Standing for truth does not have to be at odds with being kind.
“It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ to turn away from those who believe differently from us, it’s the natural man inside of us,” Women’s Conference presenter Andrea Ryser said. “We are children of God, and our fellow beings in and out of the church are our actual brothers and sisters.”
Speaking from personal experience, Ryser emphasized the importance of how to react specifically when family members choose to leave the church.
Her secret: kindness.
Through years of learning, she discovered the best way to connect with her sister, who left the church, was to show pure, unconditional kindness.
“We can never overestimate the power of kindness,” she said. “Kindness is important, especially in a family setting.”
After trying the kind approach for many months, she received a message from her sister, saying, “You are a great example of walking the line between holding true to your faith and being kind and getting on your knees to Heavenly Father to gain wisdom from the best possible source, and you have learned so much because of your humility and love for the Savior and your family.”
Ryser said she hopes attendees will remember the value of seeing others from their perspective.
Many of her supporters sitting in the front row of the meeting spoke of her ability to practice what she preaches.
“(Ryser) cares about everybody; she’s sincere, organized, humble, and I look up to her a lot,” said Ryser’s neighbor Kathy Bringhurst.
Co-presenter Joyce Talbot’s remarks followed the same thread of showing kindness while defending the truth of the gospel. She spoke of the need for Latter-day Saints to position their lives toward Jesus Christ so they can reflect his light.
“I believe that when we allow ourselves to become contentious, arrogant, self-righteous or overbearing, it is more difficult for us to mirror our Savior’s light,” she said, while cautioning the audience about the mentality of wanting to win in an argument about the church.
Both Ryser and Talbot spoke of the necessity of demonstrating kindness towards those who have left the church or have different beliefs, even when it’s difficult to do so.