Questions & Answers: Standing Up for Beliefs

    “Questions & Answers: Standing Up for Beliefs,” New Era, April 2016, 42–43

    Questions & Answers

    “I get made fun of at school for being LDS. I know I need to stand up for my beliefs, but it’s so hard! How do I become brave enough?”

    I get made fun of at school for being LDS. I know I need to stand up for my beliefs, but it’s so hard! How do I become brave enough?

    You’re right that you need bravery to confront this situation. After all, Jesus Christ has commanded, “Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” (D&C 115:5). But having the courage to let your light shine may or may not mean speaking up against those who mock you.

    In either case, you can let the opposition inspire you to be better. As you work hard to strengthen your testimony, you can develop the kind of quiet courage that will help you speak up or simply continue doing what is right, even if others mock.

    Being teased can be upsetting, but remember that you can pray to be filled with charity so that others can feel Christ’s love through you (see Moroni 7:48). Because every situation is unique, seek the guidance of the Spirit to know how to respond in a Christlike way in each instance.

    Depending on the situation, it might be best to speak privately with those who have made fun of you or even to just ignore unfriendly taunts while continuing to live your beliefs. If others aren’t interested in listening to what you have to say, your example of kindness, forgiveness, and sincerity may be the best message you can send.

    Show True Courage

    Those who make fun of you may not stop simply because you get brave enough to ask them to stop, but they might stop when you exert your courage by living what you are—a Latter-day Saint. Before you know it, the radiance of our Heavenly Father’s approval will shine on you, hopefully opening their eyes to the restored gospel in your life.

    Bright U., 17, Imo State, Nigeria

    Find Strength in the Basics

    Prayer and fasting are important because they will help you be able to face the jokes and challenges at school, just as Jesus Christ faced much mocking when He was here on earth. They will help you develop more love and patience toward people.

    Walter C., 15, Jaén, Peru

    Be Guided through Prayer

    For a long time I was the only member in my school. My closest friends seemed to understand me, but other school friends made fun of me. One day I prayed and felt the need to talk with one of them who encouraged the others to make fun of me. I explained that I didn’t feel angry at him, but I asked him to give me the respect he’d like to have. After hearing our conversation, one of my teachers always defended me when he saw something happen. I know that the Lord will be with you as you talk with these people.

    Shanela S., 14, Pangasinan, Philippines

    Build Your Testimony

    First, gain a real testimony of the truths you want to share with others. Then have love for the people making fun and don’t get into arguments, because contention is never supported by God (see 3 Nephi 11:29). Most important, strive to have the Spirit always with you. The Spirit will help you have more love and more courage, and He will make your words powerful.

    Julia F., 19, Hesse, Germany

    Love Your Enemies

    I have been in similar situations. If you have faith and humble yourself, you will be blessed with strength and faith that you need to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, … and pray for them” (Matthew 5:44). I’d encourage you to search the scriptures for answers on how to be strong. Pray when you are feeling alone in your faith. Romans 8:31 says, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” You have God on your side! Anything is possible.

    Reagan T., 15, Utah, USA

    Don’t Be Afraid

    Speak about your religion more often or purposely do things to bring it up. I was in a similar situation and wrote, “I Love Being LDS” on my backpack. By doing so, I opened the door to several missionary opportunities and showed people that I wasn’t afraid to let them know I am LDS. Whatever you do, don’t let them get to you. Pray for them and for yourself. Soon you’ll find that if you focus on saving others’ souls, you won’t be as afraid to let them know the truth of our Father’s gospel.

    Savanna P., 14, Texas, USA