5 Principles to Help Those in a Faith Crisis

Many members are experiencing or have family members experiencing what is being called a “crisis of faith” which has led some of them to reject the Lord’s Church and His restored Gospel.

There are many reasons behind these faith crises ranging from sin leading to a loss of the spirit to reading anti literature to reading “histories” that don’t match up with what the individual felt they were taught in Church.

Whatever the reason, there are some keys to helping restore (or at least alienate as little as possible) friends and family to the faith.

1. Don’t use language that belittles. If you had a friend that was never a member of the Church, but started investigating the Gospel and they had a question about something they read on the internet, we wouldn’t respond to that person by saying, “Do you believe President Nelson is a Prophet or not? Just stay away from reading things that cast doubt.” Or “Just read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, nothing else matters.” The investigator would think you couldn’t answer the question and a person in a faith crisis will too. When a friend or family member has a faith crisis respond in a similar tone that you would an investigator.

2. Don’t try to make the Gospel sound appealing to the values of the world or worldly. The Gospel is peculiar and stands apart from the world. If we apply the values of “Babylon” to the Gospel, our friends and family will be converted to Babylon, not the Gospel.

3. Apply consistent principles. If we say our friends can’t depend on something for truth, make sure you explain why it isn’t reliable and why what you want to share is. Simply saying “You wouldn’t go to enemies of the Gospel to learn the good things about it” doesn’t cut it. A rational person looking into a new product, service, religion, or candidate for office, is going to look into all sides and try and discern truth from error. If you wanted to find out someone’s guilt or innocence and they said, “Don’t listen to anyone accusing me of X, just listen to me,” you would laugh at them and probably find their story even more suspect than you did before.

4. Make sure the apologetic information you share is honest. Nothing is worse than trying to help someone and the information you give them isn’t honest. The person struggling will think you’re dishonest, or “brainwashed.” We have written about this in the past. For some examples, see our Sacred Cow archives here.

5. Make sure when defending the Gospel, you avoid dismissing the teachings of past prophets. This goes along with consistent principles. If you dismiss the teachings of past prophets, why are current prophets any more trustworthy? Bad trees do not bring forth good fruit. If our current leaders are worth listening to, they must have come from a line of leaders just as inspired. As Joseph Smith taught, “If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it be a hard matter to get right.” – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 343

If we can follow these five steps, we can not only effectively save those in a faith crisis, but also build a testimony in both our friends and ourselves that will weather the storms that are sure to come.

2 thoughts on “5 Principles to Help Those in a Faith Crisis”

  1. Isaiah 54 states that the Lord left and forsook his church! Not divorced just left for a time because of all her sins in her youth. When he comes back he will reclaim her again and everyone will remember her sins no more. The Doctrine and covenants says the same thing. They broke the covenants and it remains condemned. In the parable of the tame and wild olive tree in Jacob ch 5 Jacob speaks of a time when Israel will be gathered back, that has NOT happened yet, the 10 tribes are hidden beyond the Ice wall (D&C 133) and there is an appointed time for it. In Jacob ch 6 Jacob explains that the Lord will AGAIN set his hand a SECOND time to gather everyone back to the mother tree! The Lord gave Joseph and the church at that time to bring in the restoration but they failed. Even Joseph himself says in D&C 76 that John the revelator will be the one/part to bring in all things!

  2. In the temple, the phrase awake and arise is used. Anything from the Lord intended to benefit man could be construed as a commandment. So when the Lord tells us to awaken and arise, I think there’s deeper meaning to that.

    I believe the word “awake” is imploring us to open our eyes, look around, notice the current status of things and not to remain in a slumber (which represents our eyes closed off to things and a state of carnal security). The Book of Mormon was written for us who will be reading it, in these last days. It was meant to show us things to watch out for (pride, vain and foolish traditions, gadiantons) and to also share with us Gods commandments. There are commandments given to us, through true prophets (that we can find in scripture and in these last days from joseph Smith), and then there are commandments of men. For an example of a teaching or a commandment coming from men, that have no scriptural origin; follow the prophet, families are forever, an organization that is subject to laws of the land no matter how corrupt (gay marriage, abortion is legal?) those laws get is God’s one true church on earth. Further, some non-commandments are turned by man into strict commandments, like the word of wisdom. Or some are redefined and used for enriching the hierarchy, like tithing becoming 10% of gross income, instead of on surplus at the end of the year. Some teachings in the Book of Mormon show us how God does not want us to worship, like the bad example of the zoramites with the rameumptom, but our testimony meetings and lavish churches and temples totally fit that description. Or the order of nehor, wherein the leaders ought to be popular, esteemed higher than the common member and supported (paid) by the members – which happens with the upper echelon receiving salaries and book deals and for the audience to be required to stand when they enter or leave the room.

    The Lord wants us to awaken to these things. How do we arise? We stand up for truth. We stand out from among the masses and put away false teachings and traditions. We try to awaken our neighbors and our brethren to their awful state of slumber. Incorrect religious practices and abominations (anything done in the name of religion that has deviated from original truth).

    When we teach one another to “doubt your doubts” we may be preventing their progress because what if that doubt was given to you (by the Spirit) to cause you to question the situation and circumstance you’re in. What if it was meant to lead you to ponder, ask, seek, knock and pray about something that doesn’t seem right about your church? If Saran can prevent you from praying about and coming out of your slumber, hasn’t he in essence stopped your progression? Damnation is nothing more than to have your progression halted. We are meant to progress. We were given agency and nobody can take it from us. We can lose it by poor choices, but no man can remove it from us.

    I encourage any who read this far to consider my words, pray about those things you’ve felt doubt or uncertainty about, and look to the scriptures and to the Lord for answers. Nifty cliches don’t have saving power. The words of God do.

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