“Questions and Answers,” New Era, Nov. 2009, 30–31
It’s not fun to be teased. But don’t let your classmate provoke you. Since he has a low opinion of the Church, it’s very important for you to be a good example in the way you respond. He might be teasing you because he’s actually interested in the Church and is trying to get your attention, or he might be misinformed. Either way, respond kindly, and try to help him understand what a blessing the gospel is in your life.
You could ask if he has any questions about the Church. If he doesn’t, he might not be interested in learning more, so you can try to ignore the teasing or change the subject. If he does have questions, you could suggest that he talk to the missionaries or visit mormon.org.
For more ideas on how to handle this, talk to your parents, Church leaders, seminary teacher, or the missionaries. Most importantly, pray for inspiration to know what to say and for strength to handle the teasing. Heavenly Father cares about you and your classmate and can help you know what to do.
When someone makes negative comments about the Church, I believe it’s normally due to a lack of knowledge or a false understanding of our beliefs. There’s a positive thing about this. It’s a sign that they still find the information interesting in some way. When I run into this situation, I first pray. Heavenly Father can help me know what to say in any situation. Next, ask your classmate about his ideas about the Church. Then, listen and wait. If you are in tune with the Spirit, you will know what to say to teach the person the truth. And then thank Heavenly Father for His guidance and ask Him to open that person’s mind and heart to the truth. In this case, you don’t need a name tag to be a missionary.
Evan F., 18, Illinois
For a long time a good friend of mine has put down my religion. She is a strong Christian and her father is a minister, so she always had “facts” about how the Church was wrong. I tried to ignore her and change the subject because I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. Her comments continued, so I finally told her that even if she didn’t believe it, it was my religion. I believed it, and it hurt me and our friendship when she criticized me. We talked a little about what she said that bugged me, and we haven’t had any problems since.
Kimmie B., 16, Arizona
I deal with teasings about being LDS all the time and have realized that the people doing it don’t know what they’re saying. The best thing you can do is lead by example. Be nice to them, love them, and if the time is right, you might get the chance to share the gospel with them.
Zach W., 17, Washington
There are two things I would suggest: You can try to explain why his joke has false meaning, but do not do so in an angry or rude way; that would make the situation worse. The Holy Ghost will help you know what to say. The other suggestion I have is to be a good example. His jokes will start to lose their meaning. I can’t promise that these methods will always work, because there are going to be people who refuse to give up their negative opinions. Endure those things in the way that Jesus would—with love and positive thoughts—and continue to try.
Benjamin A., 15, Florida
I’ve been involved in situations like this before, and it was really frustrating. Then, one day in seminary, I learned a solution. My teacher’s son (recently returned from his mission) came to teach us about missionary work. He said that although the phrase “I know” is very powerful, sometimes it is better to talk about the blessings you have received. For example, “The gospel brings so much peace into my life. Going to church, praying to my Heavenly Father, and reading my scriptures all give me strength to endure happily the stress and trials of school and life.” When they see the blessings that come into your life from living the gospel, they’ll be curious and want to learn more, giving you an opportunity to share the gospel without contention.
Emilee P., 17, Washington
One of my good friends was reading the Book of Mormon in class in her spare time one day. People began to tease her. She stood up for Heavenly Father and told them that this is her religion and they shouldn’t be saying anything about it. The kids stopped teasing her. That was a very good example for me. I recommend that you stick up for the Church. If this guy knows how you really feel, then he will stop teasing you.
Tia T., 13, Utah
I too have had problems with kids at school disagreeing with our religion. Remember that you can’t change anyone’s mind, but don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Tell him that even if he and his friends find it amusing, the teasing is hurtful to you, and he is disrespecting God. Also say a sincere, humble prayer and have hope that Heavenly Father will help you. Even if your solution comes differently than you want or expect, don’t stop standing up for the Church.
Jonaka H., 13, Washington