How do we respond to antagonistic questions we receive about the Church? How do we respond to sincere questions and curiosity? Here's one profound principle that can help us in any situation.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are often asked questions about our faith. These questions are an important chance to share our beliefs, but unfortunately we can sometimes squander these missionary opportunities. For example, when I ask my students to respond to the common question, “Are Mormons Christian?” they typically just stare at me and say “yes,” confused at why anyone would wonder about such a thing.
While that answer is accurate and correct, it is actually not a very good answer. It is not a very good answer because it doesn’t really address what people are often wondering. When we answer questions like this with a simple “yes” or “no,” then we miss an opportunity to really respond to the concern they have and get to the real heart of the issue.
Answer the Question They Should Have Asked
A classic story told by President Boyd K. Packer teaches us a lesson. When he and President Henry D. Moyle (then a counselor in the First Presidency) were traveling on a Church assignment, they had a chance to be interviewed by a local radio station. The interviewer asked President Moyle many tough, even antagonistic questions, but he responded simply and persuasively to each one. Impressed by this, President Packer asked him about it after the interview and learned a great lesson. President Packer explained:
The interview lasted for over thirty minutes. Later, as we were returning to the car, I said, “President Moyle, that was marvelous, just marvelous. How did you do it?”