Could you tell me, what causes doubt, and unbelief, and how do I combat it?

Posted on February 11, 2008 at 7:35 am

Book of Mormon

Follow Gramps:

Print Friendly

Dear Gramps,
Could you please tell me, what causes doubt, and unbelief, and how do I combat it? My heart wants to, my head is saying all different things. I’m trying my best, can you help? I don’t wanna fail.
Mick, from Birmingham

Dear Mick,
Perhaps if we talked about a couple of principles it may help. The scientific method for gaining knowledge is based on the principle of doubt. In science we are not permitted to accept any postulate as true unless it has been proven by experiment or by logical deduction to be true. The religious method for gaining knowledge is quite the opposite. It is based on the principle of faith. We must accept the proposition as being true before the proof. We then put it into practice as though we knew it were true. If it is indeed true, it will be demonstrated to be so by our experience. As a result of that experience, we will know that it is true. Faith is acceptance before the fact; doubt is acceptance after the fact. Applying scientific principles to religious methodology never works.
So let’s take a case in point. Let’s say that a person wants to prove that the Book of Mormon is, as it claims to be, a true record containing the plan of life and salvation and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The person could begin an investigation using the scientific method, examining the book from the many points of view that would be necessary to prove its authenticity. If he were objective in his research and unprejudiced, he could eventually come to a positive conclusion. On the other hand, using the religious method, the person could just act as though he knew it were true, read it with confidence, and act upon the principles that are announced therein. As he puts into practice each principle the Holy Ghost will confirm in his heart the truthfulness of the principle that he is practicing, and he will have a testimony given by the Holy Spirit, rather than the mere confidence of the scientific method, that he is in possession of the truth.
So if you have doubts and disbelief concerning any matter of religion, be objective about it. Use the religious methodology. Put it to the test. Try the experiment. As you do so you will find that it is indeed a practical approach, and your confidence in th application of faith will mount.

Now, as I said concerning faith–that it was not a perfect knowledge–even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge. But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves–It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me (Alma 32:26-28).


Article Name
Could you tell me, what causes doubt, and unbelief, and how do I combat it? - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
Perhaps if we talked about a couple of principles it may help. The scientific method for gaining knowledge is based on the principle of doubt. In science we are not permitted to accept any postulate as true unless it has been proven by experiment.

Follow Gramps:

Before becoming a Bishop, is it required to be on a High Council first?

October 25, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, Is a man required to serve on the High Council before he is considered a candidate for the calling of Bishop? I was advised by a (more)

Why were the deaths of the early Apostles so brutal?

October 24, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I was interested in the life of the remaining Apostles after the death of the Savior.  As I researched their lives I was stunned and shocked (more)

If a man is of a certain tribe, are they automatically called to be a Bishop?

October 22, 2014 9:00 pm

Question Gramps, I heard that it has been stated that some people have been told by their patriarch that they are not of Ephraim or Manasseh but of (more)

Is Mormon underwear magic?

October 22, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, I am not a Mormon, but a Born Again Christian faithfully attending a Protestant church.  I have recently been involved in a study in which we (more)

Why was the purchase of slaves allowed during Biblical times?

October 21, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I have been discussing matters of misinterpretation with Bible versus with friends and was wondering, why are there parts of the Bible that allow the purchase (more)

If my father is the Branch President, can I repent to someone else?

October 20, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, Hello.  I have broken the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I’ve been doing better and reading my scriptures and praying for forgiveness but (more)

How many Priesthoods are there?

October 19, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, How many priesthoods are there?  I know there is the Aaronic and Melchezidek, but someone mentioned there was also the Patriarchal Priesthood? Don   Answer Don, (more)

Will the church rescind the ban on coffee due to Alzheimers studies?

October 18, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I am a member and wonder why the church does not rescind the ban on coffee when scientific studies over the past 20 years have shown (more)

Can physical intimacy and spirituality be compatible?

October 17, 2014 11:37 am

Question Dear Gramps, When I am reading my scriptures or saying my prayers, I have no interest in physical intimacy with my spouse.  And when we do come (more)

Is God a respecter of persons sometimes?

October 16, 2014 12:47 am

Question Gramps, Why does the Lord seem to bless some of the faithful with prosperity? It seems that others who are faithful and also pay their tithes and (more)

In the Princess Bride, should Wesley have pursued a married woman?

October 15, 2014 10:28 am

Question Dear Gramps, Was it appropriate for Wesley from the Princess Bride to pursue a married woman? Fezzik   Answer Fezzik, The question is not whether Westley was (more)

How can I learn about the church as a teenager?

October 13, 2014 12:04 am

Question Gramps, Hello. I am 16 and I have zero affiliation with the church. I was interested in learning about the Mormons, so I got a copy of (more)