Imagine that during a conversation with some of your classmates at school, one of them criticizes you for your religious beliefs. When you try to respond, the person doesn’t really listen and criticizes you even more. You are hurt by the criticism, feel angry inside, and say something unkind in return. Afterward, you regret what happened and begin to wonder if you should just try to hide your religious beliefs from others in the future.
Organize students into small groups of two or three, and give each student a copy of the following handout. Explain that the handout will help them consider how to apply the three principles of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge in situations like the one you read. Ask the students to work in their groups to complete this activity.
handout, Practice Exercise
How can I stand firm in the gospel truths I believe in and show love for others whose beliefs are different than mine?
Discuss how you could respond to the question above by using the principles and questions outlined below:
Act in faith:
If you were asking that question, what are some ways you could act in faith?
Examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective:
How can you seek to have an eternal perspective when interacting with people you may disagree with or are difficult for you to love? Why do you think this is important to do?
Seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources:
How could the doctrine taught in Moroni 7:45, 47–48 help you know how to respond to the question?
What other scriptures or teachings of prophets and other Church leaders could help you find answers to this question?
If students need help identifying additional divinely appointed sources that can help them answer the question on the handout, consider referring them to Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s October 2014 general conference talk, “Loving Others and Living with Differences” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 25–28).
After students have had sufficient time to complete this activity, invite a few students to share with the class what they discussed.
You may want to conclude this exercise by reading the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles aloud:
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
“Friends, especially my young friends, take heart. Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world. …
“Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 8–9).
Testify of the importance of loving others, even as we stand up for our beliefs. Invite students to ponder how they will seek to use what they learned in this exercise to defend the gospel truths they believe in a loving and Christlike way.