Elder Holland's talk "The Cost--and Blessings--of Discipleship" demonstrated how and why we and the youth of today will be required to defend the faith with courage, courtesy, and compassion, and that in doing so, we can show true Christ-like love for a world that so desperately needs it.
Since my children are little, we focus on the most basic principles contained in each talk. And because we go over these talks many times before the next Conference and refer to them in everyday conversation, we are able to tease out more and more of the gospel goodness and feed our faith together more each day.
Whether you are a "little" or a "big" kid all of God's children learn line upon line and precept upon precept.
And that has been my personal experience with this talk. I loved it right away, but after studying and listening to it for a while, I started to wonder about the title. I wondered why it was called "The Cost--and Blessings--of Discipleship," when all I kept hearing was the cost--which included being unpopular, sometimes standing alone, and possibly having food thrown at you!
So I looked again for these supposed blessings, and boy did I find them. The promises in the final paragraph are brief and concise, but powerful.
Elder Holland says that taking a courageous moral stand IS WORTH IT.
He encourages us to "Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don't live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them."
And here come the amazing blessings:
"In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow...and you will feel the rocklike strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall."
Just let that rest on your soul for a minute. Those words only take up a brief paragraph in his talk, but the blessings are eternal and profound.
If you decide to defend the faith, you are deciding to stand with the Savior. And in doing so you will:
1. forge unshakable faith
2. find safety
3. feel rock-like strength of our Redeemer
4. in whom if you build your unflagging discipleship you cannot fall
These are the blessings and promises that I think we all want, but the cost is hefty. It's going to be harrowing at times to be kind and courteous while saying the unpopular thing. It will require facing public and personal scorn and condemnation--as did the Savior.
I love that Elder Holland acknowledged that we are to "live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don't live it at all."
A friend of mine recently found himself in a situation that that took courage and composure to know what to say and do in the exact moment, but my friend said of the experience, "The best way to defend truth is simply to state it."
The truth, simply stated, needs no defense. It defends itself. It is power all by itself.
This is one reason, we need to be in the scriptures and learning the words of the prophets every day. We need to acquire the words of truth, so that we can, when appropriate, defend it.
We can also check ourselves against the words of the living prophets to make sure that we are living in a way that pleases God.
Oh, this is a heavy talk, and I encourage you to read and contemplate what it means for your life. My friend Michaela wrote a great post with 15 Ways to Study a General Conference Talk to Teach a Lesson, you might want to check out.
As for us, we made these "Defend the Faith" shields together as we discussed Elder Holland's words. We role-played how to respond with courtesy and compassion to others as we defend the faith in various situations. This was a good conversation to have as I prepare to send my little ones back for another year of school.