I don’t think of myself as a doubter. I do have many questions and thoughts that outpace my knowledge. Sometimes the quantity of my questions may lead people to believe I doubt. I just don’t know yet. There are a few things I’d like you to know about me:
I am okay with not knowing. Right now. I know this sounds odd for someone who loves to learn like I do, but I’m okay with not knowing. I stand with Camilla Kimball:
“I’ve always had an inquiring mind. I’m not satisfied just to accept things. I like to follow through and study things out. I learned early to put aside those gospel questions that I couldn’t answer. I had a shelf of things I didn’t understand, but as I’ve grown older and studied and prayed and thought about each problem, one by one I’ve been able to better understand them.” She twinkles, “I still have some questions on that shelf, but I’ve come to understand so many other things in my life that I’m willing to bide my time for the rest of the answers” (Lavina Fielding, Camilla Kimball: Lady of Constant Learning, Ensign, October 1975).
I understand I may not get answers to all of my questions for a long, long time. I don’t assume it’s the church’s job to answer all of my questions. I figure that’s God’s job, and He knows best when to tell me what.
Sometimes the gap between what I know and what I want to know is painful. Sometimes the gap between how we should be and how we are is painful. In my experience people in pain need love and support. It is very difficult to learn while you are in pain. I know it is not fun to watch someone experience pain. I’m sorry. It cycles. It will come and go. It seems to be a part of learning for me. Although my pain may motivate you to quickly fix me…please reread number 1. I do not need you to feel pain with me, but trust with me that it will end and God can and will help me.
Sometimes I am wrong. The pain I mentioned previously can cloud my vision. As the Lord heals me I see differently. Sometimes this clears up questions and sometimes this makes clear changes that could be made in behavior or culture or application of programs that could inspire a more Zion-like society. I am willing to admit when I am wrong.
God loves variety. Think of all of the different flowers and bugs and birds and people. Let me be me. There is not one right way to learn. I do not intend for you to be me. I married a person who does not have nearly the questions I do. Zion is not made up of a large group of identical people, but instead a vast variety of wonderful people who know how to forgive and love and understand.
I can be loving and obedient without knowing everything, or at least I can try! My lack of knowledge does not mean I do not want to be a good person or a good member of the church. I want to serve in callings, serve people, serve in my community and keep the commandments.
I do prefer to know the truth even when history gets messy. I hope that we own up to the horrible choices or mistakes that people make and learn from them. I figure God is strong enough to take it if I am mad about some things. Sometimes the weight of what I put on my shelf of “I don’t knows” or “I don’t understands” seems overpowering. I would still rather face the mess.
What I do believe is very important to me. God lives and loves me. My Savior Jesus Christ died for me. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Bible is the word of God. We having living prophets on the earth today. Those are amazing things! I try not to lose sight of these life changing principles even in the face of all I do not know.
In the education field there are all sorts of learning styles. I believe that applies to the gospel as well. Some people really do have a gift of faith and they soak things up so quickly and beautifully. Others claw and struggle for every little piece. Some wait for long years to get a small kernel. Some people have strong answers to prayers without the slightest bit of effort. Others have quiet whisperings after days of pondering. Still others walk in darkness with hope that someday answers will come. If what worked for you does not work for me, believe with me that God knows what will work. I believe the willingness to hope for answers in the future is a gift in and of itself. That is why I do not really characterize myself as a doubter. I just do not know everything yet.
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.