Too often, an ideological chasm can develop between members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their friends and loved ones who doubt some aspects of the gospel or who no longer believe in the Church at all.
Although I no longer believe in the Church, I do strongly believe that it is not my place to try and affect or destroy the faith of another person. I remember what it was like to be a fully invested believer, and I recall how offensive it was to hear outsiders mock a faith I held so dear and to see people trying to discredit doctrines I cherished. But I also remember what it was like to have what I now realize were misconceptions about what some critics were actually trying to say about my religion. A difference in religious beliefs should not be the barrier to healthy friendships and familial relationships that it can frequently become. In the interests of helping people understand each other and helping to destigmatize doubt, I’ve prepared a list of items that I hope members of the Church will be willing to consider—not so that anyone can show them the supposed errors of their religious traditions, but so members can see that, for better or worse, the critics, skeptics, and apostates do have some valid concerns. Yes, some might leave the Church because they’re offended, because they find the lifestyle too demanding, or because they don’t want to feel guilt for their sins any longer. But more often than not, the impetus for disaffection from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is far deeper, far more nuanced, and far more complex than something that can be packaged into the clichés we’ve all heard.
I have endeavored to phrase these questions in a way that is non-argumentative and open-ended. Clearly, I’ve made my own determinations about the answers to these questions, but I don’t wish them to be presented in such a way that implies that my conclusions are the only conclusions. Nothing is accomplished by asking something so blunt and so disrespectful as—if you’ll pardon the example—“Why is God so racist?” Faithful Latter-day Saints will not even accept the premise of the question. It doesn’t help anyone understand another person’s views on the Church's history with racial issues. A better approach is to ask what explanations we have for the Church policy that formerly restricted people of color from certain ordinances.
As much as possible, I have also tried to provide publicly available internet links, so that readers can see what I’m basing my questions on. I first tried to find direct Church sources for each issue, such as the official website and the Joseph Smith Papers Project. It’s not reasonable, of course, to expect the Church to provide a public statement for every little confusing concept or every little troubling apostolic comment, so when an official source was not available, I searched for Church-friendly sources, such as BYU scholarship, FAIR Mormon, and the Deseret News. In a pinch, I have fallen back on more neutral sources, such as The Salt Lake Tribune, The New York Times, and Wikipedia—although I’ve tried to keep the Wikipedia links limited, as that obviously does not carry the same weight as long-standing national news media outlets. You will find no links to MormonThink or ex-Mormon discussion boards here (although I suppose there are some links to unfriendly YouTube channels in some cases where videos of Church leaders are cited). There were many items that, although I felt they raised important questions, did not make the cut because I couldn’t find a reliable enough source free of blatant anti-Mormon angles.
The purpose of this is, again, not to influence any member to abandon a testimony. The purpose is to demonstrate that there are numerous legitimate concerns that inactives and apostates may have. It is to show that even though there may be acceptable answers to these issues, there are not simple, obvious explanations for everything. My goal in this is to help both members and ex-members alike narrow that ideological chasm. As you read, I’m sure you’ll find items that you can answer right away. I’m sure there are items that you know there’s an explanation for, but you’d have to do some digging to find it. But my hope is that, for most questions, an open-minded reader may be able to say, “Well, that’s something that I think I can reconcile, but I can see why it bothers some people so much.”
When a friend or loved one expresses doubt or experiences a loss of faith, it can damage relationships—sometimes irreparably. Everyone should feel entitled to maintain their own convictions, and divergent religious paths should not have to threaten the stability or the happiness of a family unit. The Latter-day Saint movement draws upon a rich history and detailed theology, which can be both a source of wonder for the faithful and a source of consternation for the skeptics. This is merely an attempt to uncover complexities in the doctrines and histories, to dispel misconceptions about the concepts that spur people to leave the Church, and to help families see a middle ground in which they can understand each other, even as they continue to hold different beliefs.
With these objectives in mind, here are 220 questions that I hope all Latter-day Saints with doubting loved ones will be willing to ponder.
1. Why does the 1832 account of the First Vision, written in Joseph Smith’s own hand, detail a different motive for his prayer, a different number of appearing personages, a different pronouncement from the heavenly visitor, and a different year of occurrence than the 1838 account canonized in Joseph Smith—History?
2. Why did some early Church leaders seem to teach a version of the First Vision in which Joseph Smith was visited merely by an angel instead of by God or Jesus? [Brigham Young, 1855; Wilford Woodruff, 1855; George Albert Smith, 1863; John Taylor, 1879]
3. Can a plausible theory that Joseph Smith personally crafted the stories of the Book of Mormon be supported by his mother’s claim that, prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he would occasionally give “amusing recitals” about “the ancient inhabitants of this continent…their mode of warfare, as also their religious worship…with much ease”?
4. Why does so much Church-produced visual media (films, paintings, etc.) not depict Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon using a seer stone in his hat (until recently—October 2015, March 2018 and June 2019)?
5. Why was all the effort that ancient civilizations went through to produce, compile, preserve, abridge, and bury the Book of Mormon records necessary if Joseph Smith was able to translate the Book of Mormon without the Golden Plates present?
6. Why did several of Joseph Smith’s early revelations lead his friends and followers into endeavors that can appear not to have achieved their stated objectives? [selling the copyright to the Book of Mormon; Zion’s Camp; the search for treasure in Salem; the United Order; the command to build a temple in Missouri]
7. Can all of Joseph Smith’s trouble with law enforcement throughout his life be dismissed as unfounded accusations from persecutors of the Church?
8. Considering the similarities between Freemason ceremonies and temple endowments, can it be considered suspect that the endowment was introduced on May 4th, 1842—less than two months after Joseph Smith became a Master Mason?
9. Do Joseph Smith’s many titles, including Prophet, Mayor of Nauvoo, Lieutenant General, Master Mason, “chairman, Prophet, Priest, and King over the Council and the world,” and candidate for President of the United States, hint at anything in his character that could lend credibility to a non-prophetic narrative that he sought power and prestige?
10. Why did Joseph Smith teach in 1835 that the coming of the Lord “was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene”?
11. Can Joseph Smith’s claim that he had translated part of the forged Kinderhook Plates represent a legitimate challenge to his revelatory credibility?
12. Why is Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible so similar to Adam Clarke’s previously published Bible commentary? [BYU Journal of Undergraduate Research; Interview with BYU’s Dr. Wayment, last paragraph on page 6]
13. Does Joseph Smith’s Happiness Letter to Nancy Rigdon, which has been frequently quoted in General Conference, pave the way for the kind of moral relativism the Church preaches against today (Ensign, 2014; Conference, 2014; Ensign, 2015) because of lines like “That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another”?
14. Why do Church videos tend to depict Joseph Smith as unarmed when he was martyred—even though it’s historically documented that he was provided with a gun and that he defended himself by shooting three of his attackers?
15. Why did Neil L. Andersen advise us to “give Brother Joseph a break” instead of providing inspired, apostolic explanations for some of the controversial events in the prophet’s life?
The Book of Mormon
16. Can reasonable questions about the credibility of the Testimony of the Eight Witnesses arise considering their statement bears the eight names written in the same handwriting (instead of the men’s signatures) and considering all witnesses were members of either the Whitmer family (Hiram Page was married to a Whitmer) or the Smith family?
17. Is the power of the Book of Mormon witnesses in any way diminished by the fact that James Strang was also able to produce multiple witnesses for his Voree Plates?
18. Is it strange that the Angel Moroni reclaimed the Golden Plates that bear unique ancient symbols but did not reclaim the ordinary-looking seer stone used to translate them—only for it to remain unused until the Church publicized its existence in 2015?
19. Although some things in the Book of Mormon once thought to be anachronistic (such as cement and barley) have been demonstrated not to be anachronistic, do those discoveries have any effect on whether remaining anachronisms will be overturned (such as horses, chariots, steel, elephants, silk, honey bees, and wheat)?
20. If, as President Ezra Taft Benson taught, the Book of Mormon was written for our day with an inspired collection of records, stories, and speeches that would be most relevant to us, why does so much of 2 Nephi quote what’s already available in Isaiah, why do large sections of Alma go into such detail on secular warfare, and why does Ether include so many summaries of the lineage of Jaredite kings?
21. Why do so many passages from the Book of Mormon and the King James Bible match up word-for-word even though one was translated from Hebrew to Reformed Egyptian to 19th-century English and the other was translated from several languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) into 17th-century English?
22. If the term “Christ” comes from the Greek “christos” used to translate Jesus’s Hebrew title in early Biblical translations (anglicized in the present day as “Messiah,” meaning “anointed one” in the original Hebrew), why would the translated Book of Mormon not simply use the English title “Messiah” instead of a Greek word that wouldn’t have been spoken in ancient America?
23. If the Hill Cumorah where Moroni buried the golden plates is the same location as the final battles of the Nephite civilization and the Jaredite civilization (an idea put forth by Bruce R. McConkie), should there be millions of weapons and other ancient artifacts littering the area surrounding Cumorah?
24. If the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of the gospel,” what could be the reason that it does not discuss eternal marriage, baptism for the dead, temple endowments, the age of accountability, the three degrees of glory, eternal progression, the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, or the offices of bishop, patriarch, stake president, and seventy?
25. If 1 Nephi 1:20, which is often called the thesis statement of the Book of Mormon (Deseret News; BYU professor Daniel C. Peterson; The Church News; some LDS blogger; some other LDS blogger) indicates that the “tender mercies” of God will make his faithful followers “mighty even unto the power of deliverance,” is that thesis statement undermined by the fact that the Book of Mormon outlines the splitting of a family into rival factions, chronicles a thousand years of repeated wars and conflicts, and ends with the righteous becoming extinct and the wicked inheriting the promised land?
26. Why did Nephi claim that “the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way” even though we know that the first two commandments God ever gave in the Garden of Eden were mutually exclusive (multiply and replenish the earth but don’t eat the fruit)?
27. Could there have been other possible divine solutions for Nephi’s inability to get the brass plates from Laban other than an instruction to break one of the Ten Commandments?
28. Why did God command Nephi to kill Laban if, according to Ether 8:19, “neither doth [the Lord] will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man”?
29. Are the similarities between the vision of the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi and a dream Joseph Smith, Sr. had in 1811 a possible indication that Joseph Smith drew upon his family’s experiences while bringing forth the Book of Mormon?
30. Is it odd that the prophecies of history in 1 Nephi 13 outline Jesus’s appearance after His death, the formation of a great and abominable church, the arrival of Christopher Columbus, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, but nothing more recent than Joseph Smith’s lifetime?
31. Why does Nephi say in 2 Nephi 5:15 that gold, silver, and precious ores were in “great abundance” but explain in verse 16 that he didn’t build his temple of so many precious things because “they were not to be found upon the land”?
32. In the Allegory of the Olive Tree, why does Jesus want to cut down the vineyard and burn it and why is it the servant who has to talk him out of it?
33. Is King Benjamin’s statement that “the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam,” a reference to the kind of punishment for Adam’s transgression that the second Article of Faith states we should not receive?
34. Does it say anything about God’s capacity for compassion that he allows his prophet to teach principles that can appear to belittle His children, such as “the natural man is an enemy to God” and that no matter how much we give to Him we will still be “unprofitable servants”?
35. How are the relationships between God the Father and Jesus Christ described in 2 Nephi 11:7, Mosiah 15:1-4, Alma 11:38-40, 3 Nephi 11, Ether 3:14, and Ether 4:12 distinguished from the concept of the Trinity?
36. How did Alma the Elder gain the authority to baptize without the laying on of hands and why did it require a long-dead holder of the priesthood to appear in the modern dispensation to restore that authority?
37. If God knows the desires of our hearts, why did he need the blood of the righteous people of Ammonihah to stand as a witness against the city’s chief judge?
38. How does the teaching that God would not save the Ammonihahites so that “blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against” the perpetrators align with the story of the Stripling Warriors, in which Helaman declares that “whosoever did not doubt...should be preserved by [God's] marvelous power”?
39. Is it concerning that there is no mention of a warning shot or any attempt at diplomacy before Ammon began killing and maiming thieves in defense of King Lamoni’s sheep?
40. In his capacity as a missionary, was it right for Ammon to threaten the life of Lamoni’s father, even as a negotiating tactic?
41. Why does Alma chapter 41, despite having a convenient context in which to discuss the degrees of glory, imply that the afterlife has only two destinations?
42. If God “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance,” why did he destroy the sinful Nephites but not destroy the sinful Lamanites?
43. When Zerahemnah surrendered his weapons to Captain Moroni but admitted that he couldn’t promise never to fight the Nephites again, would Christ have made the same decision that Moroni did to demand that Zerahemnah choose between death and swearing a dishonest oath?
44. Was it morally justified or consistent with the cause of freedom when Moroni executed Amalickiahite prisoners who would not vow to support free government?
45. Are there any problems—morally or politically—with Moroni threatening to execute citizens of his own nation who did not wish to join his army?
46. Does Moroni’s use of enemy soldiers as slaves provide any insight into his character?
47. Was it a righteous decision for Moroni to threaten to use Nephite children as soldiers if Ammoron didn’t meet his demands?
48. Were any positive or Christlike attributes exhibited by Captain Moroni when he to threatened to kill the leader of his own government?
49. Other than his strong belief in the gospel, what else about Moroni’s behavior supports the claim made in Alma 48:17 that “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni…the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men”?
50. Could it be evidence of human authorship rather than divine translation that Alma chapter 56, which contains a letter written by Helaman, refers to Helaman in the first person until verse 52, which twice refers to Helaman by name in the third person?
51. What are the differences between the secret combinations with secret signs condemned in the Book of Mormon and the modern temple ceremonies’ signs and tokens that the participants are instructed not to discuss publicly?
52. Why would a loving Father in Heaven express hatred for any of His children?
53. When is the last time someone was converted to the gospel with such intensity that it involved a loss of consciousness or a massive muscle failure, like what happened repeatedly in the Book of Mormon? [Alma the Younger; King Lamoni; Lamoni’s entire household; Lamoni’s father; the five men who confirmed Nephi’s prophecy that the chief judge had been murdered; Nephites witnessing the signs of Christ’s birth]
54. Does the public execution of an enemy with a joyful prayer that God will punish other enemies in the same way demonstrate sufficient dedication to the cause of peace or sufficient respect for human life? [3 Nephi 4:28-31]
55. How does Jesus’s use of the term “damned” relate to the Church’s current teachings about the possible destinations of souls in the postmortal existence?
56. Did the addition of the endowment and the sealing ordinance constitute declaring more than the baptism-centric doctrine Jesus taught in 3 Nephi 11:38-40, an act He said “cometh of evil”?
57. Why did Jesus allow the disciples to pray to him in 3 Nephi 19:18 if he told them in 3 Nephi 18:19 that they should pray to the Father?
58. When Jesus quoted Malachi 4 in 3 Nephi 25, why did he advise the Nephites to remember the Law of Moses if His atonement had already made that law obsolete?
59. Why are the promises made to Nephite disciples in 3 Nephi 28 to “speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom” or to “never taste of death” not available to the rest of us in the same way by a simple, faithful request?
60. Is there any contradiction in the land of Desolation first being located in the northern Nephite territory near Bountiful (Alma 22:29-30, Alma 50:33-34, and Alma 63:5) and later being located in the southern Nephite territory near the Lamanite lands (Mormon 3:5-6 and Mormon 4)?
62. In its final battle that cost all but 24 lives out of a force of 230,000, is it strange that Mormon’s army was able to sustain a higher percentage of casualties than Pickett’s Charge, the Battle of the Thermopylae, or the Charge of the Light Brigade as well as numeric losses greater than the Battle of Antietam, the Battle of the Bulge, or the combined deaths from both atomic bombs?
63. If God “is a God of miracles,” why do prophets and apostles no longer have current stories of miraculous mass healings (ten lepers; malaria victims in Nauvoo) or miraculous manipulation of natural forces (walking on water; parting the Red Sea; gulls in the Salt Lake Valley) or angelic visitations (Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel; Nephi again; Alma the Younger; restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood; Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple) or raising the dead (Lazarus raised by Jesus; Timothy raised by Nephi) or other miraculous displays of power (the brother of Jared moving the mountain of Zerin; Nephi and Lehi protected in prison)?
64. How were the Jaredites, at best a Bronze Age civilization, able to construct watertight, submersible ocean-faring vessels?
65. How were the Jaredites able to fit enough food and fresh water in their eight tree-length barges for all the voyagers and all their livestock to survive the 344-day ocean journey?
66. Why were cureloms and cumoms—unlike other animals in the Book of Mormon such as horses, sheep, and elephants—not translated into English words?
67. How was King Coriantum able to live to be 142 years old?
68. Ether 12:6 teaches that “ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith,” but wasn’t a witness without a trial of faith given to Laman and Lemuel, Alma and the sons of Mosiah, Saul of Tarsus, Korihor, King Lamoni’s household, and the Lamanites who stormed the jail to kill Nephi and Lehi?
69. If two million Jaredites died in the final battles of their civilization and Shiz and Coriantumr had armies of approximately one million soldiers each, doesn’t that mean the probability of the last two people alive being specifically Shiz and Coriantumr would be roughly one in one trillion?
70. According to Moroni, if the Church is true and has 15 million believing members, should angels still regularly minister unto men?
71. If it’s awful wickedness to say that God will save a baptized child and damn an unbaptized child, but it’s not awful wickedness to say the same about adults, doesn’t that mean that God is a partial God and a respecter of persons because of how many children die before the age of accountability and because of how many adults die without an opportunity for baptism?
72. In Moroni chapter 9, when the Lamanites “deprived [their prisoners] of that which is most dear and precious above all other things, which is chastity and virtue,” and in the next verse those prisoners are tortured and killed, does that imply that woman’s virginity is more precious than her life?
The Doctrine and Covenants
73. Why did the Church rescind doctrine from the Doctrine and Covenants by removing the Lectures on Faith in 1921 through a committee process instead of by prophetic revelation or by a churchwide vote?
74. Why was a restoration of the priesthood through John the Baptist and through Peter, James, and John necessary if the Three Nephites were still alive and still held the priesthood given to them by Christ in 3 Nephi 18?
75. Why was a revelation from 1830 that was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments expanded in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants to include a section about heavenly visitors who are not mentioned in the original revelation? [This is currently D&C section 27]
76. Why are Elijah and Elias treated as separate beings in Doctrine and Covenants 27 and during the visitations in the Kirtland Temple if they were the same Biblical person? [Elias is the latinized form of the name Elijah and Paul quotes Elias in Romans 11:2-3 with Elijah’s words from 1 Kings 19:14]
77. Why is the Terrestrial Kingdom compared to the glory of the moon instead of to the glory of the Earth?
78. How can the statement in Doctrine and Covenants 77 that the Earth will only exist for a total of seven thousand years be reconciled with the scientific consensus that the Earth is billions of years old and that homo sapiens has existed for hundreds of thousands of years?
79. When Joseph Smith prophesied of the American Civil War in Doctrine and Covenants 87, why do some of his predictions appear not to have come to pass, such as Britain joining the war, other nations being pulled in, slaves revolting, Native American remnants attacking the Gentiles, various natural disasters, and the end of all nations?
80. Why are we accountable for some things that are not in the Word of Wisdom (coffee and tea) but not accountable for something that is (eating meat only in times of winter, cold, or famine)?
81. Doesn’t the devil know that he does not have a body, therefore making it easy for him to pose as "the spirit of a just man made perfect" by declining to shake hands when Doctrine and Covenants section 129’s method of detecting a false angelic messenger is applied?
82. Could the teaching that children who die before the age of eight are eligible for the Celestial Kingdom create any inequities in the Plan of Salvation between those who were sent here briefly to receive a body and those of us who were sent here to prove our worthiness over a lifetime that extends long past the age of accountability?
83. Could the fact that only 3 sections and 2 official declarations have been added to the Doctrine and Covenants since Joseph Smith’s death indicate that direct prophetic revelation has waned significantly since 1844?
The Pearl of Great Price
84. Why has academic Egyptological study delineated starkly different interpretations of the Book of Abraham facsimiles than the interpretations provided by Joseph Smith?
85. Why would God put Joseph Smith in contact with the Book of Abraham papyrus, allow him to believe it was a record written by Abraham, and employ it as a vehicle to reveal scripture to him despite the lack of vehicles required for his many Doctrine and Covenants revelations and for his inspired translation of the Bible, which he started prior to coming in contact with the Book of Abraham papyrus?
86. If God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, why did he condemn a third of his children at the outset of his plan, allow his gospel to be absent from the earth for almost two thousand years, and then establish a church that, in the last days, still only represents approximately two tenths of one percent of the planet?
87. If an important distinction between Jesus’s and Lucifer’s plans was that Jesus wanted to deflect all the glory to God, why is the Church named after Jesus instead of God, why do we call Jesus our Savior, and why do we celebrate Jesus’s birth and resurrection without any holidays for God the Father?
88. Why does modern astronomy not align with the explanation of Facsimile 2 Figure 5 in the Book of Abraham, which states that certain stars receive their light and power from the revolutions of Kolob?
89. If a big part of Joseph Smith’s story was a need for clear answers to the numerous conflicting denominational interpretations of the Bible, why is there so much variety in the interpretations of the Book of Mormon?
90. In Joseph Smith—History, why does the prophet state in verse 10 that “I often said to myself…are [the churches] all wrong together,” but state in verse 18 when he was in the Sacred Grove that “at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong”?
91. Why did God need to prepare the Urim and Thummim for the purpose of translating the golden plates (Joseph Smith—History 1:35) if, according to the Church website’s essay on seer stones, Joseph could use the Urim and Thummim and his own previously found seer stone “interchangeably”?
The Plan of Salvation
92. How will proxy temple ordinances be performed for the countless people for whom there is no genealogical record whatsoever?
93. How does the Second Anointing align with the purpose of mortal life being to test us based on our faith and our actions?
94. If God is such a strong proponent of free agency, why did he condemn Lucifer’s followers for all eternity with no hope of redemption even though they’d exercised their free agency on exactly one issue?
95. What sins have you committed for which eternal separation from God would be a fair punishment (if you had received no ordinances) and what sins could you commit that would cause loving mortal parents to punish you with permanent separation?
96. Should we need to meet an age requirement, a worthiness requirement, and an ordinance requirement to be eligible for full communication from our Heavenly Father—and what requirements would loving mortal parents impose for their children to be eligible to communicate with them?
97. If resurrection will restore our physical bodies so that not one hair from our heads shall be lost, and if the Proclamation on the Family declares that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose,” why would apostle Joseph Fielding Smith teach that in the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms “the power of procreation will be removed” and that “men and women will, in these kingdoms, be…neither man nor woman”?
98. Would a perfected being have emotionally evolved beyond the need to be worshipped by His children?
99. If there must be an opposition in all things and Adam would not have fallen without someone to tempt him to eat the fruit, could this mean that God intentionally created Lucifer as an evil being in order to make the Plan of Salvation possible?
100. Doesn’t Jesus’s role as an advocate with the Father (Doctrine & Covenants 45:3-5; 1 John 2:1) make him more merciful than God?
101. If God’s love is not unconditional [Elder Christofferson; Elder Nelson, in which he also quotes President Joseph F. Smith expressing a similar sentiment], why are we held to a higher standard of love [President Kimball instructing us to love our families unconditionally] and why does Jesus have unconditional love [Elder Nelson] if God the Father does not?
102. Can the Plan of Salvation be seen as inefficient when it has a lot of elements that can be interpreted as post hoc corrections for the weaknesses of other elements? [Establishing a church compensates for the veil of forgetfulness at birth; Missionary work compensates for limited access to ordinances; Proxy ordinances compensate for the limits of missionary work; Genealogy compensates for limits of proxy ordinances; Temple Sealings compensate for separation in the afterlife]
103. Because Joseph Smith was told in revelation that he would see the coming of the Son of Man if he lived to the age of 85 (Doctrine and Covenants 130:14-15), does that mean that God’s purposes can be delayed by more than a century due to the loss of one individual whose death the omniscient God would have foreseen?
The Modern Church
Organization and Procedure
104. If “we believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church,” isn’t it odd that there are 15 apostles in the current dispensation but only 12 were established by Jesus during His mortal ministry and only 12 were established during His post-mortal visit to the Nephites?
105. Why does a church that is so proud of its worldwide membership draw disproportionately from its western US population for its highest levels of leadership? [US membership of 6,681,829 and worldwide membership of 16,313,735 shows 59% of members live outside the US]
106. If no one should be ordained to any office in the Church without a vote of the membership (Doctrine and Covenants 20:65), why have so many prophets been ordained before their first General Conference? [Monson’s announcement; Nelson’s announcement]
107. Why is there no scriptural revelation for the order of prophetic succession?
108. Considering how many Book of Mormon prophets and scriptural authors were from the same lineage, does that mean that Joseph Smith III might have had a valid claim to the Presidency of the Church?
109. Why are mystical objects—such as the Liahona used by Lehi’s family, the translation tools once possessed by King Mosiah and the Jaredites or the seer stone used by Joseph Smith—no longer utilized as prophetic resources?
110. Does Elder Bednar’s explanation for why “we can expect the President and other senior leaders of the Church will be older and spiritually seasoned men” allow for God’s method of preparing younger prophets like Jeremiah, Samuel, Mormon, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young for the work of the gospel?
111. Would the present-day Church ever call an apostle who was previously an outspoken critic (like Saul of Tarsus or Alma the Younger) or who was previously excommunicated (like Orson Pratt)?
112. If Jesus was a carpenter, if Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen, if Joseph Smith was a farm boy, and if the symbolic humility of these vocations is so important, shouldn’t we expect to find a few former factory workers and janitors and short order cooks among today’s apostles? [Nelson was a surgeon; Oaks was a jurist; Eyring was a professor; Ballard was a businessman; Holland was an education administrator; Uchtdorf was a senior VP for Lufthansa; Bednar was a professor; Cook was a lawyer; Christofferson was a lawyer; Andersen was a businessman; Rasband was the COO of Huntsman Chemical; Stevenson was the COO for ICON Health & Fitness; Renlund was a cardiologist; Gong was in the US State Department; Soares was a corporate auditor]
113. If the Book of Mormon is true, what assurances do we have that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the correct continuation of that restored truth—as opposed to the Strangites, the Bickertonites, the Temple Lot church, the Snufferites, the Community of Christ, the Kingston Group, the Fundamentalist LDS church, or any other church that traces its roots back to Joseph Smith’s restoration of the gospel and his divine translation of the Book of Mormon?
114. Although it’s understandable that a religious organization inspired of God can make mistakes through its imperfect leaders, is there a level of imperfection or an accumulation of individual imperfections that would preclude the possibility of that organization being inspired of God?
Doctrine and Covenants 119 better reflected by the current tithing policy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or by the current tithing policy of the Community of Christ?Is the practice of tithing members’ interest or surplus as outlined in
116. Why would a loving God expect us to pay our tithing before we make sure our families are provided for, as taught by Elder Lynn G. Robbins in the April 2005 General Conference, as written in the December 2012 Ensign and as taught by Elder Valeri V. Cordón in the April 2017 General Conference?
117. Can the Church be considered to have no paid clergy when apostles draw salaries, sit on the CES Board of Directors, and sell doctrine-based writings through the Church-owned Deseret Book?
118. When Church leaders obtain Deseret Book publishing deals to expound on gospel topics with their apostolic celebrity guaranteeing sales, where is the line drawn to distinguish this practice from priestcraft? [President Nelson; President Oaks; President Eyring]
119. Could Elder Durrant’s “poor judgment” in allowing his son to create a website selling merchandise based on Durrant’s “Ponderize” talk be interpreted as an attempt at priestcraft?
120. Could requiring a full tithe for access to the temple be construed as the Church itself selling signs and tokens for money?
121. Regardless of any doctrinal stance on the issue at stake, should it be okay for a religious institution to contribute almost $200,000 to influence the outcome of a state’s political referendum?
122. What non-financial gospel purposes are served by the Church’s housing complexes, its shopping malls, its private hunting preserve, its cattle ranch, its insurance company, and its other large real estate holdings?
123. What is the ratio between the number of temples the Church has built and the number of homeless shelters the Church has built?
124. Can anything about the Church’s priorities be inferred from the fact that it spent approximately six times as much money to build the City Creek Center in Salt Lake City as it spent in humanitarian cash donations from 1985 to 2011? [an estimated $2 billion] [$327.6 M]
125. What possible downsides beyond the effort required to make the information available could be keeping the Church from being transparent about its finances the way some other churches are and the way the Church itself used to be?
126. Has the narrative of Church growth as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands rolling forth to fill the whole earth [D&C 65:2, 1831; Kimball, 1976; Hinckley, 1995; Ensign, 1996; Hinckley, 2007] shifted, judging by Elder Cook’s reminder that Nephi foresaw the Church’s “numbers would be small because of wickedness”?
127. Is it coincidental that the Church stopped announcing its membership statistics in General Conference after the first five consecutive years of slowing membership growth in the entire history of the Church?
128. Why did Elder Jeffrey R. Holland assert in April 2016 that the Church was creating stakes in double digits each week on average when the church only added 92 stakes during the entire year of 2016? [2015 statistical report] [2016 statistical report]
129. Is it strange that Elder Holland would predict that the number of missionaries would hit one hundred thousand by 2019, only for those numbers to decline every year after the 2014 peak?
130. How well can the Church be servicing God’s goal of spreading truth to all His children when the Church makes up approximately two tenths of one percent of the world population (assuming every member on record is active), when there is currently about one full-time missionary in the world for every 115,000 people, and when the number of convert baptisms per missionary in 2018 was less than four?
Questions, Criticism, and Discipline
131. How many stories are told in General Conference about an apostate or an inactive member who is happy, healthy, and successful without eventually returning to the Church?
132. Why did Elder and Sister Renlund dismiss their doubting friend’s actions as “church history Whac-a-Mole” instead of acknowledging the legitimacy of his spiritual and emotional crisis?
133. If, according to Elder Cook, “one purpose of prophets is to help us in resolving sincere questions,” why are none of the Gospel Topics essays on the Church website signed by or ostensibly authored by any of the apostles or prophets?
134. How does teaching that “when our leaders speak, the thinking has been done” and “when the prophet speaks the debate is over” complement our personal responsibility to gain our own spiritual witness of what we’ve been taught?
135. Can Church leaders be considered anti-intellectual when they make statements such as “I find it unnecessary to investigate or rethink my beliefs,” [Henry J. Eyring, 2018] when they refer to intellectuals as one of the three biggest threats to the Church [Elder Packer, 1993], and when they suggest that “research is not the answer”? [Elder Oaks, 2019]
136. If the Church so carefully separates policy, which can change, from doctrine, which cannot, why does it seem to resist calls for policy changes? [policies on race; partial concessions to Sam Young’s call to end sexual questions in one-on-one interviews; walking back the November 2015 policy after more than three years of backlash]
137. Would God actually allow criticism of a leader to diminish that leader’s capacity to perform his or her calling and is it ethical or healthy to teach that this is the reason why factually correct criticism of leaders is wrong?
138. Was it entirely fair for Elder Robbins to dismiss criticism of the prophet as “guilt trying to reassure itself,” especially considering that Elder Uchtdorf reminded us the year before that God runs his Church through imperfect people and that “there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes” and considering that Elder Ballard would express a similar sentiment to Uchtdorf’s the year after?
139. Does Elder Oaks’s assertion that the Church does not give apologies say anything about his level of compassion or his devotion to accountability?
140. Why did the Church summon Jeremy Runnells to a disciplinary hearing instead of providing him with answers to the concerns he outlined in his Letter to a CES Director? [exchange between Runnells and his stake president starting on page 13]
141. Why was Bill Reel told during his disciplinary council that he could be excommunicated for calling Jeffrey R. Holland a liar in his podcast even if Elder Holland actually was lying? [transcript, p. 26-29, recording, approx. 1:20:00]
142. Can the decision to excommunicate Sam Young be construed as an indication that the Church feels a stronger urge to protect its own authority than to protect its children from sexual abuse?
143. Why has the Church excommunicated Fawn Brodie, D. Michael Quinn, Denver Snuffer, Sam Young, John Dehlin, Jeremy Runnells, Kate Kelly, Bill Reel, and others for publicizing criticism, but not Joseph Bishop, who has confessed to sexual misconduct committed while he was President of the MTC, and not Sterling van Wagenen, who pled guilty to sexually abusing a child?
144. What, other than spiritual and emotional trauma, can excommunication be expected to accomplish for a believer who receives it as verdict from a disciplinary council?
145. Is it kind or Christlike for the Church to press criminal charges against the woman who shouted “stop protecting sexual predators” during General Conference instead of trying to understand or address her concerns?
146. If there were a Church policy that was hurtful and needed to be changed, what realistic options would members have to directly alert the General Authorities of the need for a new policy?
147. If Elder Cook declared unequivocally in April 2015’s General Conference that the Church “has never been stronger” and that “the number of members removing their names from the records has always been very small and is significantly less in recent years than in the past,” why have the leaders been spending so much time discussing doubts, questions, criticism, inactivity, and apostasy? [Elder Uchtdorf, 2013; Elder Kacher, 2014; Elder Ballard, 2014; Elder Stanfill, 2015; Elder Andersen, 2015; Elder Ballard, 2016; Elder Uchtdorf, 2016; Elder Callister, 2017; BYU-Idaho President Eyring, 2018; Elder Cook, 2018; Elder and Sister Renlund, 2019; Elder Corbridge, 2019]
Statements of Modern Leaders
148. Why are revelations in Church history presented as the words God literally spoke but anything recent that’s claimed to be revelation is presented as the apostles’ own words based on divine inspiration?
149. Can it weaken the apostles’ claim to the power of prophecy when Joseph Fielding Smith, as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that “we will never get a man into space” less than a decade before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon?
150. When Boyd K. Packer told a CES symposium in 1981 that “some things that are true are not very useful,” was he advocating dishonesty by suggesting that troubling historical data should be deemphasized or should be omitted entirely from discussion?
151. Can it be considered blaming the victims of trauma for Elder Scott to suggest that “the Lord may prompt a victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for abuse”?
152. What aspect of his apostolic calling was Boyd K. Packer fulfilling when he claimed that the three primary enemies of the Church are feminists, homosexuals, and intellectuals?
153. When President Gordon B. Hinckley was asked about the central and unique LDS doctrine of eternal progression in a 1997 interview with Time Magazine, was he being dishonest or evasive when he answered: “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it…”?
154. If the call to avoid tattoos and piercings is based on the teaching that the body is a temple, why did President Hinckley teach that it’s still permissible for women to damage that temple with piercings for one pair of earrings?
155. Was Elder Holland being dishonest when he implied that Mitt Romney would not have sworn a temple oath—only to adjust his answer after the interviewer demonstrated knowledge of the pre-1990 endowment ceremony?
156. How much can an organization contribute to peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind when it teaches with so many war metaphors? [a few recent examples to supplement hymns and scriptural references: Joy D. Jones, Neil L. Andersen, Bradley D. Foster, Brian K. Taylor]
157. Was Elder Clayton promoting a form of blind obedience when he taught that “real obedience accepts God’s commandments unconditionally and in advance,” or was Elder Perry promoting a form of blind obedience when he compared us to a team of horses and explained that “the only way for a horse to know it is always doing the right thing is to be obedient”?
158. Does it encourage healthy relationships in mixed-faith families when Elder Maxwell and Elder Andersen compare apostates to Judas?
159. Why did Elder Oaks dispel the myth of the “theology of prosperity” if the Book of Mormon teaches this theme repeatedly? [2 Nephi 1:9-11; Jarom 1:9; Mosiah 1:7; Alma 36:1; Alma 37:13; Alma 49:30; Alma 50:19-20; Helaman 12:1-2; 4 Nephi 1:23]
160. Considering how much the Church stresses the importance of the family, doesn’t it seem strange or even unhealthy that Elder Walker would praise a pioneer’s decision to leave his pregnant wife and six children to join the Mormon Battalion, that Elder Soares would praise a missionary’s decision not to leave his mission after the death of his sister, and that Elder Andersen would praise another missionary’s decision not to leave his mission after his entire family except for two younger brothers died in a plane crash?
161. Why would a religion that offers “ultimate happiness [and] true peace” teach that “if you feel a little overwhelmed, take that as a good sign”?
162. Why would President Nelson claim that using the nickname Mormon is “a major victory for Satan” despite the fact that President Monson used it to advertise during his administration, President Hinckley extolled its value, and even Joseph Smith embraced it? [History of the Church Vol 3, p. 297 “Truth is ‘Mormonism.’ God is the author of it.”]
163. With all the problems in the world, why would God choose to have His prophet reveal that the nickname of His church is “a major victory for Satan” instead of having him denounce something that is causing widespread suffering among His children?
164. Is the hand that a person uses to take the Sacrament really so crucial to the efficacy of the ordinance that it required Elder Oaks to publicly correct deacons who had taken it with their left hands?
165. Do Church leaders tacitly admit that, despite scriptural precedents and the restoration of Priesthood power, there is a present-day lack of public, visible, miraculous healings? [Elder Hallstrom cited being a child of God, having a body in His image, and the potential for eternal life as examples of miracles; Elder Bednar taught that we should have the faith not to be healed; Elder Eyring told a story of a friend with cancer whose miracle was not to be healed but to have a moment of lucidity with her family before she passed]
166. Are some of the Church’s efforts to downplay the possibility of scriptural-style angelic visitations (Elder Oaks in a multi-stake fireside; Elder Holland in General Conference) similar to what Joseph Smith was told during the early days of the Restoration?
167. When Elder Oaks taught in a General Conference Priesthood session that “women and men are equal, with different responsibilities,” is it likely that, after his long career in law, he would not have recognized while writing his talk how similar his phrasing was to “separate but equal”?
168. Does the teaching that God will call a man through the veil by his temple name and then the man will call his wife through the veil by hers mean that, as Brigham Young is reported to have said, “woman will never get back [into God’s presence], unless she follows the man back”? [Quoted in the Introduction to William Clayton’s journals under the section titled “The Nauvoo Temple, 1845-1846”]
169. Do teachings such as Elder Oaks’s claim that immodestly dressed women are “becoming pornography” and Elder Callister’s claim that when a woman’s clothing is “too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure” shift responsibility away from men and onto women when it comes to controlling one’s thoughts and actions?
170. Can the Church be said to treat women with the same respect it treats men when it has taught that “it was never intended by the Lord that married women should compete with men in employment” [President Benson quoting President Kimball], when an apostle advises women seeking husbands not to “wander around looking like men…put on a little lipstick now and then,” and the when the prophet tells men that their wives are their “most precious possessions”?
171. Is it fair to say that women have a strong voice in the Church when only 9 of the 130 General Authority positions can be filled by women?
172. Why would a God who created humanity and knows our natures have chosen to use skin color as a way to distinguish between the wicked people and His chosen people?
173. Why does the Book of Mormon teach that dark skin is unenticing and why does God seem to believe that dark skin would make someone loathsome?
174. Why does Mormon call the Native Americans “dark, filthy, and loathsome” and wicked beyond precedent while not mentioning any of the loathsomeness among the Gentiles who would later manipulate them, steal from them, and murder them?
175. What explanations do we have for the policy that kept black members from the blessings of the priesthood and the blessings of the temple that can demonstrate that the policy was moral?
176. Why have so many racially charged and unkind things been proclaimed by past prophets and apostles, such as Brigham Young teaching that interracial relationships are punishable by death, Mark E. Peterson claiming that black people could enter the Celestial Kingdom as servants, and Bruce R. McConkie writing in Mormon Doctrine that “negroes are not equal with other races” due to a “lack of spiritual valiance” in the premortal existence?
177. Regardless of the ban in place to prevent black members from receiving temple ordinances, was it still racially problematic for the Church to allow Jane Manning James, a black woman, to be eternally sealed to Joseph Smith specifically as a servant?
178. Why was a hoax website the closest the Church has come to issuing an official, explicit apology for the Church’s past policies regarding race?
179. Is there any data to support Elder Spencer W. Kimball’s teachings in The Miracle of Forgiveness that masturbation can lead to homosexuality and that homosexuality can lead to bestiality?
180. Would Christ have approved of BYU’s electroshock gay conversion therapies from the 1980s?
181. Was the November 2015 policy, which excluded children of gay married couples from receiving the saving ordinance of baptism until they children reach age 18 and acquire First Presidency approval, in keeping with the second Article of Faith?
182. Why would the Church add a policy in its handbook that excluded gay couples and their children only to rescind it less than four years later?
183. If, as Elder Nelson stated, the 2015 additions to the Church’s handbook in response to the legalization of same-sex marriage were revealed as part of a “prophetic process,” why was the “the mind of the Lord and the will of the Lord” on this matter so short-lived?
184. Would Jesus, who was criticized for being friendly with sinners, endorse Elder Oaks’s advice that “in most circumstances,” parents should ask children in homosexual relationships not to bring their partners to family events, and would He support Elder Christofferson's admission that allegiance to the Savior means that “relationships may be interrupted” between family members who have made different choices?
185. Does it display an inordinate focus on homosexuality that, during a presentation about the Church’s information security, Elder Ballard and Elder Oaks seem less concerned about security and more concerned about whether an information leaker in the news was “confirmed homosexual?” [timestamp approx. 5:00]
186. When prophets and apostles have taught marginalizing things like “there are no homosexual members of the Church,” lightheartedly condoned violence against gay men [starting at 10:39] in a speech that was published as a pamphlet for adolescent boys, and declared that confusing gender and distorting marriage are two notable methods by which Satan “seeks to destroy God’s work,” is it possible that the Church bears some of the responsibility for Utah’s high teen suicide rates?
187. If the revelation on polygamy was given in 1843 because God was answering Joseph Smith’s questions about “the principle and doctrine of…having many wives and concubines,” why had Joseph already taken approximately 28 additional wives before God revealed the “conditions” of this “new and everlasting covenant” to him?
188. Why did Joseph Smith marry dozens of women—including girls as young as 14, mother and daughter pairs, and women who were already married to active Church members—and then permit a denial of the practice of polygamy to be published in The Times and Seasons, a newspaper for which he served as editor (with names of purported certifiers attached to the article, including Eliza R. Snow, who’d married the prophet less than five months prior, and Newel K. Whitney, who’d given the prophet consent to marry his daughter Sarah less than four months prior)?
189. Why did Joseph Smith not follow the procedures for polygamy laid out in Doctrine and Covenants 132 (including obtaining consent from the first wife and only marrying virgins)?
190. Can it paint the origins of polygamy in a different light for Oliver Cowdery to have referred to the relationship between Joseph Smith and his first polygamous wife, the sixteen-year-old Fanny Alger, as “a dirty, nasty, filthy affair”?
191. Why did Joseph Smith say in 1844, when he already had dozens of wives, “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one”?
192. Was God compromising Joseph Smith’s free agency when He sent an angel with a drawn sword to threaten him with destruction if he did not keep the commandment of polygamy?
193. What are the most likely reasons for Joseph Smith to have married young women who lived in his home? [Sarah and Maria Lawrence; Emily and Eliza Partridge; Fanny Alger]
194. If Doctrine and Covenants 132 indicates that the purpose of polygamy is to multiply and replenish the Earth, why is there so much debate over whether Joseph Smith had sex with his plural wives and why is it so difficult to determine if Joseph had any children by them?
195. If Jacob 2:23-30 implies that polygamy is an abomination unless the Lord commands it to raise up seed, why was Joseph Smith married to women who already had husbands and why was at least one of his sealings conducted while the woman was pregnant with another husband’s child?
196. Is there an inequity inherent in Doctrine and Covenants 132 providing means for men to take additional wives without committing adultery but specifically stating that women who take additional husbands commit adultery and risk destruction?
197. Why did God make such extreme threats and extravagant promises when it came to polygamy? [Emma Smith was told “she shall be destroyed” if she didn’t accept polygamy; Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs was told that an angel with a drawn sword threatened Joseph Smith that if he did not establish the principal of polygamy he would be stripped of his priesthood and killed; Helen Mar Kimball was told if she married Joseph Smith, “it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred”; Joseph Kingsbury was told he and his deceased wife will be “crowned & enthroned togeather in the Celestial Kingdom of God” for his participation as a public husband for Joseph’s wife Sarah Ann Whitney]
198. Why was a section declaring unequivocally monogamous beliefs included in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, allowed to remain as scripture during the polygamous eras of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and finally removed in 1876, only for an official declaration affirming monogamy to be issued 14 years later?
199. Why did the Church allow polygamist marriages in non-US territories (and even a few in Utah) even after the official declaration of 1890 unequivocally stated—without qualifying by locale or by national law—that polygamy was being neither taught nor permitted?
200. Why did President Hinckley say on Larry King Live that polygamy is not doctrinal when it’s still canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants, when it was taught as a requirement for exaltation by Brigham Young, and when two of the First Presidency are currently sealed to multiple women, making them polygamists in the afterlife?
201. Why do Church-produced films like Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration implicitly depict the prophet as being monogamous, especially when accusations of polygamy played a central role in the events leading to Joseph Smith’s murder?
202. Is it possible that the Church gave its own documentary about itself the same name as a previously released unflattering documentary as part of a strategy to prevent people from finding negative representations of the Church by giving the new film a higher public profile and a higher search engine profile?
203. How would Jesus, who advised us to give not our alms to be seen of men, feel about the branded yellow shirts the Church has its volunteers wear during disaster relief efforts?
204. Why is the symbol on the top of the temples Moroni, who is not an object of worship, instead of the Savior?
205. As far as the efficacy of invoking God’s healing power is concerned, should there be any difference between a prayer of an ailing member, a priesthood blessing pronounced on that ailing member, and that ailing member’s name being added to the temple prayer roll?
206. If we have already prayed in faith with a request for divine aid, why should going without food for a period of time make our prayers more actionable in God’s eyes—especially considering the many scriptures that discuss receiving answers to prayers and make no mention of fasting? [1 Nephi 15:11; Moroni 10:4; Doctrine and Covenants 8:1; Doctrine and Covenants 29:6; Matthew 21:22; James 1:5-6]
207. Why is money discussed in the temple endowment narrative if there should have been no concept of trade, commerce, or currency when Adam and Eve were the only two humans in existence?
208. Why don’t temple preparation classes describe the initiatory and endowment ceremonies in detailed enough terms for people to decide whether they’re comfortable with them before their mission calls have been received or before the final days preceding their weddings?
209. Can it be considered a form of brainwashing to have young children learn and perform a popular primary song that contains the phrase “follow the prophet” fifty-four times?
210. Why did Brigham Young teach the Church that Adam and God the Father were the same person if this was not actually the case?
211. Why would early Church leaders including Brigham Young have taught the concept of Blood Atonement if it is not doctrinal?
212. Why would President Heber J. Grant use his time in the October 1938 General Conference to share favorite quotes, poems, and hymns—and to warn against car accidents on three separate occasions—but to make no prophetic mention of Hitler and to deliver no prophetic warning of the Holocaust?
213. Does it threaten the credibility of the spirit of discernment when General Authorities bought forged historical documents from Mark Hofmann, the director of temple endowment films pled guilty to sexual abuse, convicted sexual abuser Michael Jensen was found worthy to serve as a missionary, and a former MTC President admitted to a pattern of sexually predatory behavior?
214. If faith-promoting folklore and Paul H. Dunn stories can cause people to feel the Spirit about false things, should there be methods of learning truth that aren’t ultimately trumped by the divine method?
215. If the scriptures state that faith is not a perfect knowledge, do the scriptures advise anything about having faith in concepts against which there is plentiful evidence?
216. Why do members of other faiths claim to have received spiritual confirmations of the truthfulness of their own scriptures and how can we be certain that our own spiritual confirmations aren’t as misguided as theirs?
217. Should we be expected to rely on spiritual confirmation alone to determine truth considering that the devil can give us false revelations?
218. If the Holy Ghost can tell us the truth of all things, can we experience a burning in the bosom to gain a testimony that the priesthood ban was a divinely approved policy or that God sent an angel with a drawn sword to instruct Joseph Smith to marry a woman fifteen years his junior or that it was our Heavenly Father’s will to restrict ordinance access from children of some gay parents for a short period?
219. Does the Church’s procedure for finding truth provide any method for a truth seeker to learn if the Church is not true or provide any advice concerning what someone should do if no spiritual confirmation is received—other than to continue attempting to receive spiritual confirmation?
220. Is it fair to expect people to continue making important life decisions as though the Church is true when it can be so difficult to find satisfactory answers to concerns that can present the possibility that those life decisions may be based on a fraud?