Remind them that James did not say, If any of you lack wisdom, let him Google.
Elder M. Russell Ballard emphasized a message many in the world of LDS apologetics have been repeating recently. Speaking to seminary teachers and CES employees “An Evening with Elder M. Russell Ballard” Feb. 26, 2015, he said:
Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and a teacher responded, ‘Don’t worry about it!’ Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue. Gone are the days when students were protected from people who attacked the Church.
This is why I felt it was important to address the CES Letter issues in a direct and honest way.
He went on to say:
Let me warn you not to pass along faith promoting or unsubstantiated rumors or outdated understandings and explanations of our doctrines or practices from the past…Consult the works of recognized, thoughtful and faithful LDS scholars to ensure you do not teach things that are untrue, out of date, or odd and quirky…We give medical inoculations to our precious missionaries before sending them into the mission field so they will be protected against diseases that can harm or even kill them…In a similar fashion, please, before you send them into the world, inoculate your students by providing faithful, thoughtful and accurate interpretation of gospel doctrine, the scriptures, our history and those topics that are sometimes misunderstood.
I’m very impressed with the way Elder Ballard is leading on this. We need to stop passing false but inspirational messages. This is why I’m sometimes tough on outlets such as www.ldsliving.com and some of the traditional “80’s style” Mormon apologetics that have become more and more difficult to defend as scientists and historians make advances.
Elder Ballard said we must be able to address difficult questions such as polygamy, seerstones, Book of Abraham, etc. “Master the content of the Gospel Topics essays.”
Sacrament meeting and Sunday School might not be the right time to go deep into the church’s historical essays on topics like the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith polygamy, but we need to understand the church’s new positions on these matters and move with the church in a way that embraces both the truth and beauty of the LDS church and all the secular knowledge we gain through science and history.