“Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.” –Jeffrey R. Holland.
Nephi in 1 NEPHI 3
When you discuss or post about your beliefs, you don’t get many angry or cruel comments from trolls or strangers. You do end up dealing with angry and resentful family members again and again. Your family may “speak many hard words” unto you, but you remain determined to “go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.” You defend your beliefs, and hope that someday they’ll come around.
An Anti-Nephi-Lehi in ALMA 24
You used to just hate Latter-day Saints. You loved to draw Church members and missionaries into contentious “battles”. Your words were your “weapons of war”, and you freely used them to argue with members or attack Church doctrine online. After you became truly converted to the Church, you buried your love of contention deep in the earth. You’re now a faithful and true Latter-day Saint with a fervent testimony. Now you put up with every onslaught of sarcasm, anger and ridicule without ever lifting your verbal “weapons of war”. Your humility causes the hearts of your enemies to soften, and they often apologize for their attitude towards you and your faith.
A Stripling Warrior in ALMA 56
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, your group of solid friends doesn’t hesitate to defend your beliefs wherever you go. Yes, you are young and new at this, but your group has been surprisingly effective at standing up for what you believe in. This is because of your unwavering faith that the Lord will always help you. Your ward and CES leaders just marvel at your group’s courage and strength.
Moroni in Alma 60
You feel passionate about defending your beliefs, and you’re not afraid to be out on the front line. You’re always the one tackling the issues and doctrines that are causing controversy on the fringes. But sometimes when you try to rally your friends or ward members to help with a project or event, you don’t feel heard. You feel a little feed up, and spout off your own “letter to Pahoran” to your Bishop or friends on occasion. You feel upset that certain issues aren’t being taken seriously enough among Latter-day Saints; you remind others to not “sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor” while people are suffering all around them.
Pahoran in ALMA 61
You would love-love-love to defend your beliefs on the front lines with “Moroni”, but quite frankly you’ve got your hands full at home right now. That doesn’t mean you’re sitting on a throne of complacency! Oh no, far from it. You are fighting the good fight with everything you’ve got every single day. Your efforts aren’t always visible though, and sometimes others judge you unfairly when you don’t have time to help them. You don’t become angry though. You simply explain that you’d love to help with ward projects or other Church events, but given your current “battles” at home, you simply can’t.
Ammon in ALMA 26-27
Your diligent and humble efforts have resulted in success. People have stopped and listened because of how you defended and explained your beliefs. They have felt the Spirit, been converted by the Lord, and joined the Church. You’re so carried away in your rejoicing that some of your friends think you’re bragging a little. But you’re just rejoicing in the Lord. Your joy is so great, “even to the exhausting of [your] strength.” (Many recently returned missionaries fall into this category!)
Samuel the Lamanite in HELAMAN 13-16
After expressing your beliefs, you were kicked out of an online forum or a circle of friends (or kicked off many a front porch on your mission). You still defend your beliefs when prompted by the Spirit. You are met by many verbal stones and arrows, but they do not harm you. You continue defending your beliefs, and have a little success, but overall your message is harshly rejected. Regardless, because you know of the Lord, you have “glad tidings” in your soul. (Many faithful returned missionaries fall into this category.)
Moroni in Alma 51
You have known the heartbreaking task of defending the beliefs and doctrines of the Church not to outsiders, but to members who publicly fight against the Church and seek a following. At some point, just like during the time of Captain Moroni, dissenters who are unrelentingly stirring up civil war must be addressed. You’ve faced the task of making decisions concerning when a member of the Church must be disfellowshipped or excommunicated because of their continuous and extreme rebellion. You didn’t relish or seek after the task, but you did your duty and hoisted the standard just like Captain Moroni did in days of old.
Abinadi in MOSIAH 11-17
When you defend your beliefs, it feels like it’s you alone against the world sometimes. Perhaps you live where there are very few Latter-day Saints, or you work in an industry that is particularly intolerant of certain Church doctrines. You feel the Lord’s guidance in what to say, but things don’t always end well. While you aren’t burned alive as Abinadi was, it sure feels like it sometimes. Perhaps you lost a job or were bullied at your school because of your faith. You pay dearly for defending your beliefs, but you don’t regret it one bit. You will stand before Jesus Christ someday knowing that when He needed you to be true and open your mouth, you obeyed.