whitney Clayton, “Choose to Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 36–39

Videos: “His Grace: Finding Faith,” “Choose the Light”

Music: “A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook, 12

Music for youth theme: “You Already Know It

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends and family members). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Explain that each member of the Church, including each young man or young woman, needs to have his or her own testimony of the gospel. Invite the youth to share experiences that have taught them the importance of developing their own testimony. Explain that as we each develop our own testimonies, we become spiritually self-reliant.
  • Consider showing the youth a close-up picture of a familiar object (so close up that the object is not recognizable) and asking them to guess what it is. Then show them the object. How does our understanding change when we have the right perspective? Ask the youth to consider what this demonstration teaches them about the importance of having an eternal perspective. (For more ideas, see Rafael E. Pino, “The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 117–19.) As the youth deal with hard questions, how might keeping an eternal perspective be helpful?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth learn about faithfully seeking answers to difficult questions. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Bring in three rocks that are labeled with the stumbling blocks identified in Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus.” Divide the class into three groups, and give each group one of the rocks. Ask each group to look in Elder Cook’s talk to find out how their stumbling block can weaken faith and also give an example of how faith is weakened when individuals allow this stumbling block into their lives. Then give each group a block or a brick and ask them to identify something that will build their faith. You could read Helaman 5:12 as part of this discussion.
  • Invite the youth to write their favorite things about Jesus Christ’s gospel and His Church. Why are they grateful for the gospel? Have the youth search Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk “To Whom Shall We Go?” looking for some of the blessings of the gospel that Elder Ballard mentions. Share how the gospel truths Elder Ballard highlights have made a difference in your life. How can remembering the blessings of the gospel strengthen our faith?
  • As a class, watch the video “His Grace: Finding Faith” and read 1 Nephi 15:24 and 3 Nephi 14:7–8. How did scripture study habits affect the young man in the video? How can simple habits like scripture study and daily prayer help us build on and stay true to the faith we do have?
  • Divide the class into small groups and give each group a copy of Elder L. Whitney Clayton’s talk “Choose to Believe” or a copy of Elder Vern P. Stanfill’s talk “Choose the Light.” Have each group read a section of the talk and highlight portions that they find relevant or meaningful. Invite the youth to share what they learned from the Spirit as they studied. How can they relate the story of Sailor Gutzler, of Elder Stanfill’s biking trip, or the experience portrayed in the video “Choose the Light” to the process of overcoming doubt and walking forward in faith?
  • President Boyd K. Packer taught, “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 54). Why does bearing our testimonies help strengthen them? Read John 7:17; Ether 12:6, 12; and James 2:17–18, 22 and discuss what these scriptures teach about acting in faith. How does acting on the belief we do have show Heavenly Father that we are ready to receive more light and truth?

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they better understand how they can faithfully deal with difficult questions about the gospel? Do they better understand how to help others who are dealing with such questions? If you are concerned about any class members, you may privately suggest that they speak to their parents, a youth leader, or the bishop about their questions.

Invite to act

You might encourage the youth to write a loving note to a less-active member or to someone who is struggling with questions.

You could also encourage them to commit to strengthening their testimonies now through daily prayer and scripture study.