Live the questions

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.  Don’t search for the answers, which would not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

I heard this quote at a workshop today and it knocked my socks off.  The workshop wasn’t related to anything religious, but I thought, Wow, that is what I do with my questions about the church!  It was surprising and lovely to hear it described so beautifully by Rilke, and it made my eyes well up right there in the workshop.

I feel like at church arriving at the “right” answer is valued almost to the complete exclusion of valuing questions.  It felt so wonderful to recognize questions as valuable, too.  As part of the workshop we did an exercise where we just asked questions – no answers allowed.  I learned from it.  So I’d like to know, what are your questions? No answers allowed!

Here are a few of mine:

What does life outside our solar system look like?

What if patriarchy is God’s will?

What if God isn’t real?

At what point in human evolution did our ancestors become the spirit children of God?

Why doesn’t God intervene more in our world?

At what point in history did people forget about God the Mother?



What are some of your questions?

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10 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    Where do animal’s spirits go when they die?
    How do eastern religions’ ideas about energy and connectedness fit with the gospel?
    What is the line between church culture and church doctrine? How do we tease the two apart?
    How many roads must a man walk down?
    Do we have Heavenly Grandparents? Will we get to know them in the next life?

  2. C. says:

    Which physics theory of the universe is correct (or are they all wrong together, to paraphrase)?

    Is the Word of Wisdom really a set of doctrinal prohibitions, or just a set of really good ideas?

    How far back does the godly lineage go? Is there anything that looks like what we’d call a beginning to it?

    Why are some members so deathly frightened of change when it’s the basis of our religion?

    What if I’m wrong and I really am expected to make babies for all eternity?

    How many things can I disavow or outright reject as untrue and still claim a place at the table?

    Will my family and husband ever run out of patience with my frustration and questions?

    Ditto evolution question (I want to know!).

  3. Em says:

    What happens (concretely) when we die?

    What is the exact relationship of temple ordinances to salvation and, specifically, will the fact that my dad was is not a member mean that I will not be with my mother in the hereafter because that is baloney?

    Polygamy? In the eternities?

  4. lmzbooklvr says:

    How will the horrible things that happen to children be made right?

    How does agency operate in the hereafter? If I become a god how does agency have a role in my eternal progression?

    What kind of rules are there for creating my own world? Can I have dragons and unicorns (because I really do want them!) ?

    Can I eat chocolate after the resurrection? (& will I want to?)

    Ditto the Heavenly Grandparents

  5. Rachel says:

    Do I have to wear white robes all of the time in the hereafter? (I am pretty sure I will still think colors are beautiful…)

    How does agency work with the promise given to parents that if they are sealed and continue righteous, that they will not lose their children?

    Is there more than one Heavenly Mother?

    What role does (my) Heavenly Mother play in my life?

    What role Can she play?

    How did we get assigned families on earth?

    What if people did not marry the person they loved the most? Will it ever be made right?

    How does the atonement work?

    How do I (concretely) tap into it?

    Etc. Etc.

  6. MDearest says:

    Great questions. Especially How does the atonement work. And Heavenly Grandparents. Also dragons and unicorns.

    My take on the polygamy question: How does omnipotence reconcile being breeding stock with being Goddess?

    What exactly does “desire shall be to thy husband” mean? Did God write that or someone else, and if so, who?

  7. DefyGravity says:

    Is there anything after death?

    Why do some people do horrible things? Is there an inherent knowledge of right and wrong that they ignore or are missing, or is there not?

    Why is there such a difference in what people believe to be true? How can someone know without a doubt that something is true and someone else know without a doubt it is false?

    Why are people so afraid of ambiguity?

  8. EmilyCC says:

    I’ve been trying to be brave enough to list my questions here for a few days now, and I feel like voicing them out-loud would show just what a heretic I am, but I’m still grateful for the chance to reflect on the questions. Thanks for keeping me thinking for days.

  9. Rachel says:

    After writing my own blog post this morning, I remembered more (real) questions that I have:

    Do my mom’s two miscarriages mean that I have two siblings in heaven whom I have yet to meet? Or, were they just my siblings born directly after the miscarriages, more ready this time?

    When does the spirit enter a baby? At conception? At birth? At etc.

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