Oops...I thought yesterday was Thursday. Well, even though I don't think anyone reads this blog except me (which is ok), I strive to keep some sort of cohesiveness to things. Striving is progress not perfection. Right? This week I studied The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship a sermon by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. All quotes are from this sermon unless otherwise noted.
"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."
The first time this happened to me after my baptism, it particularly broke my heart. When I was nine, my great grandfather married for the third time, having been widowed twice before. GG demonstratively loved me, and I fiercely loved her back. Even though our relationship wasn't by blood, we possessed a connection just as strong. After I was baptized at 13, she said some terrible things to my over the phone. A couple months later at a family gathering, a cousin I admired said some similar things to me about my choice to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and my new found faith. Because I was raised to respect my elders, I said nothing to either of them about their terrible treatment. However, confused and hurt, many tears were shed. When she noticed I became shy around her after that, GG apologized after several months.
"In keeping with the Savior’s own experience, there has been a long history of rejection and a painfully high price paid by prophets and apostles, missionaries and members in every generation—all those who have tried to honor God’s call to lift the human family to a more excellent way. (Hebrews 11:32:38)"
While I can't claim my experiences were as painful as facing lions in the coliseum or as confusing as an altercation in a modern city, they still hurt in my heart. However, being reviled by some I love best in the world, prepared me for further rejection and even persecution from acquaintances and strangers.
"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. (Matthew 5:29-30)...[Jesus] said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?"
"Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world...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 (John 14:15)...In courageously pursuing such a course (2 Nephi 31:20), you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall. (Helaman 5:12)"
Each six months this weekend long conference helps my resolve to stay strong. I'm sure I could do it without the conference, but I'll take advantage of this wonderful blessing as long as it exists.