Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones…But Words Still Sting Quite A Bit!


“It’s a stupid religion and it’s a stupid country. They were made for each other” opined a nationally known comedian a few years ago. For me it was a devastating revelation to find this out as I am both a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a citizen of the United States of America who were the targets of the above revealing statement. So it was doubly disturbing for me to hear this revealed truth, according to the above stated comedian. At first I dismissed  the statement as I was sure it was meant as a joke. But from my understanding, it was meant as a serious observation.

The entertainer’s hurtful words bring to mind what our mothers taught us as children. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That is a nice saying but somehow what people say about you still stings. Still, I am happy that we live in a country that allows freedom of speech and wouldn’t want it any other way because I am sure I have been guilty, like most, of saying some fairly dumb things over my lifetime.

Entertainers are of course, “entertainers” and they are motivated by market factors in order to make a living. But what strikes me about this particular comedian is that he has a track record of attacking our people of faith on a regular basis.  I can only surmise that he has no close affiliation with a member of our faith who is actively living the precepts taught within the walls of our church. If he did he would find out what I know to be true. The active members of the Mormon Church are some of the finest people I know on the face of the earth. I have been associating with them all my life. As a whole, you won’t find a more giving and kinder people. Our doctrines might be a little different to some but our hearts are centered upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. I can’t give enough praise to those members of the church who I have rubbed shoulders with on a daily basis for decades.

The past number of years, as my religious faith has been put under the spotlight; I have been taught valuable lessons regarding perceptions versus reality. It certainly has been revealing to me how misunderstood we are as a religious body. We can all help perception match reality by living our lives according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes tolerance and love for all that do not agree with our point of view. I remember the pleas given often by our now departed prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, for tolerance by our members for those of other faiths, races and creeds. He once charged the priesthood brothers:

“Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.” (“The Need for Greater Kindness”, April GC. 2006)

He taught that no man can consider himself a true disciple of Christ if he makes disparaging remarks about others. I’m learning that I too need to be better in how I judge others not of my faith or point of view. There are so many good people of all faiths who diligently strive to live lives unto God.

I don’t know what faith my good friend the comedienne holds dear, perhaps none. But Christ did teach “if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you…” (Matthew 6:14) So with that in mind we would all be best off giving the benefit of the doubt to those that don’t know us well in hopes that someday we can all dine together and come to a harmony of the faith.

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