Questions and doubts about gospel doctrines are good when they lead to stronger testimonies. The outcome of a question or doubt depends on the motive and attitude of the questioner as well as the type of question being asked. Sincere questions and honest doubts often lead to additional knowledge, better understanding, greater faith, and more spirituality.
Some people miss opportunities to grow because they hesitate to acknowledge their questions about gospel doctrines. Others delay repentance by using questions and doubts in an effort to justify bad behavior. Still others seek to strengthen their apostate position by planting doubts in the minds of all who will listen. While some people exploit questions and doubts, wise individuals ask the types of questions that increase understanding and strengthen testimony in their search for truth, and they go to credible sources to find their answers.
Church leaders encourage members to ask questions in their quest for greater knowledge. President Gordon B.Hinckley states, “As a Church, we encourage gospel scholarship and the search to understand all truth. Fundamental to our theology is belief in individual freedom of inquiry, thought and expression. Constructive discussion is a privilege of every Latter-day Saint.” Hinckley carries the authority of the Church as he inspires members to seek more information. He states clearly that members should use their agency in gaining knowledge and understanding in their quest for stronger testimonies and greater faith. He left no doubt about how Church leaders feel about sincere questions.
Ronald A. Rasband agrees with Hinckley that Church members should ask questions. He reminds readers that the Savior used questions many times in His ministry and that the Restoration of the gospel began when Joseph Smith asked a question.
Questions bring greater knowledge, but the questioner must be careful about the type of query. David A. Edwards explains, “Asking questions is essential for learning. But how you ask a question can make a huge difference in where it leads you.” Questions should be asked from a position of faith, such as, “How does this fit with what I already know to be true?”
Adam Kotter agrees that questions are vital to growth and states that genuine queries are “asked with a sincere desire to increase one’s understanding and faith…. The sincere questioner continues to be obedient while searching for answers….” Kotter closes with the wise counsel to take all serious questions to God because He is the ultimate authority on any subject.
Knowledge and understanding can be increased by asking inspired questions and using credible sources where the Holy Ghost can testify of truth. Questions about gospel doctrines should be taken to Heavenly Father for confirmation because He has all knowledge and knows how to help His children. He sends the Holy Ghost to assist in the search for truth and then to confirm truth when it is found. Sincere questions and honest doubts about Church doctrines usually lead to increased faith, greater spirituality, and stronger testimonies.