Friday, July 20, 2018

Elder Dale G. Renlund on treating others with love and respect

Elder Dale G. Renlund (born November 13, 1952) served in the First Quorum of Seventy starting in 2009, until his call to the Quorum of Twelve in October 2015.
"Those who have been persecuted for any reason know what unfairness and bigotry feel like. As a teenager living in Europe in the 1960s, I felt that I was repeatedly picked on and bullied because I was an American and because I was a member of the Church. Some of my schoolmates treated me as though I were personally responsible for unpopular U.S. foreign policies. I was also treated as though my religion were an affront to the nations in which I lived because it differed from state-sponsored religion. Later, in various countries across the world, I have had small glimpses into the ugliness of prejudice and discrimination suffered by those who are targeted because of their race or ethnicity.
"Persecution comes in many forms: ridicule, harassment, bullying, exclusion and isolation, or hatred toward another. 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. But no one has a license to be hateful toward others as those opinions are expressed.
"Church history gives ample evidence of our members being treated with hatred and bigotry. How ironically sad it would be if we were to treat others as we have been treated. The Savior taught, 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them' (Matthew 7:12). For us to ask for respect, we must be respectful. Furthermore, our genuine conversion brings 'meekness, and lowliness of heart,' which invites 'the Holy Ghost [and fills us with] perfect love' (Moroni 8:26), an 'unfeigned love' (1 Peter 1:22) for others."
- Dale G. Renlund, "Our Good Shepherd," General Conference April 2017
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It seems that in recent years, we have been losing some of the civility and manners that used to mark society. Instead, we see increasing "ridicule, harassment, bullying, exclusion and isolation, or hatred" in so many public interactions. Elder Renlund reminds us that "the ugliness of prejudice and discrimination" have no place in our lives and attitudes.

We must never forget that the right to express opinions is a fundamental opportunity that we should never deny others; opinions should be respected and considered. Even if we disagree, that does not give us the right to be "hateful toward others"; not only should we be respectful, but the love of Christ and concern for others should influence all of our actions and attitudes.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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