LDS church members respond in a variety of was after reading the CES Letter. The question is: how are you going to respond?
Most deal with a rush of emotional pain after reading from the CES Letter. Some even say it takes your breath away like being on an amusement park ride, except it is not fun.
What you do next is important. There are basically only two choices for most, 1. Turn to Heavenly Father or 2. Turn to others. Your family, friends, church leaders, the internet, etc.
Crisis of Faith
The Book of Mormon provides many examples of how people respond to a crisis of faith. A crisis of faith can come in many ways. Reading the CES Letter and like material have created a deep and painful loss of belief for some LDS church members. Some say it is comparable to what Lehi and his family had to deal with when they learned they would be leaving the security of their home in Jerusalem and going into the wilderness.
When Lehi announced he had received revelation to leave Jerusalem to go into the wilderness he prepared everything they needed to survive in the wilderness and then left Jerusalem leaving behind everything important to them except each other.
How did his family respond?
Lehi had experience with God, so he was ready to do God’s will. Lehi’s wife Sariah looked to God for help and followed her husband. Laman and Lemuel went with Lehi but did not look to God for help and at times created unbearable difficulty for their family. Nephi cried unto the Lord and had a Spiritual experience where he learned many things. Sam believed Nephi’s testimony that the Lord had told him that their father was following God’s will.
Note the various ways they responded:
1. Lehi had a witness from God (1 Nephi 1:5-6).
2. Sariah believed her husband was inspired of God (1Nephi 8:14-16).
3. Laman and Lemuel murmured, complained, and accused their faither of many things (1 Nephi 2:11-14).
4. Nephi sought the Lord diligently and received an answer that Lehi was following God’s will (1 Nephi 2:19-24).
5. Sam believed the things the Lord told Nephi (1 Nephi 2:17).
If you are like Lehi and Nephi and already have a witness from God the church is true then you have a strong foundation of faith (Helaman 5:12). Sustained by that faith you know how to turn to God with the questions you have after reading the CES Letter.
If you are like Sariah and Sam you have the gift to believe the testimony of others and move forward in faith (D&C 46:13-14, Mosiah 26:15-16, Alma 19:9).
If you don’t have a witness to rely on or the gift of believing the testimony of others, then you can turn to the Book of Mormon and seek with all your heart to receive the promise found in Moroni 10:4-5. Millions of church members have acquired their testimony through the Book of Mormon.
Reading the CES Letter and like material will test your faith. There are many resources on the internet that will support your faith or encourage you to abandon your faith. The choice of where you will spend you time is up to you.
I’ve written this to encourage those who are having a crisis of faith to turn to Heavenly Father first. And then to choose a path based on inspiration to deal with the thorns, thistles, briars, and noxious weeds that are part of church history and doctrine.
In my case, I had a witness before I learned about the things like the CES Letter. Prayerfully I decided to study, so I could learn more about church history and doctrine.
Others I know decided to not study but be aware of what was going on by talking with family members who decided to study.
Best to you as you move forward with your decisions.
The Following links provide more information about each of the people listed below.