counsels by Molly Farmer, Mormon Times
Monday, Jan. 25, 2010
There are many wondrous components of the gospel for Mormons to focus
their study on rather than unsubstantiated details and rumors, said
Elder Bruce C. Hafen at a fireside for young adults Sunday, Jan 24.
He compared people who get hung up on murky specifics to golfers at
the base of such mountains scouring the rough for golf balls rather
than looking up and taking in the splendor.
"Look at the restoration's content, don't get lost in the sometimes
unclear details and footnotes," he said.
Elder Hafen related his remarks specifically to anti-Mormon literature
found on the Internet, and stated that too many people of faith let
initial curiosity give way to feelings of dismay and betrayal when
they come across unfamiliar arguments against the church.
Faithful questioning is a hallmark of a searching soul, he said, but
claims found in anti-Mormon literature are no reason to abandon one's
testimony, especially because many of the issue-taking and arguments
out there have already been addressed by Mormon scholars and leaders.
The democratization of ideas sometimes confuses the reader as to what
is true and what is not, as all ideas are presented horizontally and
as fact, thus positioning the blogger's flippant opinion alongside the
scholar's well-researched dissertation.
Elder Hafen said there is much discussion out there regarding the
methods through which Joseph Smith translated ancient scripture such
as the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and the Bible.
"How (Joseph Smith) received it doesn't ultimately matter to us very
much," he said.
Other "mountains" in the gospel are the doctrines of premortal life
and eternal nature of the soul, the Mormon rejection of original sin
and the hallowed, the nature of the Godhead, and the elevated way the
church views Eve.
When a person considers how unique the church's understanding of core
doctrine differs drastically from the rest of Christianity, "It
shouldn't come as a big surprise that other Christian churches don't
know quite what to do with us."
Members of the church could stand to give some of these "mountains"
more thought and contemplation than they currently do, as they are far
more revolutionary than Mormons sometimes think.