Mormons often assume that everyone within the faith around them believes the same way they do, as evidenced by the way we talk about missions, politics, and other moral issues. We are also under injunction to not take offense to people, so how do we deal with insensitive comments, political statements, false doctrine, and other statements spoken from the pulpit? I recently attended sacrament meeting and heard a member of the bishopric take a swipe at our new president elect, which elicited a laugh from the congregation, but I was shocked and embarrassed. Aside from my belief that the pulpit is not the place for professing political preferences (which could be seen as heretical after the recent election), I do not think it appropriate to undermine authority in such a way to people who would be led by example.
This talk by Elder Bednar invites us to not only cease to be offended, but to invite those who are inactive due to offense to reconsider. From the beginning, this talk implies a direction specifically toward those who are less active. Finding myself drifting closer to this status by true doctrine, occasional assumptions about me, and my own defensiveness about my doubts and my relationship with a non-member.
He paraphrases Neal A. Maxwell: “Rather, the Church is a learning laboratory and a workshop in which we gain experience as we practice on each other in the ongoing process of ‘perfecting the Saints.'” I have always felt guilt over using others as guinnea pigs in my laboratory and prayed that they will be compensated for my short-comings. However, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and I wouldn’t want to anyway, but is there a place for people with different opinions? Where is the line between tolerance and expulsion?