Google or God?

A few months ago, an old friend and I met for lunch. It had been a while, so we each shared the latest news from our lives and families. In the middle of our conversation, he shocked me with some unexpected news.

He and his wife had decided to leave the LDS Church.

It was hard news to take, but I was not totally surprised. Some of his more recent Facebook posts had offered clues that he was thinking differently about his faith. Still, I hoped it wasn’t true. My friend had served as a missionary and held many church callings, not to mention he was raised in a strong Mormon family.

Yet he said he no longer believed. He appreciated my concern, but he was done with the church and didn’t want to be “rescued.” Nothing I could say would change his mind. “I appreciate that sentiment,” he would say with a grin. His attitude reminded me of this scripture in 2 Nephi 9:28: “When they are learned they think they are wise, and hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves.”

He was willing to tell me what led him to leave, but I said no thanks. I left that day feeling empty inside.

A few weeks later, I spoke with a mutual friend who knew of the situation. He said something that helped me to better understand why my friend had left the church.

“Is Google a better resource that God? Some today may think so. When you really want to know something of a spiritual nature, will you go to Google or will you go to God?”

In those words I think there is a great lesson for all of us.

A good question (Illustration by Sarah Peterson)

A good question (Illustration by Sarah Peterson)

There will likely be times in our lives when someone says something or something happens that makes you stop and question your faith (and don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to ask questions). In the Book of Mormon, Jacob referred to them as “faith shakers.”

But in those moments, remember your true spiritual sources. As Elder Paul V. Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy taught in a 2012 talk, “We have the scriptures, the word of God. We have the words of living prophets. We have the guiding influence of the Holy Ghost.”

We also have the power of prayer and if you can go to the temple often, deeper understanding and a stronger channel for personal revelation.

If you are feeling shaken in your faith, I recommend this talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, given at the April 2013 general conference.

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Trent Toone

My name is Trent Toone and I’m a journalist for the Deseret News, where I write for a variety of feature sections. I was raised in Northern Utah and graduated from the University of Utah in 2003. Since then I have worked for several newspapers and received various awards over my journalism career. I am the author of “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” the sports biography of San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. I served an LDS mission to Santiago, Chile, and spent a year teaching seminary. Like my father before me, I am a proud Eagle Scout. My wife Lisa and I have four children and live in Northern Utah. Feel free to contact me by emailing to trent.b.toone (at) gmail (dot) com.

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