D&C 105 — dealing with contention

I woke up late and I have a very hungry 4 year old sitting next to me, so this will be quicker than I intended —

As we were reading 101, 103, and 105 in Sunday School this week, I thought a lot about how their situation related loosely to today’s political situation. In their times, they were seen as politically dangerous. They voted as a group often enough, they believed in a prophet-leader, they invited free blacks to live with them (in Missouri!), etc. The advice given in D&C 105 is to be kind and calm, rather than brash and bold. There are those who are called to preach repentance, but the general rule here is to allow the neighbors to get to know the saints as friends. When they are convinced the saints are not enemies, then their neighbors will see how they are being mistreated and actually defend them! Here are the words in D&C 105 that seem to say this to me:

23 And let all my people who dwell in the regions round about be very faithful, and prayerful, and humble before me, and reveal not the things which I have revealed unto them, until it is wisdom in me that they should be revealed.

24 Talk not of judgments, neither boast of faith nor of mighty works, but carefully gather together, as much in one region as can be, consistently with the feelings of the people;

25 And behold, I will give unto you favor and grace in their eyes, that you may rest in peace and safety, while you are saying unto the people: Execute judgment and justice for us according to law, and redress us of our wrongs.”

It made me think about Joe’s experience at UNM. The faculty and students all became aware that Joe was LDS, but he never brought it up himself. After he had been there 2 years, many of them began to ask questions. By the end of his time there, he had lengthy conversations about the way LDS people saw certain things, such as the fall or the nature of God (he has a body?!). If his fellow students found out that someone had made fun of Joe, they were appalled and apologized to Joe for their fellow-student’s behavior. Some of these students even came to our ward when Joe gave a talk on Easter. None of them joined the church — but they were supportive of Joe as their friend, and they were willing to stand up for him and other members of the Church when the situation arose.

The question this answered for me is how to handle facebook conversations. I think that there is a lot going on culturally and politically that is dangerous and unthinking. But I’m never sure if my role is to proclaim and be bold and shout that’s not right! Or if my role is to be a kind person who talks about her kids and the pretty sunsets. But the truth I think is somewhere in between. By just being myself, I will inevitably show that I have certain convictions and principles. And by being myself, I will create friendships. But what I don’t need to do, unless called or prompted to do, is to announce or proclaim or call out. There are those who do that, but then there are many many who don’t speak of judgments or boast of mighty works.

I still have a lot to think about as to how I can still share my convictions in the right way, but this was a helpful starting place.

A recent conference talk really got me thinking about this — he said that we usually say that people should “practice what they preach.” But nowadays, we also need people who are willing to “preach what they practice.” He was referring to experts on family and society, but still I wonder how that applies to me.

Anyway, I need to go now, but I wanted to start a post on the idea anyway in case I can come back to it later.


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