Do "Faith Promoting Stories" Actually Hurt the Faith of Latter-day Saints? Possibly. Here's Why...

Keith Erekson, director of the Church History Library and author of the new book Real vs. Rumor recently was on the All In, an LDS Living Podcast with Host Morgan Jones, and talked about the dangers of sharing "faith promoting stories."


What are faith promoting stories? They're stories given that promote the faith of individuals or promote the power that the Gospel can have on people's lives if members live it correctly. As strong and amazing as these stories can be, they can sometimes be taken completely out of context and can even damage other's faiths. 


"One such story where people talk about somebody getting in a car accident and wearing their garments, and because they were wearing their temple garment, they were unharmed where they were wearing their garments. And I see in there that either-or framing hidden underneath. Either you're wearing your garments, and you’re protected, or you’re not and you’re harmed. Then an example of someone who’s wearing their garments and dies in missionary service, it breaks the either-or, so . . . the problem ultimately is why are we framing it as either-or? Why are we oversimplifying things, and why are we using oversimplified stories to teach things that are really much more important than that kind of framing?"


The biggest problems with stories like these, Erekson says, is that we assume what faith is, or feel that "faith is a passive thing and that it works best if you cry or feel emotional or feel scared."


One of the best teachings of faith, Erekson said, was from Gordon B. Hinkley when he compared faith as a muscle that each individual has to constantly develop and maintain. 


“Faith is like the muscle of my arm. If I use it, if I nurture it, it will grow strong. If I put it in a sling and leave it there, it will grow weak.”


Morgan Jones then replied stating:  "I think that is spot on. And maybe it’s like the easiness of the way—we gravitate toward a sensationalized story, when in reality, it’s like a quiet prayer said at home alone that can build our faith more than anything else." 


What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!