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Faith is Not Blind: Choose to Believe

Questions and uncertainty are important elements of our journey to becoming faithful disciples

A depiction of a famous poem in which several blind men attempt to describe an elephant. Each man feels a different part of the elephant (the tail, trunk, tusk, leg, and ears), and believes that the elephant is like a different object. They fail to understand the entire picture, and aren't able to describe the elephant as it truly is.
In a famous poem , a group of blind men find an elephant. They try to explain what the creature is only by touching it.“One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope.” 1
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “What Is Truth” (BYU devotional, Jan. 13, 2013),; see also “Discovering Truth” (video),

How is developing our faith similar? Like these blind men, if we only believe the first thing we hear or feel, we’ll never find the whole truth. Instead, to have true faith, we must explore other options and then choose what to believe.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “We simply don’t know all things — we can’t see everything. … We have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly. … That is because there is one source of truth that is complete, correct, and incorruptible. That source is our infinitely wise and all-knowing Heavenly Father.” 2
A depiction of a famous poem, which illustrates several blind men each attempting to describe an elephant. Each man feels a different part of the elephant, therefore each of their descriptions are different from one another. This can be likened to our journey of faith, as we don't always know all things. But through asking and seeking, we can find answers to our questions.

Faith is not blind

Emeritus General Authority Seventy Bruce C. Hafen and Sister Marie Hafen teach a process called “ Faith Is Not Blind 3
See also Bruce C. and Marie Hafen, “Faith Is Not Blind” (BYU-Idaho forum, May 16, 2019),
that can help us deepen our faith by continuing to develop our knowledge. Each step is best illustrated by three people: an optimist, a pessimist, and an improver. 4
Ibid; see also English writer G. K. Chesterton’s…
Like the blind men in the poem, an optimist will gladly hold on to their beliefs without considering other possibilities. Being optimistic is good as long as we are still open to questions: the Apostle Paul, Enos, and Joseph Smith all had powerful conversion experiences because they were willing to ask questions and change their beliefs. 5
A depiction of a famous poem. A young boy helps the group of blind men to understand what an elephant looks like. The blind men are able to understand the full picture after the boy helps them.

A pessimistic blind man may begin to say that he never felt anything in the first place and that it was all a lie.

Sometimes when our faith is challenged, it can be tempting to feel like we never had faith in the first place.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled, “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.” 6
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 93
Cherish what you do know is true even if you don’t know everything. Doubt can be the motivation to learn for yourself.

An improver disciple is one who uses his or her doubts to empathize with others, seek answers, and show love.

Sister Hafen explained it this way: “This attitude of informed faith invites us to use [our educational] tools to improve the status quo, not just criticize it.” 7
Bruce C. and Marie Hafen, “Faith Is Not Blind” (BYU-Idaho forum, May 16, 2019),

The choice to believe

The analogy of the blind men and the elephant proves we can choose whether to believe or not. Remember the hope and peace you feel when you have prayers answered or you see small miracles in your life. These are examples of God’s awareness and mercy. We may not have all the answers, but we can always choose to believe.