Third Hour

Study Shows That Latter-day Saints Know Very Little About Other Religions

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Guest Mores
23 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Slightly off topic-It's interesting to me that the people who usually surround themselves with others who think the same way they do are elite leftists living in Manhattan, Malibu, San Fransisco, Boston, etc and are convinced they are "cosmopolitan" and "tolerant" when in reality they never met a conservative in their lives and are the farthest thing from either "cosmopolitan" or "tolerant." 

The same actually can't be said about religious people. Even the most fundamentalist, conservative,  never-left-small-town-Utah LDS person has met more people who disagree with them than someone living in a elite blue circles in the cities I mentioned. 

I think this is actually on topic.  But I'm going to speak for the other side.  The fact is that when you're in a majority, there is less opportunity to even meet people who disagree with you.  So demographics skew the laws of probability in the favor of the minorities being more cosmopolitan. 

I don't know if it is "anyone's fault' as much as the laws of probability.  Sure, many people actually like being in that bubble.  But for many, it's just a fact of life.

Edited by Mores

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29 minutes ago, Mores said:

I think this is actually on topic.

Thanks. 

 

29 minutes ago, Mores said:

Sure, many people actually like being in that bubble. 

Agree, though I don't get it.I don't want to live in an echo chamber. I love having friends who I disagree with and can challenge me/make me think a second time about this or that issue. But if you (generic!) want to surround yourself with people who just vomit out what you believe, you are of course, free to do so. 

Edited by MormonGator

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Guest Mores
8 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Agree, though I don't get it.I don't want to live in an echo chamber. I love having friends who I disagree with and can challenge me/make me think a second time about this or that issue. But if you (generic!) want to surround yourself with people who just vomit out what you believe, you are of course, free to do so. 

Well, I think there is a happy medium.  I find too often that we can't just have open and honest discussions anymore.  The entire society has become too polarized and too emotional.  How many people even took any courses in logic and debate?  Instead, all they know is "I'm right, you're wrong!"

I have been fortunate enough to find a few friends who are willing to have reasoned discussions over our disagreements.  And, yes, I certainly value those discussions.  But such friends are very rare.

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57 minutes ago, Mores said:

Well, I think there is a happy medium. 

Totally agree. 

57 minutes ago, Mores said:

I have been fortunate enough to find a few friends who are willing to have reasoned discussions over our disagreements.  And, yes, I certainly value those discussions.  But such friends are very rare.

Oh absolutely. Like I've mentioned several times here I'm very blessed. Two of my closest friends are diametrically opposed to each other-one is hard right, the other is hard left. I'm go grateful to consider both men my brothers. 

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Guest Mores

So, I've gone ahead and changed the questions to cover our faith.  How do you suppose Jews, Atheists, and Agnostics would fare?

11 hours ago, mordorbund said:

1. Who is most closely associated with boys in white shirts and ties riding bicyles?
2. What was the religion of Hugh Nibley?
3. The first Sunday of April commemorates what in the LDS faith?
4. What do Mormon scriptures say about the U.S. Constitution?
5. Which of these is NOT one of the Articles of Faith?
6. Which religious tradition is fast Sunday associated with?
7. Pioneer day is...?
8. Which Book of Mormon figure is most closely associated with traveling through the wilderness to sail a ship to the Americas?
9. What is the most populous religion in Utah?
10. Where did Joseph Smith live during his young adulthood?
11. Which is one of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel?
12. When does the Mormon Sabbath begin?
13. The "Community of Christ" teaches...?
14. A Latter-day Saint is...?
15. Which best describes the LDS concept of God?
16. Which text aside from the Book of Mormon is most closely associated with LDS tradition? 
17. How many adults in the U.S. are Latter-day Saints?
18. What religion has the highest percentage in Idaho?  (although this changes from year to year.  We're usually first or second).
19. Who in LDS history is known as "The Prophetess"?
20. Which religion requires people to wear ceremonial underwear?
21. What best describes Sealing?
22. Name one LDS historic site outside of Utah.
23. What is the LDS population percentage in Arizona?
24. What is the LDS belief regarding faith and works for salvation?
25. What was the religion of Joseph Smith?
26. In the LDS faith, the Telestial Kingdom is...?
27. Who delivered the "King Follet Sermon"?
28. What does the LDS belief called "The Word of Wisdom" teach?
29. A "Jack Mormon" is...?
30. How many adults in the U.S. are LDS?
31. Which LDS figure is most closely associated with being the sharpest shooter in the Old West?
32. Which religious tradition is baptism for the dead most closely associated with?

@prisonchaplain, I would invite you (and any other non-LDS folks) to try these questions and see what you get.  And let me know if you think it is a fair comparison to the original questions.

I'd bet most would get about half or less on this.  Someone like PC who spends a lot of time with us -- probably about 60% yo 70% (just in round numbers).

Edited by Mores

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16 hours ago, MormonGator said:

@Midwest LDS-It's changing. A few decades ago you could live in a bubble. I'm not saying you wouldn't encounter anyone who disagreed with you, but for many religions, that wasn't the case. You went to church with these people, you lived with these people, you went to school with them, you worked with them etc, etc. Now, the world is much smaller and people move around a lot more. Not complaining, I think it's a good thing. "Even" Utah is getting more diverse. 

On the contrary, previous generations generally had a wider worldview. People today are siloed and far more provincial. The only thing they understand or accept is some nebulous so-called world culture, which is primarily about rigid political correctness.

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12 hours ago, mordorbund said:

ETA: You can still do this if you want, but I found the linky to the actual quiz: https://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/u-s-religious-knowledge-quiz/

15/15. I think that I don't believe that Latter-day Saints averaged only 7.5. Something's wrong with that number.

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image.png.3776ec6dece8e476a7a4bd8a050017ee.png

Do I get a cookie?  😀
Surprisingly, the one I got wrong was because I misread the question, rather than because I didn't know the answer:
image.png.e566603266bca1366e719fdea1c1564b.png

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3 hours ago, MormonGator said:
3 hours ago, Mores said:

Sure, many people actually like being in that bubble. 

Agree, though I don't get it.I don't want to live in an echo chamber. I love having friends who I disagree with and can challenge me/make me think a second time about this or that issue. But if you (generic!) want to surround yourself with people who just vomit out what you believe, you are of course, free to do so.

Until I attended BYU, I had never lived in a place where I was part of the religious majority. BYU was a transformative, life-changing experience for me, at least partly because of that religious majority. I can easily understand why people get comfortable in such a situation. And for those many, many people for whom their political feelings ARE their religion, I imagine it's not unlike my BYU experience.

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

2. What was the religion of Hugh Nibley?

In a quiz that's all about "Mormonism", this one won't be too hard to guess. 32, as well.

Edited by Vort

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It's surprising to me how poorly Latter-day Saints did on recognizing facts about other religions. We appear to have done worse than literally everyone else in Christianity other than historically black congregations (who, for historical reasons, will also almost certainly be among the least educated, an excuse we Latter-day Saints can't use). Then again, Latter-day Saints appear to be more willing than most to admit that they just don't know an answer to a certain question.

A couple of big, obvious problems with the Pew questions:

  • There were four (4) questions specifically about Judaism (Sabbath starts Friday, Kaballah, Rosh Hashana, Maimonides), while there was only one question specifically about "Mormonism" (Joseph Smith). Yet Latter-day Saints slightly outnumber Jews in the US. (Or greatly outnumber them, depending on who you want to call Jewish.) This very heavily biases the results in favor of Jews, who obviously know more about their own religion than do Latter-day Saints. Make it four questions about Mormonism against only one about Judaism and you'll see a big difference in the final analysis.
  • Questions about "Christianity" tend to be heavily Catholic-centric (e.g. Trinity, transsubstantiation). There are a lot of Catholics in the US, so perhaps this makes sense. But no one should be surprised when Catholics know more about Catholicism than do Latter-day Saints. Duh. (And frankly, I was happy to see so few Latter-day Saints knowing what was meant by "prosperity gospel". It looks like they assumed it had something to do with actual scriptural teachings, rather than what it really means. Ignorance about evil and depravity can be seen as innocence, a good trait.)

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As for Amy's column that heads this thread, I guess I don't really see her point. We're not about to start teaching a World Religion class in place of gospel doctrine class. Latter-day Saints tend to know less than others about other religions? Whoop dee doo. How well we live our own religion concerns me a lot more than how well we understand other religions.

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34 minutes ago, Vort said:

As for Amy's column that heads this thread, I guess I don't really see her point. We're not about to start teaching a World Religion class in place of gospel doctrine class. Latter-day Saints tend to know less than others about other religions? Whoop dee doo. How well we live our own religion concerns me a lot more than how well we understand other religions.

@Vort-this might sound insulting, but it isn't. So please don't take it this way. How can you expect others to show interest in your faith if you show no interest in theirs?  Again, not an insult. 

Edited by MormonGator

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47 minutes ago, Vort said:

As for Amy's column that heads this thread, I guess I don't really see her point. We're not about to start teaching a World Religion class in place of gospel doctrine class. Latter-day Saints tend to know less than others about other religions? Whoop dee doo. How well we live our own religion concerns me a lot more than how well we understand other religions.

I always love when people read the articles that I worked on and say "Whoop dee doo." 😍

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7 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

It is one of the most effective ways to be a missionary though.

According to....?

7 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

I refer you to the story of Ammon teaching King Lamoni. Lamoni had no idea who God was until Ammon referred him to the Lamanite belief in the Great Spirit and tied the two together.

There is no implication that Ammon was some sort of expert on the great spirit instead of simply being vaguely familiar with it.

7 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

Or the numerous times in the Bible where the apostles used their intimate knowledge of Jewish teachings to bring Jews to a knowledge of Christ as their Messiah.

What about when they taught someone who wasn't Jewish but worshiped Zeus or something? Did they study Zeusism in detail to become experts? What about other religions? Did the apostles become experts in all of them? Could they even?

I maintain, there are better ways to educate myself than on the minutia of other religions.

7 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

where knowing a little bit

Goal post moved. The article implied we don't know enough. I maintain we do, and that further study is not requisite or even that useful.

7 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

but knowing something about other faiths is knowledge worth having.

We only have so many hours in the day. There's good. There's better. And there's best.

I still reject the implied reprimand that we don't know enough about other religions.

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20 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

According to....?

There is no implication that Ammon was some sort of expert on the great spirit instead of simply being vaguely familiar with it.

What about when they taught someone who wasn't Jewish but worshiped Zeus or something? Did they study Zeusism in detail to become experts? What about other religions? Did the apostles become experts in all of them? Could they even?

I maintain, there are better ways to educate myself than on the minutia of other religions.

Goal post moved. The article implied we don't know enough. I maintain we do, and that further study is not requisite or even that useful.

We only have so many hours in the day. There's good. There's better. And there's best.

I still reject the implied reprimand that we don't know enough about other religions.

I think you should try to see the message they were getting at — that knowing basics about other religions enables us to be a better missionary, something Preach My Gospel talks about — rather than doing everything you can to tear them apart. If it wasn't important to know about other religions,  it wouldn't talk about it in Preach My Gospel. There wouldn't be entire courses devoted to it at BYU. There wouldn't be an institute class on it. There wouldn't be article after article in the Ensign about other faiths and the basic tenants they teach. The Church wouldn't focus so much on interfaith involvement. If we want other people to learn about our religion, the least we can do it be respectful and learn about theirs and why it's important to them. It's basic courtesy.

ALSO, I never said we COULDN'T love people properly if we don't learn about their faith, as you said in an earlier comment. I said that it increases our love and respect for them, which I know from personal experience. Haven't you ever met someone of another religion and found the more you learned about their beliefs, the more you admired their devotion to their faith? Plus, I think the good/better/best would be to try to see other people's point of views rather than simply saying, "My own view is enough. It's not important that I learn about or consider someone else's." If there are enough hours in the day to write on this forum, there are enough hours in the day to spend a little time learning about other people who are different than you and what they believe.

Edited by amykeim

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30 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Goal post moved. The article implied we don't know enough. I maintain we do, and that further study is not requisite or even that useful.

I don't think the article is saying that it is "requisite". It's an observation that we may not be as familiar with other religions as some other groups. I also think it's easy to understand that understanding others beliefs can help us to find common ground and develop meaningful relationships with others. 

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20 minutes ago, amykeim said:

I always love when people read the articles that I worked on and say "Whoop dee doo." 😍

Well, Amy, I don't agree with what I take to be the point of your article—that we as a people should know more about other religions than we do. I'm not saying that such knowledge is a bad thing, only that it is not a moral imperative. Why are you offended? I didn't mean to be offensive. Do you think that I'm morally or socially obligated either to agree with you or to keep quiet? (If so, you might want to review the definition of a "discussion list".)

Since I started responding, you just posted:

3 minutes ago, amykeim said:

If it wasn't important to know about other religions,  it wouldn't talk about it in Preach My Gospel. There wouldn't be entire courses devoted to it at BYU. There wouldn't be an institute class on it. There wouldn't be article after article in the Ensign about other faiths and the basic tenants they teach.

None of these things is logically implicit. Preach My Gospel mentions all sorts of tangential things which are simply not central to its primary purpose. Merely mentioning or talking about something is not prima facie proof of its central importance. And do you really want to attempt to argue that the existence of a BYU course or an institute class* constitutes proof of the importance of that subject? Would you like to do a survey with me of non-critical, sometimes downright fluffy Ensign articles**?

*By the way, I can't manage to find any Institute course titled something along the lines of "Non-LDS Doctrines and the Religions that Teach Them." Can you point me to such a class?

**"Article after article in the Ensign ABOUT other faiths and the basic tenets they teach"? Huh? Do you get some other Ensign than I do? Or am I just missing something in plain sight? Because I do not know what you're talking about.

10 minutes ago, amykeim said:

There Church wouldn't focus so much on interfaith involvement.

Baloney. "Interfaith involvement" is not ecumenism, nor is it an imperative to become familiar with others' doctrines. It simply means participating in a meaningful way with those of other religions.

11 minutes ago, amykeim said:

If we want other people to learn about our religion, the least we can do it be respectful and learn about theirs and why it's important to them. It's basic courtesy.

Purely your opinion, to which you are entitled, but to which you have no real right to hold anyone else. I'm all for learning about other religions, and fancy myself reasonably knowledgeable about religions in general—heck, I might well beat you in a competitive religious tête-a-tête—but I don't imagine that means that God expects us to learn all about other religions.

Furthermore, methinks you don't understand what constitutes "basic courtesy" if you believe it requires learning about other people's religions.

13 minutes ago, amykeim said:

Plus, I think the good/better/best would be to try to see other people's point of views rather than simply saying, "My own view is enough. It's not important that I learn about or consider someone else's."

That's a pretty unfair characterization of the viewpoint of those who disagree with your premise. Disagreeing with your point that we have some sort of moral obligation to learn about other religions is not the same as saying, "My own view is enough. It's not important that I learn about or consider someone else's."

Amy, when you write a public column, you make yourself vulnerable. it's tough. People will disagree with you, and some will vocalize that disagreement. It's not comfortable. I get it. And sometimes people are impolite or inappropriately personal in their disagreements. But I do not believe that I or anyone else on this thread has been so. Your defensiveness in this case is understandable but not really called for. We are disagreeing with you and, possibly, attacking some of your ideas or arguments, but we are not attacking you.

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

 Why are you offended? I didn't mean to be offensive. Do you think that I'm morally or socially obligated either to agree with you or to keep quiet? (If so, you might want to review the definition of a "discussion list".)

I think responding "whoop dee doo" is somewhat rude. Maybe she was just poking fun at that and not trying to "keep you quiet" haha

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50 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

According to....?

There is no implication that Ammon was some sort of expert on the great spirit instead of simply being vaguely familiar with it.

What about when they taught someone who wasn't Jewish but worshiped Zeus or something? Did they study Zeusism in detail to become experts? What about other religions? Did the apostles become experts in all of them? Could they even?

I maintain, there are better ways to educate myself than on the minutia of other religions.

Goal post moved. The article implied we don't know enough. I maintain we do, and that further study is not requisite or even that useful.

We only have so many hours in the day. There's good. There's better. And there's best.

I still reject the implied reprimand that we don't know enough about other religions.

According to me, I speak from personal experience. I can't even begin to tell you how many frustrating times on my mission would have been made easier if I had known a little more about the faith of the person I was engaged with and could hear what I was saying through their understanding. 

Of course they had a knowledge of paganism. I point you to Paul's speech on the unknown god and their ability to defuse the situation where the locals wanted to worship Paul and Baranabus as Jupiter and Mercury. They recognized the popular myth about those two gods stopping by occasionaly, and used that knowledge to fix a situation quickly. If you are going to preach to someone it helps to understand where they are coming from and build upon the knowledge they already have however slight. Which is also what Ammon did. He didn't need to be an expert on the religion of the Lamanites, but he obviously understood enough about it to turn a conversation that was fruitless (Lamoni not even knowing who God was) into a magnificant conversion experience.

I'm not trying to "move the goal posts". I was trying to have a discussion about some of the objections you brought up, and I was conceeding that knowing a little about something to pass an online quiz isn't that important. I know this may come as a shock but I'm not trying to attack you or your position☺. I strongly feel that learning about other's religious beliefs can be helpful to missionary work. I study more because I find religious beliefs fascinating, but I feel like encouraging more worthwhile conversations with others is a solid goal for us to reach for.  

 

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Guest Mores
3 hours ago, Vort said:

In a quiz that's all about "Mormonism", this one won't be too hard to guess. 32, as well.

True.  So we'd obviously have to put it into a format that wouldn't give it away.

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7 hours ago, MormonGator said:

The same actually can't be said about religious people. Even the most fundamentalist, conservative,  never-left-small-town-Utah LDS person has met more people who disagree with them than someone living in a elite blue circles in the cities I mentioned. 

I don't think I'd agree with this.   Have you ever been to small town Utah?

My mom's side of the family is from a farm in the Sevier Desert north of Delta, Utah.   Although my grandfather was from Kanab and my grandmother was from La Grande Oregon (but only for a few years), they almost never left the area around Delta.    They went on one vacation once for a weekend (to Bear Lake); sometime in the 1950's.     My grandfather only left the state of Utah a few times; to Nevada (Baker, population 68, but probably only half that when they were around) and Arizona (Fredonia, population 1300, but probably a lot less back then).   

They were suprised when we told them that we knew some non-Mormons in Utah.   My grandmother went to McDonalds once (and only once) and was telling us about it.      She had only seen a McDonalds once in her life.  She asked us if there was a McDonalds where we lived (West Valley City; a suburb of Salt Lake).   She asked us if there were stoplights there.   

Neither grandparent ever met a black person (they told us so).   Both had no clue about people living in the city or even the cities themselves, especially my grandmother.   

There's a lot of people like that in small town Utah, especially away from the interstates.     Places like Garrison, Delta (though not as much anymore as the population has grown especially since IPP), Lyndyl, Lund, Trout Creek, etc. all have people like that.  

 

Edited by Scott

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31 minutes ago, Vort said:

Well, Amy, I don't agree with what I take to be the point of your article—that we as a people should know more about other religions than we do. I'm not saying that such knowledge is a bad thing, only that it is not a moral imperative. Why are you offended? I didn't mean to be offensive. Do you think that I'm morally or socially obligated either to agree with you or to keep quiet? (If so, you might want to review the definition of a "discussion list".)

Since I started responding, you just posted:

None of these things is logically implicit. Preach My Gospel mentions all sorts of tangential things which are simply not central to its primary purpose. Merely mentioning or talking about something is not prima facie proof of its central importance. And do you really want to attempt to argue that the existence of a BYU course or an institute class* constitutes proof of the importance of that subject? Would you like to do a survey with me of non-critical, sometimes downright fluffy Ensign articles**?

*By the way, I can't manage to find any Institute course titled something along the lines of "Non-LDS Doctrines and the Religions that Teach Them." Can you point me to such a class?

**"Article after article in the Ensign ABOUT other faiths and the basic tenets they teach"? Huh? Do you get some other Ensign than I do? Or am I just missing something in plain sight? Because I do not know what you're talking about.

Baloney. "Interfaith involvement" is not ecumenism, nor is it an imperative to become familiar with others' doctrines. It simply means participating in a meaningful way with those of other religions.

Purely your opinion, to which you are entitled, but to which you have no real right to hold anyone else. I'm all for learning about other religions, and fancy myself reasonably knowledgeable about religions in general—heck, I might well beat you in a competitive religious tête-a-tête—but I don't imagine that means that God expects us to learn all about other religions.

Furthermore, methinks you don't understand what constitutes "basic courtesy" if you believe it requires learning about other people's religions.

That's a pretty unfair characterization of the viewpoint of those who disagree with your premise. Disagreeing with your point that we have some sort of moral obligation to learn about other religions is not the same as saying, "My own view is enough. It's not important that I learn about or consider someone else's."

Amy, when you write a public column, you make yourself vulnerable. it's tough. People will disagree with you, and some will vocalize that disagreement. It's not comfortable. I get it. And sometimes people are impolite or inappropriately personal in their disagreements. But I do not believe that I or anyone else on this thread has been so. Your defensiveness in this case is understandable but not really called for. We are disagreeing with you and, possibly, attacking some of your ideas or arguments, but we are not attacking you.

I don't mind if people disagree with me. The entire basis of my article is that I enjoy learning from people who don't agree with me. I was joking about your "Whoop dee doo" comment, although I suppose I do think the phrase isn't the most respectful when it's used in connection with a point someone is trying to make. In any case, you all are stating and defending your points of view and that is okay and encouraged, so why it uncalled for when I try to defend myself and the way I think? It seems like something of a double standard: when I make a comment in defense of my thoughts and ideas, I'm told to refer back to the definition of a discussion list, but when you defend your comments and way of thinking, it's okay. 

Plus, if you'll notice, I actually wasn't even defending my own comment — although I did try to explain why I think the way I think. I was defending someone ELSE's comment that was being dissected.

Anyway, in response to your comments: 

1. Obviously learning about other religions isn't the central focus of Preach My Gospel, but I didn't say it was. I said it was something it discusses, so therefore it must have some merit and importance. Preach My Gospel includes an entire list of reformers and information about them that are said to be used "only when necessary" — but you can't use them if you don't know them. Similarly, in Chapter 7, there's a study idea that reads: "Think about the cultural and religious background of the people you teach. Identify an aspect of their background that might lead them to misunderstand the doctrines of the gospel. Plan ways to teach these doctrines clearly." You need to know about their religious background and cultural identity to be able to help them clearly understand the gospel. So, like @Midwest LDS explained, I do think knowing about other religions is a valuable missionary tool.  

2. Here’s the institute course. In suggested readings, you’ll see articles from the Ensign, albeit from the 70’s, that discuss what other religions believe. So perhaps you’re right; “article after article” may not have been the most apt way to phrase that. But there are more modern articles about tolerance and love for all religions, and respecting others’ beliefs. 

Edited by amykeim

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