I’ve been visiting sites authored by church members who have either lost faith or are in one of the many phases of losing their faith.
The title of this post makes an important point. I’ll restate the title in the form of a question: Why do some church members allow their faith to be compromised or even lost because of unanswered or unanswerable questions about church history/doctrine?
Recently, a church member and founder of a hard-hitting website I frequent, one that is particularly adapt at portraying church history and doctrine in unfavorable light, resigned his church membership. In a public letter to his Stake President he said his website offered only the truth. He didn’t seem to understand why the church was considering taking action on his membership when everything on his website was “factual”. In the end, he decided to resign his membership to save everyone time and trouble.
As I read his letter, I recalled an aphorism: The greater our island of knowledge the greater our beach of wonder. This saying can be viewed in several ways. I’ll apply it to those who see the world through the eye of faith. Our island of faith is surrounded by a beach of wonder where, out of necessity, there are issues that challenge our faith. This world was designed to try our faith (Abraham 3:25-26). In this world there are going to be questions that challenge faith; some questions may even be unanswerable. The author of the website didn’t seem to grasp the simple definition of faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
I couldn’t help but think the websites founder had a PhD in the things of this fallen world and the equivalent of a grade school education in the manifestations of the Spirit. It appears he built his foundation of faith on a sandy beach. The beach may be an interesting place to visit, but our island of knowledge is where we build our foundation of faith—there in the spiritual rich soil of those things that build faith we will become grounded and rooted by the manifestations of the Spirit (Ether 12:6), those who are properly “converted unto the Lord never [do] fall away” (Alma 23:6).
Why is it that I can go to his website (as many others can) and study from it in depth and come away with my testimony and faith unscathed? The Lord answers this question in the following scriptures:
“God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost” D&C 121:26
“Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts” D&C 46:8
Church members who actually exercise faith sufficient to receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost don’t fall away because of the kind of things our ex-Mormon website founder publishes.
The Lord tells us to be faithful and diligent before Him and “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal. D&C 42:61.
I’ve learned by sacred experiences that the Lord will indeed give revelation upon revelation, and knowledge upon knowledge to those who diligently seek Him. The Spiritual evidences thus gained trump the questions about church history and doctrine promoted by those who have defected from the faith.
I hope the author of the website and all those who have let their faith dwindle will some how find their way back to the path of faith.