Like Hugh B. Brown, I'm going to be brief in this post.
The world may not be any worse than it was when this Conference was held. I don't know. But I do know that people don't like religion much these days. It's well enough if you believe in a tame religion, something that means little more than trying to be a good person and never, ever foisting those beliefs onto someone else. But if you truly feel that your religion is something worth admitting, sharing, and even suggesting to another person, you are the vilest of people.
I've seen that opinion of the religious shared in multiple venues by multiple people. I daresay it would be a majority of Americans who feel that way.
I have been thinking deeply of this lately. I am not a naturally courageous person. I tend to let things alone, to avoid giving advice or making judgments of people. I don't like the conflict.
But as I sat and taught a few 16- and 17-year-olds about the Atonement and what it means to me, I realized why I have to share it. It's just too important.
I have a very dear friend who might be considering the church. And I waver between wanting to let him alone to make his own choices, and wanting to passionately share what the Mormon church has done in my life.
Much evil has been done in the name of religion over the course of human history, yes. Even the Mormon religion. But so has much good. I have seen what knowledge of the Savior does to people. The doctrines of the Church have not resulted in 100% good. People can take things like tithing, polygamy, priesthood, eternal family, even the Atonement and sacrifice in ways both evil and good.
But. I have seen those doctrines change hearts and change lives. I know many people of other religions with a far closer relationship with God than most Mormons. But I also know that the doctrines of this church expand our understanding of God and who He is, and what it means that we are His children. I know that this is God's church, because it is the Church He has placed me in.
I don't always like the Church. But I love it. Without reservation, warts and all. I've seen the hand of the Lord, and I can't help but share that. Even if it means conflict. Even if it means I'm rejected, too.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted, but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
- We Grow As We Serve by Nathaniel Givens
- What Manhood Is by G
- He Kept The Door Open For Me by Jan Tolman