1. LDS who wish/choose to avoid the specifics of my concerns (and others'), either feeling that such things do not matter, are lies, would only hurt what they value, etc.
2. LDS who have dealt with some of these concerns at the surface and reached conclusions that they don't matter, they can't understand the reasons in this life, they are lies, etc.
3. Non-LDS who either don't know much about the Church or have made the same conclusions as I.
4. LDS who admit that they did not know some of these things or did not know many of the details, would like to know more, but are hesitant because they value their testimonies.
(Certainly more categories could exist, but these reflect what I have noticed)
If readers are LDS and have done extensive research on these subjects, I have not yet had the privilege of conversing with them. I have spoken to one individual face-to-face who fits this category, however, which has been a very interesting exchange, perhaps for another post.
I wish to address this post to those who fit into the 4th category. You may be thinking, "Well, I didn't know about that, but I still feel that it's true," and similar thoughts. You may want to know more about it, but be sure that you're not damaging your testimony.
A very interesting similar case is found in Brigham Henry Roberts (March 13, 1857 – September 27, 1933). He was a general authority of the Church who remained very pious to his death. He served honorably and respectably for his entire life, even serving a 5-year-mission.
What interests me the most about Roberts is how he reacted to a few of his colleagues who asked him questions about the Book of Mormon. He had never really considered the questions, but told his colleagues that he would do all he could to find answers. And that is exactly what he did. He spent the remainder of his life trying to answer these and other questions about the Book of Mormon.
What I respect about Roberts is that he took such an honest approach to his study of the Book of Mormon. He remained faithful to the end (at least outwardly), but openly admitted to the apostles and presidents of the Church and his colleagues the parts that he was unable to reconcile. He was as honest as any man could be about what he was finding. The interesting thing is that his conclusions basically match my own, but his actions did not. This is open for interpretation, of course, but while one can criticize his actions, I think we cannot doubt his integrity. He put his most core beliefs to the ultimate test, understanding that what he found may be difficult to accept, but he did it in the name of finding answers that he could live with. I think believers and non-believers would all do well to match this integrity and be willing to know where we are weak, admit what we do not know, and then do all we can to obtain full, complete, and honest answers, willing to put it all on the line for the sake of truth.
Roberts, B. H. (1985). Studies of the Book of Mormon (B. D. Madsen, Ed.). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. Smith, G. D. (2002). B.H. Roberts: Book of Mormon apologist and skeptic. In D. Vogel & B. L. Metcalfe (Eds.), American apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon. (pp. 123-155). Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.