By Stephen S
Doubt and belief cannot coexist. Only one can operate at the same time. Sometimes, it has been a challenge for me to stick with what I believe because of my own doubt. However, I have learned that acting on my belief has always led to me in the right direction. In my experience, these two things have helped me to overcome doubt: first, continuing to have faith and then second, taking action—doing something about it.
Like many of us, I can be skeptical. It can be a challenge to blindly believe something without questioning that belief. For example, I believe in Christ. I know that He lived many years ago, and although I was raised in a religious family that also believed in Christ, I knew that I had to find out in actual fact whether He truly was the Son of God.
Tradition carried me only so far. As a teenager, I went to church meetings, tried to live Christian teachings and principles as I understood them, and in general I felt good about doing so. I was—and still am—quite imperfect, falling short of His example. I could see in my family that faith had brought a certain sense of purpose and a feeling of calming peace. I could see that the effects of faith in Christ were positive, but I still was not sure if this was just because I was in a wonderful family or whether it came as a direct result of the faith in Christ that was professed there.
In this state of constant mulling, doubt crept in. What if Christ never lived? What if He never did any of those things I had read and heard about my whole life? I was not sure what to believe. An interesting thought crept into my mind. Maybe Christ was real, and His message was true, but was I good enough for Him? I had two fundamental problems—first, I was starting to question whether Christ lived, and second, I felt that even if He had lived, I was somehow not good enough to believe.
This leads me to another aspect of doubt—it can undo important beliefs over time. Sometimes this is a good thing, as it allows us to develop and grow, leaving certain beliefs aside that are either unnecessary or untrue. For me though, I knew that I needed to find out for myself whether Christ was real. Living between knowledge and uncertainty was too hard.
Through it all though, I held on to my initial faith, not completely casting it aside. This faith led me to take action, which has been the key element to overcoming doubts. When doubts arise, we have to do something about it. We cannot simply expect doubts to resolve themselves. There are two actions that I have undertaken to help me to eliminate my doubts. First, reading the scriptures. When doubts come, I read in the Bible and the Book of Mormon about Christ and His teachings. Second, I pray with full purpose of heart to ask God whether Christ was real. This was not a particular moment in time for me, but rather a process through which I came closer to what I wanted: confirmation of my belief and a removal of doubt.
Eventually I came to the point when my faith in Christ became a cornerstone for me, and it now dictates my actions and how I treat others. If I had simply let the doubts reside in my heart, I am almost certain that I would be leading a very different life right now, and I am sure that I would not be the better for it. Now I am certain that Christ lives, and that He loves me. What is important to me now is that over time, I have come to know that even though I fall short of Christ, I am sure that through Him, I can do just about anything.