Monday, February 20, 2017

Elder Gary E. Stevenson on letting our light shine

Elder Gary E. Stevenson (b. 1955) was called as a Seventy in 2008, then as Presiding Bishop in 2012. He was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
"Recently, as I participated with Elder Quentin L. Cook in a conference with many other priesthood leaders, he counseled, 'Don't be in camouflage.'  He went on to emphasis how it is important that we stand up and stand out. I believe he was addressing another type of fear—the fear of being ridiculed for one's beliefs.
"Today’s cultural landscape is full of those who would mock and ridicule our beliefs. We worry that if we express our peculiar beliefs—and they are peculiar—that this will somehow become an embarrassment, or ultimately, a disadvantage in our professional or social relationships. But we shouldn’t hide among the shadows, trying to blend in. 'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid' (Matthew 5:14)....
"It is more important than ever to be willing to express your values and beliefs—particularly in today’s society, where people are stumbling around in the midst of darkness. You can express your faith with words, but especially by the way you live your life. 'Be strong and of a good courage' (Joshua 10:25). There are those out there who are hungry for the light of truth that you have. 'Let your light so shine before men' (Matthew 5:16).
"Remember that the flame of conviction, truth and testimony inside you is bright enough to vanquish your fear of ridicule for your beliefs."
- Gary E. Stevenson, "Conquer Fear with the Fire of Faith," BYU-Hawaii commencement address, April 18, 2015
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It's not unusual to be worried about having our beliefs ridiculed. We want to make a good impression, to have others think well of us. But we also want to share things that are precious to us with others. We just worry that they may not understand them or find them as precious as we do; and sometimes we're afraid that the criticism may lead to "disadvantages" in social or professional settings. So we hesitate.

Elder Stevenson encourages boldness and courage in letting our light shine; too many around us are struggling and stumbling in the darkness of today's world:

The final point is a powerful one.  It is "the flame of conviction, truth and testimony" in our hearts that will "vanquish your fear of ridicule for your beliefs." When the fire is strong, the fear fades away in the desire to share and bless.

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