At times Latter-day Saints whose faith is moving in a liberal direction
describe themselves negatively—that is, in terms of what they are
not. They may identify, for instance, as "doubters," "skeptics,"
or "heterodox." These labels tell us that a person is not an
orthodox believer, but they do not tell us what the person does believe.
By contrast, this website describes liberal Mormonism in positive terms.
The scriptures urge us to "declare the things which [we] have heard,
and verily believe, and know to be true" (D&C
80:4). In the face of dogmatism, it may be important to affirm
the value of doubt and questioning. But spirituality requires more than
doubt as its foundation. It requires faith, in the sense of conviction.
At any given moment, a person will believe some things, not believe some
things, and be undecided about some things. Being clear about what we
believe is as important as deciding what not to believe or learning to
live with uncertainties.
Liberal Mormons may no longer believe many of the things that conservative
Mormons believe. Still, liberals trust—even know—that
certain things are true: certain historical realities, certain bedrock
values, certain hopes for the future. Liberal religion has been accused,
with some justice, of lacking conviction. To inspire conviction, a liberal
Mormon faith must be presented as faith, not merely as doubt. We must
be prepared to testify to what we believe, whatever that may be, not merely
to what we no longer believe.
Brigham Young: This
is my firm conviction, and my conclusion according to the light
that is in me.
of Discourses 11:263-64
David O. Mckay: We
shall stand true to ourselves, true to the divine within us, true
to that truth which we have received.
Report, April 1969, 151
Hugh Nibley: You must
believe in something and everybody does.
of the Book of Mormon—Semester 1 (Provo: FARMS, 1993), 178
D. Jeff Burton: Everyone
is a believer to some degree; our uncertainties vary in strength.
Latter-day Saints who are uncertain about particular tenets of their
religion should not be hasty in applying negative labels to themselves.
Such negative self-labeling undermines self-esteem.
. . . [V]arying
strengths of belief in different facets of the gospel are not uncommon,
and . . . questions are not the same as unbelief; indeed, it is
highly unlikely that any two people will share exactly the same
convictions on all issues. Help the person with questions or doubts
to see himself as an integral part of a diverse Church rather than
as an outsider.
Those with Religious Questions and Doubts," Counseling: A
Guide to Helping Others
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983-1985), 2:233-34