In a recent article for Meridian Magazine, Terryl and Fiona Givens make the claim that “doubt doesn’t have to be dangerous.” Their article seems timed to provide a rejoinder to a similar article in the Ensign (Mar 2015) by Adam Kotter which vilified doubt.
While I found Kotter’s article disappointing, I found the Givens’ article to be strangely unsatisfying. I don’t think either the Givens or Kotter totally understand the depths of some of our angst. According to the Givens: “Doubt can have a crucial role in the life of the disciple, but is not the end for which we strive.” To which I respond: “Why can’t it be the end?” Is our end goal predetermined? If we have serious doubts, why isn’t it okay to die with them? Using the example of Mother Teresa, she apparently died with her doubts.
Doubt may be merited in any number of circumstances on the path to decision-making; but glorying in doubt as an achievement or a final state of mind is to relinquish that which makes us more than logic machines, and arrest a process humans are uniquely constituted to see to completion.
Why isn’t it okay for some of us to come to the realization that some questions are unanswerable? That is where I’m at. I’m in a perpetual state of DOUBT. I don’t glory in my doubt, and I don’t think I wear it as a badge of honor like a “self-styled sophisticate.” But, I don’t see an avenue or a serious need to resolve my doubts. They don’t affect the way I want to live the remainder of my life.
We do not need to succumb to perpetual indecision, or be paralyzed into a stance of non-commitment.
I don’t feel paralyzed; and a belief that my doubts may not be resolvable in this life is certainly a defensible position.
We might see doubt as an essential point of transition between honest assessment of evidence, and moving forward with a purpose.
For me, my doubts are more than a speed bump, they are more than a “way station.” But they don’t keep me from “moving forward with a purpose.” We all have different genetic material and a different intellectual and spiritual environment. To expect us all to have the same unwavering faith is unrealistic.
So the $64,000-question for me (and other serious doubters) is: Should I stay in the LDS Church or should I go? (Or from the perspective of Church leaders, is the Church tent big enough for serious doubters?)
For me, that is a tough question. I was raised Mormon, and I see nothing better out there at the moment. As for Church leaders, it is up to them to decide how big the tent is.