At the April 1989 general conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of having seen lambs lost in a moving herd of sheep.
"A great chorus of voices rises from the herd, but each lamb listens for the one voice that can guide it. The Savior used this ageless example in the allegory of the Good Shepherd. 'The sheep hear his voice:
Elder Oaks referred to "those voices that speak of God, of His commandments, and of the doctrines, ordinances and practices of His Church."
He said, "Some of those who speak on these subjects have been called and given divine authority to do so. Others, whom I choose to call 'alternate voices,' speak on these subjects without calling or authority."
In most instances, the Church and the alternate voices use the same kinds of communications, he said. "The Church has magazines, and other official publications, a newspaper supplement, letters from Church leaders, general conferences, and regular meetings and conferences in local units. Similarly, alternate voices are heard in magazines, journals and newspapers, and at lectures, symposia and conferences."
He added that the Church does not attempt to isolate its members from alternate voices, but rather, follows the approach as counseled by the Prophet Joseph Smith to teach correct principles and then leave members to govern themselves by personal choices.
In evaluating information from alternate voices, a seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation, contingent upon study, faith and personal righteousness, Elder Oaks counseled.