Commentary by Alicia Ross
It’s fashionable among BYU students and young single adults who want to drink coffee or fornicate to have a “faith crisis.” Personally I know three or four people who are rushing out of the chapel doors to find the nearest tattoo parlor, so here’s a list of tips you can use when dealing with a friend going through one of these faux crises.
Don’t Forget the Cause: when your friends who think too much or who “don’t know if the mission is for them” start to talk about or post something on Facebook about their “concerns” about the church, don’t lose sight of what we all know are the real causes. People who really have faith never doubt; it is only those people who get into philosophy, worry about racism, show even a vague interest in “feminism,” and who are “open-minded” to Korihor-like, liberal ideas who question or doubt. We all know without a doubt that they all failed to doubt their doubts! But it isn’t just a failure to doubt doubts. The real truth is that this is all just a cover for their desire to sin. When they have “questions about church history” or “the history of women anointing the sick,” what they are really saying is “where’s the Jack Daniels” or “how quickly can we take our clothes off?” Rest assured—sin is the real root of their doubts!
Modern Day Captain Moroni—Boldly Unpopular: we know that the Book of Mormon was written for our day. Just before the final destruction, and right before Christ came, it was Captain Moroni who defended the righteous. We can all learn from his life. Throw up thick walls of defense in your life against difficult or troubling ideas. Have faith enough to never venture into those questions. Fill the stage of your mind with so many memes and easy, clear General Authority quotes that no evil difficulties can leak in. I suggest ripping some article of clothing and writing on it “I Will Not Think Hard! And I Will Not Doubt!” But defending yourself is only part of the solution. You need to be faithful enough to be boldly unpopular in all of your interactions with the doubters and those whose faith is faltering. There should be no doubt in their mind about how wrong they are and about how firmly you stand in the right!
Shame Is God’s Way of Telling Them That They Are Wrong: this part is easy to misunderstand. Some of you might feel sympathetic to friends who have doubts. You might feel bad about the painfulness of their plight. If that is the case, make sure that your sympathy turns to pity, and that your pity turns to a desire to help them see that the shame that they should feel is God’s way of telling them that they are wrong. Sure, you can just come right out and tell them that they wouldn’t feel so bad if they were just doing what is right. But another way to do it is the indirect route. For example, send them quotes or conference talks that show them how wrong they are and how far they have fallen. Constantly talk about the pain of family members or the lost blessings of grandchildren or how disappointed the people from their mission would be in them. Shame can truly work miracles to reveal how far they are from the iron rod and how deep they are in the murky, polluted creek, you know, the one that is by the rod.
Don’t Let Them Wiggle Back: some of these doubters and fence sitters try to wiggle their way back into the church, but deep in their hearts they still have doubts. If you know someone like this, it is your obligation to protect the only true and living church from such secret doubters. They might believe that God is inspiring lots of organizations and not just His one and only true and living church. They might erroneously believe that, over time, with faith and patience the Lord will change any of His divinely decreed, eternal, and unchanging policies, procedures, doctrines, or laws. They might believe that God can inspire different individuals to take their own path back to Him, a path that might include painful doubts. But that is wrong! God’s church is not a big tent with lots of different people and different ideas in it; it is one very narrow path that everyone must march down, single file, in exactly the same way. Make sure that these wayward doubters know this, since we can’t risk destroying the unity and uniformity God demands in His kingdom.
Following these tips will tell your friends who are becoming lax in their righteousness and who are calling that slothfulness a “faith crisis” that the real problem is them. What more can you do than reveal to them how wrong they are?
Oh, and one last tip:
Do all of this with Christlike love!