This is meant as a reference point to address behavior often seen in new visitors to the site, for a very common issue seen with new visitors.

What are the site guidelines to deal with borderline questions, where the OP (the person who asks the question) is looking for an answer that's satisfying to them. For example, a person who asks a question like:

"What is the evidence given by the LDS Church that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?"

reasonably, this seems to me to be on-topic and answerable. So someone gives the answer, it's well sourced, and well-documented, but the OP decides to argue the point in comments.

"Well, that isn't very convincing evidence? How many witnesses were there to these golden plates? What about ..."

So it becomes clear that the OP isn't satisfied with the question as asked. They don't want the evidence that the LDS Church puts out, they want evidence that the LDS Church puts out that's personally convincing to them?


1 Answer 1


The simple fact is that we are not here to convince anyone.

If you're looking for an answer that's personally satisfying to you, one that can convince you to change your mind about some eternal Truth, this is the wrong place. We are here to provide answers about what is taught by various groups within Christianity, not to debate which of those groups or teachings is "right".

As discussed in How we are different than other sites? in point #4.

We care about Description not Prescription - more about Theology than "Truth"!

We are a seminary, not a church! We are interested in questions about Christian doctrine and practice, not “Truth”. We want to know how things are and have been - what they should be is your concern.

Imagine being observed by a bunch of professors who know the Bible, but don't necessarily believe it. That is you audience- even if many of us are believers. In seminary, "Truth" is often less important than how you arrive at it. That is not to say that Truth isn't important (indeed, those of us who are believers are very concerned about Truth in our lives!)- it just is secondary to scholarship in this context. We make the Internet a better place by bringing rigorous scholarship to bear on the real questions people have about the Bible and the Church.

Obviously, we can't tell anyone what answers they should or should not accept, but in order to prevent misunderstandings about the purpose of the site, it 's perfectly legitimate to point them to this post, or the How We're Different post for clarification of the guidelines, but leave it at that. Don't argue the point. Don't try to convince them. Stick to explaining the site guidelines and leave it at that.

  • 1
    If you do want to debate with them, that's OK, so long as you take it to chat, where it's allowed and enjoyed by many. Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 5:49

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