Be Patient with Yourself and with Others

“Be Patient with Yourself and with Others,” Topics and Questions (2023)

two women talking at church

Seeking Answers to Your Questions

Be Patient with Yourself and with Others

The early Saints had a close-up view of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. They witnessed the miracles—translations, healings, and visions. They also saw the challenges, mistakes, and failures. They learned to follow the prophet with “patience and faith.”1

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with.” Elder Holland called upon us to be “patient and kind and forgiving” with one another.2 One example of patience is the capacity to give our constructive attention to something for an extended period while avoiding annoyance and anger. It requires humility, kindness, and empathy. We grow in faith as we exercise patience with our brothers and sisters and with ourselves. Consider the following principles:

  • Be patient with yourself. It can be confusing or upsetting when you learn something about the Church or its history that conflicts with what you previously understood. Allow yourself time to see an issue more clearly and begin to understand new information. Continue studying and praying. It may take time before you feel like you are back on solid ground. Those who have seen this process through can testify that it has deepened their conversion to the gospel.

  • Be patient with Church members. No Church member is perfect. Our wards and branches are filled with earnest believers who often fail to live up to the highest standards of the gospel. The same problems we find in the world—cliquishness, selfishness, moral weakness, and more—are found among Latter-day Saints. As we worship and serve together, we will witness each other’s mistakes and failures. We should allow room for God’s grace as others strive to improve, just as we need their patience with our good-faith efforts.

  • Be patient with those who want to help. Those struggling with questions or uncertainty often turn to family members, friends, or local leaders for help. In many cases, these relationships offer comfort and support. Unfortunately, sometimes the person we turn to becomes defensive or suspicious or fails to show empathy. It can be difficult to be patient with others when we are in a moment of crisis. But they need our patience just as we need theirs.

  • Be patient with Church leaders. The Church leaders called to direct this work are honest but imperfect people. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf observed that “there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes.”3 This was true in the past and is still true now. A Church leader might say something that compounds your frustration or sense of isolation. They might not show the compassion or understanding you need. Showing patience with leaders does not mean we tolerate illegal or abusive behavior. But we should extend support, love, and patience to the vast majority of Church leaders as they simply and imperfectly labor for Zion.

  • Be patient with the Lord’s timing. When we have questions about the Church, we often reach for a quick answer. We might think it will help to read everything we can find about an issue regardless of the source. Or we might assume that a prayer or a meeting with a Church leader will quickly resolve our feelings. But finding peace is often a longer process. The mismatch between our hopes and our current reality can be painful. Like Nephi, we can take comfort in knowing “that [God] loveth his children” even though we “do not know the meaning of all things.”4

Key scriptures: Romans 5:3–4; Alma 7:23; Doctrine and Covenants 21:5