Church leaders teach that trusting the Lord during untrustworthy times remains a ‘holy habit’ of discipleship

At a global moment defined by disparate messaging and cynical, noisy social media, the word “trust” has become, well, untrustworthy.

But repeatedly in 2021, Church leaders reassured a worldwide audience of people who are facing the challenges of the day with a comforting message: They can trust the Lord.

In an April 2021 general conference address, President Russell M. Nelson testified that placing trust in Jesus Christ and His gospel is what is needed “in this confused, contentious and weary world.”

Trust in the Lord is elemental to becoming a true disciple. As with almost anything of value, becoming a trust-filled disciples requires effort. The Church president offered five suggestions to anyone seeking to deepen their faith and trust in the Lord:

First, study the words of Christ and His prophets and apostles.

“The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it will be to trust in His mercy, His infinite love and His strengthening, healing and redeeming power,” he said. “The Savior is never closer to you than when you are facing or climbing a mountain with faith.”

Second, increase trust by choosing to believe in Christ.

“Study with the desire to believe rather than with the hope that you can find a flaw in the fabric of a prophet’s life or a discrepancy in the scriptures. Stop increasing your doubts by rehearsing them with other doubters. Allow the Lord to lead you on your journey of spiritual discovery.”

Third, act in faith. “Receive more faith by doing something that requires more faith.”

Fourth, partake of sacred ordinances that will unlock the power of God in one’s life. And fifth, ask Heavenly Father, in Christ’s name, for help.

“If everything and everyone else in the world whom you trust should fail, Jesus Christ and His Church will never fail you,” added President Nelson. “The Lord never slumbers, nor does He sleep. He is the same yesterday, today and [tomorrow]. He will not forsake His covenants, His promises or His love for His people.

 “He works miracles today, and He will work miracles tomorrow.”

Demonstrate trust in God by accepting His will

President Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Kristen Oaks wave to the students gathered in the BYU-Idaho Center for a devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Both spoke on the importance of trusting in the Lord.
President Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Kristen Oaks wave to the students gathered in the BYU-Idaho Center for a devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Both spoke on the importance of trusting in the Lord. Credit: James Turcotte, BYU–Idaho

In his Nov. 16, 2021, devotional for students at Brigham Young University–Idaho, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, taught that exercising trust in God is synonymous with exercising faith in God.

Start by trusting His timetable. “When we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must trust Him enough that we are content to accept His will, knowing that He knows what is best for us.”

One’s primary source of trust should always be the Lord, President Oaks added.

”Some people trust no one but themselves. Some put their highest trust in a friend or another family member or even a teacher or scientist or political leader. But that is not the Lord’s way. He told us to put our faith and our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Trust the Lord and follow His pathway to eternal life.

“Then it does not matter whether you are called to be a bishop or a Relief Society president, whether you are married or single, or whether you die tomorrow. You do not know what will happen. Do your best and then trust in the Lord and His timing,” said President Oaks.

’We can always trust God

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with his wife Sister Susan Gong waves to attendees after the Sunday morning session of the 191st General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. Elder Gong's general conference address focused on trusting in the Lord.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with his wife Sister Susan Gong waves to attendees after the Sunday morning session of the 191st General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. Elder Gong’s general conference address focused on trusting in the Lord. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

During his October 2021 general conference message, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles echoed President Oaks’ conviction that trust in God is an extension of faith.

Trusting in the Lord, he taught, becomes real when a person does hard things with faith and invites heaven’s blessings.

“We can always trust God. The Lord knows us better and loves us more than we know or love ourselves. His infinite love and perfect knowledge of past, present and future make His covenants and promises constant and sure.”

Another key aspect of trusting God is relying upon His miracles and in His inspiration to discern wisely. 

“We and our relationships can change,” said Elder Gong. ”Through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, we can put off our selfish natural self and become a child of God, meek, humble, full of faith and appropriate trust. 

“When we repent, when we confess and forsake our sins, the Lord says He remembers them no more. It is not that He forgets; rather, in a remarkable way, it seems He chooses not to remember them, nor need we.”

One’s “life journey” is individual, added Elder Gong. “But we can come again to God our Father and His Beloved Son through trust in God, each other and ourselves.”

For full-time missionaries seeking each day to share the gospel, trusting in God is an absolute essential. While participating in a virtual ministry tour of the Asia Area last November, Elder Peter F. Meurs, a General Authority Seventy and a counselor in the Asia Area presidency, reminded missionaries of the power found in trusting the Lord.

“The outcome of your mission will depend on the choices you make,” Elder Meurs said. “Choose, like Nephi, to act in faith, to trust in the Lord, to seek His guidance to find the pure in heart and help them progress and develop faith.”

Trust in the Lord ‘with all thine heart’

The Young Women general presidency: from left, Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor; President Bonnie H. Cordon; and Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor.
The Young Women general presidency: from left, Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor; President Bonnie H. Cordon; and Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

For Latter-day Saint youth, trusting in the Lord will be an unifying effort in 2022.

This year’s youth theme is gleaned from timeless counsel found in ancient scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

During the final days of 2021, the Church News met with the Young Women and Young Men general presidencies to discuss the 2022 youth theme and the importance of trusting the Lord at all times and in all things.

Trusting someone — including the Lord — is a fruit of a loving relationship.

“If I’m going to trust anyone in my life, it’s usually because I have a great relationship with them,” said Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon. “So I hope this year, as youth do so well, that they can create an enhanced understanding of who the Savior is.”

Brother Ahmad Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, repeated prophetic counsel that trust in the Lord is an extension of faith.

The Young Men general presidency: from left, Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor; President Steven J. Lund; and Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, second counselor.
The Young Men general presidency: from left, Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor; President Steven J. Lund; and Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, second counselor. Credit: Photo by Richard M. Romney, Church Magazines

“We have faith that the Lord will keep His promises. Then we trust in His timing and trust in what ‘keeping His promises’ looks like — which isn’t always what we think they should look like.”

Trusting the Lord is not passive, added Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. “Trusting requires us to act in faith and to do those small and simple things that we’ve been taught to do.” 

Young Men General President Steven J. Lund observed that sometimes God’s children don’t trust in the Lord’s plan of happiness. Instead, they wander along alternate and dangerous paths. But trusting in God’s way offers safety. “If we live purposeful lives,” he said, “we can recognize when we are walking on His path.”

The youth leaders identified several proven actions — those “holy habits of discipleship” — that Latter-day Saints of any age can utilize in their daily lives to build trust in God: Attend Church meetings; receive and ponder one’s patriarchal blessing; accept and fulfill Church assignments; and, of course, be prayerful and study the scriptures.