Dallin H. Oaks: Loving and living with differences

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Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, 4 October 2014. Mormon Newsroom)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve, speaks at the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, Oct. 4, 2014. (Mormon Newsroom)

SALT LAKE CITY — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve, opened the Saturday afternoon session of the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by encouraging listeners to “love one another.”

“Why is it so difficult to have Christlike love toward one another?” Elder Oaks said. “It is difficult because we must live among those who do not share our beliefs and values and covenant obligations.”

Elder Oaks emphasized that Church members should not foster a spirit of contention but a spirit of unity as they try to live “in the world, but not be of the world.” He explained that Jesus Christ commanded everyone, not just some, to avoid being stirred to anger.

The apostle also suggested that as individuals strive to be meek, they must not compromise their values but should instead defend the truth.

“We must not surrender our positions or our values,” Elder Oaks said. “The gospel of Jesus Christ and the covenants we have made inevitably cast us as combatants in the eternal contest between truth and error. There is no middle ground in that contest.”

Elder Oaks illustrated how worldly influences challenge Latter-day Saints and pointed out ways followers of Christ can protect their homes from evil influences.

“We should teach the truth plainly and thoroughly as we understand them from the plan of salvation revealed in the restored gospel. Our right to do so is protected by constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and religion,” he said.

Cautioning members to be careful of how they communicate their stances to those who don’t share the same beliefs, Elder Oaks said, “Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable.”

Before closing his address, Elder Oaks shared a story of a sister whose husband was not a member. As she worked hard to be patient and show kindness toward her husband, eventually he was baptized and, years later, was called to be a bishop.

Elder Oaks closed saying, “As difficult as it is to live in the turmoil around us, our Savior’s command to love one another as he loves us is probably our greatest challenge.”

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