I recently had the opportunity to give a talk in my Church’s Sacrament meeting. This happens about every year or so for every member of the congregation. Sometimes we are given a specific topic to talk about, sometimes we are given leeway to talk about whatever we feel inspired to talk about as long as it’s gospel related. My husband and I were asked to speak on the same day, about whatever we felt inspire to talk about, and we had about 40 minutes of time to fill, 20 minutes or so each.
As I have stated before in my blog, I know that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives, and so I prayed about what to speak on. The week before was really busy and I didn’t have a lot of time to think or prepare. But I also didn’t have any inspiration to go on either. By Saturday morning, I was a little bit desperate and offered a much more sincere prayer and then received the inspiration I was in need of. The topic? Questions.
This is a topic that as a Seminary teacher I teach about on a regular basis. It is something we encourage the youth to do, ask questions, and something we strive to do ourselves as we learn and grow through our own study of the material. Questions are good. Just as the above quote says, if you never question, you may never learn. I have found in my own life, that I can learn in any given situation, but when I just sit and listen, rather than engaging with questions, I simply scratch the surface of what I could be learning. My talk last Sunday dealt with how to get answers to those questions.
The first thing I talked about was attitude. Attitude affects what we do with answers. Why are we asking the question? What will we do with the answers we receive? Are we willing to accept the answer to the question even if it contradicts what we have previously believed or thought we understood? Can we hold on to the truths we already have when we find contradictory information? Our attitude affects our ability to learn far more than we may realize.
Second, have faith that you can receive an answer now, or as more information becomes available. If we know something to be absolutely true, hold on to that. Don’t allow misinformation to create doubt about what we do know. Seeking truth requires us to be willing to change our perspective and adjust what we think. But truth exists, it is not created by one side or the other, it isn’t relative. We need to be seeking out truth from all the information we come in contact with. We do this by listening to the Spirit, or the light that is in us and then acting on that light, acting on that inspiration and see where it goes. By the fruits we can know whether it was true or not. What are the results?
Third, look at the question from the correct perspective. Because I believe in God, and in His omnipotence, I believe that He has all truth, that this life isn’t the end, and that there is more to my existence than what happens here. I also believe that He cares very deeply for His children and that He will help us as we are willing to listen. Consequently, when I look at what’s happening, I try to look at it from His standard, rather than the world’s standard. The world’s standards are constantly shifting and changing, but God’s standards don’t change. Doctrine is always doctrine; truth is always truth. I find that being able to step back and watch a little bit helps me decipher truth. Again, by the fruits we can tell what is true.
Fourth, look for answers in correct sources. If you are sick, you would never go to a grocery store to get diagnosed from the cashier. Likewise, if you want to know the cost of 5 pounds of potatoes you wouldn’t call your doctor’s office. The best place to go for a math question would be a math teacher, and so on. Google provides lots of answers to all sorts of questions. But the answers aren’t always correct. As I have stated before as well, you can find an answer to agree with your perspective on just about any subject on the internet. That doesn’t make it truth, however. So, we need to seek out sources that we know to be valid and correct as well as recognize the ones that aren’t correct so they can be avoided.
It’s funny in this day, in some situations you are encouraged to question everything, while in other situations you are told to stop questioning and just accept what you are being told. I think that questions are essential for our development and understanding, and so I ask questions, but I have learned over the years to be patient waiting for the answers. They come, but sometimes they take a while. Just like a fruit tree growing, you can’t taste the fruit until it has fully grown and ripened. So, too, some questions take a little bit of time to answer. But I know answers will always come eventually, often it just takes a little (or a lot) of patience on my part. If you would like to read directly from the resource I used for this information here is the link: Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge. I hope that you take time to ask questions this week, but also to look at what the results are, and be patient while waiting for answers to come.