A few years ago I was at the Deseret Industries looking through their selection of books, and I was pulling out a hug stack of LDS books that I was excited to purchase and to look into. While looking through their selection, I was approached by a nice little lady who happened to work there. We began discussing LDS books, but the women then expressed a concern that she felt. She seemed to indicate that we need to be extremely careful with what we read, and that we probably should not really read anything that was not written by a general authority. I was very friendly to this woman, but I feel that this perspective is extremely short sighted. For one I believe that we need to be careful with everything we read, included works from General authorities, but also if we choose to ignore that written from individuals who are outside of church leadership I believe we will miss out on a great deal of truth that perhaps God wants us to discover.
This is the point that I think B.H. Roberts was sharing when he said “I believe it is good to investigate and prove all principles that come before me. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good, and reject that which is evil, no matter what guise it may come in. I think if we, as “Mormons,” hold principles that cannot be sustained by the Scriptures and by good sound reason and philosophy, the quicker we part with them the better, no matter who believes in them or who does not. In every principle presented to us, our first inquiry should be, “Is it true?” “Does it emanate from God?” If He is its Author it can be sustained just as much as any other truth in natural philosophy; if false it should be opposed and exposed just as much as any other error. Hence upon all such matters we wish to go back to first principles.”