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Dancing the Christian beat

On September 22, a BYU–Idaho student entered a family foundations class ready to learn and be lifted. As class discussion began, the student commented on how heart wrenching it can be to see others use their agency and wrong choices.

“It’s heartbreaking that both our loved ones in the pre-existence and our loved ones [here on earth], who are also God’s children, don’t realize that they are making wrong choices. They don’t all see themselves as being wrong,” the student said.

Immediately, other students’ hands shot in the air in an attempt to aggressively refute her comment by stating that Satan and all these people are enemies to God and we shouldn’t feel bad for them. The student felt attacked; now classmates no longer talk to her and she sits alone.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught to always strive to become more Christlike. Christ, our elder brother, is the ultimate example of how to lead the lives that we live. Members are not asked to be perfect but to work towards becoming better. Students must be in good standing with the Church to continue their education at BYU–Idaho. The students here are really good people and desire to be better and set goals to do so. However, because of the natural man’s fallen state, we falter.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of Christlike characteristics in the students on campus. Often, LDS members adopt the belief that they are better than those around them. At a college age, Darwin’s philosophy of “survival of the fittest” may easily begin to kick in and rule our behavior. It is far too easy in this educational environment to harbor an attitude of intellectual pride. Since this is a time to focus on individual education, friends, and personal finances, etc., students tend to forget how their pride will affect others. The intellectual pride on campus is undermining the confidence of our peers and the potential relationships that could be created.

Most students would like to believe that they are on the straight and narrow path. All students would like to believe they are holding fast to the iron rod. They are too comfortable in Zion and assume that they are too firm in their foundation to flee to the great and spacious building.

Sadly, there are times when students unknowingly let go of the rod, turn their back on the Tree of Life and laugh at those who may be farther behind or shun those who choose to dance down the path rather than walk it. As long as you are in compliance with the teachings of Christ, there is nothing wrong with dancing to the beat of your own music.

In President Kim B. Clark’s opening devotional on Sep. 15, titled “Building Zion Together,“ he said, “Pride rules in Babylon. The basic attitude is: What is in it for me? Babylon thrives on competition, envy, and comparisons with others. Selfishness and materialism breed self-promotion and contention.” (In keeping with the context of the Tree of Life analogy, compare Babylon to the great and spacious building).

President Clark further expressed that humility is essential in a Christ-centered life. He encouraged people to be humbly united to further the work of Christ.

In the gospel of the Church, not everything has been fully revealed at this time. And although we are asked not to speculate, human nature fosters a curiosity in each of us to ask questions and to develop our own philosophies of what may be. We all come from different backgrounds; naturally, our own speculations will be vastly different from the kid falling asleep next to us in class or the convert that was baptized three years ago.

As students, we should know that part of BYU–Idaho’s learning model is to teach one another, which includes respecting others, according to www.byui.edu/learningmodel.

American Poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Men are respectable only as they respect.”

Students can’t demand respect if they themselves have no regard for showing respect for everyone around them, regardless of their current standing with the church.

Junior Tracy Laub has also experienced un-Christlike comments from peers about her family.

“I get set when people say bad things about other people and what they choose to do because I come from a family that isn’t in the Church anymore. It hurts me when I know their comments would hurt those that I love. It makes me sad to know that some people here think that we should all have perfect families that all do right things – mine doesn’t. They are still working on it,” Laub said.

We are no more justified in judging people than if we were a non-member. We may have the gospel in our lives but that doesn’t mean we are loved anymore or need the Atonement any less than people who are blazing trails in this world without the doctrine of the Church. They deserve to be treated with respect as well. Whether someone is on the top floor of the great and spacious building, is taking their first step out the front doors or dancing along the straight and narrow path, we are commanded to treat them like Christ taught.

We are Disciples of Christ and should treat men differently than the world does. Our goal of building the kingdom of Zion should be greater than our differences. We need to get off our high horses and remember that we are no better than that classmate who sits by themselves because they were shunned for questioning the scriptures.

We are all at different places along the iron rod and we, as Disciples of Christ, must  remember that we are all children of God with common goals. We need to be understanding and open-minded while we encourage and help others to reach the Tree of Life.

Humble yourself. Set aside the stereotypes, labels and rumors you may have heard about someone. Treat people as Christ taught.

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