You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Insight.
As part of our attempt to foster an area where we can discuss the gospel in a spirit of faith and belief rather than doubt or disputation, we are happy to announce an additional section of our website, Questions & Insight. We debated calling the section “Questions & Answers,” but we don’t want to appear as if we think we have all the answers. In short, we probably have just as many questions as the next person. And that’s where this new section comes in.
Last year an article was published in the New Era titled “Any Questions?” Although the article was geared toward the youth, I think the principles discussed help to outline what we are trying to do with this section.
As children, the way we learn about the world around us is by asking questions. If you have ever known a five-year-old, you know that his/her most frequently asked question is “Why?” We are all children in this mortal existence, and we are all continually learning and growing (or we should be). But, unlike when we were children, we don’t like to rely on authority figures like our parents and teachers to answer our questions for us anymore. We are trying to figure things out on our own.
When it comes to the gospel, the more we know, the more we often realize that we don’t know, and our questions only get deeper and more complex.
I agree with the author of the New Era article that there are two ways of asking questions. He differentiates between the two by labeling them questioning and asking questions.
Questioning, here, refers to challenging, disputing, or picking something apart. When it comes to religion, the result of this approach is often not to find answers but rather to find fault and destroy confidence.
On the other hand, in religion, just as in science or anything else worth studying, it’s absolutely essential to ask questions, even difficult ones. It’s the only way you’ll get answers. And answers mean greater knowledge and understanding—and in the case of religion, greater faith and spirituality.
Asking questions is vital to our spiritual progression. Several years ago at a CES devotional, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf confirmed, “we are a question-asking people because we know that inquiry leads to truth.” (He also more recently gave an excellent talk on truth). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored to the earth precisely because a young man had questions, and he knew what to do with them:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
We don’t expect regular heavenly visitations in answer to the questions we will be asking here at Real Intent, but we do expect that as we ask questions in faith, searching faithfully and with real intent for answers – for truth – that we can all be edified and grow. Part of the problem with having deeper, more complex questions is that the answers are usually just as deep and complex. Being able to ask those questions in an environment of respect and faith and being able to openly discuss those questions can be vital to finding answers.
A big part of this new section is going to be you, dear reader. We would like to offer you the opportunity to ask your questions, in a safe place where we can search for the answer together. No matter your question, no one is going to call you apostate, no one is going to be condescending and tell you that you should already know the answer, no one is going to tell you your question was off limits. We are here to help one another seek answers with real intent, no matter the question.
We echo President Uchtdorf’s sentiment when he said, “Some might feel embarrassed or unworthy because they have searching questions regarding the gospel, but they needn’t feel that way. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a precursor of growth… Fear not; ask questions. Be curious, but doubt not! Always hold fast to faith and to the light you have already received. Because we see imperfectly in mortality, not everything is going to make sense right now.”
Please don’t be afraid to ask your questions – no matter how embarrassing they may feel. You are welcome to ask your questions anonymously. Here in the Q&I section the focus is on practicing finding answers “even by study, and also by faith.” We will try to help by using our collective experience to provide resources and study material to gain insight into the question. If you have a question you want to study out in your mind, but you don’t know where to begin to find the answers, come try the Q&I section.
At the top of our page, right under our name, you’ll see a list of pages you can access, including archive pages for Forum and Q&I. To see past posts in the Q&I section, click there. To submit a question that one of our authors will research and write about, click on Contact in that same list of pages and fill out the easy submit form. Q&I essays will have a prompt in the title so you’ll recognize them when they come up in our essays section. Be watching for new Q&I essays and check out our archive soon!