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By Casey Null

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    Gossip: How to Stop It

    Thoughtless or unkind words can ruin a reputation, alter a relationship, change the course of a life.

    Here’s how to avoid gossip.

    Something to Talk About

    When is it gossip, and when is it just conversation? Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Would you feel good repeating it to the person you are talking about?

    • Is there a sensational, larger-than-life, worse-than-bad aspect to it?

    • Does it make a person look good or bad?

    • Is it verifiable fact or speculation?

    • Have you heard different versions of the same story? If so, chances are that none of them are true.

    • What are the motives of the person giving the information?

    • Do you feel uplifted or degraded after hearing it?

    When It Rears Its Ugly Head

    Your friends will trust you more if you don’t gossip. They’ll feel confident that you won’t say anything bad about them. But just in case someone starts to gossip and you don’t want to be involved, here are some ideas you might try:

    • Change the subject.

    • Stay with the subject, but point out something positive. For example, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that side of her personality, but I do know she has been nice to me.”

    • Turn the spotlight on the gossiper. For example, “It sounds like you don’t like Sam much. Why do you think you’re uncomfortable around him?”

    • Keep quiet. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words—and it’s hard to gossip single-handedly.

    • Say exactly how you feel. For example, “I like you a lot and we have fun together, but I always feel awful when we gossip. Let’s not do it.”

    Your Own Medicine

    Gossip can be addicting. Here are some ways to break the habit:

    • THINK about how you feel after you’ve passed along a rumor. Do you feel good about yourself? How do you feel when you say something nice about someone?

    • READ the thirteenth article of faith, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, and 1 Peter 4:15. [A of F 1:13; 2 Thes. 3:11; 1 Pet. 4:15]

    • PRAY AND STUDY THE SCRIPTURES to feel the love of Heavenly Father. We often gossip because we feel inadequate about ourselves.

    • SUBSTITUTE another activity. When you are tempted to gossip, do or say something constructive instead.

    • LOOK for your motives. Are you talking about others because you care about them, or are you putting them down to make yourself look better?

    • SEE others as beloved children of God. Would you want to offend him by saying something destructive about one of his children?

    • REALIZE that you are not perfect either. Think of negative things others could say about you if they wanted to. Wouldn’t you rather leave those things unsaid?

    [photo] Photograph by John Luke

    Young Single Adults Meet in Young Dong

    Young Single Adults from throughout Korea gathered recently in Young Dong to build friendships and faith and learn how to serve the Lord more faithfully. Young Dong lies about 250 kilometers south of Seoul in a remote country setting. Workshops, seminars, and other activities helped the members recognize that they are sons and daughters of God and that they belong to a church whose principles of truth do not change. They also learned how to use the gospel to influence others in positive ways.

    The first Korean conference of this kind was held in 1976. About two hundred members, from the one district then in Korea, participated. This time, more than one thousand attended, from sixteen stakes and three districts. All three regional representatives participated. Elder Merrill J. Bateman, newly appointed President of the Asia North Area, presided and opened the conference with an address.

    In his talk, Elder Bateman mentioned the visions of Isaiah and Nephi, who compared the growth of the kingdom of God to a tent. First one stake is secured, then another, until finally enough stakes have secured the tent for it to be raised, covering the entire world.

    “I hope you young single adults understand your important roles in this mission,” Elder Bateman said. “All of Israel will literally be gathered together. … You Korean Saints have important roles in this gathering.”

    The conference served to firm the resolve of many who attended. Said one thirty-year-old brother: “I have decided to go on a mission. I was not an active member, but hereafter I will ask the bishop to give me a position in the Church which will help me perform an active role.” Another member, a sister, said, “I didn’t realize that we are such a large group and can influence our wards, neighbors, communities, and country in good ways through the gospel, if we unite.”

    [photo] Above: Elder Merrill J. Bateman and his wife, Marilyn, visit with a conference participant.

    Returning the Favor

    The youth of the Harbor Ward, Palos Verdes Stake, California, have been traveling across the border to help members of the Mexico Tijuana Stake for about ten years. They’ve built and repaired homes, renovated chapels, and done roofing and landscaping. This year, the youth from Tijuana returned the favor.

    As part of a neighborhood anti-graffiti campaign, the Tijuana Saints came north to work with the Palos Verdes Stake to paint and clean a high school.

    The Mexican youth were granted weekend visitors’ passes. They spent hours cleaning debris from the school courtyard and repainting graffiti-marred walls. After the work was finished, the youth got together for a night of multicultural food and entertainment. The Tijuana Saints performed several ethnic dances and musical numbers. They stayed in members’ homes, and on Sunday morning had a joint sacrament meeting.

    “They are really a model group of Latter-day Saints,” said Bishop David Bond of the Harbor Ward. “They did a lot of good for our ward.”

    Camping Brazilian Style

    In many areas of the Church, girls’ camp is taken for granted. After all, some girls’ grandmothers attended when they were young. But not in Brazil. The camping program has just been started, and those involved couldn’t be more excited.

    It was particularly difficult to organize the program in Brazil. The country includes São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, two of the world’s largest cities, and there are eighty-seven stakes and nearly five hundred thousand members there. Some of the girls left their homes in apartment buildings to lug their hard-to-obtain camping gear on public buses and travel for hours. The fresh air, flowers, and stars of the country were new experiences for those who had never before been far from their homes in the cities.

    The results are showing already. “Friendships have blossomed, confidence has increased, less-active members have returned, and testimonies have sprouted,” said one leader. That’s what girls’ camp is all about.

    Spanish Fencing Champion

    At age fifteen, Susana Fernandez-Rebollos Herrero of Madrid, Spain, is a champion. Competing against sixty-two female participants in the national fencing championships, she won the title as the best female fencer in Spain in her age group.

    Her victory was a result of long hours of training and sacrifices. After discovering the sport when she was eleven years old, she read a story in the Liahona about LDS athletes. Inspired by the article, she set a goal to become a champion in fencing and, with encouragement of her family and friends, has done just that, winning many medals and cups along the way.

    Susana was too young to participate in the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, but she is preparing for the next Olympics.