“I Have a Question, and That’s OK,” Ensign, February 2018
Hi, I’m Maryssa. And I have a question. About the gospel.
But it’s not the kind that can be answered with a quick appeal to the Topical Guide or even a chat with my institute teacher. It’s complex—beyond my spiritual understanding. This question has kept me up at night. It has made me ache inside. Really, it’s more a spiritual concern than an actual question. And it’s about my role as a woman in the Church.
As a woman, I’m always trying to better understand my place in God’s kingdom. For most of my life, I didn’t think about it much. But as I got older, I began to wonder about the differing roles of men and women in the Church. The more I thought about it, the more concerned I became about the imbalance I perceived. I knew that God is perfectly just and fair. But I couldn’t find a way to reconcile the differences I saw with my existing knowledge of His plan. It was like a puzzle piece that didn’t seem to fit.
So I began to search for answers. I studied the Creation and the Fall and pondered Eve’s choice in the garden. I contemplated my relationship with priesthood power and my future position in the family as a wife and mother. I attended the temple often, paying close attention and yearning for additional insight. But I often came away from these things with even more questions. I pleaded with God over and over for understanding. But my questions didn’t go away.
For months, they ate away at me. I knew that Satan wanted me to doubt my place as a daughter of God. And I knew I could find peace through Jesus Christ. So I continued to search for answers and pray for understanding.
One day, I was reading the Book of Mormon in the temple. I came across 1 Nephi 11:17: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”
It was such a simple verse, but it struck a chord in me. In my time of confusion, it was extremely validating to hear Nephi, one of my Book of Mormon heroes, admit that he didn’t know everything. I finally felt that it was OK if I didn’t understand everything about the gospel.
Nephi’s first declaration hit me even harder: “I know that [God] loveth his children.” To me, Nephi was saying, “I don’t know everything. But here’s what I do know: God loves us. And that’s enough for me.” I was reminded of what I knew all along: God loves all His children—His sons and His daughters alike. And the truth of His love is absolute. It’s the truth upon which everything else is founded. The truth that holds the universe together.
For the first time in a while, I felt peace. My questions still hadn’t been answered, but I didn’t feel lost anymore. I realized that God is in control. He doesn’t expect me to put my questions on the shelf and forget about them. But He does expect me to trust Him. In all of my truth-seeking, I have to remember who the source of all truth is. And I have to recognize that while I’m deliberating over a single piece of the puzzle, He holds the pieces I can’t see. He sees the big picture—the biggest picture. And someday I’ll see it too.
Since then I’ve kept searching for more insight into my questions. And answers come. In bits and fragments—but they come. I gain glimmers of understanding as I search the scriptures, as I “seek … out of the best books words of wisdom” (D&C 88:118), as I talk with people I trust, as I attend the temple, as I study the words of prophets and apostles, as I ponder and pray. Sometimes I still get discouraged. I still have bad days when I get overwhelmed by everything I don’t know. But when those doubts arise, I take a deep breath and a step back and remember what I do know. And that makes all the difference. Even the Savior “received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace.” So, like Him, I will “continu[e] from grace to grace, until [I] receiv[e] a fulness” (D&C 93:12–13).
Maybe some of my questions won’t be answered for a long time. But Heavenly Father has promised that someday “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Someday “all things shall be revealed unto the children of men” (2 Nephi 27:11) and “nothing shall be withheld” (D&C 121:28). Someday I will have all the pieces to the puzzle, and it will all make sense.
Until then, I choose to trust in God, no matter how big or how numerous my questions are. I choose to say, “There is goodness here, and I will not abandon it. I will stand by the truth I have, because truth is worth protecting.”
Sometimes the answer is simple. But sometimes, finding answers takes a journey. I won’t give up on my quest to learn and follow God’s truth. I have a long way to go, but I know that Heavenly Father is with me every step of the way.