When Questions Arise ‘Will Ye Also Go Away’?

the 5000It was a large gathering. John calls it “a great multitude.” They had come to listen to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, hoping to see another miracle. They were not disappointed. Christ had the 5,000 sit on the grassy ground. He took five barley loaves and two small fishes offered by a lad, blessed and broke them, and the disciples distributed the baskets of food to the crowd. When all were filled, the remnants were gathered up, 12 baskets full. John records that those who witnessed the miracle then said, “this is of truth that prophet that should come into the world.” [1]

The next day the multitude followed after Him. When they confronted Him about why He had left, He answered that they were more concerned with the food that He had provided than His message. Then came the beautiful sermon on the symbolism of the manna from heaven to the Children of Israel.

 “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead…I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…”

The crowd was mostly frustrated with this teaching. It was to be spiritually discerned, but they could not receive it. When they realized that their physical need, their bodily appetite, was not to be satisfied again, they lost interest.  John sadly records,

“from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.”[2]

The Savior turned then to the Twelve and asked, “will ye also go away?” Peter, the Rock, answered for himself and the others with an honest question and testimony,

“Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe that thou are that Christ, the Son of the living God.” [3]

Will ye also go away?

I can see this play out in my mind’s eye. The crowd is disappearing. The Savior turning to those left asks, in essence, “are you going to leave when your desires aren’t met too? Will you stay when things get uncomfortable and difficult?” Peter, still not knowing everything, with possible questions of his own, with human frailties shown when the cock crew thrice asks where else can he go? Who else is teaching the things Christ is teaching? Who else has the priesthood power to perform the miracles He is performing? Where else can he feel his bosom burn, lit by the fire of the Holy Ghost, like this? Nowhere. Nowhere else. He knows this and chooses to stay with the Savior. Regardless of his questions. Regardless of his not knowing everything about the new covenant he’s being taught. Regardless of what the vast majority is mockingly saying about Jesus. And now, regardless that other ‘believers’ are turning and leaving, Peter is staying.

The modern day multitude

Of late there are no few numbers of ‘believers’ who, not having their desires or ‘appetites’ satisfied, are turning and walking no more with the Savior, nor His restored gospel, or the Brethren Christ Himself has chosen to lead His restored Church. I can see again in my mind’s eye the Savior turning to me, and turning to you, asking that same piercing question, “will ye also go away?”

In an America Southwest Area Stake Conference broadcast from Salt Lake City, Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, of the Seventy, gave an address that was both inspired and inspiring. In it he talked to those who are having questions about their faith at this particular time for a variety of reasons. His counsel was this:  All questions are not created equal or of equal importance. There are primary questions and secondary questions.

Primary and secondary questions

When we hear something that is unfamiliar to us concerning the doctrine or history of the Church, when we have personal opinions that are not shared by the Brethren, Church standards or policies, or when we for any other reason begin to ‘feel’ discontent or frustrated or surprised, Elder Corbridge suggested that we ask ourselves these four primary questions:

1 – Is there a God who is our loving Heavenly Father?

2 – Is Jesus the Christ?

3 – Is Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration?

and

4 – Is the LDS Church the Kingdom of God on the earth?

If we can answer yes to these four primary questions then we may approach other questions that we have. Doing so humbly and with the intent to be taught or comforted by the Spirit and not to disprove, we will find what the Lord is willing to give us.

And there is no limit to the secondary questions one might ask:

  • “Why _____________?”
  • “Why not _______________?
  • “I didn’t know _______________.”
  • “I wonder why ____________ happened?”
  • “I wonder why ______________ doesn’t happen?”
  • “What does ____________ mean?”
  • “Why is the doctrine of _____________ in the Church so out of step with societies views?
  • “If (insert any modern day prophets name here) was a prophet of God then why ______________?”

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

There are revealed answers and explanations to many things. They are to be found in the scriptures, ancient and modern. Also through those called and sustained to lead the church, generally and locally. And the Spirit may speak to us individually. When this happens nothing It says will contradict truth already revealed through prophetic channels. Nor will we be given any information for those outside of our stewardship.

 

If a secondary question, or its answer, begins to pull us in a direction away from the doctrine and Church organization we must quickly go back and ask ourselves the four primary questions again. If the answers to those ever change from a ‘yes’ to an ‘I don’t know’ then we need to spend our study and prayer time in these primary areas and not go off into the weeds.

Over and above….

There is a part of the ‘feeding’ miracle in John that may go overlooked. That it is recorded there though, shows it must have importance.  It is this….

”When the disciples were filled, he [the Savior] said unto His disciples, gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which had remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” [4]

Christ had prepared for the multitude more than they could ingest. More than they were able to use at that time. They had no place to put all that He had to offer. Could this bring us comfort in our questioning? Might there be more, “over and above” that which we have room, or need, to receive at this time that Christ has to offer? Certainly. Might some of that be the answers to questions many are asking? Again, certainly.

The doctrine, the light and understanding, we have as a church collectively, and that we have individually, is enough to satisfy and fill us now. Many have not yet ingested what has been given thus far. But there is more. There are answers to questions that will be revealed to us as a church and to us individually, that will be given in the Lord’s own due time. He will know when we have room enough to receive them. When we have filled ourselves with that which has already been offered, and digested it, it becoming part of us, then we will receive more. Much more. Even a perfect knowledge and understanding.

“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” [5]

We can be patient. We can have faith.

In this life, or the next, we will have a full understanding. We can be patient. We can have faith in what we already have and know.  So, when questions arise…. “will ye also go away”? Or will you kneel before God asking Him to strengthen your commitment to Him and His restored gospel as found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Me?  Well, I’m staying put. As Peter asked, I ask, “to whom shall [I] go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”

 

[1] St. John 6:1-14
[2] St. John 6:25-66
[3] St. John 6:67-69
[4] St. John 6:12-13
[5] D&C 84:32-6-38

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Bethany Packard

Bethany Packard

Bethany Packard is absolutely in love with her wonderful husband, Chad. They live in the Dallas, TX area where they raised six amazing childrenand operate a business. They have 18 terrific grandchildren. At age 49, they were called to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a 'Senior' couple, and assigned to the Russia Moscow Mission. Leaving their family and business - before they were retired - took faith, but it also created the opportunity for God to perform many miracles in their lives. She loves music, interior design, cooking, sports, fall, and macaroni & cheese.
Bethany Packard

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About Bethany Packard

Bethany Packard is absolutely in love with her wonderful husband, Chad. They live in the Dallas, TX area where they raised six amazing children and operate a business. They have 18 terrific grandchildren. At age 49, they were called to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a 'Senior' couple, and assigned to the Russia Moscow Mission. Leaving their family and business - before they were retired - took faith, but it also created the opportunity for God to perform many miracles in their lives. She loves music, interior design, cooking, sports, fall, and macaroni & cheese.