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Say Something

By Carina Hoskisson

Alright, I admit it. That was me. I was coming out of a light snooze when someone in Sunday School said something political, and I’d had it. Week after week little political barbs had been flying around the room, and in the haze of awakening, when my filter is at its lowest setting, and one more barb flew, I said something.
“OH MY GOSH,” I exclaimed, pretty loudly, “Can we please stop talking about this?”
My neighbor behind me clapped my shoulder in solidarity. After the meeting, I had a couple people come up and thank me for saying something. Later on, while on a walk, another neighbor took the time to communicate her thanks. I felt slightly embarrassed, to confess the truth, because my outburst wasn’t careful or measured, it was downright reactive. But it was also true: I was exhausted with the factional statements and I wasn’t the only one.
A friend and I were chatting a few weeks ago. This person has left the church recently, yet was kind enough to write me saying, “If there were someone in Relief Society that could challenge the stupid things and still be a crusader for being nice to others, I’d find a way to still be part of that community.”
Which just led me to think…
Why aren’t you standing up for yourself at church? Why are you letting them get you upset week after week? Why aren’t you saying something? What happens if all the moderate, progressive, and in some places, conservative voices leave the church? We need you. What if you’re like me and don’t care what flavor the politics are, you don’t want to hear it at church? You have something that is worth hearing; your voice counts. So WHY WON’T YOU SAY SOMETHING?
Are you afraid that you don’t know how to say it without coming off like an antagonist? Is that it? Well, let me help you. Memorize these phrases:
  1. Can we get back to the lesson?
  2. I don’t remember that being in the scriptures at all
  3. That quote is taken out of context
  4. This discussion is not helping build testimonies
  5. This discussion is not inviting the spirit in this room
  6. This discussion is off-topic, can we get back to _____?
  7. I believe that doctrine has been replaced
  8. Our God is a loving God, and that doesn’t sound like love
  9. Let’s not go into politics, we don’t all believe the same way
  10. I don’t think that’s right, but I love you anyway
  11. I believe in love and forgiveness
  12. Let’s stop the judgement and get back to the learning the gospel
  13. Let’s stop worrying about things we can’t control and start loving our neighbors
  14. I’m far more worried about getting my visiting teaching done, and maybe that’s where we should start
  15. Can we change the topic, please?
I know how to control a classroom and cut off tangents when I’m teaching, but I come from three generations of teachers; it’s in my DNA. Other teachers might lack the confidence or the ability to wrest back control of a discussion. YOU CAN HELP. Break up the scrum, try to get the focus back to the lesson. Ask for a change of topic, ask if we can move on to the next point. You may have a relieved teacher on your hands.
At the very least, there are others in the classroom that can’t speak up, and you can. You’re smart, you’re caring, you’re concerned with living the gospel, and your opinion is just as valuable as anyone else’s. If you’re feeling upset about the way a discussion is headed, chances are you’re not the only one. You can say it gently and with a smile, or you can say it loudly.
Just SAY IT.

About Carina Hoskisson

Emerita

57 thoughts on “Say Something”

  1. Amen Sista!

    When would I NOT speak up? When the comment is so clearly wackadoo that I'm pretty sure everyone in the room knows the person is way out in left field and there's no point stating the obvious.

    If they're saying something that sounds doctrinal but really isn't, I speak up.

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  2. Absolutely!

    Sometimes I find that ignoring the stupidity and/or cat-fighting by asking a totally different and unrelated question can smother the flames faster than anything else, because the majority of people who wanted to speak up but couldn't/didn't will nearly fall of their chairs to answer your question.

    So I agree – Just say it! Unless it's gossip. In which case, if you can't avoid it, smother it or choke on it.

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  3. I couldn't agree more. Politics have no place at church.

    I think more of us need to stand up for what we think is right. We learn to CTR in primary, and somewhere along the way it gets lost in gospel doctrine class.

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  4. I made a comment like this in Sunday School the other day, and it seems like I'm the only one in my ward who doesn't sit there agreeing with what the teacher and a few people in the class are saying. I now have the reputation of being the "rabble rouser." Someone did come up to me last week and say (referencing my comment the previous week), "You said it, but we all were thinking it…" I wish more people would speak up — it puts a lot of pressure on those of us who do.

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  5. I lead the literature focus group for Relief Society in my ward. Our last discussion turned into a partisan political rally with heated cries of "They're so stupid!" and "They're just ignorant!" (Our book? Remembering Isaac by Ben Behunin – a gentle tale of two potters, not about politics AT ALL.)
    I happen to be passionate – and well-informed – about politics but with much more moderate views, and I sat there with my mouth shut because I felt like if I opened my mouth they would jump on me.
    I love books, I love these ladies, and up until now, I have loved this focus group. If it happens again, though, I'm done. When a group becomes so emotionally worked up, I don't think there's anything I could say to tone it down or bring it back to the subject at hand.

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  6. Carina, I think I'm going to print off your list and tape it to the chalk board in the Relief Society room.

    One of the reasons I stop myself from commenting in Gospel Doctrine is because sometimes, when I get my feathers ruffled (esp. by people who are assuming that we all think alike politically), my first impulse is to correct them and/or promote my way of thinking. I run the risk of not actually shutting the conversation down, but instead fanning the flames even more. Even though somebody's gotta say somethin', I don't always want that somebody to be me, because then I occasionally say things (or say things in such a way) that I regret.

    If I just remember that my goal is to change the subject, though, instead of prove my own point, then it'll be a lot easier for me to feel okay about raising my hand.

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  7. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who felt this way. Oh, where are you other people like me?? Do you think that someone could read your statement at conference just to get the ball rolling in the right direction?
    I am truly thankful for your thoughts.

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  8. I've been in primary so long I haven't had to worry about these statements, but I was visiting my parents this weekend and Sunday School made me extremely uncomfortable. Since it wasn't my ward, I didn't feel like it was appropriate to say anything, but WHY do people assume we all feel the same way? And WHY do teachers ask leading questions like, "Do you feel like we have righteous leadership in our nation today?" when they know what the political leanings of 90% of the people in the room are. The man next to my dad kept making comment to him under his breath about stoning those who collect taxes, etc. etc. etc., and I just got more and more frustrated.

    I didn't really feel the spirit. Just saying.

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  9. My main concern in situations like this is making it worse–or fueling contention. What works for me most of the time is simply to change the subject, largely ignoring whatever was just said. (Admittedly, our ward is pretty good about this and most of the time it isn't an issue.) I've also found that if I am the teacher it is much easier to handle than if I am just a member of the class. A simple, "Hm. That's interesting" to acknowledge that someone said something, then I move right along. My main struggle is later, when I see these same people (the ones who behaved badly or said the inane things) outside of class. I struggle not to resent them or to keep from labeling them (in a manner of speaking) as idiots, especially if they are repeat/serial offenders. I guess I need to work harder at loving the socially inept person even though I can't stand what they said.

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  10. Our current ward is really awesome – part because I think we a have a little more diversity than the average ward, and part because we have a lot of people in the ward who are not afraid to speak up about anything. I do have to admit there are more than the usual pseudo-arguments that go on in the comments, but the end result is that issues get resolved instead of lingering in people's minds. Also, they tend to be about doctrinal points instead of political disagreements.

    However, I remember an old ward where you could tell if the teacher had not had time to prepare because she would go off on a (seemingly) random lecture that was mostly political. What do you do when it is the teacher making those comments? It's not like you can get up and give the lesson for them.

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  11. OK

    You know me, I am terrified in social situations and can barley croak out a hello.

    BUT I am very proud of myself because in these situations I always open my big mouth.

    One time I didn't, I was the RS Presidency back in Boston when I was only 20…I was terrified. A lesson went very very bad and I knew I needed to say something over and over and I didn't….it caused a huge mess. I still feel sick over it and guess what it has never happened again.

    3 weeks ago our Sunday School teacher that has a weird love affair with Glen Beck once again went on a Glen Beck rant and I spoke up and told him this wasn't the place for that. I didn't get any thank yous and no one would meet my eye but I am still glad I did it.

    I find myself doing this about once a month and you know it just needs to be done, sometimes lovingly and sometimes firmly. I think at the same time when we DO speak up we need to make sure that we are being respectful.

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  12. I speak up in my ward, and then I cry later because I feel so separate from my ward family. Of course, I have only myself to blame – if I kept my thoughts to myself, then I would be accepted just fine. But I can't live with that, either.

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  13. Wow. Seriously, I was shocked when I read this because I've never had this problem. People don't do that in my ward. Is this because I live in an area of the country that's not predominantly Mormon? I don't know. I pretty much have a good idea of people's political opinions in our ward, and we're all pretty diverse, but no one goes there. Not with George or Barack. I didn't know this was a common occurrence. I guess if I were in this scenario, I would do my best to not be rude, but give a polite reminder to get back on subject and not get all up into politics. You know, the whole balance thing between speaking up and trying to speak with the spirit.

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  14. I sat silent recently–during the most seriously flawed, sexist teaching I've ever, ever heard. It was at the end of the lesson, the teacher was the one speaking-and he was crying, full on big tears. He was so moved by his thoughts and was clearly having a emotion drive spiritual experience. I sat silent.
    How do you say something at the end of the lesson when the teacher is crying? And I was angry, I didn't know how to say it nicely. But really, it made my stomach turn.

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  15. There is a great article about feeling "different" — and there are all kinds of different out there, in the Aug 2010 Ensign written by Elder Jensen of the 70s (it's not online yet). I read it last night — how to deal with the differences we all have with love. Which is what we need to have when we make comments in church. I cannot stand when the conversation goes political, or off topic in inappropraite ways in Church. We should never be afraid to stand for what is right — do what is right, let the consquences follow, but remember to do what is right with love.

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  16. It's a bigger issue within family get-togethers than at church for me. Mostly because I'm friends with the hard-core on both sides and I feel comfortable saying something to them. But I don't feel it has anything to do with family unity either. How are we expressing love to each other while our thoughts are focused on judging others for something that really doesn't matter? Oh, we're not. And it's remarkable how some feel that you have to be of one way politically in order to be a good member of this church. Boo.

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  17. Love this post. I have struggled lately because we have a lady with dementia who makes 5 to 7 minute comments that are very remotely related, but my eyes have glazed over by the time she makes the connection. It makes me grateful I'm not the teacher. Also, this post makes me grateful for my ward. I think we have some really great teachers.

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  18. Thanks for this post. I don't think I'll be speaking out because I can't bear to feel ostracized or judged by people I mostly love. It seems though that only one side ever gets a hearing in our ward because everyone on the other side has the manners not to talk politics at church! I wonder if people who feel free to make so many political comments realize how lonely it makes some people feel (and that it might be a pretty good way to drive investigators away too).

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  19. You don't even want to know how many of those phrases I've used while presiding in Relief Society.

    On the 4th of July we had an Independence Day lesson. The teacher was fantastic, but it started getting a little heated, politically between two sisters with opposing views…… The teacher handled it gracefully. But, I may have said something like, "We've been talking about our responsibilities as citizens of the United States. I believe that one of our responsibilities is also allowing others, even those we don't agree with, the freedom and ability to express their beliefs. That's what makes our nation great."

    I don't think anyone has stopped coming to church because of that.

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  20. I completely agree. Now what to do when the teacher is the one bringing it up OR even worse? At the pulpit and the person bringing it up? the first counselor. Yeesh!

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  21. This is something that I have been really struggling with lately myself. I feel absolutely not a part of my ward, simply because I am one of 3 sisters in my ward who is not a part of the "in-group" mentality there. It is very frustrating to be the only one who ever speaks up in Relief Society. I generally don't bother in sunday school, I have found it easier to not go to gospel doctrine and thereby avoid the frustration.

    I have stopped making comments recently because I am 6 months pregnant with baby number 4 at age 37, and completely exhausted. I am so frustrated every time I leave church I have started to consider moving to a different area of town so I can go to a different ward. The last one that set me off completely was when I found out that one of the leaders in young women was teaching the girls that mom's who work are only doing so because it is easier than staying home with their children. I totally lost it. My poor husband had to hear me rant about that for days. He's not a member, and we have had MANY conversations about how the people and their completely insane ideas are NOT the doctrine of the church, but believe me, it is not doing anything to help him develop any interest in the church whatsoever. He has had plenty of his own experiences with this, as he is heavily involved in the ward scout program with our 2 boys.

    I am not sure how to proceed. My testimony makes me want to continue to be a member of the church, but the isolation I feel in my ward makes me so frustrated that it makes it very difficult to tolerate going to church. This is not how the gospel is supposed to work.

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  22. If everyone decided to just "say loudly" what they think, there would be no order and no spiritual experiences for anyone.

    I'm not saying people should talk about politics or other inappropriate subjects. I am just saying that speaking out without being recognized is not a good thing today. It is really difficult to teach a class when no one has read the subject matter and few show any interest in what is going on except to be watch dogs for inappropriate statements by other members.

    There has to be a better way.

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  23. Teachers in classes can be interesting but what about sacrament meetings?

    For the 4th of July, we had a speaker who focused on the prophecy that the constitution would hang by a thread and the elders would step forward to save it.

    Then, he proceeded to enumerate why he thought that now was the moment, ie. big spending, health care reform, corrupt leaders, etc. He used excerpts from the Benson talks of the 1960s.

    His flourish was that every member needed to get out and vote against those who opposed the constitution and take stronger action (with a reference to the second amendment) if necessary if voting failed.

    Afterward, all kinds of members went up and shook his hand and told him how great a job he had done.

    I though the whole thing was pretty nutty.

    First, the whole "hang by a thread" bit was specifically denounced by LDS Public Affairs this past Spring when an Idaho candidate tried to use it. They said it was a) non-scriptural and b) not necessarily historically accurate (two brethren claimed it had been said by Joseph Smith decades after).

    Second, the Benson talks in the 1960s claiming the U.S. was overrun by conspiracies and that the John Birch Society was the protector of liberty were specifically contested at the time by the First Counselor in the First Presidency, Hugh B. Brown, and others.

    Third, seeing the end of the U.S. Constitution because of today's actions is pretty silly in light of the challenges posed by the Civil War which was a far greater threat to the Union.

    Fourth, recommending violence in sacrament meeting is pretty bizarre.

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  24. I like Angela's comment about printing off your list and taping it to the whiteboard. Great idea! I'm not as brave as I should be, but your post has given me the little push I need to be better about speaking up. Fortunately I can think of only a handful of times anyone has ever needed to in our ward. Whew!

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  25. I am so relieved to see all this discussion! I have felt so alone in my thoughts about this. It's refreshing to see at least 27 people who think like I do. I'm a moderate feminist, a democrat, and an environmentalist. So you can guess how well I am blending over here in my red state (Colorado). I get frustrated in Gospel Doctrine with regularity. My sister tells me to just "smile and wave" and let it roll off of my back. But why do I have to be the smiler and waver? Why does one side of the equation always have to sit silently and just "take it?"

    I would guess that most people aren't speaking up in church because they don't want to foster conflict. Conflict in any setting makes me uncomfortable. I don't speak up because sometimes it's just one, brief, passing, wing-nut comment. To say anything would be making it personal to that one person. It's easier to just let it go and then go home and stew about it. I need to work on that.

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  26. I'm pretty certain I live in one of the most homogeneous neighborhoods in Utah county, and unfortunately, I cannot be assimilated.

    The sisters and brothers in my ward are good, kind people but Sunday School is often unbearable. The assumption is that we are not guided by political persuasion but by gospel doctrine and I know I shouldn't but I often find myself "finding" something to do for YW instead of attending the 2nd hour.

    I suppose I am fortunate to be in YW the 3rd hour because there is little political talk. I did though have to ask one of my advisers to lay off the uncharitable homosexual jokes she kept making while teaching last year.

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  27. For those who are worried about "conflict" (and, oh, I know how you feel — I hate conflict). . . . The conflict *already* exists when political or sexist comments are made during church — painful internal conflict within (perhaps) you, within a sister who wonders if there's any place for her in the church, within a suddenly wary investigator. A well-placed comment, even if it comes out a little awkwardly, can diffuse an enormous amount of unspoken tumult.

    And Carina, what a debt we owe to AP Gov for thickening our silky-smooth skin and sharpening our gentle teeth . . . 🙂

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  28. Actually, politics ARE in the scriptures. It is all over the place. I once read the B.O.M. all the way through just highlighting things about governments, laws, ect… It was awesome and enlightening.

    I do believe that we should be kind and conscious as we talk about this topic, and there are places it simply isn't appropriate, but the scriptures have topics in them that were written FOR OUR TIME–for a reason.

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  29. I have spoken up a number of times in the past year in both Sunday School and priesthood meetings. I may have ruffled a few feathers but I believe I said what needed to to be said.

    As we approach the November elections and the immigration issue heats up in the Mountain West I think we can expect to hear these sort of right wing comments more often. It will get even worse as we prepare for the 2012 Presidential election. It may take courage and we should expect to be accused of "having the spirit of contention" but there is a need to speak up when a right wing political agenda takes over what shoud be a discussion of Gospel Principles.

    We should remember that we are not going to change peoples minds who are already made up and don't want to be confused with facts. But there are many members who suffer in silence during Sunday meetings and need to be reminded that they are not alone.

    What is really needed is there to be a conference talk in which the is a clear and explicit condemnation of members who try to push their right wing agenda in talks in Sacrement meetings and in Church classes. It needs to be explicitly stated that you can be a democrat/Obama supporter and be a good member of the church. The same talk needs to be given in the next general conference and the next— until the point gets through. I'm not holding my breath for this to happen , but I can dream can't I ???

    I would like to think that the church is a big enough tent for all sorts of political persuasions.

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  30. You could always join me in nursery. I do have some recollection of this happening occasionally in my grown up class attending days. That said my ward is pretty good about avoiding it. Having really great sincere instructors makes a world of difference, but still every once in a while the class would still get going on some tangent, and I am a hand raiser… I can't imagine it now in the heated political climate.

    I think that when there is false doctrine or political doctrine being taught in the place of the true doctrine there is a certain obligation to speak up. I have had the calling of R.S. teacher a couple of times. I wonder if I've been guilty of it. I try to be very conscious of it, but still I wonder. This acute awareness comes in part from attending meetings with my non member husband. True doctrine has yet to prick his heart, but boy does he have radar for unorthodox/false not by the book doctrine.

    Yesterday in Sacrament meeting was a prime example. There were some unique views being expressed. At the end of the talk the sweet sister mentioned that her views were in part a response to loosing her little daughter a couple of years before their family moved into our ward. Our hearts were immediately softened towards her and we understood that we had no idea where she was speaking from and it was best to be charitable. Where I had been looking for offence it became so simple to take from her message the things that the Spirit said were true and politely, gently leave the rest to itself. I hope when I've strayed a bit in my teaching that others will do the same.

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  31. i've thought and felt this way for years…part of the reason is i have an inactive sister and it seems every time she has in the past come to church…someone goes off on a tangent. its most uncomfortable in sacrament meeting, when someone rambles for 20 minutes about obscure topics & personal stories (can't the bishop politely tap them?). i always try to prepare lessons and participate in lessons with the idea that maybe someone among me is struggling – even though their appearance tells us otherwise, recently coming back to church, or is headed into inactivity.

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  32. Az-if we sat by eachother in RS, we would get in all sorts of trouble. You absolutely should speak up. My descent from church was over some stupid teacher in seminary years ago. So not worth a testimony wavering. Now, when I teach RS, I always reflect after on what I may have said that was inappropriate. I usually overshare.

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  33. Love your list.

    The times that I've taught Gospel Doctrine in various wards, whenever someone would start to go off the reservation–either politically or doctrinally–I would paraphrase the 4th Article of Faith as kindly as possible (I didn't want to come off as condescending). Because for me, if the discussion isn't even tangentially related to faith, repentance, baptismal covenants or the gift of the Holy Ghost, then the pontificating/editorializing is unnecessary.

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  34. I remember when I challenged the gospel essentials teacher when he was teaching about the Word of Wisdom. He came out and told everyone that vegetarians were not following the word of wisdom. I perked right up and sort of made a fool of myself I am sure, but I was not going to allow that comment to slie by without being challenged. He and I emailed back and forth for a while after that. I won't go into details, but I cannot stand to sit somewhere when something false is said. When things are off topic I always rack my brain to see how in the world we can get this lesson focused on Christ and His gospel again. When you mention Jesus and relate it to the topic, things will change immediately. every time.

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  35. I have been in Primary for a while and have not encountered this situation in a long time. I guess my question is, how do you make sure you're speaking up with love, in a way that does not detract further from the Spirit? If the Spirit has already left the building, the possibility that whatever you say will cause hard feelings increases dramatically. For me, I have found that contributing in a positive way to whatever the next topic is helps a lot. Example: a while ago we had a weird, strange, non-doctrinal testimony borne, which utterly drained the Spirit from the room. Many people got up after and bore sweet, solid testimonies, and behold! the Spirit returned.

    So if you can speak up in a way that enhances the Spirit and really demonstrates love (as opposed to irritation) for all parties concerned, great. But if the irritation overrides the love, I think it's better to stay silent than to introduce further negativity into the meeting. It's better for me, anyway, because once I get going I can't shut up, and I find it's better for me to stay silent than begin.

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  36. Great advice. Scary advice, but great advice.

    I spoke up once–and not nearly as loudly or as opinionated as I could have. The lesson had veered into major teacher and church leader bashing. I felt like I had to stand up for her and the topic. I said something totally shocking (haha) like, "He is an apostle, and maybe his talk has a point."

    Whoa. The backlash from that comment–which I intended to be pretty darn benign–went on for MONTHS. The teacher thanked me profusely later, but I've been hesitant to speak up since.

    Recently I've heard people mention that time (they still remember it some five years later, it was such a firestorm) IN SUPPORT OF ME. Why they didn't speak up in the moment, that they agreed, that the lesson had gone WAY off track, that the Spirit was just GONE is still beyond me. I could have used that support at the time. Five years is a bit late, but it has been nice to know I wasn't the only person in the room feeling that way.

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  37. What about the non-member visitors or the less active trying to return?

    I think we all get so comfortable sitting in class week after week with Sister SoandSo and Brother Whatshisface that we forget that we have a responsibility to each other to ensure that true principals are taught and understood.

    When we start thinking that a current political debate is more important than maintaining the spirit of a lesson, we need to simply hold our tongues but when tongues are not held we must speak up in order to protect the short 50 minute lesson, to sustain the teacher (often in their weakness), and to help others learn that ours is a gospel of faith, repentance, and charity available to all regardless of political orientation, education, or opinion.

    “Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:17–22).

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  38. Amen to Emily, but amen to that lovely list. Getting off topic is what some people do best. And redirecting discussion adeptly and gently is one of the skills I love most about our RS pres. And amen to the sister who is going to print that list and shove it in her scriptures. Let's keep those lessons ON topic, folks! We can do it! YES WE CAN! (Oops, was that last bit OFF topic? Sorry!)

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  39. Can I get some opinions? I had to teach on Sunday and we discussed The Blessing of Scriptures. We talked about how the scriptures give us a standard for truth and used the example in the talk about Alma talking to Coriantan about sexual sin and how in today's moral fabric, that admonition is considered seriously outdated. Sexual sin serious? Next to murder in seriousness? The world thinks it ridiculous.

    Well, the class followed that example with other examples they could think of and one mentioned the avoidance of debt and how we could follow the scriptures to help us in our financial lives and another, the beacon The Proclamation of the Family gives us.

    As a political moderate, I have repeatedly used The Proclamation to defend my stand against changing the legal definition of "marriage" to include homosexual partners. Honestly, if it were just my own feelings dictating my political leanings, I'd vote to not have the government have a say in family life. I'd choose to have families have their own sovereignty and for various religions to have the freedom to act on their beliefs as long as no person's agency were being denied.

    I suppose this means that I don't feel strongly, politically, that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry. I do feel strongly, however, that there is danger in ignoring scripture and direction from our latter-day prophet, especially when we have been asked specifically to follow it. I used to have three earrings…now I have one. I'm pretty sure I would never, ever be a visiting teacher because the whole idea of having someone assigned to watch over me feels violating, but I do it because I've been asked. And I support marriage being between "a man and a woman" because that's what I believe Heavenly Father has told His prophet to guide us in these murky political waters.

    I have friends, members of the church, of strongly opposed Prop 8 in California and other areas of the country where the legality of marriage is being challenged. I have other friends, many more, in fact, who brave a very hostile climate holding signs or donning clipboards because they believe they are following the prophet.

    So….when the topic is The Blessing of the Scripture and the discussion is about sexual sin which leads to gay marriage and actual political action…what does a teacher do? I said what I said and didn't get any of your 1-15s (which I think are brilliant and could be used frequently in my ward…on both sides) but after reading this, I feel a little weird that our lesson contained a tinge of politics.

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  40. Lucy,

    I think the best thing to do is stay as close to the words of the prophets as possible. We are taught the importance of marriage between a man and a woman in the church. So, now that it is a political issue, the lines blur.

    I have had a couple tense moments with friends from church about this (not at church, just in emails). But we love each other, and have just left the topic off our list of things we discuss. It is a hard topic. For those of us with close friends or relatives that have same-sex attraction, the reality is harder to ignore. But that can't change what the prophet says.

    I do think we should stick closely to doctrine and not go too far into what our own opinions are when we are teaching.

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  41. I wish I was in your ward. That would have been hilarious. And next time that happens in my ward- I am SO doing the same thing. Political views and religious views can be two different things! While I am opposed to same sex marriage religiously, I don't think that a secular government can/should discriminate like that.
    So anyway.
    Also! Next time I see a flyer for a pioneer day parade in 115 degree heat- I'm yelling at someone. We can celebrate pioneer day INDOORS. It's POSSIBLE.

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  42. So I have this ex-boyfriend who is in his bishopric (yes, we still email occasionally) and is pretty much the only liberal in his ward. He's a convert and struggles with things like this weekly–mostly people bashing President Obama, since he voted for him–and I feel so bad for him. I want to say "We're not all ignorant!" but it doesn't always seem that way, especially when it's happening in church and as a member of the bishopric he doesn't want to ruffle feathers. Then there's my husband. He voted Obama and my entire family is crazily anti-O, so whenever we all get together it gets all religious-political-awkward. Luckily, he's not afraid to speak up. I am, and that's why I'll just stay in primary. I say good for you for speaking up, but I seriously don't know if I could do it. I guess because I'm afraid of hurting peoples feelings or driving the spirit away? I don't really know why. I just know I couldn't do it.

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  43. I'm commenting on #34's comment when he said "I would like to think that the church is a big enough tent for all sorts of political persuasions." I would like to add 'Especially since the church is larger outside of the United States than in it!' The Church is true, and the Gospel principles are UNIVERSAL. Most members of the Church cannot define themselves as Republican or Democrat because those monikers don't exist for them. If the Gospel culture was based on the American or Western culture, then it wouldn't be as far reaching! It's entirely unfair (and I guess as a registered Democrat my unbiased opinion is invalid) for anyone to assume that right-wing American culture is synonymous with the Gospel culture. As American's we do not have a corner on Gospel culture. It is much more far reaching than we are. It takes all sorts, and Heavenly Father has created all sorts. There is truth and that's indisputable but truth and politics will never mesh until Christ reigns.

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  44. It's not just politics. Sometimes during lessons on parenting, I have to bite my tongue at some of the comments that come out of people's mouths. There's an older lady in my ward who always goes off about how kids need a good spanking and that will solve all their problems. I think those kinds of comments have no place in a church meeting either.

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  45. That is why I'd recommend reading the manual called "Teaching, No Greater Call." In the manual, which is written by the First Presidency, it states that effective gospel teachers do not use class time to promote their own political or social views and should center the discussion on the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a recently released Gospel Doctrine teacher I did try my best to do this. There were many who tried to derail the discussion but I would direct it back to the topic. The lesson manuals never state to discuss politics or other ideas in a degrading way. If a teacher chooses to go off topic or not follow the manual then whose gospel are they teaching? On the other hand there are tactful ways to deal with inappropriate comments and the list in this article is very useful.

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