When was the last time you spoke with someone who joined the church because they lost an argument over their beliefs?
As my family and I were leaving Temple Square Thursday evening, it was easy to recognize what was going on outside the North gate well before we got there. One man was very dramatically raising his arms in frustration and I could hear him shouting. As we got closer we could tell that he was clearly frustrated with the man who he was conversing with, because he wanted him to prove a point. He was definitely the bigger voice. It was also clear that there was contention.
As we waited to cross the street I noticed my wife watching these men argue over what they believe. I said to her, “you see that? There is no Spirit in that discussion.” The Holy Ghost does not participate in arguments.
“…And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:28-30)
I believe in the sharing and discussion of faith. People should be open and honest about their beliefs. For many, their faith is a key attribute that defines who they are as individuals. We can have civil discussions about what we believe and our experiences with our beliefs. And when we do have those conversations, our primary objective shouldn’t be to convince the person with whom we are conversing that our beliefs are better or more correct. If anything the things we discuss should uplift and provide motivation for us to continue in our own faith journeys.
We should embrace those of other faiths and the common ground that we share with them. The world needs more people of faith, and those courageous enough to share it.