Over the course of a lifetime, one might meet others who are more scientific in their search for spiritual nourishment. Unfortunately for some, these kinds of people won’t always accept most spiritual doctrine on faith. I have met others and even married one who insist on black and white evidence of the existence of God and His true church. Intellectual writings which cater to this kind of thinking are helpful in building a testimony of a true God and His principles. Recently, Deseret Book published one of these rare finds which will point us in the right direction of the academic quest for truth.

The Cruicible of DoubtTerryl and Fiona Givens have given their best shot at intellectual insight into the process all God’s children can use to strengthen their faith. The Crucible of Doubt is a collection of writings which dissect the formation of testimony building. There is much to be said for a step-by-step study into how humans believe or disbelieve in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Crucible of Doubt explores many aspects of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and how the use and abuse of reason, scripture, and even the hero worship of church leaders can affect our spiritual strength and testimony.

Many times those of the religious population will point fingers at others who claim they believe in God blindly without really asking, that those who follow along with everything priesthood leaders ask us to do are flawed and weak. As the Givens discuss this phenomenon, they come to the conclusion in several instances that tells us “blind” faith, isn’t blind faith at all but a “deliberate drive into a more proactive, self-created path for spirituality”. Everyone experiences a certain amount of doubt at some point in their life, some more than others. But with the writings of Terryl and Fiona Givens, our doubts can be turned to thoughts of godliness and purpose.

With the help of literary works from Emily Dickinson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Wordsworth, C.S. Lewis and others spread throughout the book, the reader is comforted with the thought that even though men have doubted throughout all time, “we know more than we think. And we know in more ways than we sometimes realize because different ways of knowing abound.”

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For those who struggle with the fallacies of priesthood leaders, the Givens bring up a good point. “Authority is the source of delegations, delegation involves humans, humans entail error and error in the context of authority creates conflict and tension. These stresses, which involve fallibility in conduct as well as in words, can be a challenge to the most faithful.” The Givens go on to explain how those members who experience this type of behavior shouldn’t lose faith when flaws and human error get in the way of gospel truths. God chooses the best ones He can to lead a stake or ward in hopes that they will become the best leaders they can. If they aren’t, the gospel of Jesus Christ is still infallible, God still loves His children very much and we should just move on in our quest for the truth. The Givens’ use of a quote from Elder Jeffery Holland’s General Conference talk in April 2013 says it well: “Imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.”

This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for those who want a casual read in Church doctrine. It’s for those who want to find logic and reason in their spiritual lives. It is for those who want to claim their faith through masterpieces of insightful writings and build a sure foundation of gospel principles.

About Valerie Steimle
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.

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