Thursday, August 14, 2014

[persecuted for your faith]

Lately, I have received much abuse because of my faith and the church I belong to. The sad part is that this abuse has come from people who should know and love me, yet it seems that they don't know me at all and they think they can say whatever rude things they want about my faith. It makes me so sad that they don't seem to have any idea who I really am and what a positive, edifying influence my faith is for me. 

It is not new though that people who try to live the gospel are being persecuted. This has happened all through the ages. I just finished reading Elder Holland's talk from last General Conference and it helped me as I was reminded that I'm not the only one who has been treated unfairly or rudely because of faith.

With admiration and encouragement for everyone who will need to remain steadfast in these latter days, I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part.
For example, a sister missionary recently wrote to me: “My companion and I saw a man sitting on a bench in the town square eating his lunch. As we drew near, he looked up and saw our missionary name tags. With a terrible look in his eye, he jumped up and raised his hand to hit me. I ducked just in time, only to have him spit his food all over me and start swearing the most horrible things at us. We walked away saying nothing. I tried to wipe the food off of my face, only to feel a clump of mashed potato hit me in the back of the head. Sometimes it is hard being a missionary because right then I wanted to go back, grab that little man, and say, ‘EXCUSE ME!’ But I didn’t.”
There was a missionary who was stabbed to death when I was serving my mission in Ireland. There were some other missionaries who were badly beaten. These kind of things happen all over the world still. People who turn hate into violence or hurtful words. Most of it stems from misunderstandings or ignorance.

Lately I have noticed that it seems ok to belittle people who believe in God. To make rude remarks of them. To ridicule them. I don't get it. How is there ever going to be peace in this world if we think that that kind of rude behavior is acceptable? We can have our beliefs and thoughts but couldn't we learn to live civilly? To treat those who think differently from us with respect and kindness?

I love these words from Elder Holland.

That kind of hate for a prophet’s honesty cost Abinadi his life. As he said to King Noah: “Because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. … Because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad”9 or, we might add, provincial, patriarchal, bigoted, unkind, narrow, outmoded, and elderly.

And these.

Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.11

Love how he says that. :)

People just don't want to hear it when someone says something they do is not right. It has always been that way. People want religion or things they believe in to be easy. "Do what you want." So it has been throughout the history and so it is now and will be in the future too. 

Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).

No matter what the world does, a disciple of Jesus Christ will need to continue to try to live the gospel and to try to be an example for others of the blessings that come from keeping the commandments of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ really is the only hope for mankind. There is no other doctrine that can heal people's hatred or make people into better people than that what Jesus Christ teaches. There are doctrines that can do much good, but the fullness of the gospel is the only thing that can cure this world. So despite any persecution, we need to stay committed to the gospel. 

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.

Have I mentioned how much I love Elder Holland? :)

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