Ep. 21 – The Holy Ghost from A to Z: Softens Your *Heart*

When you’re troubled by doubts, the Spirit can bless you with a humble heart, give you spiritual protection, and comfort you in your distress.

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Outline

  • The Holy Ghost from A to Z is a religious nonfiction book written by Liz Kazandzhy and published in June 2022
  • Quote from H – Softens Your *Heart*
    • Another time it’s important to seek out greater humility is when you come across gospel doctrines, principles, or practices that are confusing or even distressing to you. These topics can become a major stumbling block to your faith if you choose to harden your heart because of them. Instead, what you ought to do is actively strive to soften your heart—from the very moment you begin to feel doubts creeping in. Then you’ll be able to continue to seek understanding with the protective influence of the Spirit. You will probably not find all the answers you seek—at least in this lifetime—but the Holy Ghost can lead you to greater understanding and also help you “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” And you, like Nephi, will be able to say, “I do not know the meaning of all things . . . [but] I know that [God] loveth his children.”
    • When you feel distressed about a part of the gospel, draw nearer to God instead of distancing yourself from Him
    • The Spirit will (1) help you discern the truth, and (2) give you peace and comfort as you wrestle with your doubts
  • Takeaway
    • Notice the next time you feel your heart hardening, and decide today what you will do to soften your heart and seek the Holy Ghost when that happens
  • Learn more about The Holy Ghost from A to Z

Transcript

I’m Liz Kazandzhy, and you’re listening to the cozy little podcast “Latter-day Saint Book Nook,” where we talk about books from a gospel perspective. Whether fiction or nonfiction, religious or not, great books are like wells of wisdom just waiting to be drawn from, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. So if you love books, and you love the gospel of Jesus Christ, you’re in the right place. Come and learn from the best books to help you live your best life!

Hey, friends, and welcome back! Today’s episode is taken from my book, The Holy Ghost from A to Z: What the Spirit Can Do for You. And I’m so happy that it was finally released, and that it’s now making its way into the homes and hearts of readers. And speaking of hearts, that is what we’re going to talk about today! So, for those who are new to the podcast, I’ve been doing these little mini-episodes every other week for each chapter of my book, and we’ve made it all the way to the H chapter, which is about how the Spirit can soften your heart.

Now, there are a few things I talk about in this chapter, for example how we need to keep a soft heart when receiving correction, and also when we’re experiencing contention with others. But the part I want to talk about today is the importance of having a humble heart when faced with parts of the gospel that are difficult to understand or accept. I just finished the book Planted by Patrick Q. Mason that has the subtitle “Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt.” It was a fabulous book, and it reminded me of how important this topic is. So let me go ahead and share a quote from this H chapter and then talk about it a little bit.

[1:47]

Quote from the H chapter

Another time it’s important to seek out greater humility is when you come across gospel doctrines, principles, or practices that are confusing or even distressing to you. These topics can become a major stumbling block to your faith if you choose to harden your heart because of them. Instead, what you ought to do is actively strive to soften your heart—from the very moment you begin to feel doubts creeping in. Then you’ll be able to continue to seek understanding with the protective influence of the Spirit.

You will probably not find all the answers you seek—at least in this lifetime—but the Holy Ghost can lead you to greater understanding and also help you “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” And you, like Nephi, will be able to say, “I do not know the meaning of all things . . . [but] I know that [God] loveth his children.”

Now, this kind of goes back to Elder Ballard’s counsel to “stay in the boat.” In other words, when you start to feel doubt, when you feel confused and uncomfortable and distressed about parts of the gospel—whether that be something historical or doctrinal—that is not the time to “jump ship” and distance yourself from God. Rather, you should do the exact opposite, which is to draw nearer to God with a humble heart. Because if you do that, He will bless you with the Holy Ghost, and like I just mentioned, you’ll then be able to “seek understanding with the protective influence of the Spirit.”

And what will the Spirit do for you? Well, for one, He can help you discern between truth and error. But another beautiful He can do is give you comfort and peace in the midst of your distress. In that book I mentioned, Planted, the author said this at one point:

For most doubts, there are no magic words or ready-made formulas that will immediately make them go away. Doubt is thus less a problem in need of a solution than a common part of the mortal experience that should, like all things, be treated with charity and ultimately consecrated to God.

In other words, when others express their doubts to us, we need to react with compassion and charity. And he goes on to say that “oftentimes, simply having a conversation with someone who needs to talk through personal questions is enough.”

But that got me thinking—when we express our doubts to God, He’s not going to censure us about it. He understands that it’s difficult to grapple with certain things. He understands that, as Isaiah 55 says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” and He knows how hard that is sometimes. And so, in addition to the Spirit helping you discern the truth, He can also convey to you God’s compassion and charity. So that you know that He loves you, even—and maybe especially—when you’re troubled by doubts.

[4:53]

This Week’s Takeaway

So, for this episode’s takeaway invitation, I invite you to notice the next time you feel your heart hardening—whether that be because of doubts, like I talked about, or any other reason. And in that moment, instead of distancing yourself from God, decide now what you will do to soften your heart and seek the Holy Ghost. Because I know He will help you—in that moment and in any moment that you sincerely seek Him.

Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I wish you a wonderful week, and I hope you’ll join me again next time!

Thanks for listening to Latter-day Saint Book Nook, hosted by Liz Kazandzhy! If you enjoyed this episode and you’d like to support the podcast, please share it with others, post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. You can also visit ldsbooknook.com to stay up to date with me and the podcast. Thanks again, and I’ll talk to you next time!


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