“Questions and Answers,” New Era, Aug. 2010, 14–15
Questions & Answers
“How should I react when I’m ridiculed for being a member of the Church and for trying to maintain my standards?”
Because of the Light of Christ, God’s children know what is right and wrong, but unfortunately some choose to ignore that knowledge and ridicule those who are trying to choose the right. Whenever you can, try to share your testimony with people like that and explain the blessings you have received from living gospel standards.
How you react to ridicule will affect how others view you and the Church. Never argue or react with anger or unkindness. Sometimes you just need to ignore what others say and follow the Savior’s counsel to love and pray for them (see 3 Nephi 12:44). Remember that you are to be “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Finally, don’t be ashamed of your testimony of the gospel (see Romans 1:16). Your steadfast example will be a powerful witness to those around you of the truth of the gospel. Standing up for your beliefs in a charitable and confident way can also strengthen those who lack the courage to do what is right.
Explain Your Beliefs
Some time ago I was participating on a basketball team that usually played games on Saturdays. When we played on Sunday, however, I would not attend, and my teammates would make fun of this. When they asked me why I didn’t play on Sundays, I responded, “I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am taught to make the Sabbath sacred and not play sports. I follow the principles of the gospel because I know that God wants the best for us.” After that, my teammates respected my beliefs and stopped making fun of me.
Nicolás B., age 19, Córdoba, Argentina
Pray for Them
It can be discouraging when others ridicule your beliefs. However, I try to remember that those who make fun are missing out on the blessings of the gospel. So I pray that Heavenly Father will change their hearts and help them understand the importance of the gospel. I know that if I live a good, exemplary life, my example can help them change.
Itaobong O., age 20, Rivers, Nigeria
Don’t Be Ashamed
If someone ridicules you because you are a member of the Church, just tell them that you have a testimony of the Church and that you like going to church. Tell them that you feel that your Heavenly Father is close by. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid of saying the right thing!
Laura A., age 12, Hesse, Germany
I read Elder Robert D. Hales’s article about Christian courage and how we should not respond angrily but lovingly to those who are against the Church.1 If we show we care, then most people will stop acting so badly towards us. You should always treat people with respect and love because it will actually come back to you. If people tell you to do something against your standards, just calmly decline and say, “I am a member of the LDS Church and do not believe that it is OK to do that.” You might even suggest a new activity that isn’t against your standards.
Lucas H., age 15, Arizona, USA
Be a Good Friend
First of all, I would think of the Lord’s example. When He gave His life for me, He had no flaws or any reason to deserve what He suffered. Second, I would think of the example of Joseph Smith, who knew how to be strong and courageous so that today I am proud to belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Third, I would continue to maintain my principles by being kind and by serving. I would show my love for them by being the best friend and example they could have. I would show them the blessings that obedience to gospel principles can bring them. After all, we’re all children of one loving and merciful Father.
Auguste R., age 15, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Let Your Light Shine
We should remember why and for whom we live our standards. If we always keep in mind the example of our Savior, we will be prepared to endure such situations with meekness, without a spirit of discord, and without feeling shame for the standards we have chosen to live. As we act this way, we let our light shine before men, and they will see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven (see Matthew 5:16).
Lara M., age 21, Paraíba, Brazil
Bear Your Testimony
At the university where I used to study, there was a young man who persecuted me because I am a member of the Church. He always wanted to contend, so I just tried to avoid him. Then one day I bore my testimony to him, and he quit persecuting me. We should always stay firm and remember how our testimonies were gained. We should react with self-control so the Holy Spirit may always be with us and strengthen us, no matter what others may say or think. We should pray for those people so that someday they may receive Jesus Christ.
Brezka E., age 21, Valparaíso, Chile
Talk with Church Friends
I have found that reading my patriarchal blessing really helps. It gives me a better understanding of who I am, my weaknesses, and my strengths so that I can better deal with trials such as these. I have only two close LDS friends, but I talk to them frequently about ways to handle trials. I think that would definitely help you. Another good way to deal with this problem is just to show kindness and be an example in everything you do. You definitely cannot force people to change their minds, but being kind and slow to anger is probably the best way to show them how important the Church is to you.
William L., age 17, Nevada, USA