KEYWORDS: questions, answers, question, word, lord, doubts

Shooting Straight, Part 15--Letter Links: Talking to the Right People

April 25, 2005

(ML #3540, GN 1130)

FD/MM/FM March 2005

Mama's Love Story, Part 3

ML #2994:30-38, Lifelines 22

30. (Mama: ) I don't mind questions at all, especially since I know the Lord has all the answers and I can just ask Him and it makes it so much easier. I've always liked questions because I don't like people to be holding things in and wondering about things and not asking, because most of the time we can get an answer. People talk about "dumb questions‚" but if it's a sincere question, it isn't dumb‚ it's legitimate, and we ought to ask if we have questions. The Lord said so many times in His Word, "ask and ye shall receive," so what do you think that means? It means that if you've got a question, ask it, and you'll more than likely receive an answer! He even says, "Ye have not, because ye ask not!" (Jam.4:2).

31. But if you don't ask it, you may find yourself drowning in confusion and doubts‚ and all tied up in knots, wondering what in the world is going on, when the Lord loves to get our questions and He loves to answer them. So if you have questions, for goodness sake, ask them, and we'll see if we can answer them.

33. (Fam: Some questions can be doubts, so if you have a question you think, "Is this a doubt?") Yes, or you feel that you're into matters too high for you, things that you shouldn't be asking about and which aren't your place to ask. And it's true, that we should not ask questions that will cause other folks to doubt. The Bible says, "Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes" (2Tim.2:23). But perhaps the distinction hasn't been made clear enough that the questions that people shouldn't be asking were those that would minister doubt, and the other kind of questions are the legitimate kind of questions that we should ask because we do need to find answers. It makes us a lot happier and it helps us‚ and the Lord is making it easier for us to be good by answering our questions.

34. You may even need answers for "doubtful questions," as when you ask them, the Word given in response will strengthen your faith. What may seem doubtful to you may not seem that way to your shepherd. The question shouldn't be whether you can ask such a question or not; it should be who you should ask.—Not whether you should ask, but who you should ask. Even if you have doubts, if in telling those who are strong in faith you are able to get your questions answered‚ then it is a good thing that you ask.

35. Many of us have questions that would be considered doubts by others who already know the answers to those questions. So those who know the answers should not criticize those who don't for asking questions that will help them find the answers. Neither should we criticize a person's presentation if it comes off argumentative and skeptical. That's just the way some people ask questions in order to get the answers that they need. Of course, once you have been given good Word-based answers and everything has been done to help you understand, there still may be some things that need to be taken by faith. There is a time to stop asking the same question over and over and just try to believe and accept the answers.

36. People have lots of questions, and that is how they learn. And because they don't always ask them meekly and sweetly, doesn't mean that they are not sincerely trying to find the answers.

37. The problem is not that people ask questions; the problem can sometimes be who they ask. If you ask questions of others who have the same or similar questions, and who are also weak in faith, these are those who you can stumble and cause to further doubt, and this is what the Lord is against. This is often the temptation: to ask questions of those who likewise have questions and who are themselves weak in the Word or young in the Lord. But if you ask questions of the right people, they should welcome your questions and be happy to help you search the Word for the answers, knowing that there are answers that will satisfy those who are sincerely looking for answers.

38. There are several ways you can get your questions answered‚ of course: By talking to those who are strong in the Lord and the Word; by going to the Word yourself to search out the answers; or by getting together with others to ask the Lord your questions and hear His answers in prophecy. You might want to do this when you can't find the specific answers in the written Word, and you'll be amazed at how the Lord will not fail to give you what you need.

Crisis of Faith‚ Part 1

ML #3088:24- 48, Lifelines 23

24. (Mama:) You may have some questions on your heart, or maybe there are some things about the past, your Home‚ Family policies, WS leadership‚ the New Wine, or the failures or problems of the Family that bother you or that you wonder about. Not wanting to be disloyal nor to succumb to the lies and doubts of the Enemy, you may feel puzzled about how to handle such thoughts—whether it's best to talk about them with someone, or pray and search the Word about them privately, or just try to ignore them or forget them. Let's talk about this, and see if we can clarify what to do if you have questions or if you think you're being hit with doubts.

25. As you may recall, there is counsel on questions and doubts in the beginning paragraphs of the Letter "Prophecies on Doubts!" (See ML #3041:1–23, GN 670.) That Letter explains that questions are legitimate if you are undecided or uncertain about an issue, and you truly want to know the answer. If handled in the right manner, and the motive of your heart is to sincerely find the answer through the right channels, there is nothing wrong with expressing your questions. Handling such questions "in the right manner" means talking to the right people—those who are strong in faith and who would likely have the answers or be able to find them. It's not right to talk about your questions or doubts with people who are weak in faith or the Word, who might be stumbled.

26. As explained in the above–mentioned Letter, there is a difference between legitimate questions that are asked out of sincere, pure motives, and skeptical‚ distrustful questions that are generated by the Enemy for the purpose of trying to weaken the questioner and stir up division. The Lord gave us good counsel about how to know the difference in the prophecy entitled, "The Difference Between Questions and Doubts—Try the Spirits!" (See ML #3041:18-23.) That prophecy explains that a person who has legitimate questions will be open and will seek to understand. They'll want to receive and believe the answers; they want the doubts dispelled. But the person whose questions are not legitimate is the one who already has his mind made up, who doesn't seek answers, but who seeks to use his questioning as an avenue to preach a message of defiance or doubt, and pour forth the voice of Satan.

27. This is very helpful counsel. I trust that since reading this Letter most of you have tried to be prayerful and careful, so as to not stumble anyone or spread the lies of the Enemy. However, even with these very good tips about how to "try the spirits," it still may not be very easy for you to discern what you can question and what you can't. This can be a bit of a problem, because you may have questions on your heart that you'd like to talk about, but you don't know whether it's okay to say anything. And since you're not sure, what may happen is you'll just decide to keep quiet, and then you end up lugging around the burden of unanswered questions, which can really weigh you down.

28. I have continued to pray about this subject of doubts, wondering‚ "How far can someone go with their questioning? When is something a question and when does it become a doubt? What are the measurements by which Family members can know what they can question?" After I sought the Lord desperately on this subject, He wonderfully helped to clarify this topic further, as I'll explain in the following points:

* Why you question:

29. There are various reasons why people want to ask questions—and lots of questions at that! One of the main reasons is because the Lord has given His children inquisitive minds. He's made you that way‚ with the desire to ask questions, so you'd hunger and thirst after His Word, you'd be eager to find the answers you desire, and you'd have a vacuum to want to discover a greater understanding of Him and the spirit world.

30. I certainly know what it's like to be curious. I have lots of questions. I'm always asking the Lord about all kinds of things! Recently the Lord said: "My Queen Maria is curious. She is inquisitive. She wants to know the ways of My Spirit. She wants to understand the ways that I work. She wants to know more and more about My Kingdom, and so she asks and asks and asks, because I have given her an inquisitive spirit."

31. The Lord uses my inquisitive nature to cause me to ask questions, so in return He can pour out the truth of His Word that we need and desire! He can also use your inquisitive nature to cause you to have questions which make you want to go to the Word or to Him in prayer to find the answers you need.

32. Other times people ask questions because they're lazy. They don't want to take the time to study and research the Word, where they could and would find the answers to many, in fact, most of their questions. But the Lord is merciful, and He allows you to ask your questions even if you're being lazy‚ because He wants you to receive the answers you need, so that you can be strengthened and grow.

33. Of course, not all questions are the result of inquisitive minds or curious natures or being lazy. Some questions are inspired by the Enemy in an effort to get you to doubt, criticize, separate yourselves, and close your minds to the Word. He brings up lots of questions, not because he wants you to find answers and grow, but because he's trying to get you to doubt and ultimately reject the Word.

34. So as you can see, there are several major reasons why people ask questions.

* What kinds of questions are okay to ask:

35. Now let's see if we can determine what kinds of questions are acceptable. I've come to the conclusion, and the Lord has confirmed it, that any question can be asked, and any question deserves an answer, because how else can you get the answers you seek, or the help and instruction you desire, unless you ask? So even the questions that are inspired by the Enemy can be asked, if they're directed to the proper person‚ so that those of you who are being tempted or buffeted by the Enemy can receive the answers you need, and thereby find strength. On this subject, the Lord said:

36. (Jesus speaking: ) Ask! Ask your questions! For I am the Answer Man, and I am well able to answer any and all questions. If you have questions on your heart‚ seek Me for the answers, and know that I am willing, yea, eager to answer your questions.

37. If you have questions on your heart, seek My Word diligently, for most of your questions I have already answered. The answers are there in the pages of the books. If you would but seek with an open mind and an hungry heart, I would be able to feed you and answer your questions.

38. And if you do not find the answers to your questions in My written Word, then ask Me today, and I will speak to you with My living Words, and I will give you the answers that you need. If you have not the faith to come to Me yourself, ask your shepherds, your elders, your parents, that they might be able to seek Me for you‚ that they might be able to help you search My Word, or come to Me in prayer, and find the answers that you need. (End of prophecy.)

39. (Mama:) So you see‚ the Lord is not against your asking questions. He wants you to have the answers you need. And the way He'll most likely give you those answers is through the Word—either His written Word or His Word of prophecy. He instructs you to take your questions to Him—to search the Word, and if you can't find what you need there, then ask Him to give you His wonderful, Heavenly, personalized answers in prophecy. If you want to seek the counsel of others, then go to those who are strong in faith, and together you can search the Word or come before the Lord in prayer.

* How legitimate questions can become doubts:

40. So far we've established that no question is inherently wrong. Even if some question seems really awful to you, even if you feel terribly condemned, like you're really out of it, it's not wrong to ask your questions, as long as you ask the right people. But you need to also understand that sometimes what starts out as a legitimate question can become a doubt if not handled right. If you want to judge whether you have a legitimate question or whether it has become a doubt, or you want to judge someone else's question, you need to look to the circumstances surrounding the question and the person asking the question; those are the measurements by which you can judge. To judge the validity of questions from others and the spirit from which they come, ask yourself the following questions—which you can also apply to your own questions:

41. Point 1: Who is being asked the question? If someone has a question, are they asking someone they honestly feel will have the answer? Are they asking someone who can realistically help them find the truth—a shepherd, an older brother, a mature disciple, a parent? Or are they asking someone who is weak or perhaps as full of questions as they are?

42. Point 2: Why are they asking? Some people ask questions because they sincerely want and need the answer, which is fine. But other people ask questions because it is a way for them to vent their frustrations, to spread their criticisms, and to look bold in front of their friends or peers. Some ask questions not because they sincerely want the answers, but because they feel it's the "in thing" to do. They don't want to simply follow and take things by faith and receive and obey, because they think it's "cool" to question, balk and resist, to discuss or debate the pros and cons and why something should be this way or shouldn't be this way.

43. Point 3: What do they do with the answers when they get them? You can also judge whether questions are legitimate questions by seeing what the person who is asking the question does with the answer. If they receive the answer with an open mind, with faith and gratitude, if they let the truth answer their question, and then they put it behind them and put it in the past, this is the sign of a legitimate question and a sincere questioner. But those people who refuse to accept the truth, who don't believe the truth when their questions are answered, but instead continue on in their contrary ways, voicing their questions again and again, are not sincerely looking for the answers.

44. When the same questions are asked again and again and again, and the answers are repeatedly rejected, then these are no longer legitimate questions, but they have become doubts. The difference between legitimate questions and doubts depends largely on who is being asked the question, why the question is being asked, and what the questioner does with the answer. Here's what the Lord said:

45. (Jesus speaking:) No question is too great or too small. No question is wrong. I am willing to answer any and all questions. The key is to ask the right person, and to be willing to receive the answer when you get it. Be willing to believe the answer; that is the key. That is the primary sign and difference between a legitimate question and a doubt. Any question can be a legitimate question, as long as you are hungry, eager, and open to the answer, and when you receive that answer, you let the answer replace the question. That's what makes your question legitimate—when you have a sincere hunger for the answer, and you receive it with open-mindedness and faith.

46. But when you ask a question over and over and over, and you refuse to receive and believe the answer given in My written Word, or My living Word, or the word of counsel and wisdom from your shepherds, then your question is no longer legitimate. It has lost its legitimacy, because you have not shown yourself open and hungry and full of faith to receive the answer.

47. Even if the Enemy puts doubts in your mind, they can become legitimate questions if they cause you to go to My Word, to search My Word for the truth and for the answers; or if they cause you to look to Me, to pray and ask Me to speak to you with My living Words, to give you the answers; or if they cause you to go to your shepherds, to seek counsel and prayer, and ask your questions, so that you might receive the answers. So fear not to ask your questions, but be wise and prayerful, be sure that you are asking the right people, and be desperate to make sure you are open to the answers. (End of prophecy.)

48. (Mama: ) So it's important that you ask your questions! If your motivation is to find the truth, and you are open to that truth, the Lord will bless you. But remember, if your motivation is to weaken others or stumble others or sow division, and if your questioning is not a sincere quest for the truth‚ but you already have your mind made up, and your questioning is only an excuse or a way to voice your negative, contrary, damaging thoughts, then the Lord will not bless that!

Crisis of Faith, Part 2

ML #3089:61- 73, Lifelines 23

61. (Mama: ) I'd like to draw your attention to a portion of a prophecy that was included in part one of this series, which says: "When you ask a question over and over and over, and you refuse to receive and believe the answer given in My written Word, or My living Word, or the word of counsel and wisdom from your shepherds, then your question is no longer legitimate. It has lost its legitimacy, because you have not shown yourself open and hungry and full of faith to receive the answer."

62. In the Letter "Prophecies on Doubts," the Lord instructed us to be patient and exercise longsuffering with those who are truly seeking, because the answers, when accepted, will dispel their doubts. But we are to give no place to those who spread their questions with the intent to damage. The Lord said, "These must be challenged and confronted, for those doubts are insidious. They are as a disease that spreads from heart to heart, from spirit to spirit, for these are the workings of Satan." (See ML #3041:22,23, GN 670).

63. So the point to understand here is that it's fine to ask your questions—any question, in fact. And you deserve a good Word–based answer‚ not just a supposition, theory or lame answer. You are free to seek the counsel of others who will be able to help you discern the Lord's will and truth by studying the Word or seeking Him in prayer. In fact, you may feel the need to ask several people, until you feel the different aspects of your question have been answered, at least to the extent that even if you don't understand every detail, you can trust the Lord and take by faith those things that you can't fully grasp with your mind. You can also go back to the Word for further study and to the Lord again in prayer, if you feel it's needed. But after you receive a well-rounded Word-based answer, if you refuse that answer and you keep asking the same questions over and over, and spreading your doubts around, talking to the wrong people, sowing division and stumbling others, then that will not be tolerated! That is contravening the Charter, which outlines one of the excommunicable offenses as follows:

64. The continual voicing of doubts, criticisms or skepticism of Dad, Maria, the Word or the Family, in a destructive manner designed to foster strife and schism. Criticism or inquiries of a legitimate nature for the purpose of seeking clarification or counsel, or voicing an objection, may be made, either in person or in writing, to the appropriate over-shepherds, Home Officer or higher officers. Such criticisms are acceptable only if made for the purpose of seeking clarification or counsel, or voicing an objection.

65. It is understandable that from time to time we have questions or even doubts that we may need to have resolved by discussing them with someone. When such an occasion arises, you should feel free to openly and honestly share your heart with your shepherds so you can get the needed answers and prayer. Such matters are legitimate and need to be expressed, so it's perfectly acceptable to talk about your doubts or your criticisms with an appropriate shepherd when trying to get clarification or counsel, or express an objection to something that you're having a difficult time understanding or following. If you're doing it with the right attitude, and with the right people, those whose job it is to try to answer and help you resolve your questions, as well as shepherd you through these things and help you overcome any misconceptions, then there's nothing wrong with it.

66. However, if you are speaking to members who are not the appropriate shepherds, and if after having been warned against it, you continue airing matters which result in the spreading of doubts or bringing about contention or division, then this is unacceptable behavior and will warrant excommunication.

67. "If you JETTs and teens [and adults] have questions and doubts or misunderstandings or misconceptions, please feel free to ask! And you will most likely be handled very gently, even repeatedly over a period of time—unless you start voicing your questions or problems to your peers and thus start to contaminate them and cause doubt, confusion, division and dissension within the ranks! This is where your shepherds would have to really draw the line fast and stop it. You see, there is a delicate balance in this, because murmuring and complaining is like 'sowing discord among brethren' (Proverbs 6:19)‚ which is an abomination to God and can have very poisonous effects, and therefore cannot be tolerated. But on the other hand, when you have questions and doubts or even complaints‚ you need to voice them to your shepherds because they can help you overcome them" (ML #2715:11). (Offenses Warranting Excommunication, point H, pages 120 and 121).

68. Recently Dad gave the following advice to Peter and me when we asked the Lord how to handle someone who has been repeatedly voicing his doubts, in spite of having had an opportunity to get things off his heart and receive the answers he needed from his shepherds, the Lord and the Word:

69. (Dad speaking:) Doubters, doubts‚ skeptics, pessimists‚ negative criticism, analysts, negative thinkers and negative questions are very dangerous. They spread their poison, their pollution, their contamination, their negativity, their disunity, disharmony, disruption and destructive seeds to everyone and anyone. They're one of the Enemy's favorite tools to destroy the Lord's work and stop the Lord's mouthpiece and His Words.

70. He's been doing it for so long‚ Honey, as have some others, that it would be a real miracle of God if he could change and learn to recognize [the Enemy's voice], because it's a deeply ingrained habit. He's been doing it for so long that he thinks it's right and he doesn't even recognize the lies of the Enemy. But to let any of these people continue to voice their doubts freely without anyone stopping them or raising up the standard or letting it be known that it is not approved of, not scriptural‚ and not Godly, is very dangerous to the Lord's work. I'm really sorry for this one because he has a kind heart, and he's a lovable man. I'm really sorry for him and his precious wife, but someone can be kind and sweet, and still be very used by the Enemy.

71. So, Honey, it needs to be presented to him and his wife as diplomatically as you possibly can, but at the same time we need to just tell him flat-out that he has to put a stop to verbalizing his doubts! He has to stop saying anything that would cause anyone else to complain or murmur or stumble. He has to stop saying anything that speaks against or criticizes you or me or the Word or the Family.

72. You have to be prepared to just give him the facts‚ according to the Charter and the Statement on TRF Supporters, which outline the guidelines that the DO and TS Family have to live by. The others who have been used to listening to his criticisms and negative attitude, and who have seen him feeling so free to shoot his mouth off in any way he wants to, to anybody he wants to, need to see that there is a standard to be kept; there is right and wrong, and there are rules of the Charter and the Statement on TRF Supporters that need to be upheld." (End of prophecy excerpt.)

73. (Mama: ) Those who insist on spreading the Enemy's doubts, even after they've had a chance to receive the answers, counsel and help they need, will be disciplined according to the various options listed in the Charter. We cannot allow those who are resisting the truth to continue to pollute, weaken and stumble others!

The Professionals

ML #3399:1, 5- 9, GN 993

1. (Peter:) Mama and I recently received your letter addressed to us. You didn't send it directly to us; we received it from someone who received a copy from you or from someone else. In any case, we got it and felt that it would be good to answer, especially since you asked those who received it to respond.

5. While Mama and I have absolutely no problem with you raising these issues, or writing and asking us about these matters, we think the way you went about it was pretty low. To write a letter like this and then send it out to as many people as possible, asking them to send it to others, all the while trying to give the impression that you want them to help you see if your conclusions are right or not‚ is, I'm sorry to say, bull.—Especially given the fact that at the time of publishing this GN it's been three months since someone sent us your letter, which was already circulating. You still haven't sent your letter to Mama and me directly.

6. This is a typical "Pastor's Pillow" scenario. You spread your opinion all over the Family, getting it out there to as many as possible, under the guise that you just wanted to run it by others to see if you are really right. Tell me, what was your plan for rectifying matters if after hearing the response from others you realized that you were wrong about some of these things? Were you planning on sending a letter back to everyone who read your letter, explaining that, in fact, you found that a lot of people don't agree with you, or that you were wrong on this or that point? Sorry, Daniel‚ too late. Your letter-feathers have already been spread throughout the Family. You can never change that. But then again, that was probably the point.

7. If you truly wanted input, it would have been much wiser to write your letter and to have four or five others read it and critique it. You could have chosen a few young folks who you know pretty much think the way you do, and a few who you know probably wouldn't have agreed, including maybe a few FGAs as well. By sending your letter to a small cross-sampling of Family members‚ you would have gotten a pretty good idea if you were on target or not. And, if after having sought the counsel of a limited number of others, you decided to change the letter or clarify some points‚ you could have sent the final version back to your counselors so they could see the changes you made. Then you could have sent your views directly to Mama and me, and once we had answered you, you could have sent them our answer as well. But as it is, you sent your letter to your mailing list and have asked others to send it to theirs, which they have.

8. At the risk of sounding skeptical‚ I have my doubts that you were intending to gather what others said in response, especially if they disagreed with you, and take it all into account when you finally sent Mama and me your letter. However, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that sending your letter out wholesale was a blunder of the mind‚ and that you weren't deliberately trying to hurt others' faith or bring them around to your way of thinking. I doubt, though, that you prayed and heard from the Lord about it. I'm quite sure He would not have told you to handle it the way you did.

9. I'm honestly not condemning you for writing. Mama and I have always encouraged people to communicate with us and to ask questions. That's how you get answers. But as we've said time and time again, you need to ask the right people. In writing us you were asking the right people; in sending your letter out wholesale to all, you weren't. Frankly, I'd expect more of you as an SGA. I consider this an immature, un-prayed-about-action, maybe done with good intentions, but potentially hurtful to others.