After receiving interview responses from R. Eric Smith and Matthew J. Grow for an upcoming “10 questions,” it occurred to me I may have forgotten an important question.
Experts are often asked the same questions over and over. Yet are there questions they wish someone would ask?
As it relates to the Council of Fifty minutes, I asked R. Eric Smith this very question in an addendum to the “10 questions” interview.
Kurt Manwaring: When dealing with the Council of Fifty, what question do you wish people asked you – and why?
R. Eric Smith: This answer is quite indirect, but I wish that more Church members would take the time to study Church history in more detail.
Going along with what Matt[hew J. Grow] said above, studying Church history can affirm our faith and help us with our own challenges. To paraphrase Alma a bit, the study of Church history can “enlarge” our memory of all the things that God has done and can do (Alma 37:8).
In reading about the history of other Latter-day Saints, we can learn better for ourselves what it means to be a Latter-day Saint — what it means to follow the Savior, to accept the doctrines and ordinances and covenants of the restored gospel, and to be part of a community of believers in the midst of all the challenges and temptations and wonderful things of the world.
As we study Church history, we can find people whose circumstances and even personalities remind us of our own and whose examples can inspire us to press forward and to endure to the end.
And we see from the history that no matter what talents and gifts and weaknesses a person has, she or he can help in some way to build the Lord’s kingdom.
So to get more directly at your question, I suppose I wish more people would want to talk about why we go to so much trouble to publish these historical records and would ask why I love my job so much!