Brethren and Sisters,
Today, I stand before you grateful for this opportunity to address you.
Recently, I've become a more passionate enthusiast in the inspired words of one of the Lord's mouthpieces, even our beloved apostle, Elder Ronald A. Rasband.
In a Sept. 8, 2021 Facebook post, even Elder Rasband blessed us with the following divinely-inspired insight:
I must say, Brethren and Sisters, that I feel with every fiber of my being that there's so much to read, ponder and pray about here, it's difficult to know where to start.
First, I'd like to start with Elder Rasband's statement that "We sometimes turn to our friends, associates, or the Internet with our questions. The adversary likes to stamp speculation as truth and cloud our thinking with frustration and disrespect."
Here, Elder Rasband has demonized speculation -- "the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence".
I am anxious to someday ask Elder Rasband if the church was speculating, or if it was serious, that we should all trust "the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders." (the First Presidency's August 12, 2021 letter to Church members re: Covid).  Ask those who had to hastily exit -- and those who have yet to exit, not to mention the families of those who never exited -- Afghanistan if our "government leaders" are "wise and thoughtful." While you're at it, ask those very same leaders if their continued support for killing unborn babies is "wise and thoughtful." Ditto for those "wise and thoughtful" government leaders who will again raise our national debt limit next month, facilitate illegal immigration and continue ignoring the ever-escalating Chinese military threat (which just violated Taiwanese air space). The implications are staggering.
Is it "wise and thoughtful" to force people to get a Covid injection (in flagrant disregard of the Nuremberg Convention)? Where are the thoughtful "medical experts" who consistently turn a blind eye to those with injection adverse effects? Where are those "vaccines" that are "proven to be both safe and effective"? According to the CDC, a vaccine specifically has to stimulate both an immunity within the person who is receiving it, but it also has to disrupt transmission. Yet the CDC's own director admits that the injections do not prevent transmission,  and news headlines regularly inform us of people dying of Covid who recently received a full dose.
Where is the "firm evidence" that those "medical experts" and "government leaders" are "wise and thoughtful"? And if there is no evidence of such, then who is Elder Rasband to be lecturing us on speculation, when the First Presidency's August 12, 2021 letter to Church members  around the world is filled with nothing but "speculation"?
"Questions" and "Answers"
Luckily, Elder Rasband got one thing right by saying we grow by asking questions. The problem is that (1) He demonizes our turning to "our friends, associates, or the Internet with our questions" presumably about the church or the gospel of Jesus Christ and (2) he wants you to limit where you can find the answers.
It is said that the truth does not mind being questioned, whereas a lie does not like being challenged.
This is not the first time (and likely not the last) members experience the following:
On my about page (https://ldtruths.blogspot.com/p/about.html), I detail how many members (who are confronted with inconvenient information about the church) do as they are told: they sincerely turn to their Bishops and Stake Presidents for answers. Yet in many cases, these men don't have the answers. So the member often walks away not only lacking an answer, but they are also being unofficially branded as a potential troublemaker, a disobedient soul, a questioner, a doubter. Maybe even a sinner or apostate. If you doubt me, read some of the comments under Elder Rasband's Facebook post:
So, where are members supposed to go for the answers?
Fortunately, our dearly beloved Elder Rasband has a solution, embedded in the words of our global faith leader, even President Russell Marion Nelson, who taught, “Take your questions to the Lord and to other faithful sources.” (“Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” General Conference, Apr. 2021).
I actually agree with Pres. Nelson on one of his points: One should take their questions and concerns, worries and more to God. At least, that's what James 1:5-6 says:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
Yet we are also told to study things out in our minds (D&C 9:7-9) and to "seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." (D&C 88:118). In fact, in 1843, Joseph Smith said, "One of the grand fundamental principles of 'Mormonism' is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may." (please excuse my using that Satanic word 'Mormonism'; it's a direct quote from Joseph Smith). 
Many church leaders (including our dearly beloved Elder Rasband and even global faith leader Russell Marion Nelson) have criticized those who turn to "our friends, associates, or the Internet" for insights. Anybody -- apostle and ordinary shmo like yours truly -- is on truly shaky ground whenever they imply that "our friends, associates" are agents of "the adversary." What an insult. What utter nonsense.
I have no idea what the Brethren are afraid of enough to be using such inflammatory rhetoric. As apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, I would assume that their confidence has "waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth." After all, aren't they supposed to be "men of a sound understanding" who have "searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God"? (see Alma 17:2) If so, then they should have no hesitation in our talking with others about the questions we have and the answers we seek.
Deliberating with others should be expected among members. For example: You've likely bought a car before. Before you did so, did you ever ask questions about the car you were thinking of buying? And was the only source of information you sought out the manufacturer of the car itself? Of course not. They will only tell you good things about it—whatever it takes to get you to buy it, even embellishing the details and outright lying. That's why when I buy a car, I read the reviews of the dealer and the car. I even read the negative reviews as well. What do people not like about it? What do the disinterested third party observers say about it? How does it rate compared to the other options? You’ll never get the full story from the salesman who’s trying to take your money.
God shouldn't be expected to be an information vending machine. He expects us to do our fair share of the research. And all facts considered, it looks like there's plenty of evidence (hence, it's not speculative) that Joseph Smith and the Lord are fine with us not only asking questions, but also seeking out a wide array of reputable information sources for answers. No asterisks, no exceptions, no prioritizations.
Our beloved Elder Rasband also quotes Pres. Nelson: "Stop increasing your doubts and fears by rehearsing them with other doubters. Allow the Lord to lead you on your journey of spiritual discovery."
I am constantly amazed why the Brethren fear our developing doubts:
“If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.” 
“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” 
Reading a book about Nazis doesn’t make you a Nazi. (And as much as I wish it were true), reading a book about martial artist Bruce Lee doesn't make you a Jeet-Kune-Do expert. And trust me when I say that watching Gordon Ramsey swear a string of expletives to junior chefs has yet to make me a kick-butt cook.
In fact, doubts -- and searching for truth, wherever it comes from -- can be a fruitful thing. Here’s Hugh B. Brown:
"Doubt has a place if it can stir in one an interest to go out and find the truth for one's self. I should like to awaken in everyone a desire to investigate, to make an independent study of religion, and to know for themselves whether or not the teachings of the Mormon church are true. There are altogether too many people in the world who are willing to accept as true whatever is printed in a book or delivered from a pulpit. Their faith never goes below the surface soil of authority. We should be dauntless in our pursuit of truth and resist all demands for unthinking conformity." 
And another Hugh-ism:
"I admire men and women who have developed the questioning spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas and stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent - if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression. This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence nor any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it." 
“Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. . . . We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.” 
In his four-part plan to ascertain truth, our beloved Elder Rasband encourages us to "Be worthy to receive answers."
Frankly, I'm amazed he would say this. Here is a man who has served as a high councilman, bishop, mission president, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, member of the Presidency of the Seventy and finally, apostle...yet he is apparently unaware of the non-speculative fact that none of us are worthy:
"there is none that doeth good" 
"It is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes." 
O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth." 
"Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." 
Remember that James 1:5-6 scripture I quoted above? God “giveth to all men liberally”. God has never set conditions on his ability to give us answers. All of us deserve them. And that's a fact that's both unconditional and non-speculative.
Brethren and Sisters, my time's almost up.
I agree that what our beloved Elder Rasband has said is true: "By divine design, truth speaks to your spirit; it brings light to your mind and comfort to your heart. Truth will deepen your commitment to love what the Lord loves and steady your everyday challenges with an eternal perspective."
But with every fiber of my being, I don't think that a "loving Heavenly Father" is after more “strong and effective servants." "Eternal servitude" is a concept never mentioned in the scriptures. Instead, he wants his sons and daughters to love God and others -- in other words, the two commandments. When love exists, obedience happens naturally, organically.
Appeal to authority, servitude and obedience are not the primary messages of the Beatitudes.
- Joseph Smith, Jr., as quoted in History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1949), 5:499, as quoted in https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/authority-in-the-church
- George A. Smith, JD 14:216
- J. Reuben Clark, "J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years", D. Michael Quinn. Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24
- Hugh B. Brown, "An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown", 1988, http://www.lds-mormon.com/brown.shtml
- Hugh B. Brown, counselor in First Presidency, Speech at BYU, March 29, 1958
- James E. Talmage, The Improvement Era, Vol. 23
- Psalm 14:1; 53:1-3
- Romans 3:10-18
- Helaman 12:7
- Moses 1:10