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May 11, 2020 | personal revelation, testimony

Teach Your Kids How to Ask and Receive Answers to Their Questions

Questions, especially gospel questions asked in faith, are so important!

By Dina Alexander, MS

My kids have always asked me lots of questions–I’m sure yours have too! Sometimes they are fun and fascinating. “Mom, where does Heavenly Father live?” Sometimes they can be embarrassing or unexpected. “Mom, what’s oral sex?” 

Whatever their questions, I want my kids to feel like they can ask me anything, especially anything related to the gospel!

A few years ago, I heard a wonderful talk by Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book, called “Will You Engage in the Wrestle?” where she explained that questions are not only good, but they are vital to gaining a testimony and growing spiritually. This talk had a profound impact on me, and I began to ponder on the value of questions and whether or not I was showing an openness to my children’s gospel questions.

I also began to pray, ponder, and journal about my own questions regarding women and priesthood power, Joseph Smith’s approach to polygamy, and a few other questions. While I spent more time in the scriptures and general conference talks, teaching my kids the truths I was learning, and encouraging their questions, I discovered several fundamental truths which turned into a children’s book about the power and importance of questions.

Here are 5 of the most important truths I learned:

We Need to ASK Our Questions

It’s a good thing to have questions, but it is a great thing to ASK our questions! That is how we learn and grow our testimonies.That’s why I love questions. They help us to seek and find truth. They can even give us the strength we need to face challenges (Nelson, 2010).

As we engaged in Come Follow Me discussions with our families and conduct Family Home Evening, we can convey to our kids that asking questions gives us the chance to learn and grow! Teach your kids about the amazing snowball effect question-asking has on us. As they ask questions and seek for truth, they will find that they will want to learn more and more.

Our Heavenly Parents have promised if we knock, it shall be opened to us. However, it is crucial to teach our kids that there is a right way to ask. We must ask in faith, meaning we believe God will answer us. We must also ask with an honest heart.

Even when we ask questions in faith and with an honest heart, seeking truth and finding useful answers usually requires more than just asking a question. This is why God gave us many helpful tools to find answers.

There are Great Tools for Finding Answers!

Our Heavenly Parents know what is best for us and our kids. It’s important that our kids understand that They will give us the things that will help us the most because They care about us. Remind your children that our Heavenly Father will guide them in His own way and in His time frame.  We have been gifted the Holy Ghost to help us identify truth and avoid deception.

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”–Moroni 10:4

It is crucial that our kids understand that answers don’t always come in the way we want or as fast as we want. But answers do come! We are so blessed to live in a time when we have access to many gospel resources to help answer our questions. As we seek for answers, it is important to use honest, reliable sources and to listen for the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Here are some more wonderful tools and reliable sources we can teach our kids to use when seeking answers to their questions:

  • The Book of Mormon and the Bible
  • Fasting and prayer
  • Talking to trusted adults
  • Receiving a priesthood blessing
  • Reading the words of living and past prophets and church officers in the Friend, New Era, Liahona, or Ensign magazines
  • Having a question prepared for General Conference and then listening intently to the talks
  • The Church website, churchofjesuschrist.org 
  • Qualifying for and receiving a patriarchal blessing
  • Pray and pondering in temples

The Holy Ghost Can Tell You the Truth of all Things

Our Heavenly Parents know what is best for us and our kids. It’s important that our kids understand that They will give us the things that will help us the most because They care about us. Remind your children that our Heavenly Father will guide them in Their own way and in His time frame. We have been gifted the Holy Ghost to help us identify truth and avoid deception. The following scripture cannot be taught to our kids too much:

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”–Moroni 10:4

Having Questions is NOT the Same as Having Doubts

Many people worry having questions makes them a “doubter,” or that it means they don’t have enough faith. Elder David F. Evans, defined doubting as having “a disbelieving heart, the opposite of faith.” Having questions is not equal to doubting. Asking questions is not equal to doubting. Asking more questions because you weren’t satisfied with the first answer is not equal to doubting.

Questioning is an action; doubting is an attitude. Teach your kids to see themselves as seekers, not doubters! Dieter F. Uchtdorf, member of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught, “Fear not; ask questions. Be curious, but doubt not! Always hold fast to faith and to the light you have already received. Because we see imperfectly in mortality, not everything is going to make sense right now.”

God Loves Questions 

God wants us to seek truth and find answers. In the scriptures, many prophets had questions. Moses, Nephi, and Adam all asked critical questions in order to gain or increase their testimonies. By asking questions, they were telling God they were willing to listen and learn. It was then that God gave them answers and provided revelations. As Sheri Dew said, “The Lord loves inspired questions asked in faith because they lead to knowledge, to revelation, and to greater faith.”

The scriptures have many stories of people like Enoch, Enos, and Alma who were seeking truth and seeking to do the will of the Lord. We must teach our kids to be brave and ask questions to know God’s will for us. And like Queen Esther, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Lehi and Sariah, we can be a brave example to those around us as we follow what God asks us to do.

For a great family night discussion ask your kids the following questions:

  • Why is seeking truth and asking questions so important?
  • Who are the people you are most comfortable asking questions to?
  • Why are questions powerful?

As I researched my new book and pondered on the power of gospel questions, I gained a much stronger testimony of how much our Heavenly Parents love and care about us. Whether it’s big stuff or “small” stuff, they are mindful of us and want to hear from us–especially our questions! 

“Some seem to believe that faith and questions are antithetical. Such could not be further from the truth. The question is not whether or not we should ask questions but rather, what are the questions that we should be asking?”—Cecil O. Samuelson, former president of BYU

Look for my newest book, Chloe Has a Question, a Very Important Question, coming this summer!

Ready to help your kids improve their ability to access the power of personal revelation? Check out my book for children, This is the Spirit of Revelation for simple, powerful explanations to teach your kids how to hear, understand, and act upon personal revelation.

Dina Alexander is the founder of Educate and Empower Kids (educateempowerkids.org), an organization determined to strengthen families by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online porn. She is the creator of How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, the 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child programs. She is also the author of Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good and Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure

Most recently, Dina has published This is the Spirit of Revelation for Latter-day Saint children and their families, and Conversations with My Kids, 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age.

 

Citations:

Dew, Sheri. “Will You Engage in the Wrestle?” Brigham Young University–Idaho. www.byui.edu/devotionals/sheri-dew.

Evans, David F. “The Truth of All Things.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Oct. 2017. www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2017/10/the-truth-of-all-things?lang=eng.

Nelson, Wendy. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2010.

Samuelson, Cecil O. “The Importance of Asking Questions.” BYU Speeches, Nov. 2001. speeches.byu.edu/talks/cecil-o-samuelson/importance-asking-questions/.

Uchtdorf, Dieter F. The Reflection in the Water.” CES Fireside for young adults, Brigham Young University. 1 Nov. 2009. The Church News. www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2009-11-01/president-dieter-f-uchtdorf-the-reflection-in-the-water-68673.

The Holy Ghost Will Answer Our Questions

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”–Moroni 10:4

Coming Soon!

My newest book, Chloe Has a Question, a Very Important Question, which teaches children how important their gospel questions really are, is coming this summer!

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