The later comments after my last post made me wonder about something.
How do we answer those tough questions from non-members about the Church? Should we even answer them? Or should we answer them politician-style (i.e. duck the subject and divert attention to another subject)?
Some of us were saying how we wish we could just hear "the truth," whatever it is. But, admittedly, we haven't always been so truthful ourselves. Maybe we've even tried to cover up certain things about the Church to those we care about who are perhaps interested in investigating.
Most of us have probably been there. Someone asks us about polygamy, the priesthood ban, Kolob, or the like. Or maybe we sort of feel obligated to tell people about such things before they get baptized so that they don't get a shock afterwards and leave the Church feeling disillusioned. I've told the story before about my cousin-in-law (who is black) who never heard about the priesthood ban until he was on his mission and someone told him about it before slamming the door in his face. Then it was time for some serious damage control. Are such awkward subjects something that should be dealt with early, in order to avoid such situations, or should we just worry about it when it happens?
Before when people asked me about polygamy, I used to just repeat what I had heard: there weren't enough men to take care of all the women, so it was a way to care for all the singles. (Incidentally, I remember sitting in on a discussion with the Elders and some investigators many years, who were concerned about polygamy. This was the reason that the Elders gave them and their response was that you don't have to marry someone and have sex with them in order to take care of them.) OK, so now I know that that isn't a good answer. It doesn't explain all the women that Joseph Smith married who were already married and taken care of. So now I can't really repeat it without knowingly lying. And I know people don't want to be lied to.
So how do we truthfully answer people's questions without giving them too much information that they might not be ready for? Should we try to cover up our past, perhaps because we feel a bit embarrassed by it (c'mon, you know you do sometimes!), or should we be an unapologetic "open book?"