Recent posts around the bloggernacle have discussed where and when (if?) we should feel comfortable asking difficult questions in a Church setting. The general experience seems to be that Sunday School, Relief Society, and Elders Quorum can all be good places and bad places to explore controversial issues in Church history and doctrine. These Church settings can be helpful or frustrating, depending on the experience, knowledge and comfort level of your particular teacher with such questions. You may have a popular Gospel Doctrine teacher, but you may still end up feeling frustrated if the teacher doesn’t understand your thought processes, or value your questions and opinions appropriately (i.e., gives you a blank stare and moves on to the next question).
So, say someone in your Sunday School class asks thoughtful questions related to the lesson that the teacher repeatedly brushes off every week and then hurries along to get through all the material in the manual. You can tell by the questions asked that this person is sincerely struggling. What do you do? Do you interrupt the teacher and ask follow-up questions as a show of support for the questioner? If you don’t think Sunday School is the place to explore specific questions, do you reach out to this person after class, or in an email later that week? Do you do anything at all?
Alternatively, say a close family member is struggling over gospel-related issues, and is sincerely questioning his or her testimony and commitment to the Church.
How do you deal with questions and doubts voiced by people in Church, or by members of your family? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you work out a compromise in the face of differing interpretations and conclusions?
P.S. For fans of the Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide (or those who got dragged to see the movie last weekend and were pleasantly surprised), I think the Galaxy POV (point of view) gun would definitely come in handy in these situations.