Consult Reliable Sources

“Consult Reliable Sources,” Topics and Questions (2023)

girl and boy are reading the scriptures

Seeking Answers to Your Questions

Consult Reliable Sources

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, “Never in the history of the world have we had easier access to more information—some of it true, some of it false, and much of it partially true.”1 In this environment of uncertainty, the Church urges members to “seek out and share only credible, reliable, and factual sources of information.”2 We should avoid sources that are founded on rumor or that promote contention or anger.

Learning to assess the quality of our sources of information involves both spiritual and intellectual work. Here are some tips for evaluating information:

  • Evaluate the reliability of sources. Not all sources are of equal value on all topics. The best sources will have direct knowledge of a topic instead of relying on hearsay, rumor, or innuendo. They will speak from a position of direct knowledge or expertise. They will refer to other reputable sources so you can check their claims. Reliable sources will not always affirm what you already think. They may challenge your views. If you have questions about official Church teachings, look first at what current Church leaders have and have not said. This will help you evaluate other, earlier statements.

  • Learn to recognize bias. Almost all sources have some bias. This does not automatically make them unreliable, but it is important to take the source creator’s perspective into account. Examine your source’s motives and background. Be wary of sources that claim to be unbiased or that express views in inflammatory ways.

  • Corroborate what you learn. It is significant when multiple reliable sources agree or speak with clarity on a topic. This is especially true when studying sources discussing Church history and teachings. Though it is not always possible to find this kind of agreement among sources, it is helpful to compare information from different sources so you can better assess their quality.

  • Distinguish facts from interpretation. Some pieces of information are facts. But much of what we encounter on the internet and in other publications consists of someone’s interpretation of the facts. The best interpretations try to account for all the facts. They consider specific details or facts in broader context and give them proper weight. They don’t simply dismiss information that doesn’t agree with a particular point of view. Check the sources used to make a particular interpretation to ensure they support the claims being made and are not taken out of context.

  • Become familiar with Church resources. In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the best sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook. The Church has also published additional resources to help you better understand some of the most common questions Latter-day Saints have about Church history and culture. You may find these to be useful starting points as you investigate your questions.

  • Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost. New information can sometimes feel disorienting. That feeling doesn’t necessarily mean the information isn’t true. Along with the skills mentioned above, seek the influence of the Holy Ghost. He can help you discern truth. He will “enlighten your mind”3 and help you reorient your perspective in light of new truths. Pray for help. Live in such a way that the Spirit can speak to you. Be open to spiritual promptings as you work to resolve your concerns.

Key scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:14–16; Jacob 4:13; Doctrine and Covenants 19:38