Replacing Doubt with Faith

“Doubt is an enemy of faith and joy. … doubt is the breeding ground for spiritual hurricanes.” states Elder Sean Douglas in “Facing Our Spiritual Hurricanes by Believing in Christ.” The one thing that has tempted me to move away from my faith is doubt. It is one of, if not the major factor for losing your faith. However, we do not have to be burdened with doubt, it can be overcome by increasing our faith in Jesus Christ.

Where Does Doubt Start?

Elder Douglas tells us “Just as belief is a choice, so is doubt. When we choose to doubt, we choose to be acted upon, yielding power to the adversary, thereby leaving us weak and vulnerable.” The most likely ways in which we choose to doubt are when:

  • We look for ways to criticize church leaders
  • We find something in church history that mars the image/reputation of the church
  • The Church doesn’t agree with he world’s view on one or more topics
  • We sin and don’t like the “limitation” of the commandment we broke
  • We are offended by the actions of another member of the Church
  • We pass through a trial and feel God has abandoned us

How Can We Recognize the Seed of Doubt?

Doubt doesn’t start as something large. It builds slowly. From Elder Douglas, “The breeding ground of doubt can appear inviting because its seemingly peaceful, warm waters do not require us to ‘live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.’ [(Doctrine and Covenants 84:44)] In such waters Satan tempts us to relax our spiritual vigilance.”

One way to recognize that doubt has been planted in our minds is the reluctance to pray. Nephi warns of this in 2 Nephi 32:8 “For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” If you find yourself not wanting to pray, the seed of doubt has been planted in your mind.

Other signs the seed of doubt have been planted include:

  • Not wanting to attend church or the temple
  • Looking for things that prove the Church isn’t God’s restored church
  • Not believing the witness you have from God (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23)

How Do We Overcome Doubt?

Once we recognize that doubt has entered our minds how do we overcome it? Elder Douglas states, “Just as hurricanes weaken over land, doubt is replaced with faith as we build our foundation on Christ.” President Nelson at the April 2021 General Conference gave four ways to overcome doubt:

  1. Study – Become an engaged learner
  2. Choose to believe in Jesus Christ – “Stop increasing your doubts by rehearsing them with other doubters.”
  3. Act in faith – “What would you do with more faith? Think about it. Write about it. Then receive more faith by doing something that requires more faith.”
  4. Partake of Sacred Ordinances worthily
  5. Ask God in the name of Christ for help

What Strengthens Our Faith?

“The Lord does not require perfect faith for us to have access to His perfect power. But, He does ask us to believe” (President Nelson April 2021 General Conference). The list above from President Nelson not only helps us overcome our doubts but also increases our faith. Other things that can strengthen our faith include:

  • Creating habits of daily prayer and study – these build our relationship with God and help to keep His Spirit with us
  • Showing empathy towards others – this turns our hearts from selfishness to selflessness
  • Magnifying our calling – callings are given to further God’s work. When we magnify our calling we see God’s work and glory move forward

Elder Douglas relates the story from Mark 9 of a man who brought his sick son to Jesus. The man asked Jesus if He could heal him as Jesus’s disciples had already tried and failed. Jesus told the man “all things are possible to him that believeth.” The man might have had some doubts, but he trusted Jesus “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Notice he didn’t take time to ponder, he recognized his doubts but wanted to replace them and knew that Jesus could do so. Oh that I could be more like this man and come to Christ “straightway” to cast my doubts aside!


Everyone at one time or another will experience doubt. However, we don’t have to let doubt grow within us. By recognizing doubt we can overcome it through increasing our faith in Jesus Christ.


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