Keith Erekson is an award-winning author, teacher, and public historian who has published on topics including politics, hoaxes, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, and Church history. He enjoys speaking at Latter-day Saint conferences and events, including BYU Education Week and RootsTech. Keith grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, served a mission in Brazil, and earned advanced degrees in history and business. For seven years he directed the Church History Library, overseeing expanded online research access and enriched public exhibits, and now works for the Church History Department in efforts to encourage outreach and historical engagement. In this podcast, Kurt and Keith dive into concepts in Keith’s book, Real vs. Rumor: How to Dispel Latter-day Myths.


5:40 Dispelling false history and rumors can help eliminate negative church culture.

6:00 Girls camp story

10:35 Always read the scriptures, talks, etc. in context. Make sure you aren’t changing the meaning.

12:45 There are many things that are true but not useful. We can use Church history but that doesn’t mean it’s useful for the building of our faith and learning.

14:30 Be careful when quoting someone. When quoting make sure to use exact words and the name of the author. Study the context around the quote.

19:20 What should bishops do when you hear someone misquoting in Sacrament meeting or in Sunday School?

22:00 How to go about correcting others and dealing with myths.

  • Always correct with love and the spirit.
  • Correct them only if you have the accurate information or an exact quote.
  • It’s about helping each other out rather than proving each other wrong.
  • If you feel like someone’s quoting is off, look it up yourself.

28:00 If you feel the urge to share a quote but don’t have all the pieces, go home and do your homework first. Find all the missing pieces before you share with everyone.

30:00 Use multiple quotes to prove a concept. You can’t just use one quote to make your case. We have to be careful not to teach false doctrine.

36:35 People exaggerate historical events to make them more inspiring.

  • Details get lost
  • Details get added to a story

43:25 Magical thinking: We blow up our stories or historical events and make them seem magical. The gospel should make us look inward. It’s not about an outward show.

48:00 Projecting opinions: The scripts that we have are usually built on assumptions. We are acting on assumptions not information.

51:00 Many people are questioning their faith based on information, a historical event, or a quote. We often leap to conclusions and don’t know how to think about things correctly. Treat historical events with history tools not church tools. Learn about how history works.

54:00 Change your script to learning: Take in new information with the intent to learn from it instead of letting it take a toll on your faith.


Real vs. Rumor: How to Dispel Latter-Day Myths
Keith Erekson: Investigating Latter-Day Saint Rumors and Assumptions
Read the TRANSCRIPT of this podcast

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