Last night, I read Terryl Givens’s recent address, Letter to a Doubter, and it was the perfect message I needed to hear right now. Doubt and uncertainty plague my daily existence. I have always viewed those traits as weaknesses. However, I now understand better that doubt can be a great strength when it doesn’t become all-consuming. It keeps us humble and always searching for greater light and truth and allows us the space to make the choice to believe freely.
But the part of the essay that hit me the hardest and affected me the most was the part about the desolation of the soul. Sometimes, well-intentioned people in my faith oversell the idea that following the commandments brings you happiness and prosperity. But frequently, that is not the case. Sometimes we experience feelings of desolation for far longer than we think we should have to bear. And Givens’s message of memory and remembrance, of even some small moment of peace, to help us through those times and to help foster our own spiritual independence is quite powerful:
At the same time, remembering rather than experiencing moves us toward greater independence, and insulates us from the vicissitudes of the moment. Brigham said God’s intention was to make us as independent in our sphere, as he is in his. That is why the heavens close from time to time, to give us room for self-direction.
It makes sense to me.