Viewpoint: I am a child of God

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Two days and 10 hours of talks later, we have been edified by yet another General Conference.

The limited space here is nowhere near enough to cover all of the gems of conference (10 hours of talks cannot be reduced to 700 words or less). Instead, I’ll focus on what struck me during this conference.

The message I got was simple: I am a child of God — and everyone else is too.

While basic, these essential principles can be surprisingly hard to implement and remember in our lives.

We become self-deprecating. We become prideful. We gossip. We hold grudges. We judge.

In probably one of the most quoted phrases of conference (if BYU memes is a judge), President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “This 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!”

Maybe I’m not the best example of this — my job is to write my opinion at least weekly and force it on the rest of campus. So here are my thoughts, not as a judgment, but as the impressions of a highly imperfect person.

President Uchtdorf reminded listeners that judgment applies not only to others but to ourselves as well. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is oneself.

To me, this was a common theme of conference: remembering our individual needs. Several talks were directed toward unique circumstances, such as the struggles of single parents or children born with disabilities.

While specific, these topics highlight a larger issue. We each have our own unique trials, our own heartaches. No matter how much we feel overlooked or how obscure or prominent our problem, an all-knowing God hears, knows and understands our heartache.

Elder David S. Baxter, of the Seventy, during the Saturday afternoon session spoke to single parents, but his words apply to us all, “Please never feel that you are in some kind of second-tier, sub-category of Church membership, somehow less entitled to the Lord’s blessings than others. In the kingdom of God there are no second-class citizens.”

While this is comforting to think when applying it to ourselves, we also need to remember that this applies to our interactions with others.

Just as we are imperfect, we all have the potential to be so much more. We are children of God, all of us. No one is excluded from that title.

I love that. I love that no matter how much I fail, I have a Father in Heaven who still loves me and wants me to succeed. He wants every one of his children to succeed.

When viewing others we need to stop the judgment and instead try to view others with all the mercy and understanding we want our Heavenly Father to view us with.

We know all of this. We know to follow the Golden Rule. Yet, it doesn’t seem to stick.

Some of this is simply due to the fact that we are imperfect human beings interacting with other imperfect human beings. Buttons are pushed, and we get annoyed and angry. People sometimes genuinely hurt us, making it hard to forgive.

The mindset is not an easy one to obtain, but it can be done.

Much of it comes by turning our burdens to Christ. Much of it comes through service.

It comes from reaching out even when it is hard or awkward. It comes from small acts of kindness. From jumping in and helping and not waiting to be called or asked. From doing, rather than just planning.

We’re in this together, and it’s only together that we succeed.

Katie Harmer is the issues and ideas editor at The Daily Universe. This viewpoint represents her opinion and not necessarily those of BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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