Sunday, April 2, 2017

From Conference: Speaking out is a Virtue, but Hostility is not

   "These turbulent times were foreseen," said Elder Russell M. Nelson during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Later in his talk, he said, "True disciples of Jesus Christ are willing to stand out, speak up, and be different from people of the world. They are undaunted, devoted and courageous."
   That sage comment does not tell us what the right side is for each of the public issues, but it does give us hope that taking a stand when we see injustice is the right thing to do.
   And, I think of the words of Elder Dale G. Renlund. "We must guard against bigotry that raises its ugly voice toward those who hold different opinions. Bigotry manifests itself, in part, in unwillingness to grant equal freedom of expression. Everyone, including people of religion, has the right to express his or her opinions in the public square."
   Bless me, then, that I will be wise enough and gentle enough not to condemn those whose opinions differ from mine. Although I do reasonably well on this matter, in the past month I have seen need for improvement.
   And, I consider the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. "There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, the married, for large families and for the childless," he said. "There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions."
  I wondered if he was weighing in on requiring immigrants to speak English. Perhaps he wasn't; I don't know.
   I believe it good to apply what church leaders said during Conference to our daily lives, which includes all that is going on on the public stage, since many of us are active in discussing news and events. It is also important to listen to the other things the church leaders said, things that do not involve how we react to current events.
   I also think of the headline over the Salt Lake Tribune's story about Conference. "Hostility no way to deal with conflict, apostles say." I think of the many rallies and protests. Turbulent times? That certainly is reflected in rallies and protests. Such places should not become forums for hatred and for hostility. They have, though, and they are. Bless us, that when we participate in the market places of public opinion, we do so without being hateful and hostile.

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