New Resource Helps Members Answer Gospel Questions
By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
"We wanted to supply members with some simple principles they can apply when addressing questions or comments about the gospel that may arise in their casual conversations with others.” —Michael Barber, product manager
Today, the Church launched a new online resource to help members better prepare to answer questions they may be asked about the gospel. Answering Gospel Questions is a new Study by Topic page on LDS.org that explains several basic principles members can use to answer questions about their faith.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has emphasized the need for “clear, simple statements that present those who are curious with the basics about the Church as it is today.”
Events such as the 2002 Winter Olympics, international Church growth, and the emergence of prominent Mormons in arts, athletics, and politics have raised the Church’s profile in the last several years and increased the opportunities for social interaction between members and their neighbors at every level of society.
“As people interact with members of the Church, they are more likely to dismiss stereotypes and receive accurate information about the Church and its doctrines,” said Michael Barber, a product manager who worked on the new topic page. “With that in mind, we wanted to supply members with some simple principles they can apply when addressing questions or comments about the gospel that may arise in their casual conversations with others.”
The main page offers counsel about how to react to gospel questions and what to say.
One section states, “Assume good intentions. Many times people ask questions out of curiosity and not because they want to belittle your faith. No matter the intent, it is better to answer them in a nondefensive way. Using kindness and being calm will assist in bringing the Holy Ghost into the situation.”
“This effort was accomplished collaboratively with representatives from many departments, including Public Affairs, Church History, Seminaries and Institutes, Missionary, Publishing Services, and Priesthood,” Brother Barber said. “All of us were united in our effort to provide members direction from Church leaders on sharing the gospel and resources to help them form answers.”
In many instances, the materials quote advice from the scriptures or General Authorities. Additional resources are listed at the bottom of each page and link to lists of questions and related resources about Church doctrines, Church policies, and the worldwide Church.
For instance, under the link Questions about Church Doctrines, users can find a list of resources answering specific questions such as, “How could members respond to the question, ‘Are Jesus and Satan brothers?’” and “Do Church members believe they can become gods?”
An optional Relief Society or priesthood lesson about answering gospel questions will be added to the Answering Gospel Questions page shortly. The lesson will also be available as a PDF in LDS.org’s Manual section under Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood.