Saturday, December 4, 2021

Elder Quentin L. Cook on overcoming doubts and concerns through the Atonement

Elder Quentin L. Cook (b. 1940) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"We recognize that some members have questions and concerns as they seek to strengthen their faith and testimonies. We should be careful not to be critical or judgmental of those with concerns—great or small. At the same time, those with concerns should do everything they can to build their own faith and testimony. Patiently and humbly studying, pondering, praying, living gospel principles, and counseling with appropriate leaders are the best ways to resolve questions or concerns.
"Some have asserted that more members are leaving the Church today and that there is more doubt and unbelief than in the past. This is simply not true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never been stronger. The number of members removing their names from the records of the Church has always been very small and is significantly less in recent years than in the past. The increase in demonstrably measurable areas, such as endowed members with a current temple recommend, adult full-tithe payers, and those serving missions, has been dramatic. Let me say again, the Church has never been stronger. But, 'remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God' (D&C 18:10). We reach out to everyone.
"If the grim realities you are facing at this time seem dark and heavy and almost unbearable, remember that in the soul-wrenching darkness of Gethsemane and the incomprehensible torture and pain of Calvary, the Savior accomplished the Atonement, which resolves the most terrible burdens that can occur in this life. He did it for you, and He did it for me. He did it because He loves us and because He obeys and loves His Father."
- Quentin L. Cook, "The Lord Is My Light," General Conference April 2015, pp. 62-66
Click here to read the full article

I appreciated Elder Cook's timely address. He speaks to those who might have questions or concerns as they learn about the Church and develop their testimonies. He encouraged proper inquiry and open honesty in resolving the concerns, while reassuring his listeners that the Church is strong and growing, not suffering from massive departures as some have claimed.

As he spoke of the "grim realities" being faced by members that might feel "dark and heavy," it was interesting to note that he was talking in the context of those "questions and concerns" and not the myriad other challenges we might face in mortality. Some who struggle with their testimonies feel more of the weight of that doubt than many of us realize. Yet Elder Cook presents the Atonement of Christ as the source of strength and hope in this situation too:

"He did it for you, and He did it for me. He did it because He loves us and because He obeys and loves His Father." How beautiful, how true, how glorious!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
January 22, 2016

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