As you can probably tell I am an octogenarian. That means I am old. I have given thousands of talks and lessons and I never taken longer to prepare than this one.
We can only help people with the power of the Holy Ghost…there is NO OTHER WAY! We must be prepared by the power of the Holy Ghost
Increased faith (1 Nephi 10:17)
And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
Abundance of the Pure love of Christ and purity before God
They (the mysteries of the Kingdom) are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him. (D&C 76:116)
Keeping the Commandments
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)
We must Treasure up the Word
I have read everything on FairMormon.org. All of Mike Ash’s books (Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith.) Simply Brilliant work and a must for those who doubt and are earnestly seeking the truth and especially those who seek to help those who are struggling! And many other articles referring to the subject including all of the General Authorities talks.But we also need to be diligent in treasuring up the word and the answers. (FairMormon Answers page on the website) This is where the research of Fair Mormon can help us as we have knowledge!
Our website is AMAZING. Seek to understand and appreciate it to the point that it becomes second nature to use it.
Now we are prepared so the Lord can bless us and those who are struggling by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. D&C 84:85
Pat answers associated with previous success in a similar case of personal struggles should not be assumed as correct. Each case is uniquely different. There is only one way and that is the Holy Spirits way.
Remember to separate the doctrine and the gospel of the Church from the different accounts that attacks the Church. REMEMBER THE CREDIBILITY OF THE HISTORICAL EVENT IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE MEMORY OF THE RECORDER! Remember the Church is founded upon the GOSPEL AND THE GOSPEL IS IRREFUTABLE. The Book of Mormon stands supreme and with all the priesthood power of the Church as the restoration was unfolded.
How to help them deal with negativism and half-truths? Doubt your doubts—Davis Bitton on Church History (story). The frailties of others has nothing to do with truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A new convert asked, “Why didn’t you tell me about Mountain Meadow Massacre?” The statement was made as if because of this the Church may not be true! Frailty of people does not and cannot take away the veracity of the Kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ on which it is founded.
Ammon was working with more than doubters but rather hardened bloodthirsty adversaries.
Now watch the power of the Holy Ghost!
Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy; and thus they all three had sunk to the earth. Alma 19:14
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. D&C 100:5-6
BEWARE OF “BASHING” AND PENT UP WRATH WHEN DEALING WITH ANTAGONISTIC PEOPLE.
Contention when discussing a concern or allegation is inappropriate…The Lord stated quite strongly…
And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away. (3 Nephi 11:28-30)
MEEK AND MILD IS OUR DEMEANOR.
Remember the Lord’s counsel as you with others concerning their comments or accusations. We don’t contend but rather teach in meekness and mildness. “And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.” D&C 38:41
HELPING THE STRUGGLING AND THE DOUBTING
Seek Understanding—What is their real concern
What is the nature of their doubts, questions and status in the Church? Without understanding their focus, disposition, attitude and standing within the Church you are at a disadvantage and will not be able to help them. Until you understand and appreciate their real concerns (not so called situation) will you ever be able to help them overcome their roadblocks to building back their faith!
- Understanding their situation
- Sincere questions seeking understanding—Scripturally sound Ask, Seek, Knock
- Doubts—new shocking information
- Misinformation that rocks their testimony
- Trusted friend who has doubts (they like corroboration)
- Justifying their doubts and life style through frailties of past leaders or diaries and histories that cause doubt.
- Deceived by the devil (antichrists)
- Giving credence to the Internet, diaries and any given memory reliable information is questionable as compared to the Word of God. The Book of Mormon stands supreme as out standard for it is true all else follows.
Recognize their separation from the Holy Ghost
Consider Laman and Lemuel. They said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive-tree, and also concerning the Gentiles. 8 And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? 9 And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us. 10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? 11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you. 1 Nephi 15:7-11
Some deny the light of truth and hold to their historical misgivings that destroy their belief. In regard to history and some statements are in the recorders words and perceptions and thus they are flawed.
If they (the doubters) are seeking to bring down our beliefs or the integrity of the Church or bash one another instead of seeking to understand. (They have chosen their course.) Agency is supreme!
Listen to Mormon’s words
Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them. For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually. And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. Moroni 9:4-6
Paul continually dealt with this problem
False teachings lead some astray. “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:17-18
Paul warned us again through Timothy. ‘But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26
Story of ELSM and dealing with the anti-Mormon literature. (Dealing with the Devil)
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:13-17
How to help them come to the knowledge of the truth?
Preach and to teach the word of God among them; and thus they began to have great success. 5 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time. 6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. Alma 23:4-6
How to help them replace doubt with faith? How is faith nurtured?
Fasting and Prayer and the word of God. (Story of Young Man who was struggling)
How to help them deal with criticisms of our prophets and leaders? People are human and why would you let another human’s weakness or problem take you away from your Savior and His Church.
If they are disillusioned, angered due to misinformation or unrealized expectations they need love and help in becoming being rooted in Christ and His word.
They claim the Church does not help them (they work on Sunday and haven’t attended the temple for 6 years). When reading the scriptures they look for problems and difficult passages and yet has great knowledge of historical questionable data they find on the Internet. Until they embrace the Church and the gospel and the scriptures with real intent and faith they cannot grow or experience the mighty change of heart. They need to truly live the gospel. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17)
How can we help them gain a testimony sufficient to deal with attaches against the Church? Do they want to believe? Are they willing to experiment on the word. If desire is lacking maybe their heart is not right and they have ceased caring.
How can we help them be rooted to Christ and not yield to the sophistries of the devil? Moroni’s exhortation 10:3 Gratitude is an empowering virtue to draw us to Christ!
How do we help them when they justify their doubts and unbelief?
Is everything right in their life?
How can they justify or dismiss 161 internal and external evidences of the historicity of the Book of Mormon that Joseph had no idea of knowing.
The Lord has said,
And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin. 50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me. 51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin. 52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. 53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. 54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— 55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. 56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. 57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written. (D&C 84:49-57)
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives” (Joseph Smith, Teachings, pp. 156–57).
How can we help them when faced with new facts that they have never dealt with before?
Are you trusted, respected, loved? Are they humble and easily entreated?
What is the credence and authenticity of an isolated diary, a credible source or a false supposition? Doubt their doubtable source.
When the Church has made an official position we have a platform from which we can address an issue. The Book of Mormon stands supreme as the restoration scriptures along with the PGP and the Doctrine and Covenants. Fair Mormon has done a beautiful job in defending all of our modern day scriptures.
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE IN ORDER TO HELP:
Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God. Alma 17:2-3
We need to be instruments in the hands of God to speak His words His way.
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. D&C 100:5-6…with love, mildness and meekness.
You know the answer: No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; D&C 121:41-43
Use the process that their testimony was originally based—Scriptures, Teachings of the prophets, fasting and prayer, relationships that enjoyed the Spirit, obedience to commandments (John 7:17) to assist in bringing them back. Faith and doubt cannot exist in the being at the same time – one will always win out.
Becoming a Change Agent
- You need to be respected, trusted as a source of truth. They need to know you care.
- Help them come to the realization they need help. If the need is great they can change.
- Help them recognize their divine heritage.
- Help them to act and be accountable for their moral agency. Blaming others for their doubts cannot change the veracity of The Book of Mormon.
- Help them change their values. Help them become rooted in Christ and His Atonement, His Gospel, His Prophets and servants (see 3 Nephi 12;1-2; 28:34-35). They are the stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom and they speak for Christ as His Disciples and Apostles.
- Help them to keep their commitments and their covenants.
- Help them have an experience with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the key to conversion and change.
- The lack of commitment fuels doubt—Give them hope to carry on.
- Pride destroys their belief and increases doubt in their lives. Pride is the universal sin—Help them feel gratitude (Ponder Moroni 10:3) for the goodness of God which can help them become strong in their humility through fasting and prayer (see Hel. 3:35)
- Doubt flourishes when they fail to Pray, Search the Scriptures, Attend Church, keep the commandments especially the law of chastity (sex, drugs) and the Sabbath Day Holy.
- Have them read Dealing with Doubts on Fairmormon.org.
The Real Problem of Doubt…They have lost the Holy Spirit
The Answer—Having an experience with the Holy Ghost that can help restore their faith. There is no other way. They must yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit!
Questions to help them regarding the past when they were strong in the faith
- Tell me about your mission?
- Tell me about the last time you enjoyed the feelings of the Holy Spirit?
- Are you happy when doubting?
- In the mission field when dealing with less actives who had doubts we always asked the question—Tell us about your missionaries—then a flood of good feelings and experiences would be shared. It opened the door for many to return to the faith. (Story of Missionary)
Help Them Gain…
A new perception—past experiences, values and attitude determines your perception if they are skewed you cannot see clearly.
No excuses for their inactivity.
No blaming others for their lives of doubt and unbelief.
Looking for doubt generating information rather than seeking to restore their faith.
They need to…
- Feast on the scriptures—Get them into the Word of God
- Fast and Pray—Get them on their knees (without humility and gratitude change can never happen)
- A grateful heart—Ponder Moroni 10:3
- Read the prophets and leaders words General Conference May Ensign 2015
- Fair Mormon has a plethora of information on this topic on our website.
- Review Patriarchal Blessing
- Remind them of the Divine Heritage
- Read and pray to know that the Book of Mormon is true
- Relationships with trusted adults with strong testimonies
- Agency is Supreme—It is their choice!
- Don’t Contend—Seek to Understand—What is the reason for the dialogue?
- Only in Meekness and mildness
Helping others is not a quick fix! Fasting and Prayer—Pleading prayers. You never give in, give out or give up. Time and Eternity is your ally! Something will happen—The Lord reminds, “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. D&C 123:17 Never judge!
My friend Cyril Foiguerres taught me, Faith is the power—Love is the Motive—Obedience is the Price—the Spirit is the Key—FOR CHRIST IS THE REASON
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; D&C 18:10
And how great is his [Christ’s] joy in the soul that repenteth! D&C 18:13
And never forget as we struggle with doubters in our own family and our feelings are tender and near the breaking point. Listen and you will hear this supernal truth within your soul as plead on bended knee before your Heavenly Father. “Remember they are my children too.”
Question 1: Over the years, what was your earning profession? How did you make dollars to do all your volunteer work?
Answer 1: I was a dentist until I was 49. Then I never worked again. But I became an institute teacher full-time.
Question 2: In your opinion, why was polygamy instituted in the restored Church?
Answer 2: In my mind, because the Lord said so. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and the blessings of the temple you receive like unto them) all practiced polygamy. Now, you ask me, do I understand it? I don’t understand at all. Do I accept it? I accept it. Do I feel sad over the ramifications of it? My heart aches every day, but I love my Heavenly Father so much. What He says is what’s good.
Question 3: Do you have any suggestions for helping grandchildren?
Answer 3: Love them, keep the lines of communication open for them, write them, text them, follow their Instagram, tell them how good they are, hug them and kiss them, and say, “Oh, here’s a scripture I want to share with you today.” You put it in there all the time. We have some great moments with our grandkids doing that.
Question 4: Whose parents have left…. [cross-talk with Scott Gordon] This sweet person has many concerns.
Answer 4: When you go home today, on bended knee, you pour out your heart with every fiber of your being, and plead. I was pleading one day. I said, “Father, you sent Alma an angel, why not me?” And I’m crying and praying all together, and then, a sweet voice said, “Ed, my son, he’s my son too.” I stood up and I’ve been strong every day since, because I know time is eternal. Don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t give out. Time is forever. You never know what’s happening in the eternities.
Question 5: How does one distinguish a feeling of experience of the Spirit from felt and emotional states?
Answer 5: Elder Packer said, “You’ll know when you know,” and I understand what he meant by that, but I’m here to tell you, when you feel the Spirit you will feel these feelings – Galatians 5:22-23, [D&C] Section 11:12-13: it will enlighten your mind, fill your soul with joy, lead you to do good, walk humbly, do justly, judge righteously, give you love, peace, joy, gentleness, meekness, temperance, and a whole host of others. That’s what you feel.
When Oliver said, “What did I do?” and the Lord said to him in Section 8, verse 2: Did I not speak peace to your soul? [Transcriber’s note: The actual reference is to D & C 6:23–Did I not speak peace to your mind?] What greater witness do you need than this?
People are all aroused now about Section 9:7-9, about whether or not that’s a viable way. That’s viable sometimes, and other ways are other times. I know because I just want to do good, like the Spirit said He would show us. So the witness of the Spirit, look for the cues from the scriptures and they will teach you.
Question 6: What can the Church guarantee?
Answer 6: Life eternal and a state of never-ending happiness. Mosiah 2:41; Section[s] 88, 84, 39; Section :20: and “…then they [will] be gods.” That’s a pretty good guarantee if we are righteous.
Question 7: To this day my bishop at BYU 50 years ago remains the most devoted local leader I have ever known, and yet some years later one of his daughters burned herself to death.
Answer 7: The choice of individuals is their choice. God the Father had a son, and his name was Lucifer. Does that change the Father? And a third of the host fled with him. Adam had a son named Cain. Does that change the Ancient of Days? Lehi had Laman and Lemuel. Was he less a prophet? Sometimes the greatest problems are given to the best people, who had the chance to help them one last time. Don’t ever, ever make a condition where you might judge someone because of the acts of another.
Don Polter, where are you? Where are you Don? Thank you for those kind words, golly. He remembers me when I was young, hair, slam-dunking.
Well, brothers and sisters, the Lord bless you. I feel grateful that it’s over. Because I’ve lost ten pounds up here sweating. But I know this, in one of my books I had the story of Susan Wershesky – read it in that book – of the great way the Lord helps in the moment of trial. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.