Belief & Doubt: “We Need to Make Room for, ‘I Believe, I Hope, I Trust.'” -Terryl’s Story

It is entirely common and typical in any
given fast Sunday to hear an entire litany of expressions that begin,
“I know,” “I know,” “I know.” But we need to make more room for people to stand up and say, “I believe,” “I hope,” or “I trust.” I’m Terryl Givens, co-author of, “The
Christ Who Heals.” I think we have a long tradition in our culture of criminalizing doubt. I think that it still continues in some quarters, although it seems to me that we’ve seen a sea change brought about, largely through the leadership of those who have spoken very powerfully and feelingly about the inevitability of these moments of faith crisis and loss of certainty in
our lives. The important thing that I think we see in terms of Christ and
discipleship is we never see Him interacting with people who are certain
about anything. He is always in a teaching relationship or a mentoring relationship or a healing relationship. And so I think the picture that we get
of Christ in the New Testament is that He is always invested in the process of
turning people into disciples. And so we should feel more comfortable with recognizing our own place in a continuum, in which we are striving to become those
disciples but never feel complacent with the place where we are. I think as I’ve gone through my own experiences of the deconstruction of certain verities
that I had once taken for granted, it has challenged me to consider, I think in a
more methodical and systematic way, “What are the bases of my own faith?” And I think that’s a useful exercise for anybody to go through to become more
self-aware. Even for those of us who are certain of the underlying foundational
tenets of our faith, I think in virtually every life there are gray areas— areas of uncertainty
which we should, I think, feel more comfortable expressing as a way of
indicating that, “Yes, even though I know this, I’m convicted of this particular
truth, but I’m still struggling, I’m still wrestling with these other areas of our
faith tradition. I think that a move in that direction would eliminate the,
kind of, silent trauma and sense of alienation that I think vast multitudes
in our faith tradition experience as they sit quietly in the pews listening
to these professions of certitude and knowledge and feeling that that
they’re not a part of that tradition because they can’t engage in that same
kind of language, when the reality is that they are probably
in the majority, in many cases. It is incumbent upon us to shape the culture that characterizes
Mormonism. I have all kinds of family members and relatives at all different
stages of faith and in all different kinds of relationship to the faith
tradition. And so I’m personally invested in trying to create a culture that is
welcoming, that is loving, that is embracing, and that recognizes the beauty of a body of Christ in which everybody has a place in the choir.

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About the Author: Emmet Marks

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