This is a personal opinion, having nothing to do with the truthfulness of the church. That being said, this article has been something I've wanted to write for some time now. The topic is important and dear to my heart.
While finding my way through my faith crisis there is a song I have grown to love. It is "The Sound of Silence" performed by Disturbed, originally written by Simon & Garfunkel. It tells the emotional story of a man who is carrying a heavy burden.
The song starts as such:
Hello darkness, my old friend.
I've come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping.
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of silence.
This man wakes up from a disturbing dream in the middle of the night. The dream weighs heavily on him and it keeps him awake thinking about it. This issue is the "sound of silence." It is important to him but at this point we don't know what the sound of silence is.
He continues the story by saying when the dream started he found himself walking alone on streets of cobblestone. When he stopped at a street lamp the light flashed on and he saw a great scene.
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking.
People hearing without listening.
People writing songs that voices never share.
And no one dared disturb the sound of silence.
He noticed that these people were saying things of no substance. They heard things but didn't take in the message. And if they ever did have an original thought they were afraid to share it. They were afraid to disrupt the sound of silence.
Fools, said I, you do not know.
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words, like silent raindrops fell.
And echoed in the wells of silence.
When this man spoke up and told the people to share their ideas and speak up against the sound of silence his words weren't heard and the message was in vain. He continued alone despite his best efforts to make a difference.
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls and tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence.
The warnings were everywhere. The messages of impending doom were unheard. People kept quiet and did nothing to stop the sound of silence. The message was to speak and be heard. To hear and listen. To share and receive. However many times the warnings were given, in the end the sound of silence was victorious and undisturbed.
Those with doubts in the church feel like the man walking through this dream. Most people with doubts have struggled with the issues for a while and are unable to tell anyone in fear of disturbing the sound of silence within the church. They sit through church alone with their doubts. The speakers talk but they just repeat the same things everyone has already heard. The congregation listens to the speaker but the message isn't heard.
In Sunday School, those with doubts have to listen to offensive and untruthful messages and teachings, unable to speak up in fear of getting shot down or facing social problems. When they do talk to their leaders they are told not to look into the issues but only focus on approved topics. They can't fully talk about what their concerns are in fear of losing their temple recommends or facing church disciplinary action. They can't tell their families in fear of losing them.
Then on top of all of that, all of the blame and backlash are put on the doubter. People are more upset with the doubter sharing or discovering truth than they are over the fact that these things the doubter shared actually happened.
Any answers found that go against church teachings are seen as blasphemy or lies. No one ever stops to consider the doubter or how they feel. They haven't walked in their shoes or experienced their trials.
It is hard to disturb the sound of silence within the church.
My invitation to you is that if you have doubts yourself, or if you know someone that has doubts, be willing to talk and listen. Don't silence those who don't believe. They already feel alone. Be willing to set aside personal feelings and have a calm discussion understanding what they feel and what they're going through. It will do wonders for your relationship to be able to talk about things that are important to each other.
In a church that focuses so much on study and also on love, there isn't room for anyone that forms an opinion contrary to that of the church. There isn't room for doubters that don't accept church answers. There isn't room for those who want to speak up or ask questions. People shouldn't be afraid to ask questions, especially if salvation is in the line. And if you say that this isn't the case, try discussing controversial topics in a church setting. You will find that it's not so easy to talk about such things.