I am contemplating my spirituality toady. Well, I have been a lot lately, not just today. As a thinking person, who walks upright and has a large brain (uh-huh, go ahead and laugh), I feel I am required to think and contemplate things. It’s like I am obligated to do so; it’s my duty. And as a relative newcomer to having faith in anything, I still wrestle daily, sometimes hourly, with what I feel and believe.
It amazes me when people can profess to KNOW something regarding the nature or spirit of God. Oh, I know, I belong to an organized church, and it is a church that relies heavily on personal testimonies, and I think it’s the best organized church out there. But I don’t know anything. I hope. I want. I believe. But do I know? No.
Maybe this is why I am still wrestling. Maybe this is why spiritual quiet and peace eludes me. But isn’t the very nature of God impossible to know? Isn’t faith required, and faith, by it’s very definition, is belief in something that is unknowable or provable? One of my favorite scriptures keeps coming to mind:
“…Doubt not but be believing, and begin as in times of old to come unto the Lord with all your heart and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him”
(Italics are my own) Mormon 9:27
So is my unquiet spirit because of my doubt? It is simply not possible for me to set aside my own reasoning and agency and adopt another person’s truths as my own. I NEED to know for myself- I cannot drink from another’s’ cup (or borrow oil for my lamp) and call it my own. And it doesn’t matter how many tears are shed as someone bears their own witness of God, if I don’t feel it myself, it’s not real to me. What is required of me is to do exactly as the scripture states- go to the Lord and work it out for myself.
This is not a neat or tidy process. Discovery is messy. Books must be cracked, dust blown off things long forgotten, inventories must be made, some wrong paths will be taken, and some mistakes will inevitably be made. But here is what I DO have faith in: God is real. The atonement is far more vast and encompassing than we can even fathom while we live here on the earth. That the “warm fuzzies” that people associate with God and Christ are only one facet of how and what they communicate to us- and that heavy, mysterious, frightening and dangerous things are also of God. How could it be any other way? It would be like cooking only with sugar, because you like sweetness, while ignoring the salty, sour, bitter, sharp, complex richness that is achievable to a cook who knows her stuff.
This is what a mama thinks about when her two-year-old decides to take his first nap in 4 days. Sometimes I wish I liked soap operas!
4 thoughts on “Pondering is Dangerous- Just Watch TV!”
Although it often seems overwhelming and impossible at least you are doing something to move forward. That certinly says something about you. So many people, new and old members alike although maybe for different reasons, become apathetic and I believe that’s where the real danger lies; when it seems unimportant or not worth knowing. Never give up on it.
And just a little thought on faith and knowing. I still struggle with this sometimes asking “how can anyone RELLY know?” Something that helps me is the primary song “Faith is Knowing.” It changes my perspective every time. I didn’t ever hear it until I was in college, but the words seem to clarify something for me.
I KNOW there is a God. And that He loves me. These things are unshakeable to me.
I hope, I believe, I have faith in many, many other things. The divine nature of the BoM. The power of the Priesthood. The sealing blesssings. The list goes on and on. But my knowledge is sure in a benevolent God that requires much (sigh) but who loves me unconditionally and asks for my love in return.
I’m also fairly certain that He loves you.
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”
Note that it says: believe. Not know. God wants us to have faith. I love this scripture (Moroni 4:9). I think of it when my pondering gets too overwhelming. I just hand it over to God and believe that I don’t comprehend all that He does.
It is possible to *know*. It’s hard to describe but the Spirit can give you a sure knowledge of things. And you just know that it’s true.
You can pray for your testimony to grow. I did, and it worked.
It’ll require exercising faith though, often in big ways.
I read your post and all I can say is that at least you are on the right path.
When I first joined the church I wondered how people knew things maybe I should put KNeW in caps.
We can look out the window and say yep I think it will rain today, and it really puts no pressure on us cause we are only thinking.
But when we say yep I know it will rain then comes the pressure.
Over the years I have come to know that my wife loves me I don’t think it KNOW IT,
how cause over the passage of time I have exercised faith in her love for me and she has proved her love
To be true therefore I KNOW it.
So it is with church things first comes the trial then comes the faith, and then for sure comes the knowledge.
but a word of warning dont expect to know everything,
and there can be a very long gap between FAITH and receiving knowledge but what the hell the journey is worth it..
I’m a convert too, and you expressed my feelings perfectly. I have faith, and lots of it sometimes. But I wonder if the word “know” can sometimes come under the same semantic scrutiny as “is” did during the Clinton era.
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