In My Church, “I Don’t Know” Is OK


It pains me to say that sometimes I don’t know the answer. I feel like I’m a confident, competent, and rational person with a good head on my shoulders. I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and know varying degrees of doctrine that range from deep to shallow on a plethora of different topics. However, as much I think I know, I’m still faced with stumbling blocks and questions I can’t answer. Why did the Blacks have to wait so long for the priesthood? What is the purpose of this trial called Same-Gender Attraction? How do we reconcile our history with our faith? Having no answer is not a weakness in a church led by Christ. In fact, not knowing is absolutely ok.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lead by Jesus Christ. He has appointed leaders to guide us in the path back to Him. I want you to imagine walking through the woods on a path worn in the dirt by others. This path is clear, but uneven at times. There are small stumbling blocks, and difficulties along the way, but for the most part it has been made easier by the steps of those who walked it before you.

The gospel, as restored to Joseph Smith, was this path. He was the first of this dispensation to walk it, and the pioneers followed. As they progressed they received line upon line, and precept upon precept of revelation and light, which began to form the smooth path we walk on now. With each new bump in the road, they forged ahead, finding answers, learning, and making the way smooth for us. The road less traveled was once lost in a dense forest of forgotten knowledge, but has since become clear and apparent by those who have walked it.

Though the road certainly still has it’s stumbling blocks, we can take heart that those who have walked before us have overcome those same obstacles. That is the beauty of this church. No matter the obstacle placed before us on the epistemological plane, we know the way is clear, and has been walked by others.

Every revelation we receive makes the path more clear. Every clarification, or prayer, or general conference address we hear makes the path more clear. There will always be bumps in the road, and unknowns we have to face, but in this church, in my church, not having an answer doesn’t make you stuck, because we press forward regardless.

We seem to be of the mentality that unknowns must be addressed, or bumps made smooth, before we can progress forward in our faith. There are far too many members that become transfixed on a question with no revealed answer, and eventually lose their belief. They stop dead in the path in an attempt to smooth over the rough patches of the revealed gospel, only to become lost or distracted.

In this church, saying “I Don’t Know” is an acceptable answer. For many of the questions we face, no answer has been given. The thoughts of man are not the thoughts of God, and our reasoning and explaining can only deliver us thus far. Sometimes, it’s ok to not know the answer.

With all the forcefulness I can impose on readers of these words, please know that “IDK” sometimes has to suffice. Don’t allow yourself to become disenfranchised by an ever-burning thirst for a knowledge you may never quench. In a faith founded on principles of revelation and will, seek your answers, but know that God’s will determines what answers become known to man. It can be deeply frustrating to not know the answer to your prayers and questions, but know you are not alone, and that millions are walking your same path, many with a cheerful smile, who have accepted that in this church, for the time being, “I don’t know” will sometimes just have to do.

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