In the April 2012 general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “[The] topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign, May 2012, 75).
How can you apply President Uchtdorf’s teachings to your own life? Check out these examples of several Latter-day Saint youth who shared their stories with the New Era (names have been changed). Then read or watch the full conference talk at lds.org/go/43F and act on the promptings you receive while doing so.
Situation #1: Ignoring and Judging
Jessica moved into a new ward. Though she wasn’t unhappy, she didn’t smile much. Youth in her new ward misread her facial expressions and judged her because of them. By the end of her first Sunday, rumors were already going around that Jessica was mean, and then people didn’t want to be her friend.
What would you do? How would you fix the situation?
Try This Ashley, the young woman who told us this story, decided to be Jessica’s friend. “I tried to get to know her, and I tried saying hi,” she says. “It made me feel really good when she smiled or started talking with me.” Eventually these two young women became friends. “I realized that Jessica is a great person, and now a lot of people love her. They just misjudged her at the beginning,” Ashley says.
Situation #2: Holding Grudges
Todd and Sam used to be good friends. Then they got in a couple of arguments. None of the arguments was over big things, but they disagreed with each other and each thought the other person was wrong. It was hard for them to let go of what happened.
What should they do?
Try This After hearing President Uchtdorf’s talk, Todd decided he needed to forgive his friend and let things go (see D&C 64:9–11). Every time he saw Sam, he tried to be nice and act like nothing was wrong. Eventually they both got over their feelings, forgave each other, and became good friends again.
Situation #3: Hating
During her freshman year of high school, Crystal sat next to Samantha in English class. She disliked Samantha because she felt overly annoyed by little things Samantha did.
What should Crystal do?
Try This Here’s what happened: Crystal started talking to the young woman and got to know her. “She’s just the sweetest young woman and so nice,” Crystal says. “Now we’re really good friends. For two months I just didn’t like her, and then I realized how sweet she was. And I missed out on two months of knowing this amazing person!”
Situation #4: Gossiping
A young woman in Michelle’s ward had made some bad decisions. She repented, but people in her ward and school judged her for her past mistakes. Wherever she went, the young woman’s reputation preceded her, and many people gossiped about things she had done and even things she hadn’t.
What do you think Michelle should do? What would you do if this young woman were your friend? What if you heard the rumors?
Try This Michelle decided she would be the young woman’s friend no matter what people said about her. “I think people just need to give her a chance,” Michelle says. “I was lucky to get to know her, and she is such a lovely person. I think it’s unfair that people judge her before they even meet her. Once most people hear the rumors, they don’t even want to be her friend. I think people just have to stop spreading rumors.”
Situation #5: Ridiculing
Cameron got braces during summer vacation. When he came back to school, some of his friends starting picking on him and calling him names behind his back.
What would you do if you were Cameron? What if you were his friend?
Try This One of Cameron’s friends told the young men to stop making fun of Cameron and then told Cameron that the others weren’t being very nice. Cameron confronted the young men and told them he didn’t think it was funny. They had thought it was a joke, but when they realized it hurt Cameron’s feelings, they stopped.
What Can You Do?
If you find yourself in any of these situations, here are some things you can do:
Get to know people instead of just listening to what others say about them.
Be nice to everyone.
When friends gossip or say bad things, ask them to stop. Then change the subject.
Apologize when you’ve made a mistake.
Forgive others for things they’ve done.
Recognize that everyone is different and that differences can be good.
Speak kind words.
Serve the people around you.
Remember that everyone is a child of God.
Youth Voices: Why We Need to Stop It!
The New Era asked some youth how they felt when they heard President Uchtdorf’s talk and why they think it’s important to “stop it!” Here is what one young woman says:
“I love [President Uchtdorf’s] talk! It inspired me to stop gossiping and judging people. It truly had an impact on my life. This talk convinced me to talk to my group of friends about how we should stop with all the hate towards others. They took my words and put them into action. We have often found ourselves having a better day just because we were nice to someone. It was an amazing life lesson.”
Taylor L., 14, Utah
More Online: Youth Voices
See what other youth have to say about this topic online at lds.org/go/43G.
Take the Self-Test
My dear brothers and sisters, consider the following questions as a self-test:
Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
Do you secretly envy another?
Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply [a] two-word sermon … : stop it!
Adapted from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign, May 2012, 76.
“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments.”
True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), 90.