For those of you that are LDS we have all enjoyed our semi-annual general conference, the final session ending this afternoon. Despite being sick I took notes and learned much. Each general authority that spoke did so with authority and comfort. It’s like hearing advice from an old friend that loves you. At least that’s how I felt. A couple of talks that particularly stuck out to me were Elder’s Holland, Hales, Wirthlin, and Uchtdorf and of course President Monson. It is Elder Hales’ message that I would like to mention in this blog. He spoke about defending criticisms of our faith both as a church and as individual followers. Instead of responding to criticism in defensive ways, he taught us to follow Christ’s example and love those that hate us:
“When we respond to our accusers as the Savior did, we not only become more Christ-like, we invite others to feel his love and follow him as well,” Elder Hales said.
Elder Hales even said that sometimes these criticisms can be helpful by their attracting attention to the church, which then often leads to teaching moments.
I thought this was a beautiful message, and one that I want to exemplify more fully. I have always been very independent and don’t like to be criticized or told what I should be doing in my life. While I don’t think we should be doormats for people, there is a way to be bold without being defensive. Elder Hales said that the spirit would dictate which response is appropriate. Just as the savior responded in a different way to Nicodemus than he did to the moneychangers in the temple, we will know what is the best response for the different people in our lives.
I actually don’t have many in my life who directly criticize my church membership but often I hear hurtful things through the media and my initial response is to be defensive. This is something I would like to work on.
I believe Elder Hales’ message also applies to criticism and feedback in general. Even in my work, I have always had a hard time with criticism and although I think I have grown over the years, it still is something I can improve upon.
One cool thing I noticed in Elder Hales’ talk is that he mentioned using blogs to spread the gospel! That made me feel good! In that vein, let me state to all of you that I do have a testimony of the Mormon church and its current prophet President Thomas Monson. I feel such a tremendous spirit when I hear him speak. I also have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and know that it is a true book. I know this because I have prayed about it and the spirit has confirmed to me that it is true. I love reading that book. It is my sincerest desire to serve my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ in any way I can including trying my best each day to be obedient to His teachings. I also have a strong testimony in eternal temple ordinances and am grateful that the pain of grief can be assuaged by the knowledge of eternal covenants and families. I thank each of you for your love and support and know that much of this testimony can be attributed to the righteous influences each of you have showered in my life and heart. God bless. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.