“Does anyone have any questions?”
Have you ever heard this at the end of a lesson and thought, “Yes, I have a million” or “Yes, I’m completely lost,” but you stay silent?
I have. And sometimes I’m still afraid of having questions.
I’m afraid of not knowing enough, of what others might think, and of running into information that might leave me with even more questions.
Regardless, there should be no fear or shame in having a question and wanting to understand more, especially when it comes to the gospel. Heavenly Father wants us to seek more knowledge! Even Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a precursor of growth.”1
Everyone has more to learn. And questions open the door to knowledge and greater faith—as long as you’re looking for answers in the right ways! Here are five ways to shed some light on your questions.
There are plenty of good sources to trust that can give you more insight like the scriptures and Church materials. But there’s also a lot of false information and sketchy sources lurking in the world too. Luckily you can discern truth from deception!
Anthony Sweat, an assistant professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, gives five questions to ask in determining if a source can be trusted:
Is it a primary source? (Written or produced by someone who participated or observed the event.)
Is it a contemporary account? (Recorded at or near the time of the event.)
Does it have an objective perspective? (As far as possible, the author seeks to be fair, balanced, unbiased, and impartial.)
What is its relationship to other sources? (Dates, facts, claims, and so on are consistent with other sources dealing with the same events.)
Are its claims supported by evidence? (Statements are based upon solid evidence and supporting data.)2
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “In matters of faith and conviction, it helps to direct your inquiry toward those who actually have some!”3 His words and the questions above can give you confidence in finding trusted information.
Prophets and apostles convey doctrine and truth (and therefore answers for you!) through revelation. I’ve been comforted countless times from reading or listening to a general conference talk when I’m confused or distressed.
Even if you don’t understand everything about some Church leaders’ messages, remember that their words come from Heavenly Father—they come from a source of love and truth. If you remember and trust Elder Ulisses Soares’s words: “Having prophets is a sign of God’s love for His children,”4 you will bring hope into your life, no matter what knowledge you’re seeking.
What does your scripture study look like? Mine could be better! But when I truly ponder what I’m reading, I notice a difference in myself. I feel more peace and hope. To open your mind to inspiration in the scriptures, try these tips:
Start and end your study with a prayer. As you invite the Spirit to help you understand, you will recognize greater insights and promptings.
Write down impressions you receive. Reading these impressions later on may help you make connections in your life and recognize answers over time.
Take a moment to be still. Sit quietly and pay attention to reoccurring thoughts and feelings after you read and study. Remember, the Spirit speaks in a still, small voice.
At this time of life, I’ve needed Heavenly Father more than ever to guide me and to help me strengthen my faith. And I’ve been frustrated sometimes when I’m doing everything to invite the Spirit and I’m still not getting any answers from heaven. Thankfully, I learned from Sister Sheri Dew, former Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, that to open the lines of communication with Heavenly Father, ask yourself these questions:
Are your questions asked with the assumption that there are answers?
Are you willing to trust the Lord and give Him the benefit of the doubt?
And then ask Heavenly Father:
To teach you how He speaks to you individually.
How He feels about you.
“Then watch how He tutors you,” she says. “including the scriptures you’re drawn to, the emphases in general conference messages you may have missed the first time around, and so on. … Over time, He will tell you, and as He does, you’ll learn more about discerning revelation through the Spirit.”5
These two vital questions have made a big difference in my ability to recognize and receive revelation.
Sometimes answers don’t come immediately. Your answer right now might simply be to trust Heavenly Father and have patience. Remember Elder Uchtdorf’s advice to “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”6
If you’re feeling discouraged, think of the truths you hold in your heart. When I’m struggling, I remember those moments when I knew with certainty that I’m a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents, that God has a plan for me, and that Jesus Christ is my Savior.
When you have questions, it can be easy to focus on what you don’t understand rather than what you do. But if you’re willing to soften your heart, keep an eternal perspective, and humbly align your will with Heavenly Father’s, He will always lead you to truth and give you hope until additional knowledge comes. And one day, you will have the answers to all your questions (see Doctrine and Covenants 101:32–36).