Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we answer the question, “How do I tell loved ones I’m struggling with my faith?”
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As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our faith is an integral part of who we are. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, we may find ourselves struggling with doubts or questions about our beliefs. When this happens, it can be difficult to know how to share these struggles with our loved ones. Here are some suggestions for how to navigate this challenging situation.
Be Honest with Yourself
Before you talk to anyone else about your struggles, take some time to be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and why. What specific doubts or questions do you have? What has caused these feelings to arise? Being clear about your own experience will help you communicate more effectively with others. It may even be helpful to write some of these feelings down so you can rehearse them or read from them.
Choose Your Timing Carefully
When it comes to sharing your struggles with loved ones, timing is everything. Try to choose a time when everyone involved is calm and open to discussion. Avoid bringing up the topic during a heated argument or when tensions are already high. Be clear that you need to talk about something important and you want to be able to speak in a non-distracted, peaceful setting where everyone has enough time to listen and share.
Start with Someone You Trust
If you are struggling with doubts about your faith, it can be helpful to confide in someone you trust before talking to other loved ones. This could be a close friend, a family member, or even a religious leader. Having someone to talk to who is sympathetic to your concerns can give you the support you need as you work through your doubts.
Be Honest with Loved Ones
When you are ready to talk to loved ones about your struggles, be honest with them about what you are feeling. It’s important to express your concerns clearly and calmly, without attacking anyone else’s beliefs. Remember that it’s okay to have questions and doubts and that your loved ones may have had similar experiences.
When you are sharing your struggles with loved ones, it’s important to set clear boundaries about what you are comfortable discussing. If you don’t want to engage in arguments or debates about specific doctrinal issues, make that clear. Be respectful of other’s beliefs, but also be clear about what you need in order to feel safe and supported. Setting expectations at the beginning of the discussion is especially important if you anticipate strong or negative reactions.
Listen with Empathy
Just as it’s important for you to be honest with your loved ones, it’s also important to listen to them with empathy. They may have strong reactions to your struggles, and it’s important to try to understand where they are coming from. Remember that everyone’s journey is different and that your loved ones may not be able to fully understand what you are going through.
Seek Professional Help
If you are struggling with doubts or questions about your faith, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide an objective perspective and help you work through your feelings in a supportive, non-judgmental environment.
Remember that it’s okay to struggle with your faith and that there is no shame in seeking help or support as you work through your doubts. By being honest with yourself and your loved ones, listening with empathy, and setting clear boundaries, you can navigate this challenging situation with grace and love.