I recently read a fascinating and important blog post on a potential source for a crisis of faith for the rising generation and felt inclined to give a response to it. I just now noticed, however, that the post was written in October of 2014, so this will be a bit of a delayed response (I don’t know how the post even registered on my radar — maybe it was on my Facebook feed for some reason). Regardless of this fact, I think the point the author is making is still very relevant and wanted to weigh in on the topic.
The post was by Julie M. Smith, a prolific writer and LDS New Testament scholar. Her blog post was entitled “On the Next Generation’s Faith Crisis” and was posted on the Times and Seasons blog. In her piece, Julie predicts that in the coming years, latter-day saints will find that their faith will be challenged more by secularists than by evangelicals (who have been responsible for much anti-Mormon rhetoric in the past) and that the attacks will not be so focused on Church history (as it has been in the past) but on the reliability of the Bible, especially the New Testament and its testimony of Jesus. Of course, these secularist attacks are not necessarily against Mormons in particular, but against all Bible believers and, essentially, against religion in general.
First of all, let me express that I agree with the essential points of Julie’s concerns here. However, I believe that this is of more immediate concern to those who are being or have been educated about the New Testament in more secular academic settings. For many or most members of the LDS Church, this is not currently and may not ever be the cause of a major faith crisis. I will explain why I feel this way below.