The question was put:
"What say you?
I am LDS and I (??????????) that the LDS Church is true.
Am pretty sure
Am not sure
This is an utterly stupid poll
Any other word that I missed that might better describe your thoughts?"
To which I responded:
It is impossible to give a meaningful response without first determining the intended use of the term "true." Here are some potential definitions:
1. Error-free in doctrines, claimed history, official pronouncements, policies, the assignment of callings.
2. Error-free in doctrines, claimed history, official pronouncements, policies, the assignment of callings, and the official acts of high-ranking leaders.
3. Error-free in current official doctrine only.
4. Not necessarily error free in doctrine or claimed history, but possessing authentic priesthood authority from God.
5. Not necessarily error free in doctrine or claimed history, but being the only church with which God is well pleased.
6. Not necessarily error free in doctrine or claimed history, but being a church with which God is well pleased
7. Not necessarily error free in doctrine or claimed history, but being the only church on earth with any authentic priesthood authority from God
8. Any combination of the above
For me, I feel virtually certain (leaving room only for the possibility that I am insane, severely deluded, extremely unintelligent, or woefully uninformed) that at a minimum, the LDS Church is not what it purports to be, i.e., free of doctrinal errors and errors in the faith-promoting version of its history. But I do make room for the following possibilities (non-exhaustive list): (1) the partial authenticity of the Book of Mormon; (2) that Joseph Smith genuinely had a physical vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ, and of various angels at various times, and was called as God's prophet to restore the church; (3) that there is such a thing as priesthood authority and that on Earth, it is exclusively found in the LDS church; (4) that at least some callings are inspired by God; (5) that there exists authentic revelation in the Church; (6) that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called of God; and (7) that temple rituals are authorized or inspired by God.
What I definitely do not accept the idea that any of the foregoing 7 possibilities necessarily leads to the conclusion of doctrinal inerrancy. I also feel that, even if those 7 possibilities turn out to be true, they are for now matters of faith which are neither intuitive, nor supported by universally accessible proof of objective certainty, and people should not be despised or looked down upon for not having yet concluded the truth of those matters, or for having decided to take a second critical look at those issues after having previously accepted them as settled truths.
So to summarize, I personally have faith that the LDS Church is "true" in the loose sense, but I do not believe it is true in the dogmatic absolute sense. Because of the ambiguity in the term "true," I tend to grow uncomfortable with people trying to make black-and-white characterizations like, "Either the Church is true, or it isn't." There's a lot more to it than that, and like most things, the Church has a lot of shades of gray within it.