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logsteele

Help! Lot's of questions

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Hi, I've been brought up my entire life LDS, and never questioned anything--until now. I'm so confused and lost about everything. First off, in the scriptures it says the earth is what, like almost 7000 years old, but the history on earth says that the earth is millions of years old. I don't believe the theory of evolution, because instead of just one monkey looking person, I think they would have found many skeletons like that. Then there's the question of the church itself, how does one know that all the religions on the earth now are wrong, except the lds faith? I used to just "know" these things, now I don't know anything that is true/not true. I'm so confused. Could someone please help me figure out how to know what is true and what's not? Thank you very much, my sould is in constant torment trying to figure all this out.

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It is my understanding that

- There is truth in every religion

- HF likes questions. That he gave us these minds to use.

Scientifically....

- Yes. They have found many, many, many, many "monkey looking people". All over the world. In dozens of subtypes. Not just one.

- Yes. We have skeletons of modern humans (lots) dating back 60,000 + years.

- Yes. We have actual cities and civilizations dating back 10,000+ years (some that were thought to be human actually Neanderthal, which is pretty spectacular news in archeology! Also fun, the red hair gene is a Neanderthal trait.).

- Evolution, DNA, & science in general does NOT disprove God. We know HOW genes recombine via mitosis & meiosis. The how part is science. The why part is God.

- The 7000 (6000?) number is found nowhere in the bible. Where it ORIGINIATES is with priest & amateur archeologist _________ (will find his name in a bit, gah) who ALSO believed that obsidian shards created from lightening strikes were fossilized dragon &/or lizard tongues. Which is not to discredit him. Merely to show that scientists of ANY ilk (religion based or not) work with what they have. Sometimes their theories are nonsense. Sometimes they're dead on. He didn't have any way of testing either of those theories... But they became hugely popular, none the less. To the point that many still quote him, unknowingly. (Can't even quick google search him, have to dig through my textbooks. If you'd prefer, I know it's in Pearson, somewhere. Great text. Link below). ANYHOW... I prersonally hold our prophets to the same yardstick. If modern prophets may quote science in saying 6 billion, then historacal prophets saying 6 thousand phases me not a twitch.

http://www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/hip/us/hip_us_pearsonhighered/samplechapter/0205803504.pdf. Here's a 101 textbook in archeology that is really quite good.

Q

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How do you know what's true?

By the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:5)

About the Church

- LDS Missionary Helper: 17 Points of the True Church

- Doctrine and Covenants 1:30

And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—

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I once heard an analogy I liked, it likened God to a programmer. Some believe God programmed every program (designed every living being), which would be pretty impressive. Other's believe God created a program so awesome, that it eventually became every program (single common ancestor evolving into all the current life forms) I think that's much more incredible. If our origins are bothering you, I'd suggest you go and slowly read Genesis, Abraham, and Moses. Do so prayerfully and maybe even have the institute manual by your side to aid in studying.

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I used to just "know" these things, now I don't know anything that is true/not true. I'm so confused. Could someone please help me figure out how to know what is true and what's not?

Others in this thread so far have addressed some of your specific questions, so I'll tackle this more existential one. I have three experiences/references that I'd like to share with you, that have helped me personally.

(1) When I was in high school, I had my first crisis of faith, albeit a mini one. I panicked one day and sat down with my Seminary teacher and told him that I didn't think I had a testimony, because I'd never had an "a-ha! moment," but had only ever thought I believed. Bless his heart, he knew exactly what to share with me in that moment. He opened up his scriptures to Doctrine and Covenants 46, and read to me:

10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.

12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

He explained to me that many people never have that moment, but they just know anyway. It's a gift of the Spirit. Some people's gift is to believe those first people. And still others do have those "got it" moments (which I eventually did, several years later, though it was really only confirmation for me of what was already there).

(2) I didn't get my Patriarchal Blessing until I was 21, just a month and a half before I left on my mission. I had wanted to get it earlier, had a recommend when I was in college, but waited until I got home for the summer, so my parents could be there. Twice I had let my recommend expire. For some reason, at some point, I took that repeated expiration as a sign that I wasn't ready or still wasn't supposed to get it yet. One day, I was flipping through my scriptures, specifically in D&C, looking for a specific verse to share with someone who was struggling with something*. In my search for this person, I read this, in section 6, for the first time:

22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.

23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

It jumped out at me, and I immediately thought of my struggle and delay with my Patriarchal Blessing. I read these words and felt as if God was saying to me, "I already told you that you could get it...what are you waiting for? You already know this!" I've since gone back to this verse for a number of other things in life, and it has always spoken peace to me. It's interesting to me that it specifically says "did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?" Whenever I read these verses, I feel peaceful, but the back-and-forth arguments in my head almost immediately cease as well.

(3) Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence, by Jeffrey R. Holland. One of the best talks in the history of ever. I probably read it at least once a year. Well, I did, for many years. Now when I struggle with things, I feel more peace when I even just think about this talk. It's been a long time, though, since I've actually sat down to read it all the way through. But the section that always stands out to me, and that is perhaps most applicable to you in your current struggle, is this:

Yes, there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. ...It’s been done before. Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.

(emphasis NOT mine)

I think of this passage often, particularly this one sentence: "If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now."

*I never could find what I was looking for for that person, nor do I have a clue now what (or who) it was. I needed to find that verse on that day.

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I used to just "know" these things, now I don't know anything that is true/not true. I'm so confused. Could someone please help me figure out how to know what is true and what's not?
Hi logsteele and welcome. Congratulations on beginning to think for yourself! It's a journey most of us reach sooner or later.

Here's how I resolved things when I found myself in a similar situation.

God bless and good luck. Doubts are normal and healthy. Resolving them is important.

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Logsteele, this thread may help you as well. About a year ago, I was really struggling a LOT. Much of the above helped me, but I was in a place where I really didn't want to stay, because church wasn't a healthy social environment for me, and I had had some recent strong spiritual experiences while visiting other faiths for a variety of occasions (specific invitations). I almost posted a thread asking people who had gone inactive why they had done so. But as I started to type it out, I had another thought. I knew there must be a lot of people out there who had struggled at some point or another to reconcile something about the Church within themselves, and who had ended up staying strong and active. So I decided to ask about that instead. And I honestly feel that the uplifting words and experiences that I read in this thread -- from so many members of this site -- helped me feel stronger and uplifted, and helped me choose to not give up.

http://www.lds.net/forums/lds-gospel-discussion/52207-what-makes-you-stay.html

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Keep asking those questions and seeking the truth.  You are closer to God when you do so. 

The scriptures do not say when the earth was created. The date of 4004BC that you see in some older copies of scripture was taken from a calculation that was done by a middle ages monk who, using information gleaned from the genealogy of Christ to Adam, made that estimate. But even so, we do not know how long Adam was in the Garden, nor do we know how long the days described in Genesis were. What we can say with confidence, given the complexity of life, the way the solar system was set up, etc that creation does point to the existence of an intelligent designer, or for our purposes, God. For more in-depth analysis I would recommend the book Mr. Mormon by John Pennington.

Concerning “all other faiths being wrong” I would humbly recommend that your term is a broad over generalization.  All faiths have some truth in them which is why it’s not too uncommon for people of various religions, who are trying to seek the truth, will come to Christianity. 

Concerning other denominations, it’s been explained to me, that yes, they are also Christians. What separates the LDS Church from them is that we believe that we have access to another revelation - the Book of Mormon - of Christ. Does this lack of knowledge make them less Christians than us?  No it doesn’t, it just means we need to be ready to humbly answer any questions they may have and to do so in a spirit of love. 

One of my favorite verses, 2 Nephi 33:10, says in part: “if you believe not the word written in this book then believe in Christ....”. Ifyou have questions and doubts keep looking for answers and keep believing in Christ. If you do so, you will find the answers to your questions and doubts. Having them is not a sin, but a testament that you want to be closer to our father in heaven. May God bless you and keep you!?

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