29 October 2013

Doubting Thomas

In the New Testament, we learn about the life of Christ, and of His Apostles. We hear of the miracles that Christ performed, and of the lives He touched. We learn lessons of love and service to others through His parables, and we learn to accept others through His ministry. We see the attributes of His Apostles... unwavering loyalty from Peter, and the unconditional love of John. But what do we hear of the Apostle Thomas?

The Gospel of John gives us the most information about Thomas. In John 11:16 the Apostles were hesitant to go back to Judea, where the Jews had attempted to stone Jesus. But Thomas, showing his devotion and love for Christ, says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." He speaks again in John 14:5. Christ had explained that He was going away to prepare a heavenly home for His followers, and that one day they will join Him there. Thomas reacts by saying, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" Thomas wants to follow the words of Christ, but he was afraid that without Christ, he would not know what to do. He is loyal. He knows and loves Christ.

But we don't remember this about Thomas. What we do remember, is that Thomas was a doubter, and poor Thomas really gets put through the ringer for it.

Last summer, I performed with my Young Single Adult Stake for the work of "Lamb of God". Thomas is one of the main "characters" in the story, and there is a song, sung by Thomas called "Sometime We'll Understand". Here are some of the words from that song:

You've seen the Lord? You've seen Him risen? You've seen His hands, and touched His side, and you are certain? But I've not seen him. and I must see him. Until I've seen His wounded side, until my hands have felt His hands, I will not know, or yet believe...

Can you really blame Thomas? I can't. If I were in his shoes, I would have been just as skeptical... not because I don't believe that Christ is Divine, and the Son of God, but because the emotions and fear that I would have felt, seeing my Savior crucified, would have rattled my brain. Hard. So my friends telling me that they had seen Him... I simply would not have been able to believe it.

Does that make Thomas any less loyal? No. Does it make Thomas any less faithful? No. Does Thomas deserve to be remembered as a doubter? Absolutely not.

I love the Gospel. It is everything to me. But I doubt. I wonder about things. I wonder about many, many things. I wonder about the role of women in the Church. I wonder about what the Church says about the LGBT community. I wonder about everything. I doubt everything. Most of these doubts resolve themselves. Most of them are resolved because I "doubted my doubts". But not all of them.

Thomas doubted. But he was not shunned. He was not made to be less than the other Apostles. He was not told to "believe or else". He was accepted. He was welcomed into the fold. There was a place for him, because Christ made a place for him.

Christ Atoned for our us. He felt the struggles and pain we feel every day. He has felt the weight of the questions and uncertainty we bear. He knows the emotional turmoil we feel coming from all directions. He knows the skepticism, the hesitation, and sometimes outright disbelief that we feel in our day to day lives.

But Christ loves us. And just as He made a place for Thomas, He made a place for you and I too.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. If I remember it correctly, none of the other disciples were any better than Thomas. When told by Mary and 2 other women that they had seen the resurrected Christ, they did not believe them either.

  3. I used to feel awkward about quoting Life of Pi, but it was quoted in this past General Conference, so no more! "...atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them - and then they leap. I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for awhile. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”

    1. So I think we read a lot into Thomas traditionally. We ignore the good to see him only as his doubt. I personally think that a lot of members of the church think doubt is a sin and perhaps it is due to the way we see Thomas. We forget that he was an apostle, called by God, and one of the Savior's best friends.

    2. And that is exactly why I wrote this article. I ignore the good in people who doubt, and label them as sinners, and uncommitted. In fact, it's almost exclusively the opposite.

      I have "moved on" in the vast majority of my doubts, because I was able to work through them, and resolve them. Doubt is a good thing, because it requires you to question; it requires you to seek answers. God gave us faith, and we should seek answers through it. But He also gave us science, and logic, and a brain that excels in problem solving. We should use that too.

      What I find most interesting, is that you counsel us to "move on" from our doubts... because I agree with you that permanent doubt on a specific subject cannot be healthy. But those Agnostics, and Atheists... they have moved on. They simply moved on to another path, and that path is no less authentic or real than the path that I have chosen or that you have chosen.

      But when those Atheists and Agnostics come from an LDS background we throw our biggest sticks and our largest stones at them. And that is NOT ok.