(If you’re not familiar with the essays, please see this earlier roundup with discussion of how the CoJCoL-dS publicly posted a series of essays to address some of the most problematic issues of the church — but they never mentioned them over the pulpit, and then moved them around the website a bit, making it look like they want something to point to if accused of secrecy, but don’t actually want faithful members to find them unless they’re really looking for them. Possibly because some of these issues can’t be spun in a way that fails to make the church look bad.)
The wild thing is that Elder Ballard actually used the term “inoculation” this time!! It’s not that it’s useful/interesting/edifying to have more info/clarification about doctrinal and historical points you may have been worried about. It’s that some of these “Anti-Mormon lies” can be deadly to your faith (when you find out that they’re not actually lies). So the hope is that if these upsetting tidbits of information are presented to you in a weakened form, then maybe your faith will develop an immunity to them — especially when presented as an alternative to googling.
(Related podcasts include Feminist Mormon Housewives’ awesome new series on race and Mormon history, plus, in his pre-excommunication interview with Mormon Matters, Jeremy Runnels talked a bit about how yesterday’s “Anti-Mormon lies” are todays essays on the church website.)
I’m pretty surprised that Elder Ballard presents the strategy this way — it’s not like it makes the church look good. (Of course, I suppose anything that that takes on those evil “Anti-Mormons” and their nefarious plots is, by definition, good…). But the other thing that jumped out at me is that Ballard explained this strategy as “inoculation” without giving the slightest hint that this is something that has been debated on the Bloggernacle and all over the Internet for years (see here, here, here). But, by accidentally not having time to give any credit/attribution for this idea, the non-Internet-savvy believers can believe that the General Authorities got this inspired idea themselves — on the hotline straight from God!
Continuing current issues for the CoJCoL-dS include medical marijuana, suicides (especially involving the LGBTQ), going out of their way to find gay couples to excommunicate (among other weird family/privacy invastions), women and the priesthood (etc.), well-meant (or not) bad advice, and evidence for the Book of Mormon (not to mention plausibility).
In life journeys, Katie L shared a lovely exit story.