On the Crucial Necessity of a Faith Crisis

We’ve recently learned that Richard Bushman and Fiona and Terryl Givens will be presenting a series of seminars or lectures on managing doubt and crises of faith. In a way, we can see nearly all of their scholarly work on Mormonism devoted in some sense to this topic. I’ve read most of their work and have been privileged at various times to work under them and with them as a graduate student. Consequently, I think I might have some sense of what they might discuss, though I’m anxious to hear and weigh the details. I don’t always agree with them, but I think it’s certain that they are among the best exemplars of faithful people trying to sincerely negotiate, reconcile, and do justice to the various worlds they live and move in (academic, religious, familial, etc).

I’ll admit to being hopeful, though, that they speak of the importance of a certain kind of crisis of faith. Because I think part of the essence of faith within a religious life is a confrontation with just such a crisis. Of course, there are many crises of faith and various sources that produce these crises, but here I want to argue that 1) not all crises of faith are equally significant (or equally devastating); and 2) not all crises of faith are properly religious crises, or maybe better said, not all crises of faith are faithful crises. I want to be extremely careful though, in being sensitive to anyone who has undergone what they consider to be a crisis of faith. I doubt I’ll entirely succeed; not everyone (maybe not even most readers) will resonate with this, and the last thing I intend is to deny anyone the reality of their experience. This is, however, something I feel strongly about, since the struggle with faith and doubt is one I am very familiar with. Hopefully we can bear with one another.

First, a little background. I think religion has done a poor job (at least since the Enlightenment) of producing crisis. That sounds backwards, initially; shouldn’t religion be a response to crisis? Doesn’t crisis occur in the first place because one is not living his or her religion authentically in the first place, and when he or she begins to do so, things will right themselves? My answer is no. Here’s why.

Post-Enlightenment (and even pre-Enlightenment but for different reasons), religion (at least in the West) has largely been unable to provide a space for genuine religious crisis. And that is precisely what it is supposed to do–reveal the genuine crises produced by its own founding. In Christianity, this is Christ’s Word of Abandonment on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” This is both the culmination of and the heart of Christianity’s stake in the world, that the divine cries out for the divine and finds it absent; even worse, abandoned. This is the ultimate religious crisis, that irrevocable belief (belief that you cannot simply pick up or put down) runs directly into an absent God, one that seemed to be everywhere when things were going well and made sense, but in the midst of suffering appears to have fled. The Enlightenment exiled religion to the wilderness (a bit of tit for tat, really, since religion had done some nasty things itself) and the only way religion could survive was by aping its oppressors. Hence, the defining threads of religion moved from an ontology of absence/presence, tragedy, doubt, love, and hope, to epistemology (knowledge), value, certainty. This wasn’t a wholly negative thing. The Enlightenment blessed and cursed the world in a number of ways, but concerning religion specifically and positively the rise of modernity made it possible to focus on objective religious commonalities instead of going to war over divisive revelations. It also became possible for religious practitioners (not unproblematically) to simultaneously affirm revelation and the intellect, faith and reason, philosophy and theology, the sacred and the secular (much better than burning heretics at the stake). Modernity was important for our cultural maturation. But religion, in essence, became a comfort-factory, a solution to the alienation of life rather than an embodiment of it. Now religion would largely be reduced to a utilitarian tool: something otherworldly and transcendent make us feel good about ourselves, produce happiness and comfort, be the solution to a problem (corrupted agency and suffering). But the original heart of religion, of Christianity, was blood and mud contact with the intense realities of the world, grounded theologically in tragedy and suffering, exemplified in injunctions of vulnerability centered on the realization of a never-ending need for others and to reach out to others in turn. Christianity landed like a hydrogen bomb in its founding figure’s final words, a lament-cry of doubt and longing that offered no comfort or hope before death silenced him. (Even Christ’s resurrection would be a singular event, an event that the rest of humanity is still waiting to experience). That was truly radical, a crisis in a purely religious sense, and one that would shake the earth and change the world forever.

Of course, there have been crises of faith from the beginning, and that is precisely the point–Jesus’ final words reveal his own crisis of faith, a crisis that still resonates in shared sorrow with believers. Post-Enlightenment, however, we see a different kind of crisis appear on the scene. It isn’t the existential crisis of presence and absence, but the epistemological crisis of knowledge and value. So understandably people across the board experience severe dissonance because of irreconcilable narratives (historical, moral, axiological) and difficulty justifying religious claims to knowledge except through subjectivity, (in that particularly hopeless binary relationship with objectivity) all of which is part of the Enlightenment inheritance of science (in its objectivity, abstractness, and a-historicalness) as the only legitimate discourse. These are genuine crises, but my argument is that they are not authentically religious crises because they are of different natures–they are crises of historical narrative, crises of knowledge, crises of value. Religion certainly has elements of all of these, but the heart of the power of its founding narrative–the crucified, tragic Christ, encountering the human experience in the most intimate, forlorn, and brutal way imaginable–is not pierced by these particular crises. The crisis of the absent God is the genuine religious crisis. But religion instead has become divided factional ideologies or the equivalent of therapeutic focus groups instead of shared suffering and anguish in the face of our own death, and the meanings we derive out of that. This is why Kierkegaard insisted that his task as a religious author was to make things harder for Christians not easier, to create difficulties everywhere. One is not a Christian, one only always is in the process of becoming a Christian, and religion in Kierkegaard’s time to the present has largely offered us a religious identity without genuine spiritual struggle, and without a confrontation with existential lament. Kierkegaard’s aim was to produce the genuine crisies that EVERYONE must undergo to become true Christians (or Mormons, as the case may be). Everyone should undergo a faith crisis, not simply treat it as if it is a disease to be avoided or eradicated if necessary. The question is what kind of faith crisis are we undergoing? And contemporary Christianity in general and Mormonism in particular have frankly not been very effective in producing this kind of crisis, or in other words, revealing the crisis at the heart of its own narrative.

Now, to the extent that crises of knowledge and value are the crises people are nevertheless experiencing, they should certainly be addressed and explored, and given full weight of attention. They are products both of our problematic Enlightenment inheritance, and the ways we’ve chosen to express out faith narratives, as birthed in the language of this inheritance but then directly opposing it. Nevertheless, where is the genuinely Christ(ian) focus? On shared suffering. On alienation. On tragedy–as genuinely tragic. Yes, there is a resurrection–but not yet. While we live anchored to this earth we live always in the shadow of that Not Yet. But we need to be more aware of the crucial necessity of making a space, both individually and in community, for that universal lament, to the soul-shaking familiarity of that “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Our faith must become that which unsettles us, breaks us open in love so that the work of togetherness can finally, at long last, commence and the invisibility of Zion can become the exception and not the rule. Genuine acceptance of that lament is not a loss of faith but the very beginning of it. Should production of this kind of crisis be our religion’s work of love, in which we finally see how desperately we need one another and how desperately God wants us to need one another, other crises will dwindle and lose their strength by comparison.

And for those not yet encountering a crisis of faith, your work, and thus your love, has not yet begun.

Comments

  1. liz johnson says:

    This is absolutely beautiful, Jacob. Thank you.

  2. Insightful, though a bit too tidy in its historical narrative. I never liked that the missionary discussions, in their retelling of the First Vision, omitted the part where JS was overcome with darkness. Surely, in the moment of his first verbal prayer, finding himself dragged down to destruction induced an abandonment crisis in the future prophet necessary for what came later. Without that bit of the story, his experience as a whole sounds very much like the standard Enlightenment crises you demarcate.

  3. Faith crisis. I wonder if it’s too easy a term. Sometimes it gets superficially resolved through bitterness over having been betrayed or lied to. Then comes the search for something better–which often becomes faith in the existence of nothing, the “I know all I have is today” mentality. For others, it provokes a deeper study of what they actually do believe and what they don’t. For yet others, it results in a numbed happy face, a life of secret doubt. I find that in certain areas of my life, I proceed with a full realization that I don’t know where my next step will lead. Much more to say, but my family and I are now going to watch _Diary of a Country Priest_. It was recommended to me by my favorite Presbyterian pastor, whose church includes a long moment of “private confession.” I told him I was trying to narrow down my sins right until the moment began. He replied, “Yes, I always think we don’t leave enough time for that.” This film is one of his favorites.

  4. hollyhuff22 says:

    Beautiful. I’ve been thinking for a while that I had both a crisis of testimony (historical, knowledge) and a crisis of faith. The first is messy but no longer so distressing, while the second feels like the work of a lifetime.

  5. Excellent thoughts, Jacob – and I think the heart of it is that we live in multiple cultures (at least American and modern Mormon) that value knowledge and certainty over faith. I was almost giddy to hear Elder Holland’s recent talk about faith and believing, but the vast majority of talks I have heard in my life and, unfortunately, probably will continue to hear, especially locally, will be focused on knowing and being certain rather than having and embracing faith.

    With that in mind, I think most crises are not properly termed as “faith crises” but are, instead, “certainty crises”. I think most occur when someone is absolutely certain of something and then something happens to shake or shatter that certainty. Thus, they are left without certainty, which leaves only faith (the substance of things hoped for but not seen – e.g., the substance of things not certain) – and those who have obsessed over knowing to the near practical rejection of faithful believing easily spiral into crises when left with what they previously have belittled (and I don’t mean mocked in using that word).

    In my work with people who are in a crisis, overwhelmingly the ones who struggle the most and/or swing to the opposite extreme (from “The LDS Church is perfect and all else is corrupt” to “The LDS Church is a cult and my new mission is to expose it for what it is”) are the ones who can’t let go of certainty and embrace faith – so they latch onto the opposite certainty of what they had and lost. Everything still is black-and-white and simple – and faith, truly defined, is no more a part of the process or picture than it was prior to the change.

    Admitting you don’t know much, if anything, and really are operating on faith can be frightening – but it also is liberating in a deep and powerful way, since it leads to the building of a personal faith and the evolution from a child of God to an adult of God, as Angela C. once said in a long ago thread.

    I agree totally that a crisis caused by lack of certainty is crucial to embracing Christianity and Mormonism fully – since I believe faith is more important, at the deepest level, than knowledge and certainty.

  6. Interesting article!

    I see a faith crisis (acute) or faith transition (less acute) as the beginning of a personal conversion by fire. It is the process one goes through to examine and eventually own, reject or modify gospel menu item by menu item rather than casually accepting, swallowing and pledging allegiance to the entire menu as a condition of membership and peer acceptance. it is a healthy transition when followed to completion even when it results in leaving the church.

    Professor Givens’ “Crucible of Doubt” UK Tour: http://mormonthink.com/glossary/crucible-of-doubt.htm

  7. Amen and amen. Thank you.

  8. Antonio Parr says:

    Jacob:

    Your observations resonate with me and my own personal spiritual journey. However, the crises of faith that you reference is not necessarily a universal maxim. I know some for whom faith, hope and charity come quite naturally, who live lives of devotion and service and love with a steadiness of conviction that is laudable. They are not rendered poorer by the absence of a crises of faith, and I would not wish such a crises upon them.

    Others — and I suspect that this applies to virtually everyone who follows BCC — know all too well of the dynamics of which you write. Having come out on the other side of my own personal crises of faith, I would agree that the light that awaits at the end of the tunnel is worth the struggle, and offers a richness and luster that never would have been detected without that dark night of the soul.

  9. Jacob – this is interesting. How would you assess Peter and his struggle with knowing.

  10. J. Stapley says:

    I imagine that the Gospels would not have their power had Christ’s doom been a debate over the historicity of the Torah.

  11. Mark Brown says:

    This is important, Jacob. Thank you for writing this, I will probably return to it many times in the future.

  12. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    For some, a crisis of faith, be it from whatever source it may, can be the key to turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart and thereby gaining greater knowledge from the Holy Ghost. And a few will even find a remission of sins.

    The ultimate solution to a crisis of faith isn’t turning to to men and women of renown.

  13. Jacob, another great post about the actual experience of religion that makes me think more deeply. I don’t know that I have ever had one great faith crisis, or as Ray puts it, a “certainty crisis.” I certainly can point to many small ones, and those continue to happen. I guess I only hope that there isn’t something huge out there waiting to drag me down into deep despair, and that the small crises that come along are sufficient. But I doubt it.

    I am reminded that someone pointed out that just about all of our scriptural and historical accounts of direct encounters with the divine also include either direct encounters with Satan/ultimate darkness (as in Moses or Joseph Smith in the grove), or really deep personal tragedies or losses. I would much prefer the gradual ups and downs of faith myself, and I hope that is sufficient for the task. But if not, I hope and pray that I will be sufficient for the task if my normal, overly optimistic attitude gets smacked in the middle of my smiling face and knocks all my teeth out.

  14. Natebergin says:

    Great post! I would just say that the kind of faith crisis Jacob refers to may come most naturally to those simple souls who view Mormonism within its orthodox certainty paradigms.

    Though maligned here for their black and white views, they nevertheless suffer greatly from self-doubt, over-confidence, lack of zealousness, over-zealousness, dispair, feelings of judgement, anger, apathy, all the real and rich crisis of existence. There is plenty of faith that is needed even within their certainty paradigm.

    We brave souls, who have weathered the storms of epistemological doubts, will come out none the wiser if we are unable to go back to the simple, childlike faith of these members. Not that we need certainty of truth claims as they do. But in their certainty of dogma, they have the freedom to be true disciples, free from distracting doubt. And we must embrace the reality of their faith in order to serve with them, for they are our masters, the weak and simple whom God has called to rule. A child is the greatest in the kingdom of God, and no one suffers more than a child.

  15. Liz, thank you. (You and Holly clearly had the best comments ;) )

    Brian, no doubt the historical narrative that forms the background of this post is too tidy. Probably inevitable in a blog post :) And I agree that we lose something when we excise moments of darkness from historical re-tellings,

    Ray, yes I like that. I should re-emphasize that these are serious crises, whatever their content might be. What I probably should have included with more force is that failure to fully encounter the more existential-religious crisis will inform the crisis of knowledge and value, such relational pain/tragedy with other human beings is often the underlying factor in not having eyes to see in particular ways anymore, and thus having alternative narratives become much more persuasive. I need to think more on that aspect of the crisis.

    We can’t force a crisis, not even what I am arguing is the crucial crisis that I think every believer should undergo. That kind of a crisis is a grace, in the sense that it comes unbidden and unexpectedly. What we can do is shift our hearts to what I am arguing is theologically primary in any case, and that’s our relations with others. When our hearts are truly open to their sufferings we won’t try to explain them away or insist that the next life will finally heal us (even if that is true). We’ll suffer with them. We’ll hear Christ’s words from the cross with new ears and will finally allow that tragedy in its full scope is at the heart of our religious world.

  16. JennyP1969 says:

    For me, my crises is about as broad and deep as can be — it’s not superficial. Perhaps all the more so because I had thought myself beyond such a crisis. It hurts. There are no pain killers, and no relief from the pain. For me, it’s not loss of faith in the Savior, it’s loss of faith in the church. And I never realized how much of my faith in the Savior came through the church. Now, after almost 5 gut-wrenching years of struggle, of being worn down to exhausted skeletal remains, I’ve come to believe that perhaps this is stripping myself of “all ungodliness, ” of perhaps “worshipping” my church as a golden calf. I feel closer to the Spirit and the Savior than ever before, though They do not lift me out of this experience. I hope to someday believe this crucible is good and holy. But, thus far, the journey has been like a prolonged, cancerous death. My joy in being a Mormon has been eaten away by cancerous facts that had been hidden away and now destroyed the “healthy” aspects of testimony and wisdom. What seemed to have been built on rock has crumbled, and “great has been the fall thereof” for me.

    And worst of all is the steady, haunting chanting in my soul….I’m lost….I’m lost….I’m lost…..

    Such a feeling turns out to be the most horrible of all feelings, and the true root of my crisis. How do I navigate mortality when I feel lost in it? When Mormonism has crumbled under it’s own weight? When joy in the church now looks like Moore, Oklahoma? Like them, I feel like I’ve been sifting through the debris of testimony for salvageable “snapshots” of service in treasured callings and other memorabilia. And trying to clear out what has been destroyed to someday start over building a new and better “home” and haven for my precious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Please send thine amazing, amazing grace…. BCC has been very helpful throughout — Mormon Helping Hands, so to speak. Thank you so very much.

    At the end of the millennium when Satan is loosed “for a season” this must be the attack he will wage to claim his last from among us. It makes me quake in fear and trembling. please be there then, too.

  17. Jenny – I’ve been down a similar road you describe. All I feel comfortable saying is that you’re not alone and I’m confident you’ll be OK. Clearly I can’t – or rather shouldn’t – say much more than to encourage you to keep up your strength.

  18. Jenny – In the end, bottom line without the overly personal details here’s what worked for me. When you get past all of the fallibility of institutions and men, all of the questions we can ask that I won’t go too much into because I don’t want to assume yours are the same as mine, this is what I was left with:

    “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

    Don’t know if that helps. But it helped me through my own faith crisis.

  19. Jacob, I wrote a post on my personal blog, after re-reading the Harry Potter series over Christmas break last December, that I think you will enjoy. It is entitled “Thestrals, Dementers, Boggarts and Crises of Faith”.

    http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2012/12/thestrals-dementers-boggarts-and-crises.html

  20. Jenny – Thought I’d come back to add a better response if I can.

    “There are no pain killers, and no relief from the pain.” – Forgiveness takes time but love is the best pain killer I know (and God is love).

    “What seemed to have been built on rock has crumbled, and “great has been the fall thereof” for me.” – Love is also the way you pick yourself back up. Love of yourself. Love of God. Love of those around you, and so forth. And with love also comes service.

    No one – not even Satan – can make you fear and tremble without your permission. It takes time but you’ll find your way.

    There is wisdom in what Jesus Christ said about turning the other cheek. You can withstand whatever pain is coming your way. You may have a long road ahead. Just whatever you do, find love, hang onto love, and you’ll be strong again through that love and service. That’s how you come back, by being that servant, and by love.

    Take care.

  21. For me, it’s not loss of faith in the Savior, it’s loss of faith in the church…I’ve come to believe that perhaps this is stripping myself of “all ungodliness, ” of perhaps “worshipping” my church as a golden calf. I feel closer to the Spirit and the Savior than ever before, though They do not lift me out of this experience. . Sounds very profound, I’d say you’re on the right track. Sorry for the discomfort, it seems to be how we learn.

  22. This was a powerful post, thank you Jacob. Psalm 88 is the only psalm in the Bible to begin in pain and ends in total darkness;it reveals the courage of the Rabbis to comfort us with that fact that living faith is never truly comfortable and many times downright lonely, terrifying and dark. My God, My God!

  23. I think D&C 121 is instructive, as well.

    The powerful lesson at the end couldn’t have been given without the situation that caused the anguish and demand at the beginning.

  24. For some, a crisis of faith, be it from whatever source it may, can be the key to turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart and thereby gaining greater knowledge from the Holy Ghost. And a few will even find a remission of sins.

    I don’t think the ultimate solution to a crisis of faith is turning to men and women of intellectual renown.

  25. “I don’t think the ultimate solution to a crisis of faith is turning to men and women of intellectual renown.”

    Good thing nobody is making that claim.

  26. Angela C says:

    Frankly, I’m more impressed with Bushman and the Givens’ example as faithful people rather than their intellectual renown. I find them to have a very good spirit around them.

  27. JennyP1969 opened up to those of us on this board about her faith crisis. In the process she provided us with an example to ponder about how we can perhaps help, listen to, and be a friend to someone who is in the midst of a faith crisis. I’ve been through my own. I like what AngelaC just said about Bushman and Givens having a very good spirit around them. That’s what we need if someone else is having a faith crisis, not to make assumptions about why the person is having a faith crisis but to be there for that person, to try to be empathetic and understanding, and to have a good spirit about us. When a person has a faith crisis they are often at a crossroads in which they may redefine and reaffirm their relationship with and understanding of God in a way that is profoundly more vibrant which is what JennyP1969 is clearly striving to do; or they may become agnostic or atheist as sometimes also can happen. Even for people who do reaffirm a vibrant relationship with God, there is still a crossroads about reaffirming a relationship with the Church as the vehicle of the restored gospel. Again I’d argue the best thing you can do is be of that “very good spirit” described by AngelaC, and perhaps one of the worst things you can do is make assumptions and chastise the person who is at the crossroads of reaffirming belief in the Church or leaving.

  28. I think it is important to be supportive and I think it is important to be open minded during a faith crisis because it’s possible to transcend the Church as the vehicle of the restored gospel to a more spiritual less mortal observance of the gospel. Also because there are many paths, many fingers pointing at the moon not just one and it is important we do not confuse the finger for or sell the finger as the moon.

  29. Howard, I agree. Of course your response is quite unorthodox, very different than the “whole or not at all” approach that I’ve wrestled with in which if you question or struggle with certain aspects it’s viewed as pride and arrogance against authority (and against God) and therefore to question is wrong. As my mom used to say about things that troubled her, “I try not to think too much about that.” My faith crisis came from thinking too much about certain things that troubled me. That’s why it’s important for members who very much believe in the church as the restored gospel to listen to what it is that someone having a faith crisis might be trying to say, that’s how you can be a bridge if that’s your goal. If your goal is to help the person restore and regain a new sense of faith regardless of church membership then empathy is important there too. It’s rare that a faith crisis is just because of some little personality conflict…”Sally said something mean” can lead to inactivity but it’s not much of a reason for a full-blown faith crisis. And it’s not necessarily just because the person fails to read the scripture, fails to pray, doesn’t care, is lazy, or is just a “simple soul” deserving of pity. There’s usually a deeper reason going on and during such a faith crisis often the person will reach out to others. Perhaps yes lash out too if there’s any sense of anger at all, which can make it difficult to be there for that person. Often there’s pain and that’s hard. Listening can help. Dialogue can help. And yes I speak from experience on both ends.

  30. JennyP1969 says:

    Thank you for kind comments of support. Love is always the wisdom beyond mere understanding, especially when understanding isn’t yet possible.

    But I’ve been thinking about the point of the OP — that perhaps a crisis of faith is necessary. Will every person go through this at some point before the final judgment? Will each of us have to sacrifice to the point of crisis? I think that may be true……

    The Savior felt abandoned and alone. Was that the pinnacle of crisis for Him? I feel a form of abandonment, too. I feel like truths I’ve learned in our history stripped my safe, secure and idealistic images of the church away. They aren’t superficial things either. They aren’t easy to ignore up there on my shelf.

    But this was the only way to get to me. I have loved my church as much as I love my Savior. I don’t know if I believe in the church much right now, but I believe in the Savior more deeply than ever. And I love our good people and faithful leaders. And our little ones are too precious for words. I love BCC, where faithful writers help people like me hold on. I don’t know if walking away is easy, but I do know holding on isn’t.

    So, is a faith crisis necessary? If all these things give us experience, then this experience must serve some purpose. I hope I can find that purpose. Then, maybe there will be an end. And peace.

  31. Jenny – As you’ve seen me say elsewhere I do indeed agree with you about the importance of a faith crisis and of grappling as part of growth.

    Obviously not every religious person does put themselves through that. I once laughed out loud in watching on youtube an interview in which Joel Osteen brags to Oprah Winfrey that he is more faithful than Mother Theresa because he has never doubted or questioned his faith. Then they go on to say how godly it is to be rich. It’s hilarious. And sad. I’d say Mother Theresa was stronger for her questions, doubts and crises even if she lacked the stock portfolio of Osteen.

    There’s not much I can say about the struggles you mention except to say I’ve gone through similar struggles. I’m active in the civil rights and social justice communities as part of my work so that hints at part of what I’d struggle with, though there’s no need to go further. One reason I’m drawn to commenting here is because of those struggles. My mom, as much as I love her, for years didn’t like talking about things that bothered her or me. Neither did others in wards I attended. Even a past girlfriend in college once told me “You’re the most Mormon guy I’ve ever known (meaning it as a compliment as I took it) and yet you have these problems with the church, I don’t get it, it drives me up the wall.” Needless to say we broke up and she married someone who is now a Bishop, which is I think best. In this venue – a Mormon blog – the goal is to be mutually supportive. You’ll be stronger for this, I’m sure. It’s very obvious you deeply love the Church. So do I. I hope you find peace within the Church then. A site like this helps. If I knew of a site like this years ago it would have really helped me.

  32. “I hope I can find that purpose.”

    – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi.

    And this is also in line with the spirit of the teachings of Jesus.

    You’ll be OK. And so will I.

  33. Really great Jacob. I’m reminded of the “wrestle” before God that Enos had. It seems to me that in Mormonism we do have that personal “struggle” that real religion helps us through, but too often we end it prematurely upon the receipt of some truth proposition we finally accept. I think we sell ourselves short on that.

    I think that often a faith crisis of the epistemological variety you mention can precipitate what you’re calling the genuine faith crisis. It did for me.

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