Answering Questions about Mormonism

A few months ago we showed a TV news story of an interview with a missionary who, how should we say, didn’t quite know how to answer questions about the Church or the temple, and which just left more suspicion and misunderstanding than it dispelled.  We concluded that we must have a good grasp of our own religion in order to answer questions intelligently and articulately, and to teach others about our beliefs.

Yesterday I received an email with a link to a videoclip of a Harvard student, Rachel Esplin, who answered questions about the Church and Mormonism in a very clear and forthright manner.  It looks like the event was an “Engaging Religious Differences” panel discussion, in which many different religious views were shared. Greg has more details at Believe All Things, who referenced aquinas at Summa Theologica on the same topic.

Take a look below.

Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose – 3. Rachel Esplin from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.


  1. Posted February 7, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    She did a fabulous job answering those questions! Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Posted February 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely love the candid, heartfelt testimony that was shared by Rachel Esplin. It shows me how much more advanced each generation is getting in establishing their testimony at an earlier age. Thanks for posting.

  3. Posted February 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Bryce. This was very uplifting.

    I was amazed by her ability to be positive and constructive while still acknowledging what I’d call gray areas (I wish I could think of a better phrase.) For instance, she mentioned that she still has questions, and that some of her questions are “on the shelf for now”. She also mentioned how she was uncomfortable with some of the “cultural” and “dogmatic” aspects of the church community. -All this while still being upbeat and supportive of her chosen faith. For me, this gave authenticity to the rest of her comments and testimony. I am glad she is on our team.

  4. Posted February 8, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    My cross post from the other link:

    Zenock, have you ever read Joseph Campbell the mythologist? The idea of literalism isn’t just a Mormon product, but a modernist product. We have traded myth and meaning for science and logic. Since the Temple is “symbolic myth,” it comes across to the modern logical mind as incomprehensible. To the earliest of Latter-day Saints the Temple was an extension of things they already understood. It was, and continues to be, a culmination of all that went before put into an ironically literal act. The symbols are not to hide the truth, but to illuminate the abstract. Frankly, if you don’t understand the Temple and its symbols it is because you aren’t listening to the endowment.

  5. Posted February 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Jetboy, you may be interested in the post on the endowment at What is an Endowment?. While Joseph Campbell is a great source – I’ve read many of his books and reviewed his TV series – I believe Nibley correctly pointed out that he had been referencing the same sources (and coming to slightly different conclusions I might add) long before Joseph Campbell popularized “symbolic myth”. In any case, Campbell’s books and series do contain fascinating material!

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