In the small world of Mormon Studies and online blogging, the term “inoculation” refers to teaching mainstream Latter-day Saints enough accurate LDS history that they won’t contract a terminal case of apostasy when they encounter publications or talks that use select historical events and interpretations to present an anti-LDS message. [And, speaking broadly, that also includes publications or talks which are relatively objective or scholarly with no overt anti-LDS intent but which come across as anti-LDS to a mainstream Latter-day Saint who reads it.]
I have posted on this topic at some length before, for example in “The Devilish Details of Inoculation.” I’m guessing a similar debate about the merits or risks of “inoculation” occurs in other denominations — perhaps what to teach Evangelical teenagers about evolution or what to teach Catholic teenagers about the string of historical forgeries that were relied on to establish Catholic authority for a millennium (Hans Kung is especially good on this point) or what to teach Jewish teenagers about the documentary hypothesis or what to teach Muslim teenagers about almost anything or what to teach teenage atheists about scientific eugenics and race theory. Anyway, here are a couple of recent posts on Mormon inoculation.
- “The Hard History — is faith enough to get us through?” at BCC. A controversial statement: “I like the idea of being informed and faithful, but I would certainly choose ‘faithful’ over ‘informed.'”
- “A Meandering Thought on Inoculation” at NCT. First line: “One thing I loved about my high school freshman year of Catholic History was the chapter on the Spanish Inquisition and discussing the horrible things done then.”
- “Trying to Understand My Friends Who Didn’t Leave the Faith” at Mormon Matters, from a different perspective, with 284 comments and counting. It starts out: “If someone told me three years ago that I would be where I am now, I would have never believed them. And yet, here I am.” This post that shows why inoculation remains such a controversial topic.